Beggar's BridgeMonday 26th June 2000
WE TAKE the Eskdale Way footpath from Sleights to the arched packhorse bridge known as Beggar's Bridge at Glaisdale. In this case the 'beggars' are most likely the 'baggers' or packhorse men.
A Whitethroat sings from a hedge. It chooses the top of an Elder which, as it grows more quickly, is a little higher than the rest of the hedge. It gives a little of its song in flight, pauses on a wire, sings again, and then continues to the hedge at the far end of the field.
The whitethroat's song has been described as 'harsh, scolding' or 'scratchy'.
At Grosmont a Ringlet butterfly (right) flies alongside the
roadside verge on the sunny, southfacing edge of a small wood. It's not a species
that I've seen very often, but the tiny poached egg markings on the
undersurface of its wings make it easy to identify.
Lime Leaf GallAt Egton Bridge, as we stand looking at map to decide whether to cross the stepping stones or keep to the same side of the River Esk, I notice spikey red galls arranged on some of the Lime leaves like little candles. Along with the winged seeds and bobbly flowers hanging from the same branches they give a Christmassy look to the tree. According to Arnold Darlington's Pocket Encyclopaedia of Plant Galls this is caused by a gall-midge, Didymomyia reamuriania. The young develop in individual cone-shaped galls a third of a centimetre high. The red stain spears in the early stages of the formation of the galls, later it becomes a greenish yellow. The galls detach and fall to the ground, rather like the escape pods used in Star Trek films.
As we wait for the train on Glaisdale platform I sketch Creeping Cinquefoil. The name says it all; leaves divided into five, five yellow petals, five sepals. Red stems help it spread across the tarmac.