Tuesday, 28 September 2021

favourite photos: summer 2020, 2021

Although I’ve been posting collections of what I consider to be the best photographs taken each summer in the UK for several years, I didn’t do so last year because just five photos met my criteria for inclusion. I haven’t done much better this year, but here are my combined favourites from the past two years.

The first photo is of a spider’s web in the garden of our house in Penrith:
The next photo shows a red admiral butterfly on a marsh orchid. It was taken on a short path that runs alongside the railway close to our house:
A few years ago, a flowering plant appeared on broken ground and in cracks in walls in several locations around Penrith that I’d never seen before. I eventually identified it as purple toadflax (Linaria purpurea), and this is the last example that I’ve seen:
It seems to have disappeared from the scene as quickly as it appeared.

I can’t remember where I photographed this spectacular bracket fungus:
I hadn’t originally considered the next photo for inclusion in a highlights package, but there are certainly enough sheep to send you to sleep if you try to count them:
I took the following image while out cycling north of Penrith. It shows quite a rare atmospheric phenomenon: laminar flow. Airflow in the atmosphere is usually turbulent.
The next image is taken from a photo of a larger group of cows, and it became interesting only when I cropped it out and enlarged it:
They do look intently serious!

The final photo for 2020 shows an unidentified species of bird that had just crashed into a window in our house and is lying next to our back door, clearly dazed. I took the photo solely because of the impressive wing patterns:
It did fly off a few minutes later.

Although we were able to get out as and when we wanted this summer, I still didn’t take as many photos as in previous years. Here are what I consider to be the most interesting.

Our house in Penrith is part of a Victorian terrace, and the first photo is a view of the rooftops of the next street as seen from our back door. It was taken by Paula and shows what I think is a large gathering of starlings:
You are much more likely to see jackdaws here.

We walked or cycled past Brougham Castle, a mile or so southeast of Penrith, several times this summer, and I took several photos. This is the best:
What you can see dates to the beginning of the fourteenth century, and the castle was a ruin by the seventeenth century. The name is an Anglo-Norman corruption of the Latin ‘Brocavum’—the Romans originally built a fort on this site almost 2,000 years ago to guard the river crossing (the river is the Eamont).

Incidentally, unless you’re from this area, you probably won’t be able to pronounce the castle’s name correctly, and if you’d like to try your hand at the pronunciation of English place names, see Peculiar Pronouncements, where ‘Brougham’ is part of a test that I devised.

You don’t see many milestones nowadays, but this one has probably survived because it’s located on an old section of the A66 near the castle that is no longer used except for local access. In fact, you cannot reach Appleby by car if you follow the directions here:
Brougham Hall, a fortified manor house of a similar age to the castle, is located nearby. This is a door knocker that I photographed on the outside:
Penrith has a large population of gulls, and I photographed this pair of newly fledged youngsters taking a breather at what struck me as a not particularly safe location next to Sainsbury’s supermarket. You can tell that they’re young because they haven’t yet developed their adult plumage:
We did a lot of cycling this summer, most of which was on roads and through villages that I’d never visited before. However, I’d never even heard of three of the villages named on this signpost (Ivegill lies on a long-established cycling route):
However, that isn’t the reason I took the photo. Note the discrepancy in spelling between the directional signpost and the sign proclaiming the entrance to the village of Gaitsgill. The latter is clearly of a much later date, because the signpost was erected by Cumberland County Council, which ceased to exist in 1974.

Graffiti are not something you see much of in Penrith, but I thought that the alteration to this sign at the entrance to a residential area on the southwestern edge of town was quite amusing:
A few days before heading back to Hong Kong, we visited the Victorian seaside town of Silloth with a couple of friends. We were struck by this imposing example of public art on the town’s promenade, which has been constructed from narrow strips of mild steel welded together:
The title of the work, which looks over the Solway Firth towards Galloway in Scotland, is ‘Look at that View’.


  1. Quite a NUMBER of interesting photos collected, AS USUAL. We will certainly expect MORE to come!!!!!

    1. There will be more to come, but you’ll have to wait until next year.


Please leave a comment if you have time, even if you disagree with the opinions expressed in this post, although you must expect a robust defence of those opinions if you choose to challenge them. Anonymous comments may not be accepted.