I Tip my Hat to my Scottish Friends….

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Sundown over the Isle of Arran,  West Coast of Scotland

For a great many of my Scottish friends, both in their home of Scotland or indeed now abiding on foreign shores…. tonight will be special…

It is of course Burns Night.

The annual celebration of the Scottish Poet Robert Burns, more affectionately known as ‘Rabbie Burns’.

Robert Burns had a short life.  Born this day in 1759, he died in July 1796.  A short  life of only 37 years, during which Burns proved to be a prolific poet and writer leaving a legacy of literature still admire , studied and respected today over 226 years later.

Burns Suppers will be held not just In Scotland but across the world, where ever Scots have gathered.

There will be a Piper, the Haggis ceremonially presented to the diners and of course many a toast.

But before all the Selkirk Grace will be said….

Some hae meat an canna eat,

And some wad eat that want it;

But we hae meat, and we can eat,

And sae the Lord be thankit.

It is also possible that after two rather strange Covid years, Burns Night 2022 may well see the celebrations, let’s say… just a little bit more spirited….. so even more reason to…

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

25th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

A Memory….. of Snow.

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10pm on the 24th January 2021. This was the first snow of the year. 24 hours later it was all but gone.

This memory came up on my Facebook reminder. It brought to mind just how ‘rare’ snow falls are now in our part of the UK have become. We moved into this house on the 21st January 1979, the snow that day was very much deeper. It had started to snow the previous 1st December, froze and was regularly topped up just about daily till mid March. The Team from the Removal Company had previously struggled up a snow covered Motorway for over 125 miles, then manfully cleared parts of the Drive and carried everything into our new house very carefully….. they deserved and got a big Tip.

43 years on and we have not seen snow like it since. Each year the snow events have been for fewer days and not as deep, then soon melts away. Even frosts are fewer.

I guess in its own little way it is another marker that the climate has and is changing.

I also find it a strange British phenonium that we have a love affair with snow. We anticipate it with love, a thing of beauty….. fun for the first day (maybe two)…. then we cannot wait for it to go.

Whatever the weather, wherever you are……

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

24th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

It All Started……… with a Little Book

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This day in 1991, the man who  became known as the legendary “Fellwanderer” died.   He left a legacy for all who love and walk or climb the Lake District Fells.  Way back in 1955 a small but rugged pocket size book was published by The Westmorland Gazette, Printers and the Local Newspaper Publishers.  It was the first of seven guides, each covering a defined geographic area of the Lakeland Fells.

The author was a man who’s signature appeared on that cover, a man who was known simply as A.Wainwright……..   in fact it was perhaps two ,or maybe more, decades later, that his first name of Alfred became known.  But for many followers and friends he was simply but affectionately referred to as Wainwright.

Wainwrights Guide books were very very different to its predecessors. Every page was hand written and drawn.  Wainwright never intended them to replace a proper OS map, but the reality was that each of Wainwrights maps were fully detailed with landmark and facts about each of his described walking routes.

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Wainwright was a Lancashire lad,  born 1907 in the Mill Town of Blackburn.  It is said that as soon as he was able he started heading at weekends to the Lake District.  This love of the Lakes was confirmed when he moved to Kendal.  His background was as a qualified Accountant and in1948 appointed Borough Treasurer of Kendal Borough Council.

His spare time was to explore the Fells. In the seven guides he published covered every summit high or low.  Not only that every summit of any note was climbed from many directions, each route highly detailed…. and remember each page of every book was hand drawn and written. They were an immediate success, each guide for the defined areas was awaited in anticipation and expectation.  The one question was…. when is the next Wainwright being published?.  It was 1966 when the seventh and final Guide to the Lakeland Fells was published.  They are still published today.

Wainwright himself remained an enigma.  He walked alone, avoided crowds and publicity. It became a game for walkers, searching for a man in a raincoat and cloth cap, many insisting that they had spotted Wainwright (they may have or maybe not).

In later life Alfred did emerge into the limelight.  Other books followed, Long Distance Trails were written and illustrated, even a TV series…..  but I guess he avoided being a celebrity.  It was sometime during this “coming out” that he also became know as the Fellwanderer , by those more close to him as simply AW

His memorial is a simple one and I think very fitting.

It is here in this small Shepherds Church above Buttermere.

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The interior is simple and modest.  But note the window to the right, the one with flowers and a plaque….

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That window looks out to one special Lakeland Fell named Haystacks.  Read the following message from Wainwright himself and you will understand just why…

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A simple tribute to the Fellwanderer who contributed so much to the enjoyment of walkers and a pathway to Lakeland discovery for others.

His map style and guide format have been imitate since….  they say imitation is the best form of flattery.  What they lack though is his slightly humorous descriptive style.

One intrepid walker asked for advice as to the best way in which to tackle the Fells.  His reply was simple,….  You go out and walk, its easy just put one foot in front of the other.

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As a final word, maybe a thank you…….  I now enjoy reading and recalling routes walked, brought back to reality right off AW’s pages.

(For those of you puzzled by the reference to Westmorland it was one of two county names, Cumberland being thy other, that were merged into one to form Cumbria in 1974)

Wherever you are, whatever your dreams today……

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

20th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

Fog today…. makes a change from mist!

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Fog today, you could say it makes a change from the past two days of mist.  Even though we have the impression that there is a sun up there, somewhere, the fog persists.  True the fog comes and goes, thick one moment then a short while swirls about with that elusive sun making a brief try.  Add to that a frost on the ground and you might think we have a winters day….  I think you would be right.

Strange to see the sun peeping though the Silver Birch, the veil of mist making it look more like the moon. At times a very colour devoid world.

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For a brief while the sun did look as if it was making a real effort…

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Sadley it was only a brief appearance and the fog swirled in again.

No matter the weather, no matter where we are….

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

14th January

(C) David Oakes 2022

Silent Sunday…. A Guardian of the Past

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The Parish Church of Kilmartin, Kilmartin Glen, Argyll, Scotland

The Gothic style Parish Church dates from 1835, but like so many of our churches is built upon a site of a much earlier Religious location.

But it is the Memorial and Carved Stone Grave markers that make Kilmartin special. This highland graveyard is now the guardian of a remarkable collection of Christian and Medieval stones. Many Stones gathered from the surrounding area. brought to Kilmartin for safe keeping. Some of the stones so precious that they are housed in their own stone building.

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It is easy to admire and wonder at the skill of these stone masons, and the amount of time it would have taken to sculpt each illustration……   but standing in the shadow of the Church of Kilmartin you cannot help but absorb the spirit of the stones, speaking from a long gone age.

We start a New Year still surrounded by concern… so as always

Please Remember ….

Stay Safe …. Be Kind…. Look After Each Other

2nd January

(C) David Oakes 2022