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Friday, 21 December 2012

WALKING INTO THE VIEW

View towards Sandsfoot Castle.
December 12th 2012
This is what the view I'm following looked like 12th December.

View towards Sandsfoot Castle.
December 17th 2012

This is how it looked on the 17th. Apart from the light - it's pretty much the same. Indeed, if it weren't that my camera marks the date on the 'negative' I would have suspected I'd got in a muddle and they were taken on the same day. I've been going spare looking between one and the other, trying to find a difference. It's a sort of puzzle. But all I can see is that the tide is marginally further out in the second. If you count how many of the nearest rocks are uncovered, you'll see there's one more. Even the blackberries on the left have retained all their leaves.

Not a lot of substance for a blog . . . so . . . I decided to walk into the view. See the group of red trees at the foot of the cliff, slightly to the left of the castle? That's where we are going. If we take a direct route, it will take us about ten minutes but everything is very muddy and slippy at present - it has rained and rained and rained - so it'll take more like fifteen. And we need the tide to go further out before we can get there. We'll have to skip to the next day. Unfortunately, by then the light is going. (That's the trouble with winter!) None the less . . . nothing daunted . . .

. . . here we go!

The willow trees behind rocks - their red twigs showing.
December 18th 2012
Willows!

We have our backs to the water. Notice seaweed on the rocks? On the right is a tall, rusty pole. It seems to be what's left of an old notice. There are lots of these along this patch of shoreline. I don't know what they would originally have said and don't know how to find out but I've always assumed they are left over from the second world war to warn vessels against landing. If anyone local is reading the blog - maybe they can leave a note to say?

See the hollow between the middle willows? That's where we're heading. 

Closer to the rocks, branches and twigs
December 18th 2012

It would be nice to say we are going into a cave but, it's more like a dent in the cliff. Given the action of the tide, maybe it will one day hollow out . . . even then I doubt it will be a cave. The ground above is soft. There's more likely to be a landslide.

Closer still to twigs growing directly from low, horizontal bows.
December 18th 2012

In another post, I'll show you the inside of the dent. It deserves a blog of its own (let alone a post!) but, for the moment, we'll keep focused on the trees. . . . Swinging round to the left, we can see the way many of the branches are growing horizontally. The bark is rough. Some of the branches are broken - yet they are alive. There is plenty of new growth.

Close up of red stems and red leaf bud.
December 18th 2012

Here we see the reason for the reddness in the view.

And, here too, we hit a problem. What kind of willows are they? I uploaded pictures to Ispot (if you are unfamiliar with Ispot, click the link, you won't regret it) but am still up in the air about whether they are Salix alba (White Willow) or Salix fragilis (Crack Willow). Salix fragilis is called Crack Willow because it cracks easily and bits fall off. The fallen bits root easily and, thus, it spreads.

As you know, I am not an expert in anything but comments on Ispot suggest that with neither tree would one expect to have shoots quite this red. Could it be a cultivar? It would be an odd place to plant a tree - right by the shore where the sea comes up to the cliff and chucks seaweed into its lower branches. On the other hand . . . landslides have tipped Horse Chestnut trees from people's gardens onto the shore not far from here so could a garden willow have slid down, clung on and carried on growing? Another puzzling thing is that this group of willows is happily living right by salt water. How are they surviving? Could it be there's enough fresh water filtering through the cliff to keep the salt at bay? And, finally, are all these trees of the same variety or are there two kinds of willow here? At the moment, I'm thinking only one but . . . but . . . I'll have to go back to see - maybe soon . . . or maybe in the spring.

Meanwhile, let's take in two more views. The first, standing within the dent and looking out to sea.

Looking across Portland Harbour in the evening.
December 18th 2012

If you enlarge the photo, you'll see cormorants sitting on the marker buoys and another swimming near them. Can you see a ship beyond the harbour wall?

And, finally, lets step back again. Below is a picture from this morning (December 21st 2012).

View towards Sandsfoot Castle.
December 21st 2012

By chance (and I'm not sure if this is fortunate or not) the tide is roughly in the same position. (It can go out quite a long way. I'll have to make a point of catching it with the sand showing to prove it!). Do you see where we've been?

* * *

Recent Tree Following Posts on Other Blogs


Garden's Eye View - Latest view of the (Ash) stump.
Welsh Hills Again - The Chestnut Tree
Down by the Sea - Where the Willow's At
Gardening Ways - Plane Tree 2012
Experiments With Plants - London Plane Tree

* * *
Have you updated your tree?
Who else is following trees? ClickHERE

16 comments:

  1. Hi Lucy,
    Your photos of the sea looking so calm, and thoses willows are wonderful. What a shame that we can longer walk along the Underbarn Walk, it used to be one of our favourites.
    I have enjoyed reading your blog so much during the year. Thank you for opening my eyes more to the smaller plants around us. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas.Sarah x

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  2. Wonderful....Wondered where you were.
    Negative?....go digital. Have a great Christmas.

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  3. Sarah - So much has slipped downthere. And more probably will. I think Sandsfoot used to be much sandier until . . . the Fleet diverted? . . . the sea defences were built at Preston? Something like that. And it will get worse. Will they save the castle? I've been enjoying your blog enormously. It's taken off really well. You have reason to be pleased and proud. Have a very happy Christmas and wonderful (and creative!) 2013.

