For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Edge Of Furness

Last week we stayed with family on the Cumbrian peninsula of Low Furness just south of the Lake District National Park. It's a special place — far removed from holidaymakers and the Lake District honeypots. Of course it rained, and when it wasn't raining it looked like it was going to rain. Never mind. I don't mind rain, as long as it isn't continuous, and the mist and the rain and the low cloud made for an interesting, somber, muted light. Who says you need sunshine for photographs?  

Pebble beach at Aldingham on the western edge of Morecambe Bay.

Sand and tidal mudflats in Morecambe Bay. It's dangerous to walk too far from shore — the tide comes in faster than you can run, and there are quicksands.

The same place in black and white.

If you look closely you will find fossilised sea creatures in the stones and rocks. In this chunk of limestone I think I can spot belemnites, crinoids and brachiopods. How old are they? 200 million years? 300 million? 400 million?  

This is the mineral haematite, a type of iron ore, also known as red kidney ore because its rounded masses resemble animal kidneys. Note the two fossilised bivalves or brachiopods in the bottom left hand corner of the ore deposit.

You can breathe freely here. It's something to do with the pristine, washed-clean feel of things, the wide open spaces, the uncluttered topography — a land-and-seascape, an edgescape reduced to simple verticals and horizontals. 

Looking towards the southern fells of the Lake District.

10 comments:

Dominic Rivron said...

I think the coast here is almost as enthralling to walk on as the hills inland. (And I speak as a hill addict).

George said...

We wondered where you were, my friend, and now we know. Enjoyed all of the photos, especially the fourth (rocks), which is has a certain Zen quality to it. Looking at the map, I see that Morecambe Bay is not too far from St. Bees, the coastal village that is the starting point for Wainwright's coast-to-coast.

Joy Rothke said...

Wonderful photos! The landscape is so spare.

Rachel Fox said...

Lovely space... quite the opposite to the crammed Lake District tearooms!
x

pilgrimpace said...

Good to see. I've just been on the north east coast. The light seems similar but was on sand rather than stones.

Andy

Caroline Gill said...

Particularly delighted to find a photo of Aldingham as my ancestors hailed from there way, way back in post-Conquest days ...

Some also resided in Rydal in the heart of Wordsworth's Lakeland!

Goat said...

Brilliant, I love how you told the tale in pictures and captions. I was already thinking, wow, my weekend was muted light and sombre atmosphere as well - went back to Geumjeongsanseong and hiked through thick fog, camped out on the fortress wall and spent yesterday hiking through more of it - and then saw your last shot, which is eerily like rice seedlings sitting at the paddy's edge, ready for planting.

I take it you're having a blast playing with the NEX? And I agree, give me muted light any day!

Ruth said...

Yes, we wondered where you were. I hoped it was someplace like this. Beautiful photos of a gentle place, and so interesting. Actually photos in sunshine are usually too washed out, and overcast skies are wonderful for colors.

Hope you don't mind if I paste a whole passage of Annie Dillard that was in this week's Parabola and just seems utterly suited to this place and your post.

At a certain point, you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world's word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence. Nature does utter a peep - just this one. The birds and insects, the meadows and swamps and rivers and stones and mountains and clouds: they all do it; they all don't do it. There is a vibrancy to the silence, a suppression, as if someone were gagging the world. But you wait, you give your life's length to listening, and nothing happens. The ice rolls up, the ice rolls back, and still that single note obtains. The tension, or lack of it, is intolerable. The silence is not actually suppression: instead, it is all there is.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I love this part of the world Robert. None of your pretty picture postcard Lake District - just beautiful estuaries and fantastic bird life.

The Solitary Walker said...

I agree, Dominic... and George, I was several times quite close to the C2C section through the Lake District.

Thanks and welcome, Joy.

Rachel, yes, though apparently there's a wonderful period tearoom at Grange which is well worth a visit...

Like you, I love the NE Coast, Andy... and Caroline, Aldingham is a hidden gem, isn't it?

Goat, yes, I'm having fun with the NEX, but I think I've a lot of learning to do...

That Dillard quote is quite awesome, Ruth, and very suited to those empty yet pregnant coastal scenes...

Pat, you sum it in a nutshell. The birdlife of Morecambe Bay is so rich.