Category Archives: Mountains

Ropeless stuff in England and wales and a bit elsewhere

Darwin’s Boulders

In June 1842 Charles Darwin undertook his last geological field trip. He was at his father’s house, The Mount  in Shrewsbury, that month and after a winter of sickness, he felt somewhat better. Thus, he went in his gig to Snowdonia to assess whether Buckland was correct in identifying proof of a former Ice Age. In October 1841 William Buckland travelled to Wales with Thomas Sopwith (his grandson designed the Sopwith Camel, a WW1 fighter plane) to see whether Agassiz could be right about a former Ice Age. In a few days of horrendous Welsh weather Buckland identified all the main glacial troughs

Buckland

Buckland dressed for Welsh Glaciers by Thomas Sopwith

084

View from top of Y Garn 3104ft showing the Llugwy trough leading to Capel Curig, Llyn Idwal, a morainic lake.

To the left is Nant Francon, viewed below – with embellishments.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

BucklandArchiveCauseEffect002

In 1831 de la Beche painted this watercolour to show that little rivers could not produce big valleys. He was right, but ideas of glaciation were a few years ahead.

This map shows the routes of both Buckland and Darwin in 1841-2 with some further details

1842JOURNEY

This map shows the locality of Cwm Idwal with the lake/llyn in the centre.

daRWIN18421

Darwin spent a few days in Capel Curig and then several around Cwm Idwal before moving on to Moel Tryfan and then Llanberis and Snowdon.

 

Most iconic are the boulders he found in Cwm Idwal dubbed the Darwin Boulders. Here is the partial transcription of his 1842 notes, which are often scarcely legible

 

60- 80 yards west of exit of river – a gigantic boulder

broken into 4 tabular surfaces thus rest on their narrow edges

upright. the two lower ones have fallen over + rest on

neighbouring grt boulder _ the two upright plates stand

transversely on gentle slope in which they rest _ the fragment and

so far a part this xxxxx xxxx must have been

thrown with force where it now stands, but not rolled

from neighbouring precipice otherwise plates have been thrown

over . _ action of ice. fallen though . _ example xxxx

stronger . =

First, the boulders lie to the EAST of the “exit of river” and not the WEST, which confuses all. It is alway great to confuse students!!

He sees the 4 (angular ) bits as the original boulder which fell through the glacier and landed on another which shows a few marks of being water-worn.

At that time Buckland and Darwin only noted AN Ice Age and not a succession of them as became apparent later. This in itself was a great breakthrough

DSCF0977

The boulders with Twll Du/ Devils Kitchen behind which he described in 1831

DSCF0978

Boulders with Pne yr Oleu Wen behind

DSCF0979

Same, but closer too

DSCF0968

Boulders from across Llyn Idwal with Pen yr Hegli Du behind

DSCF0974

Boulders just visible to the left of the llyn. View of Idwal slabs and Cwm Cneifion above – an ancient hanging valley.

a21

My dog and field assistant Topper in 1999 after he had waited for me to negotiate a cornice on the headwall of Cwm Cneifion.

DSCF0966

Boulders with Carnedd Llewellyn behind

DSCF0967

Boulders from the moraines of Cwm Cneifion

Most of these photos were taken in August 2017 while leading a field trip for Harvard Summer School

For further reading

Darwin, Buckland and the Welsh Ice Age, 1837 – 1842, Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association 123 (2012) 649–662

And on his visit of 1831

Darwin at Llanymynech; British Journal for the History of Science, 1996, Vol 29, pp469-78

Darwin’s Dog-leg ; Archives of the History of Natural History, 1998, Vol 25, p59-73

I   coloured a map ; Archives of the History of Natural History, 2000, Vol 27,p69-79

Charles Darwin’s 1831 notes of Shropshire,Archives of the History of Natural History 2002,Vol 29 , p 27-9; co-authored  with Prof.S.Herbert (University of Maryland)

Darwin’s Welsh Geology, 1831,  Endeavour  Spring 2001, 25, p33-37

Available here just-before-the-beagle

 

 

 

The Transfiguration of Jesus and Brocken spectra

One of the most wonderful sights in the mountains is a Brocken spectre. It is a glorified shadow of a person caused by refraction of low-angle sunlight through wispy, foggy cloud. I’ve just killed the beauty and wonder of the Brocken Spectre . Here’s wiki on it  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brocken_spectre. It is named after the Brocken , a peak in the Harzgebirge in Germany.

