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Showing posts from November, 2016

The Snail That Built A Mountain

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Forgive me if I break into song as we commence our walk into this gully but it’s such a beautiful morning – Sweet painted lady, seems it’s always been the same, getting paid for being laid, guess that’s the name of the game - that’s better; nothing like a bit of Elton John to start the day. OK that was not a bit like Elton John.  The reason for this sudden burst of exuberance is the orange and brown butterflies that are accompanying us, Painted Ladies, which we saw a couple of weeks back pollinating the ivy (Life in the Uplands). The red and black butterflies that are also joining us are Red Admirals and the two are closely related. The Painted Lady is Vanessa cardui and the Red Admiral is Vanessa atalanta. I find it intriguing that one should be named after a lady of the nightand the other after a high ranking naval officer, a sort of lepidopteran equivalent of the actress and the bishop I suppose.




Last week we were chatting about Iron and how it travels from the rocks to our blood but…

How To Get Blood Out Of A Stone

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Ok folks, our mission for today is to clamber down through these rocks and explore that gully down there. To make things more interesting our route is lined with plenty of spiky plants so our chances of getting to the bottom without being bloodied and bruised are remote to say the least. This lethal looking bush here for instance, which I can’t quite place, looks capable of causing serious injury. I see that it’s producing tiny red fruits and as we have our botanist friend Steve Lenton with us today (although he’s opted to take a more sedate route) we’ll collect a couple and pass them on to him for identification. After all, there’s no point in having a dog and barking yourself. Talking of which, you wouldn’t just like to put your hand in and grab a couple of berries would you? Thought not. Here goes then. Ouch, first blood to the flora.
That’s the difficult part over, all limbs etc. intact? Good. My arm really is bleeding quite profusely now and my hand will soon be as red as that roc…

Descent Into The Milonas Valley

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Now that we’ve made it all the way up here we’ve got to get all the way back again but this time we’ll come down the Milonas (or Miller’s) Valley. So first we must descend that evil looking slope .

A quick look at the flowers before we start our descent, most of which we met on the way up, such as the little yellow Sternbergia but there are also these delicate little Autumn Crocuses. Pretty little things that those of you with long memories may remember we met once before when we visited The Waterfall of Milonas a couple of years back and I told you the story of a famous murderer. On the plus side though, it was the original source of the drug colchicine which has a number of uses including treatment of Familial Mediterranean Fever. This is a rather nasty human disease caused by a genetic mutation specific to people of Eastern Mediterranean origin.  Like nettles and dock leaves the problem and solution are to be found in the same place. 
I see that our friends the ravens are keeping an…

The Final Ascent

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