House martins on the wing above the bell tower of All Saints Church, Culgaith, beside the River Eden. Views of Cross Fell. ' Eden for sale', reads a billboard. If only the search for the lost garden were so simple. Norse place-names tell of Viking invasions. Successive waves of settlers who bequeath to us their farming traditions, their DNA, their language and their poetry. A civilisation on the cusp of Christianity and the tug of it is written into the map .
Contrast the awesome beauty of cloudscapes over Scout Scar this morning with an August of unsettled weather, of sudden heavy downpours.
Consider the skies over the burning Amazonian forest. Over the burning boreal forests of Siberia, the taiga.
Remember Okjokull, an Icelandic glacier lost ten years ago to rising temperatures.
'This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you will know if we did it.' So reads the commemorative plaque.
A mile to Kendal, says the milestone. From over the wall came a chuntering. A dog appeared, helped over the stile by his owner who followed in a flow of expletives. Well, the same one really. Something about the wife of the Norse God Odin, Frigg by name. ' I was going to make an f---ing pond today but the concrete wouldn’t set.' He lambasted the rain and louring clouds. Enough of a summer of extremes- extreme heat followed by a long period of unsettled weather- downpours. We've had enough.
Flowers were crowded with pollinators: painted ladies, small skipper and a throng of bees. All interest was focused on this sole clump of knapweed on a still and sultry morning. The painted ladies looked fresh and bright. Two or three weeks ago those on Scout Scar were worn and faded. Painted ladies make an awesome migration, from North Africa. With staging posts as they head north, they make landfall and breed along the way. They're strong fliers but butterflies so perfect will not be the generation that set out earlier this year. A map of weather and its effect on this year's stages of migration would be good.
There were several painted ladies nectaring on the knapweed. And lots more in the locality on garden buddleia. This is said to be an exceptionally good summer for painted ladies. So far, I've seen numbers but not more than last summer.
Jan Wiltshire is a nature writer living in Cumbria. She also explores islands and coast and the wildlife experience. (See Home and My Books.)