They are most common in British hills in winter, when wispy clouds play with rays from the weak winter sun. I have only seen three. The first two were on January days on Foel Grach and Y Garn in Snowdonia some twenty years ago. I remember the spectre waving his ice axe at me.  That axe came from Chamonix.

My next was just after Christmas 2016. It was a perfect late December day  and so I drove to the Temperance Inn  beyond Sedbergh and set off to climb the Howgill Fells. I walked up a glacial valley to the foot of Cautley Spout and had a stiff climb to the top, watching out for ice.

DSCF0118

At the top of the falls I left the path , jumped a stream and headed up this hill. The views were great.

DSCF0119

As I got near the top I was met with a little snow and wispy cloud. It was time for a photostop. I look back northwards over my route, where I contemplated that I could be spending the rest of my life descending a steep slope.  I turned round savouring the view to the north east and Great Baugh Fell, and…………

DSCF0121

Wow and wow!! It was a Brocken spectre whichj gave me a much justified halo.

DSCF0122

I clicked away…

DSCF0124

and the spectre faded and went, almost as quickly as it had come.

DSCF0125

and so to the top, which was almost an anticlimax.

DSCF0126

and so to the descent finding that old knees and ice don’t mix.

DSCF0129

It was a fantastic day.

As I reflected on the Brocken Spectre I thought about my tentative relocation of the Mount of Transfiguration. Decades ago I took a propaganda tour from Lake Gallilee to the Golan Heights and then back via the slopes of Mt Hermon and Caesarea Phillipi. South of Caesarea Phillipi we drove past the Mount of Transfiguration, which would be considered a molehill in East Anglia. A year or two back I wondered if the “high mountain” Jesus took Peter and James and James up was not the mole hill of Mt Tabor but could rather Mt Hermon. After all that IS a high mountain and was snow-covered when I was there in April. And so I thought of what the gospel writers (Matthew 17 vs1-9) wrote;

1 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves.
2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white.
3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.
4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!”
6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear.
7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.”
8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.
9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
Yes, it was a high mountain and what happened. Like so many passages in the Bible which speak of a divine encounter it is difficult to work out what happened. The two opposite errors are either to be overly -literalist or spiritualise it. I have long found the whole section of the confession of St Peter at Caesarea Phillip and the Transfiguration as one of the most important passages on Jesus Christ. It brings out the nature of Jesus as Messiah, the waywardness of followers summed up in the rebuke to Peter , “Get behind me, Satan” (Something we all need to hear), the cost of discipleship and carrying our cross and then the Transfiguration , which seems to be a foretaste of the Resurrection.
The first part is very much every day and down to earth, but the Transfiguration is something more. I find the meaning very profound and moving and it strengthens my faith, but the Thomas in me asks what happened. I cannot answer that question, beyond saying something very profound and moving happened. (I will never make a good fundamentalist!)
I wonder, and I say this tentatively, was the Transfiguration in part the disciples and Jesus seeing Brocken spectra on Mt Hermon.
Now to some I will be seen as fanciful and to others as explaining away a central part of the Gospel – the Transfiguration.
Whatever happened, and something did, I wonder if a Brocken Spectre helps us to understand, tacitly if not intellectually, the wonder of the Transfiguration.
At best, in this life we only have passing glimpses of the Resurrection, which are as transient as a Brocken Spectre, but still wonderful.
I may not see another Brocken Spectre but I will see……………………………
Painting by Carl Bloch

Moorland degradation in the Forest of Bowland

One of the joys of living on the edge of the Forest of Bowland is being able to explore it on foot and cycle. Much was only opened up by the CROW act of 2000 and the paths are often not well-defined. One of my common walks is up Hawthornthwaite Fell from Catshaw. The fell, seen from below Jubilee Tower, has a castellated appearance due to peat erosion as is clear on the left of the photo (sept 2016)

DSCF9715

Edit 27/4 from EU http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-17-1045_en.htm Which highlights my concerns.

