Wild Wanderings 7 – Lakeside Life

Wild Wanderings 7 – Lakeside Life

Back in the Lakes again. I find myself here a fair few times through the year. There are various reasons for this but a fixture each summer is the Expedition Canoeing Skills course we host there. For the past four years these courses have been scheduled as a block in July but this year, we moved them forward to June.

I’ve mentioned before the interest in returning to the same spot at the same time each year, allowing you to see differences. In 2017 we were at our usual venue earlier than in previous years and this allowed us to see this familiar spot at a different stage of development. In some ways, it was not much different but it was interesting to see some species of plants that have really made their presence known in previous July visits, really not impinge on our consciousness this time around.

That said, every year is different, and like previous Wild Wanderings blogs, this is a snapshot, a moment in time. The photos here were taken 12-14 June 2017.

Pignut, Conopodium majus, in flower. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Broom, Cytisus scoparius, is a fairly common shrub yet one which many people pass by without looking in much detail. When they do take more notice of broom, it’s often the seed pods which catch their eye. They look like hairy mangetout and, yes, they are in the same family as peas and beans. Like many in the family Fabaceae, however, we need to be careful about not generalising that all things which look like peas are edible. The plant contains various alkaloids which have an effect on blood pressure and heart function. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Ribwort plantain, Plantago lanceolata, is an edbible and medicinal plant. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Ribwort plantain inflorescence. Photo: Paul Kirtley
The filigree leaves of Yarrow, Alchemilla millefolium, an important and powerful medicinal plant. Photo: Paul Kirtley
The three-lobed terminal leaf of meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria. To me when crushed, the leaves smell like a muscle rub. Whether you agree with this comparison or not, the leaves of this plant of damp ground are very disctinctive and easy to recognise by sight as well as smell. The plant contains salicylates. tannins and various glycosides, including gaultherin (which is also found in wintergreen species, Gaultheria). The presence of these compounds has long seen meadowsweet used as a medicinal herb. Photo: Paul Kirtley
The flowers of meadowsweet, Filipendula ulmaria, just forming. These move fast and in previous years the creamy sprays of flowers have featured heavily around the area. Photo: Paul Kirtley
The palmate leaves of Lady’s Mantle, of which there a number of similar and hard-to-differentiate species. These members of the rose family are edible and have some medicinal properties too. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Detail of hedge woundwort, Stachys sylvatica, a member of the family Lamiaceae and an effective medicinal herb for wounds. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Leaf detail of common figwort, Scrophularia nodosa. There are a number of closely-related figworts and they are remarkably common, if only for the fact many people don’t know them. Once you know them, you see them everywhere. Herbalists use the expressed juice of the plant as a dermatological treatment, although, personally I have no experience of this. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Deveoping inflorescences of common figwort. Photo: Paul Kirtley

Our Life By The Lake

The temporary station for our life by the lake. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Stew cooking nicely. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Cooking various dishes on the same fire requires good knowledge of different species of wood and their application as firewood. Photo: Paul Kirtley

A Little Wildlife By The Lake

Our surprisingly accepting and relaxed neighbours. Photo: Paul Kirtley
A heron making like a statue in the reeds as we paddled slowly past. Photo: Paul Kirtley

What Are These Wild Wanderings Blogs Anyway?

Wild Wanderings is a series of photoblogs of elements of nature which, having caught my eye while out and about, I want to share with you, the reader. These observations are typically related to tree and plant identification, animal tracks and sign and other aspects of natural history which pertain to bushcraft and survival skills.

These blogs do not usually contain much written explanation other than concise photo captions. This is intentional, as writing long descriptions, including background facts or a large amount of context, whether it be historical or contemporary, slows down the sharing of these images with you.

Photographic Kit

The above photos were taken with my beloved Nikon D800 and a number of lenses including my stalwart Nikon Af-S 17-35/2.8D, the deceptively good Nikkor 50mm f1.8 AF-S but mainly the excellent Nikkor 60mm f2.8 AF-S Micro.

Related Material On Paul Kirtley’s Blog

Wild Wanderings 3 – Windermere Waterside

Boost Your Bushcraft With Urban Botany

Five Survival Plants Every Forager Should Know

Survival Foraging: A Realistic Approach

19 thoughts on “Wild Wanderings 7 – Lakeside Life

  1. Hi Paul,
    Thanks so much for posting these beautiful pics!
    This is exactly what I enjoy. Nature, simple and pure is the most wonderful thing in life. I am grateful that you are out there!

    Wishing you lots of fun.
    With warmest regards

  2. Thankyou for these little snapshots, they’re nice to immerse myself in after work when I haven’t been out & about to green places for a while

    1. Thanks Vickie, I’m glad they give you a little taste of green when you need it.

      Warm regards,


  3. Really nice to see these, the little snippets of info on the plants is really interesting and lovely to see a nice chilled out time.

    1. Thanks for your feedback Jareth. I’m glad you like the info I’m including with the photos.

      Warm regards,


  4. Hi Paul, very informative and helpful as usual. Keep the good work up. Since joining your tree and plant and elementary courses my knowledge as come on great. Also you have really lit my fire and got me staying out in the woods etc. A big thank you. Regards Facemeister. You never dissapoint Paul and your knowledge is end less.

  5. Hi Paul,
    Thanks very much for these little snippets of nature. The detail of the plants really stands out well in your photos. have you used woundwort yourself, and how would I go about using it on day to day injuries ? I much appreciate your generous sharing of your knowledge and experience.
    All the very best, Dave.

    1. Hi Dave,

      It’s good to hear from you. I’m happy you enjoy these photoblogs.

      With respect to woundwort, yes I have used on cuts and grazes but nothing more major. Crush up a leaf and apply it over the wound, holding it in place. You can use ribwort plantain (itself a good medicinal herb) or dock leaves, for example, to strap over the cut and hold the woundwort in place.

      Warm regards,


  6. Hello Paul,
    Thanks for the article! I’ve been to my usual area in every month of the year. I have taken photos of the scenery, but never had the idea of documenting individual flora. Too focused on the mission of setting up camp I guess. I will take up the seasonal photographing next time I’m out.
    Thanks again,

  7. Got to say I love these wild wandering blogs,and a new plant plant for me to look out for figwort.keep them coming paul .brill

  8. Pleased with that wandering of yours as I got a full house 🙂

  9. Hi Paul, thanks for sharing your photos. I am in Virginia along the Rappahannock river, and your last photo reminded me of all the Great Blue Herons sifting through the water trying to grab a bite to eat lately. They seem to be highly active in the Summer months. Wishing you the best.

    1. Hey Darron, thanks for your comment and painting a mental picture of what you are seeing near you. Much appreciated.

      Warm regards,


  10. Hi Paul,
    Love your wild wanderings blogs, a small amount of useful information on a wide range of plants, this gives a good starting point to Google or read a book for more information on any single plant.
    Once again, many thanks,

    1. Thanks for your feedback on these WW blogs Nigel. I will be bringing them back this autumn…

      Warm regards,


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