Bluebells, April 2019

It's been a good year for bluebells.

Around Oxfordshire there are always bluebells around at this time of year - and I've found clumps in lots of places - parks, gardens, riverbanks, hedgerows.

Stoke Place, Headington

But this year some of the bigger woodland areas have been positively dramatic - I don't know of the freakish weather over recent weeks has pushed all the bluebells into flower at the same time (I did read that the weather had compressed the pollen season to the evidence discomfort of the hay fever sufferers).

I took the chance to visit several woodland bluebell sites over the last few days - and they really have been breath-taking.  If you get the opportunity, I'm sure there will still be plenty around this weekend.

Harcourt Arboretum
Harcourt Arboretum
Greys Court
Sydlings Copse
Sydlings Copse

There are more pictures from these sites in a Flickr Album.

Best Foot Forward

Today (5th April) is Walking to Work Day, so it seemed like a good time to review how far I've walked this year.

At the start of 2018 I signed up to walk 1000 miles in 2018. 

I very quickly realised that since I'd walked just over 1300 miles the previous year this wasn't a very ambitious target, so I set myself a revised target of 1500 miles, which later got updated to 2000 miles.

By year end (and I'm blaming the rubbish weather in November and December) I actually clocked just over 1927 miles.

One thing that changed during the 2018 was my working pattern.  I changed from working limited hours but with a long (car-based) commute, to a few months where I had lots of time away from desks (and thus lots of time for walking) to a job where I worked more hours but I could walk to work.  This meant I had more time for short walks but less time for long walks.

So how's this year going? By this point last year I'd managed to clock up about 550 miles, this year I've only got to 410.

Must try harder - or at least further.

Weather All-Sorts, April 2019

Even a quick trip to Shetland usually offers a pretty good range of weathers.

Over a few days, particularly at this time of year, you'll get plenty of offerings from the weather selection box.

You'll probably see some dry weather, some rain and if you get really 'lucky' a spot of snow too.

Sumburgh Head Lighthouse - complete with blue skies and sunshine
Spring Snow
Watching Seals in the rain, on Scat Ness

You'll probably see some sunshine, and you'll certainly see some clouds.

Dunes on Quendale Beach in the sunshine
Scat Ness waves 
Watching the showers rolling across West Voe of Sumburgh

You'll probably see some still days (or maybe just hours) but you'll almost certainly see some windy days too.

Wind-ripped waves at St Ninian's Beach

But, this being Shetland, the weather doesn't usually get in the way - you just put on an extra layer (and a Fair Isle hat) before heading out.

Shag on the Rocks at Scat Ness
Running Wild at Grutness

If need a few photos from the south end of Shetland over the last few days - there's a Flickr Album.

Fog. Where was the fog?  You can't claim to have had full set of Shetland weather without fog.

Well, maybe next time.