Across the Duddon Estuary lie the Lake District Fells. The sand dunes unfurl carpets of summer flowers before us, with changing species and patterns. When the sun is at its zenith the dune flora responds with a release of nectar and a wonderful herbal fragrance.
The dune-system is dynamic, constantly changing and the floral diversity of Sandscale Haws is a delight and a challenge. We come upon goat's beard, Jack-go-to-bed-at-noon, Tragopogon pratensis with its parachute seed heads and green flanged flower buds. No sign of its yellow flower.
We see pyramidal orchid the moment we set forth but later we come upon clusters of them, with early marsh orchid and common spotted orchid. Somewhere, there are bee orchids but we do not find them. The National Trust species list reminds us how much there is to discover. Some eight years ago I came here on a field-trip and our guide was Neil Forbes, the National Trust's coastal ranger. He's an excellent naturalist with a comprehensive and detailed knowledge of this mosaic of habitats. He will know when and where the bee orchid flowers.
In reflecting on this midsummer day I look back upon previous visits and the micro-habitats where we saw the specialities of Sandscale Haws. We seek butterflies in vain.
Consulting two botanists/ ecologists Rubus pruinosus is suggested for the bramble showing below. Initially, a flora ID App suggested Himalayan bramble which seemed to me doubtful. Is an programmed to location and habitat, for instance? The dune slacks at Sandscale Haws host a range of botanical challenges. In mid-June the sand is warm and dry but what is it like here in winter storms? There's nothing to compare with local knowledge and field-craft when it comes to an appreciation of Nature.