A message from Julie Lane

Lowther Castle from Upper Askham (All photos © Julie Lane)

Hello to all my lovely MKNHS friends

I have now been up in my new home the Lake District for a couple of months and am absolutely loving exploring the area around my temporary rented home in the beautiful village of Askham near the Lowther estate which is just south-west of Penrith. It’s good to have a new cast of wildlife characters to get to know and I have been getting out and walking as much as I can before the winter weather sets in.

Looking towards Ullswater from Askham Fell

From my home I can go up onto the fell where wild ponies, sheep and shorthorn cattle roam and across to Pooley Bridge. Up here I have already seen a large flock of golden plover and am on the lookout for the hen harrier which also haunts this moorland. The short grass is ideal for waxcaps at this time of the year and I have some nice photos of the scarlet wax cap.

Scarlet waxcap

Askham bridge over the Lowther river

I can also go down to the beautiful Lowther river with its backdrop of stunning autumn colours. This river is a salmon river but I have yet to see one of these amazing fish but I did hear a high-pitched calling one early morning and looking down into the river below I saw a young otter making its way upstream calling to its mum – it may well have been lost or rejected so it might not have been a happy ending but it was good to see nonetheless. I have seen dippers, kingfishers and goosanders on the river and one evening watched a female sparrowhawk pluck a woodpigeon she had killed – she knew I was watching her but it was too heavy for her to take off so she tolerated my presence. Red squirrels abound locally but I have also seen a couple of greys which is not good news.

I am sure as the year progresses I will add to my list of sightings and learn more about the natural history of my new surroundings. I will keep in touch and hope to see you all again when I am down visiting Milton Keynes in the future.


Askham, Cumbria
5 November 2022