Monday, 27 June 2016

Teaser

Perfect moments #345 and #346:

Skimming across Coniston with the sun glinting off the wavelets, the kids sitting on the bottom boards singing the theme from the Swallows and Amazons film while Ian and I are fully hiked out, spray hitting us in the face at the same time as the sun beats down on us. And being on the same tack in this blissful situation for several minutes at a time. Thea looks round and says with sparkling eyes "This is brilliant!".

Two hours later, euphoria has not abated, and we are all in the car, tired but jolly, driving through the most spectacular landscape of high craggs and waving trees. The sun is streaming through the open windows and we are all singing The Proclaimers at the tops of our voices.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

A song

Thea wanted to record her song for you all:



Sunday, 12 June 2016

Sailing, sailing and more sailing

Well, if you thought we were keen on sailing before, that was before the kids got interested! Now, life seems to revolve around the river! In a large part, it is due to this:

But apart from that, there has just been a great deal going on. Two weekends with a total of five days spent at the club! The first was the end of course day - the Saturday when we descend on the club to celebrate the end of the Level 1 course. It was quite windy, which resulted in the novices sailing Visions that looked like this after reefing:

Much silliness! The kids had a bit of a joyride and then Ian and Dorothea the Elder put the GP through it's paces.

And other people came out too and provided entertainment.

Day two of the weekend was much quieter and was the ideal day for the launch of Sea Swallow.

There was much excitement!

Day three was actually a school day, but Nathaniel asked very nicely if we could go sailing after school. So we did and he was happy!


The next weekend saw the official opening of the new club changing rooms. No longer do you have to share a toilet with an array of amazing spiders, and there is even hot water! We had two of the Yorkshire Rows team (four York women who rowed across the Altantic, setting all sorts of records), to cut the ribbon, and then there was lots of cake and a demonstration from the York Resue Boat. Nathaniel learnt how to throw a life line and we all enjoyed trying to rescue people from the water.

The next day was simply a pleasant day! Not much wind, so I sailed the GP single-handed, and thanks to a fortuitous gust at the start line, won the race. Ian manfully attended to a smaller craft. The crew of two sailed, and he was ballast and tutor!

Today we were OD and there was no wind at all (the BBC had 3mph veering from NWN to SSE over three hours). There was not much interest from the membership in sailing, even though we had two very willing officers of the day.

So we got in a canoe and explored the underside of the trees, finding interesting routes through the branches all the way down to Bishopthorpe where we were able to find four very fine ice creams.

And now Ulswater beckons........

Monday, 6 June 2016

Askrig and Half Term

Half term began with a camping trip to Askrig in Wensleydale. It really should be called the trip-of-one-walk, because one walk was pretty much all we did, albeit several times.

We had no school on Friday so arrived bright and early to sun in a field inhabited only by a flock of sheep and a brood of hens.
We put up our tent and watched with amusememt as a bunch of lambs trotted over immediately to nibble it. The hens were much more forward - they went straight for our lunch, irrespective of whether we were mid-bite or not. Dorothea didn't greatly enjoy that so we had to build her a fort.

Everyone was much happier once we had worked out an effective deterrant.

Once we were all set up we decided to wander up the stream to a waterfall which we had spotted on the map and the campsite owner had mentioned as a good poddle. It was lovely walking along the stream with the sun falling through the leaves. There was more wild garlic than we had ever seen in one place - fields of it smoothing every contour. It was a wonderful walk.

And we were totally unprepared for the waterfall when we got to it. Mill Gill isn't much mentioned in the lists of Dales waterfalls, so we were expecting a stream trundling over a couple of rocks. We found this:


A cathedralesque space hollowed out of the rock with ferns and mosses dripping down the sides and several levels of falls. Amazing!

We could have sat there for hours, but we had people to meet, so were wandered back via the most wonderful field of buttercups and wild flowers to protect our tent from the peckish lambs.


That evening, by his request, Nathaniel was in charge of food. He set up his kitchen to his own design and made most of the food!

The next day (after not much sleep, as the lambs never slept (or slept in shifts) and were constantly peckish), we named all the chickens (Findus, Richard the lionheart, Donald, Pecky McPeckface and Lupy), and then took K and D to see the waterfall. The walk was no less wonderful.


Then we set off for the next one. It was a "just over that hill" sort of walk, there was always somethin we wanted to see around the corner. Nathaniel and I took some detours to look at good limestone pavements.


Then the path petered out and we had to climb up the totally dry riverbed. We could hear the falls ahead of us, and knew that the stream was full below us, but here the water was running so far under the surface boulders that we could find no trace of it. Really strange.

Whitfield Gill Force was even more incredible. A tall free fall down some slate-like rock.

D found a route to stand behind it at once.

And then, after the casual comment of "this is the sort of rock that you find fossils in", the kids found fossil after fossil after fossil.

It was only certailed by the fact that we had planned just a little morning bimble and had only bananas and cake with us - not enough to fill the stomachs of kids who had been climbing over rocks all morning! So we reluctantly went back. Thea led the way, and helpfully left a trail of patterans to make sure we didn't get lost (we've just finished reading Swallowdale).

Once more of the party had arrived we walked down to the river proper, to find stepping stones across it. Much fun was had jumping from one to another, and eventually all the kids were in the river in their underwear, trying not to get sucked by the current through the gaps between the stones.


The next day we were ready for  more than waterfalls. The hill above the campsite had been beckoning the whole time, and although we quickly realised we weren't going to be able to get the kids to walk the whole way, we still aspired to the top.
 
So we drove a bit closer and set off up the hill for some lunch in a grassy knoll with the ever-present Dales sheep. It became clear quite quickly that the younger members of our party weren't going to make it, and two adults kindly offered to take them for a less strenuous activity while the rest of us climbed. Quickly we got to Dales-moorland, a totally different sort of moor to my favourite North Yorks/Dartmoor heather.

Nathaniel and D enjoyed the stiles.

We trudged up the last steep slope, stopping to appreciate the view, and admire the antics of a pair of paragliders who were throwing themselves off the top.

And then we were there, and it was great! The view was rather hazy, but wonderful!

That evening the campsite owner encouraged us to pick our own eggs at will and many eggs were chosen! We decided that the least we could do was to feed the hens our scraps.
They were great chickens - once we had made it clear that they couldn't eat food that we had picked up to put in our mouths, and that they weren't allowed in our tents (or car boots), we got on very well. Better than with the lambs, who insisted in nibbling our tents throughout the night and climbing up on the plastic camping boxes and looking nonchalant. Neither enjoyed the afternoon game of football though.

Day three was never going to involve massive adventures due to the whole packing-away activity, so we decicided that those who had missed the waterfall had better seen it. So, for the third time, off we went through the buttercups and wild garlic (I made a vat of wild garlic pesto when we got home!).

This time we added fire to the adventure and Nathaniel built a fire at the bottom of the top fall and we had toasted hot cross buns and mashmallows as the water cascaded down behind us. It was pretty terrific.





Then Nick slipped (obviously had not been heeding the constant reminders of climbing cautiously that the kids had been subject to), and hit his back pretty hard, which put a bit of a dampner on the occasion, but it was time to go home, so we all scampered (or limped) back to a field, again deserted apart from us.

A heavenly trip!


After that, we didn't need an exciting half term! Ian was away on two different trips, and the weather was cold, so Thea and Nathaniel and I just poddled round the house contentedly day after day. We watched out tadpoles grow legs,

made boat-dens in the living room,

created complicated dwellings in the sandpit (a mix up of Skara Brae and the Mesa Verde),

and ate long tapasy lunches.

All very acceptable.