Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Jasmin, Eugeni and Eoin at Horton - Montane Spine Race 2019

The three leaders in this 268 mile race reach Horton in Ribblesdale at 8.12 am Monday - just 24 hours 12 minutes and c 95 miles from the start at 8am on Sun 13 Jan at Edale.

When I went to bed on Sunday night (12.30am) - the three leaders had just passed East Marton, at the Leeds Liverpool Canal heading for Gargrave... and this was just their first day!

Early on Monday I drove to Horton for 8am.. and lo, as dawn broke the three of them came down the Pennine Way Footpath and entered Horton.  (c. 95 miles!!!)
See http://live.thespinerace.com/  and https://thespinerace.com/


(By Tuesday morning 15 Jan,, just past 8am. (i.e 48 hours from the start) - "I see Eugeni is at Dufton - and Jasmin is (according to the marker) almost at Dufton.. So they did High Cup Nick in the dark!. Eoin must have had a good sleep at Middleton - he has yet to reach High Cup Nick.")
And by Tuesday evening at 10pm.. Jasmin is at Hadrian's Wall near Once Brewed.. and she is accelerating from Eugeni. with about 45 miles to go.

Anyway back to Monday After videoing the three "stars" I enjoyed a bowl of bean and vegetable stew, (though the sausage and eggs looked tempting too)

and chatted to the Pen y Ghent Cafe staff, medics, cave rescue team on duty (also Settle Tai Chi instructors) and photographed a Spine Race Challenger competitor.


At lunch time I attended the funeral at Kirkby Malham of a friend of mine, Hannah Pullan (aged 96). I enjoyed meeting her relatives.. and as I ate lunch in Kirkby Malham Village Hall, I thought of the Spine walkers who would be walking up by the river Aire, a quarter of a mile from the Hall.

Afterwards I drove up and parked at the south end of Malham Tarn. I walked down to Water-Sinks - after the heavy rain yesterday, the water was sinking in the correct place.. Here I met Spine Race Competitors, some in pairs, some individuals.
 I accompanied them a little way towards the Tarn and gave them a mini geology talk about the area and how the Malham Tarn Estate S(SSSI, Natinal Nature Reserve)  has had about 390 species of higher plant (wild flowers etc) recorded from it. I suspect most were more interested in the cup of tea and sit down they might get at the Centre.

So I started asking them where they came from, etc..  Japan won the record for distance. He told me he was still suffering from jet- lag, having only just arrived in the country.

Competitor number 216  was the Invertebrate Curator at Cambridge University - and works with Henry Disney, of Diptera fame . Henry used to be the Director of Studies at Malham Tarn when I worked there long ago. We were both delighted to make contact. As we walked along the shore I told him about  a special Caddis-fly - Agrypnetes crassicornis - which lives in Malham Tarn - and no-where else in the UK. I picked up a heap of Canadian Pondweed that had blown onto the shore .. Yes the walkers would agree it had been windy yesterday. 

Pricking a blister

It was getting dark as I headed back to my car.. and I had no torch

Meanwhile I will just do a little more dot watching, watch some of the stunning videos of the route, then and then go to bed

Monday, 7 January 2019

#LichenJanuary at Ingleton, N Yorks

My friend Doris goes on a 3 mile walk most days - (well , when she's not doing something else) and invited me to join her on 4 January. But #LichenJanuary meant we had to stop and look at lichens -so the treck reduced itself to half a mile (and half a mile back).

First stop - the tarmac pavement outside the house and garden: Lecanora muralis  (Chewing Gum Lichen)  - - the edge of the thallus is foliose

The lane  headed south from the village in the direction of Bentham. We are just south of the South Craven Fault, and the glaciers left lots of rocks here. The stones in the wall are mostly sandstones from the Yoredale  Series. There are occasional lumps of slate, and whiter, rounded lumps of  limestone.

This lichen has an English name: Crabs-eye  Ochrolechia parella

Top left: Lecanora soralifera with powder patches (soralia) on the areoles (islands of thallus)
The grey lichen on the bottom right with black apothecia flush with the crust and areoles and black orothallus looks familiar.....

