Wednesday 9 December 2020

Wonderful Whinlatter


Bassenthwaite Lake from Whinlatter Forest

At the end of the First World War England had a timber shortage. To combat this, the government embarked (no pun intended) on a program of tree planting. Now, a little over one hundred years later, we have the wonderful Whinlatter Forest, England’s only true mountain forest. There are miles of well marked walking tracks, magnificent views, adventure areas for children and wicked mountain biking routes. This is where we’re off to today.

Robin, Erithacus rubecula  and Treecreeper, Certhia familiaris 

Somewhat inevitably, we have a Robin accompanying us on our walk (I think that our intrepid local guide secretly brings one with her). We also have some Treecreepers, making their way, stealthily up the trunks of the trees in search of insects. If you see a bird going up a tree, like this, then it’s probably a Treecreeper. If you see one coming down head first then it’s probably a Nuthatch.

Whinlatter is all about trees and, at this time of year, they do a roaring trade in Christmas trees. In fact, there are so many people wandering about with a section of forest under their arms, that it’s a wonder that there is any left to walk in. There’s a choice of Fir, Pine or Spruce and a handy guide as to the advantages and disadvantages of each type. For instance; Spruce is the traditional one that smells of the Christmases of childhood. It is also the one that has you picking needles out of the carpet at Easter. Pine and Fir keep their needles better and Fir has well spaced branches, ideal for decorating. Pine is a much bushier tree and has an invigorating aroma. So you pays your penny and you takes your pick. Slightly more pennies for Pine and Fir, than for Spruce.

Some of the trees have fungi growing on them. These, with their delicate, conical caps and slender stems are Bonnets, of the Mycena genus. There are over 500 of these worldwide, and telling one from another usually requires a microscope. Some are edible, some are poisonous and most aren’t worth bothering about from a culinary viewpoint. Some of them even glow in the dark. I see that Jack the navigator hound has photobombed the picture again. I wonder if we can retrain him as a truffle hound? 

News from the Corn Mill

River Derwent at Cockermouth

One of the many beauties of living here is that it’s only a ten minute walk to the middle of town, and most of that is alongside the River Derwent through the Memorial Gardens. As you can see, the river has been behaving itself very well for the past week. Hopefully it will keep doing so for the next month as the flood barrier for the front door won’t be here until next month. Must go now as the dining table and chairs have just arrived. So, until next time,

Stay happy and stay safe,


Steve's Books

The Quick Guide to Creepy-Crawlies

All you need to know to identify any type of insect, spider, worm or snail very simply and find out more about it.

Yvonne: This was a gift for a family so that the children can understand what they see on days out. The second was for me. Logical and easy to use. If you know anyone who likes nature you can be confident that gifting this book will give years of pleasure.

The Eggs of Saramova

A science fiction novella for those who don't like science fiction. A fast-paced thriller that is, literally, out of this world (and it starts right here in Crete).

Too new for reviews yet!

Not Just For Twisted Women by Steve Daniels 

A light-hearted look at life through the eyes of the fairer sex.

Janet: If you are short on time but enjoy reading and are maybe not into long extended novels then Not Just For... Twisted Women provides readers with concise stories that stand alone and most certainly entertain with their ultimate twists. Loved it.

Helen: A very good read! Well written and entertaining!

Margaret: Each quick tale gives a glimpse into a character's life and has an often humorous twist at the end. I would love to read more.

Yvonne: These days many people find it hard to find the time to read a novel, so this book of short stories is ideal to dip into. It is also makes a good gift.

See sample pages of all my books and latest blogs, and keep abreast of latest publications here:

Crete Nature Catch-up

Series 1 - Welcome to Lasithi

Series 2 - The Rhythm Of Life

Series 3 - A Journey Begins

Series 4 - The Milonas Valley

Series 5 - This Is Ferma

Series 6 - Upland Villages

Series 7 - The Forty saints

Series 8 - Sunday Strolls

Series 9 -Stormy Weather



Share your nature thoughts, photos and comments on Naturalists (the facebook page that accompanies this blog)

Explore the region with the #CreteNature interactive Hiking and Nature Map

Cretan Flora Flowers of Crete BIRDS OF CRETE Crete Birding

Greek Butterflies and Moths Aquaworld Aquarium

Visit Greece (National Government Tourist Office)

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