    Hello Adrian. Have been here a long time . . . but with Pictures Just Pictures/Message in a Milk Bottle - thre have been hiatuses because Google got in a muddle with its uploads. That's all sorted now but I'm left all over the place. For the moment, my daily picture posts are at

    http://messageinamilkbottle2.blogspot.co.uk/

    but I'm mulling over a return to

    http://picturesjustpictures.blogspot.co.uk/

    I moved from there a while ago but it's still much visited - and, after the recent problems, we all have lots more space available so it's possible.

    As for digital/film - the 'digital' is inverted commas - meaning the image as it is stored by the camera or unmodified by the computer. No idea what one is really supposed to call that.

    Hope you have a very happy Christmas.


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  4. Sarah - So much has slipped downthere. And more probably will. I think Sandsfoot used to be much sandier until . . . the Fleet diverted? . . . the sea defences were built at Preston? Something like that. And it will get worse. Will they save the castle? I've been enjoying your blog enormously. It's taken off really well. You have reason to be pleased and proud. Have a very happy Christmas and wonderful (and creative!) 2013.

    Hello Adrian. Have been here a long time . . . but with Pictures Just Pictures/Message in a Milk Bottle - thre have been hiatuses because Google got in a muddle with its uploads. That's all sorted now but I'm left all over the place. For the moment, my daily picture posts are at

    http://messageinamilkbottle2.blogspot.co.uk/

    but I'm mulling over a return to

    http://picturesjustpictures.blogspot.co.uk/

    I moved from there a while ago but it's still much visited - and, after the recent problems, we all have lots more space available so it's possible.

    As for digital/film - the 'digital' is inverted commas - meaning the image as it is stored by the camera or unmodified by the computer. No idea what one is really supposed to call that.

    Hope you have a very happy Christmas.


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  5. I'm amazed how calm the sea was that day.
    The signs used to say "DANGER - MINES"! (No they didn't - only joking!)
    Have a lovely Christmas.

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  6. Lucky you to have just great views on your doorstep.
    I really like willows but don't recollect seeing any with red stems like that.
    I've been meaning to do a plot trees post for ages but will now wait for a frosty/snowy day when the pictures will be a bit more interesting.
    Thanks for another interesting, and informative, post. Flighty xx

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  7. Interesting to read, great serie of photos!
    I wish you a Merry X-mas!

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  8. Hello Mark. The sea here is usually calm because it's protected by a high harbour wall(so big it has buildings on top) that was built from stone quarried by Napoleonic prisoners of war. It covers such a huge area big ships are able to come in and out.(I nearly used a picture of one of them in the post.)When on many of its little beaches, you are hardly aware of being in a 'harbour' because the walls are so far out.

    Hello Flighty, looking forward, then, to your frosty tree post.

    And a Happy Christmas to you both!

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  9. Thanks Hans - and Christmas greetings!

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  10. And a very Merry Christmas to you also Lucy....

    I love the tree in your header, the way it makes our eye follow the line out to the water.

    Jen

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  11. Hi, Jen. The tree in the header is a branch of one of the willows, looking out along it from within the dent.

    Hope Christmas is wonderful - you put such a lot into your preparation and making everything beautiful.

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  12. Lucy I love these views...they leave me with peace and solace...I can see where you went to find the red branches and it is fascinating to think how they got there...I love that dent and look forward to reading more about it...sounds like a place I would also explore...wishing you a very Happy Christmas!

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  13. Love the closeup! The willows I see on walks tend to have yellow branches. And a normal tree trunk, not a cool horizontally spreading one. Happy Crimbo!

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  14. Thank you for the lovely guided tour! Loved it!

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  15. Hi Lucy -- thanks very much for you kind comments and wishes. I'm glad you enjoy my blog, I certainly enjoy yours! You have a way of providing wonderful virtual trips, with your photos and descriptions. It's great to be able to visit Dorset from here in Wyoming :)

    I just took a peek at Dorset's geology online and discovered that it is quite the geological destination -- i.e. the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site (actually all of the Mesozoic). Neat!

    Happy holidays and best wishes for the year to come. Hollis

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  16. Hello Donna. Glad you enjoyed the post. The dent:- where we have had so much rain, it has become dangerous to walk under the cliff (in case of landslides). Indeed, I wonder whether it will still be there when I next visit or whether it will have collapsed! My post may have to rely on the pictures I took at the same time as I photographed the willows.

    Hello Monica. It's good to hear from you. The close up - that's one of the ways blogging has enhanced my life. Before I had this blog I never bothered to look at leaf buds (stamens, leaf veins, insects . . . all sorts of things) so carefully.

    Hello Deepak. Glad you enjoyed the tour. (Glad you've found this blog as well as Message in a Milk Bottle too.)

    Hello Hollis. You are right. This coastline is quite extraordinary in geological terms. Some of it is has even been counted a World Heritage Site (along with the pyramids!). It's extraordinarily beautiful too. When I first moved here I found it disconcerting. So much here is unusual, I found it hard to believe I am still in England.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

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