Acarospora fuscata - made of areoles (islands) which are sunken in their middles and higher at their edges. 

This is yellow green like Rhizocarpon geographicum - but I can't see the areoles that it should have.

Using a lens to look at details

This is a close up of what could be Lecanora gangaleoides. I need to scratch off some of the apothecia and crsut surface and see if the  lower medulla in the thallus is scarlety-orangy.

(on the other hand it could be Tephromela atra  -though that is whiter, and a section through an apothecium would reveal a purple layer in the apothecium

Acid rock - has the ubiquitous alga Klebsormidum crenulatum

Cladonia pocilum  I am guessing the wall is more basic here - it is next to moss Homalothecium sericeum which likes more basic conditions

Solenopsora candicans  - on limestone - This has a thick thallus and a bright white colour. The black apothecia have a pruinose surface.
Solenopsora candicans again, and Verrucaria baldensis?  with tiny sunken fruit bodies

Dermatocarpon miniatum - this nomally growns on vertical surfaces of shdy cliffs. Here is was growing flat on top of a newly placed capstone - so the lichen must have been growing on the rock before the rock was put on the wall.

Acrocordia conoidea on a limestone stone

Further along the road I realised that all the rocks in the wall here are limestone.. because the capstones were covered with
Ass Pee Sillier -- Aspicilia calcarea  This lichen likes the light and problalby the bird droppings too.

Skipping back a little way.. there was a walled side track, that was shaded by tall Leylandia trees, and in summer by nettles. On the shady vertical acid rock surfaces here was lots of orange- brown mottled Opegrapha gyrocarpa -see below

A primrose in the verge - and it is only 4 January

Growing in the mortar on a wall which I think had been recently cleared of ivy was this lichen... still waiting for a name
....... space for name ......

I hope you enjoyed your trip round with us.

Happy New Year and Happy #LichenJanuary

Thursday, 3 January 2019

New Year Plant Hunt 2019 - CCG - Settle - Ingleton - Gargrave - Ripon

The 2019 BSBI New Year Flower Hunt took place 29 Dec-1 Jan

BSBI had a phone app this year, which meant you could take photos of the flowers and enter them directly (and if you knew what you were doing, and were nimble fingered they would come up on the national website straight away!) I tried this in Ripon (where I found 35ish species - need to check if I had some duplicates). 

But found it easier on Jan 1st at Settle to do my usual walk, make notes on a piece of paper with occasional photos and then enter details from my laptop in the warmth and comfort of my house. 

Either way, data entry does get easier each year.

In Settle Doris Cairns and I and I found 29 plants in flower

Showing our barren brome and ox-eye daisy on Settle Industrial Estate

Leafy Hawkweeds are just as hard to identify in winter as in summer


Our Hazel (Corylus avelana) was not properly out, but it was more developed than I have seen it in previous years. I was surprised to see it was the 20th most common plant recorded in flower in the country. There were lots of photographs form elsewhere in the  to show it fully out.

We did not find the following in flower, though we searched the same sites as previous years, and found the leaves - and sometimes have found them in flower in the past:
Saxifraga tridactylites 
Erophila verna
(not yet out)
Centranthus ruber (probably over)
Hedera helix (only in fruit)
Snow drops were out but I did not go to the same place as last year where they grew, and the ones we saw this year were in a garden so did not count
It has been a mild week - and the most pleasant weather for recording that I remember.

I am sure we must have seen Shepherd's purse - I am gong to go out again and see if I missed it. (After all we only walked for just over two hours, and really were allowed up to three hours.)

Meanwhile Alison Evans went for a walk in Gargrave and found 12 plants in flower

Wavy Bittercress Cardamine flexuosa (though jut could be C. hirsuta)
Common chickweed- Stellaria media

Meanwhile Doris recorded plants at Ingleton on the last days of December, and I have yet to help her enter her results.

Do take part next year!