Shap Fell, red squirrels, granite and a high hike

Shap is a Cumbrian byword for “cold and bleak” - the highest point on the A6 trunk road over Shap is 426 m. altitude. The area marks a sharp change in the geology which is exploited by several prominent quarries each with different specialities,
Shap granite is famous for large grains of reflective minerals, Shap pink granite looks good polished up and constructed as a kitchen worktop, Shap Blue granite is used as an aggregate for road surfaces. Exposed within this small area there are almost the full range of rocks found in the Lake District.

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Ullswater lakside hike

A lakeside walk along Ullswater from Howtown pier, fine to try out a new rucksac and enjoy the big fells beyond the lake peeking through the mist. A few squalls on the atwr but overall the temperature in London was much colder today than most of Cumbria!

 BSGS group at Madeira, Ponte da São Lourenço

Bay at Madeira, Ponte da São Lourenço

 The extreme east of Madeira, Ponte da São Lourenço

 The BSGS field trip group in the volcanic landscape near Caniço, at the extreme east of the island of Madeira. The superficial resemblance to the familiar granite cliffs of Lands End or maybe parts of the limestone cliffs of the Dorset Jurassic coast is because all are shaped primarily by water erosion: these spectacular cliffs in mid-Atlantic are the results of relatively recent volcanism.

Castle Hill nature reserve, South Downs National Park

A preserved fragment of the South Downs. Parts of Castle Hill nature reserve have never been ploughed, so maintain something like the original character of this Sussex downland before modern farming took over. The bank on the right is Hawthorne scrub with a wide mixture of grasses and flowering plants. Now, under the protection of the National Park, the grassland is grazed to promote a variety of wildlife including birds and butterflies. A quiet place to enjoy my picnic lunch in the winter sunshine, open to the skies but secluded from roads.

Montado do Paredão, Madeira

JH on the Verdeda do Areeiro, Madeira

Hike with the BSGS in to the clouds on the PR1 path.down from the Pico do Areeiro (1818 m.). Madeira is a volcanic island but this area is described as resulting from water erosion, it is not thought to be a volcanic caldera. We'd hoped to see from above the huge Paredão valley systems that we had viewed earlier from the Miradouro da Eira do Serrado (1095 m.) but the clouds had intensified. Nonetheless, we hiked down nearly 300 m. altitude to cross a narrow ridge path not much wider than Striding Edge on Helvellyn or Crib Goch on Snowdon.