Exploring all a city has to offer is one thing but few think outside the box; few think outside of the night clubs or the fast food restaurants. City life has become something that people no longer want to escape. Ease of access for shopping and places for social gatherings have meant people are comfortable within their familiar surroundings and have no need to leave. City living does have its charms; but for me, when it comes down to it, escape is a must.
Travelling south from Carlisle, upstream along the River Caldew, the feeling of escape can be achieved. The destination for today was a quaint little village around 5 miles upstream and the method of travel was a brisk hike. Unlike some river walks, the route from Carlisle to Dalston had the option of walking on either side of the river. After stopping off by a heronry in the tree tops I opted for the eastern side of the river. After the rainfall on the previous day this was boggy and the balancing act of my camera and I became a measured affair. Fortunately this side of the river is walked less often than the western bank, because my delicate waltz between trees in my hiking gear is a spectacle that should be seen by no one. Other than a buzzard and a few common garden birds this side of the river was very quiet (typical of a sunny day as I have found out the hard way many a time).
On approaching Dalston I was listening out for kingfishers as per usual at which point a dipper chirped up. The dipper did not stick around for long, choosing somewhere a little less crowded downstream. Immediately after crossing the river at Dalston it was clear that the western bank’s concrete cycle path was a more popular choice of route along the river. Packed with dog walkers and others who like to like to inadvertently make my life as difficult as possible this concrete cycle way did offer lots of friendly people prepared to leave their moments of solitude for the occasional greeting. Some of these pleasant people even had the time to discuss the wildlife and the weather. One such lady felt like a discussion about dippers and where they may “show well”. Of course her knowledge was accurate and I was able to enjoy watching dippers for a while whilst on the phone to family. Occasionally having to place to phone down just in case a dipper decided to brave coming closer (sorry Mother, I listened to most of what you were saying, honest).
Disappointed by the lack of kingfisher sightings or even calls I trudged back into Carlisle. Spotting a Kestrel as dusk set in. First impressions of this river are fairly positive: great habitats for otters, dippers and potentially owls too.
After using this time to explore a little I now have a decent idea of where to stop and wait to capture better photographs. Hiking is not the best way to get photographs but the freedom and greenery (limited as it was) was certainly needed. The fortune of such a beautiful day to explore made this an altogether enjoyable exploratory mission.
Thanks for reading