Nature: Commission calls on the UNITED KINGDOM to protect blanket bog habitats

The Commission is urging the United Kingdom to stop burning blanket bog habitats within upland Natura 2000 sites in England and to take measures to restore the damaged habitats. Blanket bogs are considered to be priority habitats under the Habitats Directive (Council Directive 92/43/EEC) when they are active (i.e. non-degraded), and their conservation status in England is seriously declining. For a number of years, the UK authorities allowed the damaging practice of burning blanket bogs within the English Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), without the appropriate assessment required by the Habitats Directive. The Commission warned the United Kingdom of those breaches of the Habitats Directive in a letter of formal notice sent in April 2016. As the burning of blanket bog habitats within the protected sites still continues, a final warning is now sent. The UK has two months to provide a response; otherwise, the case may be referred to the Court of Justice of the EU.

 

I went up on a windy day in early April using a shooters’ track. The hillside was typical heather more demonstrating burning of heather, which takes several years to re-grow. The signs and smell of recent burning were evident.

DSCF0353DSCF0354

As I left the end of the track, I found some serious burning , which has shown no re-growth since autumn 2015. There has been much erosion in heavy rain.

DSCF0356DSCF0357DSCF0358

More recent burning.

DSCF0359

The path upwards was ill-defined over rough grassy moorland. As I reached the fence at the watershed I was met with squawking sea-gulls worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. That required a video. It is a major nesting ground for sea gulls and sadly there are not enough raptors to gobble up the chicks and eggs. I so rarely see even a buzzard, though 10 years ago I was heckled by three hen harriers, and was probably close to their nest.

Every so often the moor was replaced by a small pool, with the beautiful emarld green of sphagnum.

DSCF0360DSCF0363

In summer , cotton grass flowers

DSCF9119 (1)

And so to the top of Hawthornthwaite Fell with its felled trig point. When I first came up in 2003 the Trig point was 10 ft in the air as a monument to peat vandalism but was toppled a few years ago. The area is now a hollow as up to 10 foot of peat has disappeared in the century since the OS planted their trig point with a deep base. Then you would be walking above the height of the white post to be on the same level as the peat behind.

DSCF0365

There are a few small pools like this one which even has some sphagnum. I confess to damning it up in 2016 and note the improvement. The problem is to be seen from the post looking north where the peat has eroded into channels. This is the castellation of the first photo.

DSCF0367DSCF0370

On the RH of the fence United Utilities has done some peat restoration but the effects are hampered as the peat has disappeared down to the mineral base, almost exposing the Pendle Grit below. Some grasses grow and there are a few pools

DSCF0371DSCF0372

a close up of the toppled Trig Point, which should be an icon to peat degradation

DSCF0373

And finally four more shots to show how the peat has gone.

DSCF0374DSCF0376DSCF0377DSCF0378

There are many places in the Forest of Bowland where peat restoration has started with slow and steady results. On one fell  I could walk dry shod at any time of the year, whatever the weather as the peat had dried out. Now it is superbly soggy even in summer and is getting soggier.

On the principles of peat restoration I am most definitely an amateur as my background is geology, but am passably informed on mountain landscapes and vegetation. It is fantastic the way peat restoration has been done all over the Pennines, but like planting trees the best time is 30 years ago.

The gains are tremendous and with time the sphagnum could gobble up some carbon too.

Already in places wildlife has benefited .

024.JPG

To follow this up the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) UK Peatland Programme (twitter; @IUCNpeat ) gives much technical stuff and gives both hope and an indication of the task ahead. 

As an amateur I shall not comment scientifically lest I truly put my foot in it !!!!

DSCF0379

I may have trodden on some toes too……………..

Humboldt, the father of environmentalism. Interview with his biographer

The best book I received last Christmas was Andrea Wulf’s biography The Invention of Nature giving the account of the man who inspired Charles Darwin , John Muir and many others.

Having been Green almost as long I can remember but have now been cast into outer darkness by Green fanatics and become an Ecomodernist, who would say I am no longer Green  https://michaelroberts4004.wordpress.com/2016/01/18/why-i-am-no-longer-a-green/ this look back into the past is worth reading.

The problem today for many Greens is to lose the big picture and see everything in terms of Climate Change (worst case, of course) Divestment, demonising fossil fuels, GMOs etc.

