Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Wainwright Coast to Coast Walk – A Botanical View (Western Part)

 Day 7: Impromptu collection of flowers along the River Swale

This post talks about some of the plants I saw on the first half of a Wainwright Coast to Coast walking tour sponsored by National Geographic. The walk started on July 24th and ended on August 3rd and included 14 of us and 2 guides. We walked about 140 miles in 12 days from St. Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay. The flowers mentioned here were all spotted trailside between July 24 (day 1) and July 30 (day 7), what I’m calling the first part of the walk (the western part). The day designation is used in the picture captions below to give a rough idea of where the plant was observed. This is just a sampling of what we saw and in some cases my identification of what we saw may be wrong.

July 24 (day 1) :: St. Bees (Arrive in town and get settled.)
July 25 (day 2) :: St. Bees to Ennerdale Bridge
July 26 (day 3) :: Ennerdale Bridge to Rosthwaite
July 27 (day 4) :: Rosthwaite to Glenridding
July 28 (day 5) :: Lake Ullswater to Shap
July 29 (day 6) :: Shap to Ravenstonedale
July 30 (day 7) :: Ravonstonedale to Reeth

The motivation for documenting the flowers? I thought it would be fun to get to know the country in a botanical sense which is quite natural for me. Originally, I thought I would identify one plant a day, but it turns out I couldn’t stop at one. The tools? A camera, a guide book, and an iPad app. The camera: Canon Powershot SD1400. The book: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe. The app: Interactive Flora of the British Isles.

Part II of this post is here.

Day 1: Convolvulus arvensis - Field Bindweed
We stay at the Seacote Hotel near the ocean and once settled, I wall back into the old town and saw this bindweed on a fence bordering a field.

Day 2: Armeria martima – Thrift
This photo is taken a few minutes before we start the coast to coast walk. It’s on the beach at St. Bees, looking south.
Armeria martima – Thrift
Armeria martima – Thrift

Day 2: Tripleurospermum maritimum – Sea Mayweed
On a rock ledge at St. Bees.
Tripleurospermum maritimum – Sea Mayweed
Tripleurospermum maritimum – Sea Mayweed

Day 2: Aglais urtica - Small Tortoiseshell
Our first real day of hiking and it starts out as a beautiful day on the cliffs north of St. Bees. There is a lot botanically and insect-wise to look at such as this Small Tortoiseshell butterfly.

Day 2: Campanula rotundifolia – Harebell
This is seen along the cliffs just North of St. Bees.

Day 2: Succisa pratensis - Devil's Bit Scabius

Day 2: Cirsium arvense - Creeping Thistle
This thistle smells sweetly. I pop the blossom off and walk a while with it, sniffing it. This picture is taken just after we leave the cliffs north of St. Bees and head east.

Day 2: Juncus effusus – Soft Rush
In some spots, we see large areas covered in rush, typically (over) grazed pasture.

Day 2: Digitalis purpurea – Foxglove

Day 2: Matricaria discoidea - Pineapple Mayweed
One of my favorite plants. It smells like pineapple when you bruise it.

Day 2: Epilobium hirsutum - Great Willowherb
A cousin of Fireweed.

Day 3: Dactylorhiza fuchsii - Common Spotted Orchid
Spot this as we just start to walk along Ennerdale Water near the weir at the west end.

Day 3: Dactylorhiza maculata - Heath Spotted Orchid
As we walk east away from Ennerdale Water along the River Liza I spot this orchid near the Low Gillerthwaite Field Centre.

Day 3: Narhecium ossifragum - Bog Asphodel
Along Ennerdale Water.

Day 3: Prunella vulgaris - Self Heal
A common plant this can easily be overlooked. Once you see it, you see it everywhere.

Day 4: Stachys sylvatica - Hedge Woundwort
Smells like sulfur when bruised. I see it in many locations, typically shady spots.This is photographed in Glenridding as we make our way to the Inn on the Lake.

Day 4: Epilobium angustifolium - Fireweed or Rosebay Willow Herb
Epilobium is quite common. On the train ride from London to Penrith I remember seeing quite a bit of it along the tracks.

Day 5: Ulex eruopaeus - Common Gorse
The dreaded Gorse. In reality, we don’t encounter it too much. If you’re a land owner I suppose it is a pain, but for hikers, the stinging nettle is more likely to get you.

Day 5: Geranium pratense - Meadow Crane's-bill
Especially common on the sides of small country lanes. 

Day 5: Spiraea salicifolia – Bridewort
Don’t see Bridewort that much, only this one time.

Day 5: Jasione montana - Sheep's-bit

Day 5: Stellaria holostea - Greater Stitchwort

Day 6: Urtica dioica - Stinging Nettle

I was aware of this plant before Day 6, but Day 6 is the first time I feel its sting.

Day 6: Crataegus monogyna – Hawthorn
This tree is quite common found by itself in open areas.

Day 6: Myosotis laxa - Tufted Forget-me-not
I see this flower along a small stream as we made our way into Orton.

Day 6: Calvatia utriformis - Puff Ball Mushroom
The puff balls look so strange when you come across them in grassy areas.

Day 6: Achillea ptarmica – Sneezewort

Day 6: Galium aparine - Common Cleavers
Quite common and at times can blot out other vegetation. This is photographed just outside of Ravenstonedale.

Day 7: Filipendula ulmaria – Meadowsweet
Meadowsweet has a nice scent that reminds me a little of baby powder, a subtle scent.

 A Naturalist’s Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain & Northern Europe.

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