Martley circular walk Worcestershire

On Monday 24th June our friends picked us up for a walk in Worcestershire. Stewart and Carol had completed this walk some years ago we were all looking forward to getting out into the Worcestershire countryside It was overcast, with small chance of rain forecast, perfect for walking.

We parked in the church car park and set off through the grave yard, which was being mown.

We walked through the village, passed the school and was soon overlooking fields and down country lanes.

We then walked through a field of flowering broad beans, some plants had a little blackfly, but we noticed some ladybirds too.

We crossed a stream over a bridge and walked through more fields to a lane.

I then took over the navigating and took the wrong route, one highlight of this was an image of a meadow brown butterfly. The downside was a muddy path, with stinging nettles.

We made our way to a farm where we asked for directions, we had moved off our map, the farmer was very helpful and pointed in the direction we should be going, then suggested the pub in the opposite direction. We decided to follow the road round until we found some signs that corresponded to the map we had.

We had walked further, but at least we were back on track, the mood was …….

Fortunately we turned left by a beautiful cottage being re-roofed to enter the most extraordinary apple orchards. Mile after mile of trees with Worcestershire countryside beyond. Back on track we threaded our way past the apple storage area.

Leaving the orchards behind, we were again walking though open fields before we slowly followed the track all the way up to Rodge hill joining the Worcestershire Way. Fortunately there was a brilliantly situated bench, perfect for our picnic lunch with an amazing view.

The sun actually had come out at this point, as the cloud cleared, it was warm as we followed the path down the hill, across the road , through fields to the river Teme.

We continued walking along the river, through a nature reserve, where I think we came off the path, but we climbed through a very muddy area, to continue up towards the village of Martley. I was quite tired at this point, but eventually we went past the pub, the Crown, which was closed, back to the Church.

We got back to the car, we had walked 9 miles, rather more than the circular walk details suggested, some of us had very muddy shoes, so after we drove a short way, had to walk bare foot to the pub garden for a pint of bitter shandy. Lovely walk!

Noctilucent Clouds

We got off a train at Cradley Heath having been for a night out in Birmingham and this was how the sky looked from the railway bridge.

Noctilucent clouds after arriving at Cradley Heath railway station. 21st June 2019 about 23:00 hours

These clouds are rarely seen as they are mostly gathered around the poles of Earth, but this night they were seen as far south as Paris and Italy.
When we got home these were 2 pictures I took with my phone.

The noctilucent clouds slowly faded although they were still visible 3 hours later at 02:00 on 22nd June
This image was taken at 23:06 on the summer solstice 2019

The origin of noctilucent clouds is very much a matter of study. They are known to be over 80km (50 miles) above the surface of the Earth. They have been studied from the International Space Station. More information on Wikipedia.

Stunning photo below includes the Eiffel Tower:

View from Paris, courtesy of spaceweather.com and Kulik Bertrand

Touring green Spain part 1

The ferry 4th & 5th June

Early on the 4th June we drove down to Portsmouth to board the Brittany ferry Baie de Seine for an overnight crossing to Bilbao in Northern Spain. We found our cabin, but quickly went on deck to enjoy the sights of the port. We have enjoyed holidays in the area and it was quite a trip down memory lane, travelling past quayside old pubs and the historic dockyards, HMS Warrior clearly seen. We have often sat on Southsea seafront enjoying the views. We followed other ferries out into the English channel, skirting the Isle of Wight. Back to the cabin, our home for a while, we enjoyed an evening meal in the restaurant then settled down to a gentle rocking sleep. The next morning followed by a “full English breakfast” we were by now heading South through the Bay of Biscay for our first views of Spain.

Cangas de Onis, Asturias 5th/6th June

We arrived in Zierbena the ferry port in mid afternoon and after disembarking safely were soon on the road, the Spanish lorry drivers were a little impatient, but we were heading west along the coast and quieter roads. The car has an excellent satellite navigation system on board, fortunately we were re-routed from the coast and busy bypasses inland through the valley of the “Parque Nacional de Los Picos de Europa”. The roads were quieter and the mountain views, green fields with cows and wonderful wild life. We arrived at Cangas de Onis in early evening, we managed to park right outside the Hotel Imperion which was our first stop. We were shown our room, which was luxurious, with a large balcony, with view over the Roman bridge. We set off to stretch our legs, we went in a Dia supermarket, a shop we always used and felt quite at home there, so after buying a few provisions we then found an interesting friendly bar for a couple of beers and tapas.

Over the road was a pizzeria, which looked welcoming and already busy despite that it was early for Spanish habits. A salad, garlic bread (I misunderstood the menu), two large pizzas and a bottle of wine later, two weary, merry travellers wandered back to the hotel. The next morning after a lovely breakfast in the hotel, we had a short walk round the town, it had rained and the clouds were low, we took more photos of the Roman bridge, shopped again in Dia and set off for our next hotel, as we joined the motorway towards Ourense behind us the beautiful snow capped mountains were a stunning backdrop.