I recommend this blog and also Wulf’s book. Also we need a love of the natural world for its own sake rather than breast-beating about the sins of humans

The 19th-century German scientist Alexander von Humboldt popularized the concept that the natural world is interconnected. In a Yale e360 interview, biographer Andrea Wulf explains how Humboldt’s vision helped create modern environmentalism.

Source: The Legacy of the Man Who Changed Our View of Nature by Diane Toomey: Yale Environment 360

The Legacy of the Man Who
Changed Our View of Nature

The 19th-century German scientist Alexander von Humboldt popularized the concept that the natural world is interconnected. In a Yale e360 interview, biographer Andrea Wulf explains how Humboldt’s vision helped create modern environmentalism.

by diane toomey

He was a fearless world traveler, a polymath whose expertise included botany, geography, geology, and more. He viewed nature as a web of life, and, in a conclusion stunning in its prescience, he named deforestation and “the great masses of steam and gas produced by industry” as the causes of climate change.

The name of the 19th-century Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt has remained largely unknown in the English-speaking world in the modern era.

Antonina Gern
Andrea Wulf

But historian Andrea Wulf, in her best-selling book The Invention of Nature, aims to return Humboldt to his rightful place as, in her words, “the father of environmentalism.”

In an interview with Yale Environment 360, Wulf explains what enabled Humboldt to arrive at conclusions that were astonishing for his time. “Most scientists who looked at climate then, looked at weather… But Humboldt very much sees climate as an interconnection of landmass, of altitude, of weather, of oceans. He puts all of this together.” Humboldt, she says, originated an entirely new genre of writing that made science accessible to the masses, combining empirical observations with soaring language. “He is completely unafraid of saying, ‘We have to use our imagination and our feelings to understand nature.’ No other scientist was doing that at that time.”

Today’s environmentalists, Wulf says, can find inspiration in Humboldt’s work. “When I look at today’s environmental debate in the political arena, I’m really missing this sense of awe for nature, this recognition that we are only going to protect what we love.”

_____

Yale Environment 360: We learn in your book that Humboldt’s purpose in his epic journey to Latin America was to discover how, in his words, “All forces of nature are interlaced and interwoven.” How radical was that way of thinking, in 1799?

Andrea Wulf: Very radical. Basically, Humboldt comes up with this idea that nature is a web of life, that it’s almost like a tapestry. He describes Earth as a living organism, and that’s something completely new, in the sense that, until then, nature was really much more seen as a more mechanical system.

At that time, scientists were looking into the difference between organic and inorganic matter, but he’s really the one who is talking different disciplines, and he puts them together and creates this new concept or vision of nature that is very different. You do have scientists in Europe then thinking about the vital force in organisms. But Humboldt is taking this concept and he is applying it to the whole of nature, and that was really what was so new, because he sees global connections. For example, he is the first to define global vegetation and climate zones.

e360: He also perceives the effect of deforestation on climate. He would eventually point to other causes of environmental degradation, including monoculture, and in his words, “the great masses of steam and gas produced by industry.”

Oil painting by Eduard Ender, 1856
Alexander von Humboldt and French botanist Aimé Bonpland in the Amazon rainforest.

He writes, “Everything is interaction and reciprocal.” Was it the fact that he was a polymath that allowed for these stunning insights?

Wulf: I think there are several things. Because he is a polymath and he does not stick to one discipline, he can look across these boundaries. For example, most scientists who looked at climate then looked at weather. You have, for example, Thomas Jefferson, who was obsessed with it, who measured the temperature every day, and the wind, and the humidity. But Humboldt very much sees climate as an interconnection of landmass, of altitude, of weather, of oceans. He puts all of this together. And he can do that because he is interested in the weather, but he is also interested in plants and in soil. He brings all of these disciplines together.

Quite a lot of his contemporaries remarked upon his incredible memory. He could remember the shape of a leaf 40 years later. He could remember exact layers, rocks strata decades later. When he was standing, for example, in the Altai Mountains in Russia, his mind would race back to what he had seen in the Andes. Or when he was standing in the Andes, his mind would race back to what he had seen in the Alps. So he can make these connections. And then I think there’s one thing we tend to forget: At that time, not a lot of scientists actually saw as much of the world as Humboldt did. They were basically stuck to the place where they were brought up, and maybe they moved around a little bit, but there were very few trained scientists who were traveling the world.

e360: Humboldt’s book, Views of Nature, was a roaring bestseller. It combined science and beautiful prose. You call it a blueprint for nature writing today. Why was it so revolutionary?

