Friday, 15 July 2016

A circular walk from Polkerris

The weather was good, the fields were full of flowers and the sea was blue - all the makings of a great day out with our U3A Thursday walking group. Is there a better way of spending a few hours?

Our route, starting in Polkerris, cutting across the Gribbin Peninsular to Readymoney Cove and then back along the coast to our starting point. About 7 miles and, as the elevation profile shows, as up and downy as you would expect.
A few minutes into our walk and we were crossing a cornfield with a host of flowers at its margins. I don't think the yellow is Common Ragwort because of their size. I'm more inclined towards them being Arnica.
We've done parts of this walk before but then the fields adjacent to the coast were full of grazing sheep and cattle. This time around the fields were full of wild flowers. An obvious change in land management policy by the National Trust, who are the landowners. From one resting place, I could make out 15 different flower species, most of which I could identify. Lots of grasses as well but sorting these out is a skill I lost just after I quit my Agricultural Botany course in 1967. These pastures are a haven for all sorts of flying insects. I lingered behind to let our group go off so that I could sit down and listen the insect buzz. I made the video below and you might just, if you listen carefully, make out the buzzing chorus. Of course, if you can't, just enjoy the silence. It's fun walking with a group but there are times when solitude is appropriate.

Just a few Chicory flowers around, its blue really standing out.
Hypericum calycinum - Rose of Sharon, St John's Wort. Very common as a garden escapee but it still has an attractive multi-stamened flower. Common it may be but when was the last time I really looked closely at the structure of the flower?
Looking up the Fowey Estuary with Polruan on the right and Fowey on the left. From this viewpoint, just by St Catherine's Castle, the sheltered harbour can really be appreciated. Many years ago, circa 1880, my great grandfather was here in the Royal Yacht Albert and Victoria II.
Looking westwards towards Gribbin Head, with Polridmouth Cove in the mid ground.
The navigational daymark, dating from the 1840s, on Gribbin Head. It guided ships into the harbour at Fowey.
Looking back towards the daymark and Gribbin Head.
I like the pattern these roots make. Nature never ceases to amaze.
Cormorants. I've come across two collective nouns for these birds: the prosaic 'flight of cormorants' and, my favourite 'gulp of cormorants'. Gulp captures nicely the way they swallow their prey whole. I presume this rock, amongst many similar ones, is closest to a good source of gulpable material.
Lots and lots of Red Soldier Beetles were out and about enjoying foraging for nectar on Cow Parsley and Hogweed flowers. Hello, what's this one of the left after?
The obvious. And this gives you a clue to another name it's known under: the Hogweed Bonking Beetle. I kid you not. Look it up.

No comments: