Feb&March: Lots Of Changes!

This post will probably be short but sweet, which is how the last two months have felt for me! It's been a busy couple of months as I moved house again so my days off work have been filled with shifting and sorting boxes upon boxes of stuff and assembling new furniture rather than being out exploring! However it should hopefully be normality from here (fingers crossed!) and I'm hoping to do some tweaking of this website to freshen it up now that I've finally got the internet back up and running! It's going to be exciting exploring all the new footpaths and trails near my new home, hopefully I'll find some hidden gems!

My new house is at the Southern end of town, only a short walk away from one of my regular walks, The Helme, and plenty of footpaths and fields leading out of Kendal and to the surrounding villages. It's nice knowing my local area so that I can explore the new places which are further afield from my usual routes as I'm much closer to home and it'd be easier to find my way back if I did get astray wandering down one of these new paths. There is a path just off the edge of the housing estate my house is near to which leads to a tiny patch of woodland, famous in the spring months for its vast collection of bluebells so I am eager to take my camera here when the time comes! Even my commute to town/work has a fantastic view of the Lakeland landscape to keep me company! On my way into town I can see Scout Scar stretching above the town before blending into Serpentine Woods and the fells of Kentmere and beyond, on the clearer day you can see so many mountain tops creating a barrier between the town and the vibrant blue sky. On my way back I can see the Helme gently curving around the outskirts of town, which looks much larger from the roads and footpaths than it actually is when you get up there! I'm going to enjoy exploring the Helme in greater detail as it is just a stones throw away from my house, and there are several paths leading to the Southern Side which I am yet to explore!

One day in February my work required me to do some shifts at another store, so I found myself with several hours to myself in the Ambleside area! The bus route allows for fantastic views across Windermere lake and of the fells around Coniston and the Langdales, one morning it was taking a while for the grey tones in the sky to shift and Windermere had cloud aversions lingering over majority of the body of water, trapped from spreading into the road by the tall evergreen trees that creates a divider between the lake and land. Despite the moody atmosphere, it certainly brightened up my morning and put me in a good mood for my day at work! Between the start of my shift and the arrival of the bus, I was able to have a small stroll around a frosty Rothay Park each morning as I ate my breakfast and downed a much needed coffee. It was lovely to see people enjoying the park on such a cold morning, all taking a moment to appreciate the beautiful contrast between the frosty grass and the warm brown hues of the lakeland fells that could be seen from every direction or pausing to watch the babbling stream that seperated the park off from the farmland which had sheep grazing on the bits of grass which had been warmed by the tiny amounts of winter sun managing to break between the clouds.

After my shift had finished, I met my Grandad in Ambleside so that we could go on a wander up Stock Ghyll Waterfalls. After visiting for my birthday last year and my mother later asking my Grandparents why they'd never been as children, she was informed that they had been up the waterfalls when my mum was 'still in the papoose' - so basically they hadn't been for years and years! I figured that as I had to travel for work that day, it'd be good to meet my grandad and see if he remembers much from the walk after all this time! We took a picnic with us and slowly made our way up the falls, despite the afternoon being much nicer than the morning we basically had the place to ourselves! The walk was as pleasant as I had remembered from September, if not a little slushier under foot, but this time there was much more water going down the falls that the sounds of crashing waves against rocky outcrops or the trunk of a fallen tree within the waterways was much more dominant to the ears. Despite the dominance of the water, you could still hear birds chirping from the treetops and spot the occasional one searching for food on the lower ground for what is left of the winter foliage and the early bloomers of the spring flowers which were slowly but surely starting to break through the terrain.

There is a really cute walk in the Low Sizergh area, so cute in fact that it is said to be home to 'little folk' aka fairies (these are made into super adorable signs dotted around farmland within the walk!) and although it can be slightly muddy in places, it is still a great little stroll for those somewhat overcast days. There is a little pond close to the farm at one of the starting points for walking in this area, and it is utilised as a viewing station for wildlife on the pond, although on my walks here I've yet to spot something here. There is plenty of woodland in this area to shelter from the heavier rain as the footpath approaches the river Kent via the old Gunpowder Works and the woodland floor is littered with wild garlic which was scenting the air and some Spanish bluebells standing proud in amongst the thick, curling roots of the larger trees. There are also quite a few geocaches in the area, these are good ones to follow for interesting routes through Low Sizergh and onto the river at Sedgwick. After our wander in Low Sizergh we made our way to Sizergh Castle grounds - this area is a hub for several small fells in the area, but we decided to be big kids for the day and made our way to the secret wildtrail hidden in the grounds. This is a lovely and quiet, short woodland meander with a couple of nice spots off the path to sit for a quick sip of your flask (especially when its raining as the canopy above is quite thick) but it also has a little 'adventure' trail alongside the path all made out of fallen trees from the woodland including activities such as stepping logs, balancing logs and a plank over a big hole to test your agility. There are also wood carvings and statues, winding wicker pathways and a tree that had been struck by lightning to mark the route through the little trail. Even if it is aimed at young kids, I'd definitely recommend it for any adults/big kids wanting to blow off some steam and have a bit of fun!

At the end of March the weather began to slowly warm up and the skies began to have a bit more spice to it as it set at the end of the day, usually vibrant orange hues contrasted by a muted blue which blended with the evening clouds perfectly. On one of these evenings I went for a walk around Storth and the trail which is formed primarily of the the old railway line that used to run through the tiny village. I love walking around here because wherever you are around this village it is full of beautiful flowers and other plants - from the gardens along the main roads to the woodlands and wildflowers beside the country lanes there is always something that will catch your eye! The wildflowers in particular were a rainbow of colours, with vibrant pinks and yellows standing out against evergreen foliage or the brown of bare branches. With Storth being just a stones throw from the sands forming the Kent estuary we wandered alongside the road for a little while taking in the picturesque sunset and cloudscape that was forming across the bay over Whitbarrow Scar, slowly erasing the tops of the Lake District fells from the horizon, marking the end of another day. The slowly fading sunshine made the sand that guided the waterways glitter, and it contrasted beautifully against the slowly sleeping sky.

I always say this around this time of year but I honestly love seeing all the fresh flowers of spring suddenly go into full blossom over the space of a few sunny days in amongst the rain! So much that I actually have to set off five minutes earlier as I will most likely stop to take a thousand pictures of a pretty bush! In particular I have loved spotting several magnolia and cherry blossom trees on my walk to work beginning to form. It always makes me excited to visit some of my regular walks which I know are full of flowers, and it reminds me that bluebell season will soon be upon us! I also love the lighter evenings, I really notice this on my walk home from work which takes me around forty minutes - I'm now able to have that much needed cup of coffee in natural light after a long shift! It also means the arrival of another thing I love just as much as fresh flowers growing in the wild - those stunning sunsets filled with more shades of each colour than you thought even existed! It will be interesting to see where the best sunset spot will be from my house, but I can't wait to go out and find it!

Bring on the longer days and brighter evenings - I can't wait to explore my new local area!