Wulf: He is completely unafraid of lyricism. He is completely unafraid of saying, “We have to use our imagination and our feelings to understand nature.” No other scientist was doing that at that time. Scientists were writing these very specialized books for their colleagues basically. But Humboldt, because he believed that knowledge should be accessible for everybody, he was democratizing knowledge. That is one of his greatest achievements. He writes these books for a general audience, not for specialists.

Views of Nature is a beautiful example of that. In each chapter, he describes nature in very poetic ways. He is talking about “leaves that unfurl and greet the morning sun.” That’s not how a scientist would have written about nature. But then, at the same time, at the end of each chapter, he has these very long endnotes, which include the latest scientific results and discoveries. So if you were a layperson you could just skip over those. But if you were a scientist and you are really interested in the detail, you would also read them.

A botantical drawing by Humboldt of a plant in Cuba.

e360: You talk about his democratization of science. He also went on lecture tours and spoke to packed crowds that included women.

Wulf: Humboldt basically took his audiences on these incredible journeys from Earth to outer space, from the tiniest insect to the tallest trees. He talks about human migration, he talks about the Northern Lights. He never read from his notes — he just kind of talked, so he was very, very lively. And he did not charge anything for these lectures, and that was something no one else was really doing. The audience consisted of students, and artists, and carpenters, but also servants and kings. And many of them were women, so he made the knowledge available to everybody.

He uses uncomplicated language, and he uses these kind of poetic, evocative landscape descriptions. He wanted to make people excited about science and nature, and he had this sense of wonder for nature. I think that’s why I say it’s a blueprint for nature writing today. John Muir, for example, was very much doing the same thing as Humboldt in the sense that he would take readers from the East Coast and literally grab and take them into Yosemite with his descriptions. And nature writers today do that – having scientific observations in there, but also the sheer joy of, say, walking through nature.

e360: You mention John Muir, and you go into some detail regarding this American environmental lineage that originates with Humboldt. Speak a bit about that.

Wulf: I think that was for me one of the greatest surprises when I was doing this book, because when I got interested in Humboldt and I was talking to people about it, the most common reaction I got, “Who is this?” Then I started the research, and I realized just how unbelievably famous he was or used to be in America and the huge impact he had on people like John Muir. Muir, for example, as a young man said, “How intensely I want to be a Humboldt.” He read Humboldt’s books with pencil in hand, and amazingly these books still exist at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, so we can look at Muir’s library, at his copies of Humboldt’s books.

It’s very often through examples, through being in nature, that we realize the threat to nature.’

They are heavily underlined. It’s almost like listening to Muir having a conversation with Humboldt. And we can see through this how much he was influenced by Humboldt in his ecological thinking. For example, he underlines basically everything that Humboldt says about deforestation and the destructive effect of agriculture, but also this idea of nature as a web of life. There is this very famous Muir quote, which is basically, “If you pull at something in the universe, you’ll find it hitched to everything else.” That’s … pure Humboldt. This idea that everything is connected, and only if you understand that everything is connected can you really understand how we are threatening nature. That’s the bit that Muir takes from Humboldt. And the other thing that he takes from Humboldt is this sheer joy of nature.

e360: You write that the connection between knowledge, art, and poetry, between science and emotions – Humboldt called it “the deeply-seated bond” – is more important than ever. How so?

Wulf: When I wrote this book, at first what was most important for me, was to say he is the forgotten father of environmentalism, and I still think that is incredibly important. But the more I researched him, the more I thought the most important thing is that he does not draw a sharp distinction between the arts and the sciences. I think that’s something that we are really lacking at, and it’s a quite new, sharp line we are drawing. It starts really in the mid-19th century with the specializations of the sciences, but think that when I look at today’s environmental debate in the political arena, I’m really missing this sense of awe for nature, this recognition that we are only going to protect what we love.

