Sunday, 14 September 2014

September Walk on the Moors

This week we have seen some high tides along with the full moon.

We decided to go for a walk on the moors and I packed a picnic and took my iPad to take photographs to show you where we went. Lots of people comment they enjoy seeing the countryside and views of where I live. So we started by walking uphill on the narrow road which leads to the moors.


It is a steep road and has a deep drop on one side with a fast flowing river and this waterfall, it flows straight down to the sea. We are going to follow it's path to where it begins, it's source.

This is the point where we left the road and the shelter of the Hedgerows and trees behind on this warm day and begin to enter the moors.

My husband gets to carry the bag. Whilst I have fun using my iPad and photograph this beautiful Butterfly.

I captured both the butterfly and then the harebells on the banking of the old cart track.

The slate quarry is across the moor and every road and field around here is built from the local grey stone. The ground has many large boulders and you will see them in the river too, all shapes and sizes.

All hand built many years ago from the stone, some of the walls are now buckled and collapsing. Can you see them to the right as they weave their patterns up and over and across the steep hills.

A glance back to the sea from our high vantage point.

The river twists and curls on it's journey.

We cross the river over the ancient footbridge made from huge slabs of stone with a layer of sods and turf over the bridge. We used to play here as children and walk underneath the bridge as we paddled in the river. The boys would build a little dam in the summer time. We saw several small trout dart in the clear fresh water.


The pretty yellow gorse grows here alongside the purple heather.

Someone found another black feather for me. The collecting begins!


Some glimpses of the river and how it bends and twists in this valley.



Lovely fresh ferns growing by the river. And more found feathers.




A surprise to find this foxglove still flowering.


The river starts to narrow and the ground becomes more like marsh ground with wet mossy plants and reeds.



A single tree on the whole of the moor, not another one in sight. We can see the wind mills now. I am not a fan of these twelve structures and there are plans for replacing them with much larger and higher ones.

The river is little more than a trickle as we gain height and are at the area where it begins to form.


Time for a sit down and something to eat and drink. A favourite place by the big stone.

Memories as I look at the carved initials of two teenagers, many many years ago, who married and have shared their lives living here.

The heather is a lovely shade of purple at this time of the year.

Food tastes so good outdoors after a long walk. And then we turn around to head in the direction we came from. Back down the valley.


When we were young we picked the bilberries from the moor, not quite ready as they ripen to a dark blue.

Plenty of wild life up here. We saw a buzzard and a kestrel hawk. We disturbed a flock of pheasants. More feathers found here. And I saw a newt and this black beetle.


Lovely views from here. So quiet and not another person anywhere.

And feeling hot and a little weary I couldn't resist a paddle and a rest with my feet in the cool refreshing water. Whilst someone made a mini dam. Simple pleasures.




We had a lovely day out. The weather has been so nice and warm here, we are making the most of it. I hope you are all enjoying your weekend.


I washed my pheasant feathers and will show you my drawings next time. Thank you for the comments . Hope you enjoyed the walk. Millyx





































Saturday, 23 August 2014

Finding Lords and Ladies

It is that time again. I have been out searching for the red berries of the Lords and Ladies which I love to draw. We have experienced some stormy and windy weather and lots of rain which made me wonder if there would be many still intact.

I knew where to look as I wandered through the lanes and was delighted to find several different clumps with some wonderful specimens. I left these alone and will go back later. I try to just take fallen plants, the ones that have collapsed when they have rotted at the base and fallen over from the weight of the berries. The snails also like to eat the stems and hedge cutting sees the end to many. Often all that is left at the place of some of my prized specimens are a heap of berries.


I was searching and thinking they would all be red berries, so I was quite surprised to see that there was still orangey colours and even some green ones. The one I am holding has lost some berries revealing the yellow pointed stalk they are attached to. In a few weeks they will all have disappeared as the hedgerows all start to die back. It feels very chilly here and The dark evenings seems to be creeping in with many signs of an early Autumn.

As we walked up a steep path the lane was sheltered by the stone walls and I needed to take off my hat and jacket and enjoy the sunshine. I loved the patterns on the ground as the sunlight shone through the trees and cast the shadows all the way up this lane. The strong wind swayed the branches and it felt like a mirror ball twinkling all around me. Leaves flew off branches and swirled around looking like butterflies in the air.

I collected my usual drawing subjects along the way. The ground was scattered in debris, branches and nuts and berries and sycamore seeds were everywhere blown from the trees. Broken empty shells were evidence that the squirrels were already eating the nuts, although they are obviously not yet ripe. I picked up the green hazel nuts which were still attached to a leaf. I gathered some of the tiny acorns cups from under the oak tree. My specimens were all damaged lords and ladies, you can see how quickly the stems rot changing from the bright green colour to yellow, then rusty brown and almost black as they start to perish. The jay was screeching high in the trees. My husband picked up a brown stripe feather he thought was a bird of prey, maybe a buzzard. I found a black feather which made the red berries seem to glow even brighter. Three different kinds of red berries with the Hawthorne and a little branch of Rowan collected off the ground.

Two blue empty snail shells came home too. I added them to the others which I found on on three different walks, I cannot resist them. The secret patterns hidden under the brown skins. When I wash them they look amazing as they take on darker blue shades.

A view from the lanes on our way home with the lovely old farm. The peat marshes in the distance and the shore to the left. I found another group of damaged specimens here, the berries lost but will hopefully seed and grow into more plants.

I have been working on this drawing of three specimens that I brought home in June. It has been a busy time for me, I have been away to the east coast at a family wedding and also attended a wedding the week before. The lords and ladies just had to wait patiently until I was able to draw them. On my return home two weeks ago I began sketching it out on this very tall sketchbook page.

Progress has been slow as I was working with a dip in pen and inks.

I have really enjoyed doing this as it was such a fascinating subject with all the lines and textures of the dried up skin and the bright shiny red berries. I have been observing the way they shrink and curl up into the contorted shapes since June and it certainly made it more interesting to draw.

I used my acrylic inks, the dip in pen and I also used a fine paintbrush. The colours I used were Red, yellow ochre, sepia, brown umber and green. It still needs a little work but I will leave it for a while and come back with fresh eyes. It has been hogging the kitchen table for two weeks!

I am holding it up so you can see just how big it is. I have only ever used this watercolour paper book once before to do a large fish.

I have been collecting so many things to draw. I have so many possible drawings it is hard to choose which to draw first. A shore walk after a huge tide was so exciting as I collected so many different seaweeds and three mermaids purses, crabs and so may beautiful feathers. The same things I always find, things that always inspire me. Because each and everyone is different. Just like the view I see each day.


Same view but always so different, always changing.

I went out and photographed it just before I started to write this post, so I will leave you with the sunset this evening with a clear sky and a few clouds floating above.

Thank you as always for the lovely comments. I hope you enjoyed the guest post, thank you to those of you who left a comment there too. Hope you are all enjoying your weekend and the sun is shining where you are. Hope to be back soon with something else to show you. I bought some new nibs yesterday so I am off to try them out with my inks. I have also bought some sock wool for a new pair of warm knitted socks as it starts to get chilly. A sewing project too in progress. Always busy !

What are you up to? I would love to hear.

See you soon. Millyx