Hidden stories on the Solway wetlands

On first encounter this photograph of a rough grassy area with a big round shed situated behind it may not seem so interesting.  When however, you find out that the rough grassy area in the photo is where generations of Solway families went to dig peat for use as fuel for heating their homes and for cooking their meals – and that the big round shed behind the rough grassland is a world war 2 aeroplane hanger and that planes stored in it were built in America for the British war effort, suddenly the picture starts to raise lots of questions. Which families went to this site to dig their peat? What tools did they use? How did they transport the peat to their homes? What else was peat used for? …. Or – why was this air hanger built in such a remote area of northern England? Who delivered the planes from the USA? Where did the pilots and maintenance crews live and where did they come from? The Solway area has many unexpected secrets and stories to share.  http://solwayconnections.co.uk/secret-solway/

Secret Solway Starlings

Secret Solway Starlings


Solway Starlings beginning to flock as night time arrives.

Just before 4.00pm on a cold, clear winter evening we arrived at the Easton junction on Burgh marsh near the  Solway estuary in Cumbria, UK. Having been told that as night arrived starlings were beginning to gather here in large numbers in the trees and on the telegraph wires, we wanted to try and photograph a starling murmuration with a sunset backdrop. Yes the birds were there, not as many as last year at  the nearby Watchtree Nature Reserve when it was thought that over fifty thousand birds were roosting and not as many as the hundreds of thousands seen in previous years at Gretna Green, but there was the beginning of a Starling murmuration. The birds took to flight as the light began changing. We snapped a photo of them beginning to flock together with a backdrop of Criffel mountain in Scotland and then they headed south east only occasionally looping back round towards us, but not so that we could get another photograph. They stayed low in the sky, and did not bunch up tightly nor form shifting shapes in the sky as we have seen in previous years. Without warning the birds suddenly dropped down into fir trees. Perhaps it was just too cold for flying around.   The number of Starlings might increase over the winter months - there may still be the chance later in the season to get that photograph.

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Dramatic Solway Skies

Solway skies

Locals frequently say there is always something interesting to see when you are out and about exploring the Solway coastline and plains.   An evening walk along the Solway coastline after a heavy  rain storm in the summer, thought the light was lovely so took a few photos..... another dramatic Solway seascape and sky.  After many years of knowing the Solway, it still fascinates and surprises.   http://solwayconnections.co.uk/secret-solway/