I think Humboldt is so amazing in that he is so utterly unafraid of embracing that [sense of wonder], while at the same time he is utterly obsessed with scientific measurement. He schlepped 42 scientific instruments across Latin America, so he was not a misty-eyed romantic. He believed, on the one hand, in the hard facts of science. But he also believed in wonder.

I think that is something I feel in the whole climate change debate that’s really missing. Because we can throw numbers forever at people, you know, this is what’s going to happen if the temperatures rise 2 degrees. But it’s very often through examples, through being in nature, that we realize the threat to nature. I think we can’t just leave climate change to scientists alone; I think it’s something that has to work on many levels, not just on the scientific level, if we want to do something about our planet.

e360: You anticipated my next question. I was going to ask you about the 800 or so scientists who recently signed an open letter to President-elect Trump, calling on him to take the threat of climate change seriously.

ALSO FROM YALE e360

The Moth Snowstorm: Finding True Value in Nature’s Riches

Moth Snowstorm

Journalist Michael McCarthy has chronicled the loss of wildlife in his native Britain and globally. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about why he believes a new defense of the natural world is needed – one based on the joy and spiritual connection it provides for humans.
READ MORE

I was wondering if Humboldt were around today, as those scientists continue to press the Trump administration, what would Humboldt’s words of wisdom be to them?

Wulf: I try to avoid to put words or thoughts into Humboldt’s head, because I really don’t know. I think he definitely would have been one of those scientists signing that letter, but I don’t know. I’m as flabbergasted about the Trump election as everybody else, I think. I’m terrified to have a climate change denier as the next president of the United States, if I’m honest.

e360: You’ve said that if you could invite someone from history to a dinner party, it would be Humboldt. I’m wondering what would be one of your questions for him?

Wulf: My question would absolutely be, “What are we going to do about climate change?” That’d be my question, and I’d be desperately hoping that he had a very smart and brilliant answer. The one thing I think Humboldt would say is he would be pretty shocked at what stage we are at now. Consider the fact that he warned us more than 200 years ago about harmful, human-induced climate change.

THE ORIGIN OF DARWIN AS A NATURALIST 1809-1831

2307230823112312232423262328234423572360HE ORIGIN OF DARWIN AS A NATURALIST

 

Darwin concluded The Origin of Species with this magnificent paragraph;

It is interesting to contemplate an entangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent on each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the external conditions of life, and from use and disuse; a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms. Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

 

This makes me think of the narrow country roads in Shropshire, which were sunken by cart traffic over hundreds of years leaving high banks on either side. These banks became entangled with plants (hawthorn, brambles, hazel, campanula, primroses, snowdrops etc.) and colonised by various animals (insects, butterflies, lizards, rabbits, polecats etc) and host to birds.

The entangled bank was an integrated ecological web.

As Darwin rode round these lanes on his horse Dobbin, whether en route to his girlfriend, Fanny, or to shoot, he would have passed many entangled banks and observed the wildlife. From so small a beginning of a teenage horse rider and amateur naturalist came the most profound of scientific theories.

The Skills Darwin learnt before sailing on the Beagle

Outdoor skills from hunting and shooting and exploring.

Navigation, use of maps

Travelling through rough country, which still can be dangerous.

A wide range of naturalists skills, observation of plants and animals, habitats, specimen collection and preservation.

A good basic geology.

tools_beach

This is why when he boarded the Beagle in December 1831 he was one of the most proficient young naturalists of his day.

 

The influences on Darwin. (1809-1882)

He was born at The Mount on 12 th February 1809

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

and went to Shrewsbury School under Dr Butlet but was taught little but Greek and Latin and no science

DSCF6929

His father was a doctor with a good knowledge of science (and less on dietetics) and his grandfather, Erasmus, even more so. So from home he learnt much.

447

His older brother, Erasmus, built a very good chemistry lab in a shed

 

He collected eggs etc from an early age.

He was keen on hunting thus observed the behaviour of foxes and birds.

