Petrified

The petrified oaks of Mundon on the Dengie Peninsular are not actually fossilised, but are dead. They are thought to have died as a result of salt water breaching the water table.

The oaks exist in strange shapes, some almost look half human. Can you see an eye, nose and beard?

Some look like they are twisted and screaming. They have been linked to witches ….

Indeed, the puritanical Witchfinder-General, Matthew Hopkins resided in Essex. He sought out those practising ‘the dark arts.’ Nineteen were convicted and hung. Four died in prison.

Others think that the oaks may have once been part of an ancient woodland. These oaks began life around 1100 when Henry I was crowned King of England.

They are certainly intriguing.

Probably best viewed on a day shrouded in fog from the North Sea, to capture that eerie feeling!

A host of golden daffodils

I wander’d lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretch’d in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: –
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company!
I gazed – and gazed – but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth.

Natural Seasonal Decorations

The diffused light made the water droplets on the cobwebs and cow parsley seed heads appear like twinkling lights.
Although the macro lens would have been infinitely better to use for definition, the telephoto still managed to produce some pretty images from a short distance.
A haphazard spider web on an old stinging nettle plant.
A cobweb lit up like Christmas lights!

Burg Eltz

This is the Eltz Forest in Southern Germany. Nothing special I hear you say, just a bit of woodland. But wait a minute …
Take a 25 minute walk down through the Mosel valley.
You won’t be disappointed with the view.
Burg Eltz, possibly one of the most beautiful fairytale castles I have ever seen. The Eltz family have been in residence there for 33 generations since the 12th Century. It is one of few remaining castles of the Rhineland-Palatinate state. The rest were destroyed in The Thirty Years’ War – one of the most destructive wars of the 17th Century resulting in 8 million deaths.
It perches precariously over the Elzbach River, with its towers and turrets. A real medieval castle. Built and extended over hundreds of years.
There are lots of interesting exterior features.
Hidden behind the shutters, is a world even more fascinating. Yet unfortunately, no visitor is permitted to photograph the interior. But if you look at this link and click on the photos, you will have a better idea and can see that the interior is equally as impressive as the exterior. https://burg-eltz.de/en/eltz-castle-the-attractions/castle-tour.html
It is said to rival Neuschwanstein Castle, which is found at the end of Germany’s ‘Romantic Road.’ I will have to find out for myself another time I visit Germany!
We had a tour in German, but they do English speaking tours too.

Miscellaneous

Several fields are growing this crop of beautiful blue and purple flowers.
Hoverflies feeding on the pollen of blackberry flowers. Blackberries are already beginning to form, a sign that Autumn is not far away.
Pink flower with cow parsley.
The curious peacock.
The last of the pink peonies.
A small meadow with cow parsley.
Barley.

Sissinghurst

Vita Sackville-West on Sissinghurst: ‘The heavy golden sunshine enriched the old brick with a kind of patina, and made the tower cast a long shadow across the grass, like the finger of a gigantic sundial veering slowly with the sun. Everything was hushed and drowsy and silent but for the coo of the white pigeons.’
Sunshine lighting up flowers.
Irises.
Chamomile flowers.
Delicate flowers.
Sunlight highlighting a flower in the shade.
Meadow flowers and grasses swaying in the wind, in the wilderness of the Orchard area.
Light and shadow.

The Yorkshire Dales

A tranquil scene of snowdrops growing beside a small stream, protected by moss-covered dry stone walls.

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There are many sheep farms.

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Traditional farming landscapes of field barns and dry stone walls in the valley of Wensleydale. The landscape has been farmed for thousands of years.

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The Yorkshire Dales is famous for its limestone scenery. The grey rock was formed from the shells and skeletons of billions of sea creatures, laid down millions of years ago in tropical oceans. Ancient glaciers moving over the landscape and then rainwater over thousands of years, produced the cracks (or grykes) of the landscape that exists today. In the distance is the Ribblehead Viaduct, built by 1000 navvies in Victorian times. It has 24 arches and is part of the Settle to Carlisle railway line.

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A dilapidated building in the middle of the moors.

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Dry stone walls are the largest man-made feature of the dales. There are approximately 5000 miles of them. They are ‘dry’ because there is no mortar holding them together.

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Alaskan lupine

Alaskan Lupines were spread around Iceland to help combat soil erosion, which has been a problem since early settlers cut down trees to build homes and use for fuel. They look pretty, clustered around the landscape in the Summer months, but they have now been classed as an invasive species and are harming Iceland’s existing plant species.

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Geysir Geothermal Field, Haukadalur, Iceland

Aside from the famous Geysir and Strokkur, there are a series of smaller geothermal springs. The hot springs of Haukadalur have been active for almost 10,000 years. The azure blue colour of the water is from dissolved silica.

Strokkur, Geysir Geothermal Field, Iceland

Strokkur is a smaller, but more active spouting spring, than its famous resident, Geysir. It generally reaches a height of 10 – 20 metres, but can reach up to 40 metres. Quite often, geyser activity subsides (they become ‘quiescent’), but they can be set off again by strong earthquake activity.

There are between 150 to 400 earthquakes a week in Iceland, though these are generally too small to be felt and only register on a Seismometer.

(Information obtained from the website, ‘Extreme Iceland.’)

Gullfoss Waterfall, Bláskógabyggð, Iceland.

Gullfoss means ‘golden falls,’ because on a sunny day the water appears golden-brown due to the sediment carried from its source, the glacial water of Iceland’s second biggest glacier, Langjökull. On bright days, you can see lots of rainbows.

It is an extraordinary sight, volumes of water thundering down rock. Its average flow is 1400 cubic metres of water per second. It can partially freeze over in the winter, reducing the flow to 80 cubic metres per second.

The water plummets down 32 metres, over two tiers. It gives an illusion of there being two waterfalls flowing and disappearing into an abyss.

In 1907, Sigriður Tómasdóttir, the daughter of Tómas Tómasson, who owned the land, sought to void a contract between her father and an Englishman who wanted to harness the waterfall’s energy to produce electricity. She even threatened to throw herself off the top of the waterfall. She is thought of as Iceland’s first environmentalist. In 1979 the area was designated a nature reserve by the Icelandic government.

Iceland – þingvellir (Thingvellir) National Park

þingvellir National Park is sited in a rift valley and lies on the tectonic boundaries of the Mid-Atlantic ridge. Iceland is where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet. Earthquakes occur along the plate boundaries in Iceland. At þingvellir, the tectonic plates are pulling apart. Also in þingvellir, is Lake Þingvallavatn, the largest natural lake in Iceland, with a diverse ecosystem.

It is an important location for the country’s history. In 930 AD, the Alþing (Althing) general assembly –  Europe’s oldest (outdoor) Parliament began in this area.

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