From his late teens he collected beetles by the thousand!

beetles

1825-27. He studied at Edinburgh for medicine and also learnt some geology and also marine invertebrates from Robert Grant

1827-1831. He studied theology and philosophy at Christ’s College, Cambridge and intended to get ordained. There was no official science teaching but John Henslow gave unofficial classes and field trips.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA180px-John_Stevens_Henslow

 

1824-30 He did much naturalising around Shropshire and visited North Wales most years either to Snowdonia itself or to Barmouth. He climbed most of the mountains

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADSCF6991He went on great hikes and observed all he saw on the wildlife and a little on the rocks. His favourites were beetles, but also fungi and birds (which he shot to collect specimens)

089

His favourite mountain was Cadair Idris and he shot birds for specimens at Bird Rock

cadairbird rock

He explored the rugged Rhinogau with epic hikes and explored the Mawddach estuary

a1a2

He stayed at Barmouth supposedly being tutored in the binomial theorem but preferred other things!

a20

He left Cambridge in June 1831 and as he was planning an expedition to Tenerife he did geology around Shrewsbury and in July 1831 tried to make a geological map and visited the limestone hill of Llanymynech.

 

The last of the four photos is from Nesscliff where he studied a Permo-Trias outcrop. The view is of the volcanic Breidden Hills and to the left is Long Mountain which is capped by Old red Sandstone. Darwin and Sedgwick got within a mile of an exposure but turned back, thus making Sedgwick miss a vital exposure.

DSCF7179DSCF7193DSCF7197037

The Sedgwick–Darwin Tour 3 to 20 August 1831

To the West of Shrewsbury 3-4 August

Shrewsbury to Denbigh, 5 to 7 August

Alone to Conwy, 8 to 9 August

Conwy to Bethesda, 10 to 11 August

To Anglesey and Dublin? 12 to 20 August

Separate Ways, 20 August

Caernarvon to Barmouth via Cwm Idwal 20-24th August

This map shows the route

a3

They both had a copy of Greenhough’s map. They new that the Orange rock in the south was Old Red sandstone (later Devonian) and it was younger than the older strata (later Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian) which he wanted to study. The aim was to find the ORS and then older rocks below it. Murchison who went to South Wales was guided to the contact by Rev Thomas Lewis and sorted it all out. Sedgwick’s aim was to follow the arc of ORS (orange rocks) along the North Wales coast and Llangollen and then find the older rocks below. That determined Sedgwick’s route  and his pupil Darwin just tagged along. as it turned out Sedgwick just missed ORS at Long mountain while at Shrewsbury  and then discovered there was no ORS in North Wales so he lost his stratigraphic marker! So when he started on 21st August 1831 on his own, he bagan in Llanberis which was not the best place to start, but that is another story.

a4

They travelled by gig with a driver. this picture is of one of Dr Robert Darwin’s patients -Mad Jack Mytton who though affluent died in a debtors jail.

a5

 

In August 1831 Adam Sedgwick (geology professor at Cambridge) came to Shrewsbury after looking at strata in DudleyBRESSAN_2013_Geologizing_-Darwin_Map1

 

and after a few days of geologising near the town they travelled to North Wales by gig (2 –wheeled carriage pulled by a horse) trying to work out what strata there were below the Devonian.Their first stop was up Castell Dinas Bran (silurian) and then to the Carboniferous Limestone of the Eglwsyeg cliffs. There is a fault between the two hills and no Devonian.

001DSCF7023

DSCF7015

This was for a HBS documentary which was edited out, showing young Darwin and old Sedgwick on the Eglwsyeg

016019

Next day they drove to Ruthin and looked first at Silurian strata by Vallee Crucis abbey, which shows the difference between bedding and cleavage.

DSCF7168DSCF7166

On to the top of the Horseshoe pass (my first big hill on a cycle) looking over to the grey limestone cliffs. The road was built in the 1810s to service the slate quarry

DSCF7160DSCF7157

Glancing over to Snowdonia behind the sheep they descended to Dafarn Dowarch, then made out of turf. Sedgwick stayed here in the 1840s.

DSCF7156DSCF7152

Past some limestone then descended to the complex Clywd basin of the Vale of Clwyd going past more Transition/silurian slate. This windy road is Nant y Garth, which I once cycled up in a thunderstorm doing field work for this.

DSCF7151DSCF7149

Darwin walked the last 6 miles to Ruthin where they stayed at the Castle Hotel. At Lanfwrog to the west Darwin found some red sandstone lying topographically  below Carboniferous Limestone 50 yards away. In fact, it was New Red Sandstone, not Old Red/Devonian which had been downthrown to the east. Alas there was no basin analysis to help them!!

DSCF7148DSCF7145

And then down some lovely lanes which would have been muddy! they visited the Ogof caves and found some rhino fossils – teeth.

DSCF7142DSCF7141

a6

They took the road west of St Asaph and near Glascoed Darwin was dropped off to do a 20 mile traverse and Sedgwick carried straight on to Conwy.

Darwin’s brief was to find ORS below the Carboniferous and above the Silurian/Transition. The second photo is taken a few miles west looking north towards Abergele. The hills are Carb limestone and and the foreground is Silurian. Darwin must have been miffed not to find any ORS.

IMG_1573IMG_1572

He stayed at Abergelle and the next day walked to the Ormes and Llandudno chasing the non-existent ORS

IMG_1549IMG_1550

He left the Great Orme behind and crossed the brand-new bridge to Conwy and met Sedgwick near the castle.

100_0615100_0616100_0609

The next day, after Darwinstopped Sedgwick arguing with a waiter, they went up the Conwy valley to Cannovium and over the 2100ft Tal y Fan and dropped down to Aber for the night. They visited Aber Falls the next day and then went to the Bethesda Slate Quarries

IMG_1554IMG_1566

a7a8

a9

Here is the major problem I encountered in this study. Darwin’s notes on Cwm Idwal – 5 miles from the quarries – follw straight on from his notes on Bethesda. further in his Autobiography Darwn states he went round Cwm Idwal with Sedgwick. HE DID NOT. This is countered by the letters between D and S in September 1831 when Darwin told Sedgwick what he saw on his own and then Sedgwick corrected him after visiting Cwm Idwal a fortnight later.

Instead the went across Anglesey, as Sedgwick had Henslow’s wonderful 1822 geological map to guide him, but the ORS was still elusive and this supposed outcrop of ORS later turned out to be Ordovician. Later at Cape Verde Darwin described some recent conglomerates by the shore as hard as this. I can assure that the rock is very painful to hit with a hammer.

 

henslow

And so the crossed the Menai Straits and shot down the newish London-Holyhead road, which had just been replaced by a dual carriageway when I visited there.

a10a11

a12

From Holyhead they took a steam-packet to Dublin for the weekend as Sedgwick wished to meet some geologists. On their return they went to look at the precambrian rocks at north Stack and then went across Anglesey with Henslow to guide them.

363366

They found what Henslow’s incredibly hard ORS on which I nearly broke my arm. And so to the old Copper Mine at Parys Mountain. It dates back to the Bronze Age and I think it is still being mined

347parysmlountain

And so they arrived at Caernarfon, when Darwin wanted to go home for the start of the shooting season. Sedgwick went to Llanberis and started in ernest and found it hard.

On his own from Caernarfon to Barmouth 20th to 24th August

Darwin left Sedgwick at Caernarfon and then visited Cwm Idwal on his own. He reckoned that the Devil’s Kitchen was a volcanic plug, but Sedgwick put him right a little later, explaining it was a syncline.

084403

A sketch to show what Darwin thought about Cwm Idwal and how Sedgwick corrected him.

a13

a14

He found the geology difficult as I did when I tried to do my undergraduate mapping there. (I gave up and mapped a layered intrusion in Northern Canada instead!!). He was oblivious of any glacial features.  He must have found some predators – sundew.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA174

Two views of Cwm Idwal

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA073

From Cwm Idwal it was 6 miles to Plas y Brenin, the coach inn at Capel Curig, where he spent two nights. The next day he climbed Moel Siabod and made more notes . After that he walked to Dolwyddelan and over the moors to Ffestiniog for the night. The next day he cross the Rhinogau by the the Bwlch Drws Ardudwy

DSCF6998180

An early morning view from Plas Y Brenin

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In his autobiography Darwin claimed to follow a compass bearing to Barmouth. I do not believe him! First, the route would be an utter killerwading through boulders and 3 foot heather. Secondly his geological notes describe the localities visited and I mark these on the sketchmap.

a15

Moel Siabod and the moorland south of Dolwyddelan

a16a17

My key outcrop to determine his route was Carreg y Fran, which I located. Darwin said the rocks at the base of the cliff were conglomerate. They were in fact agglomerate.

a18a19

From there he cross the remote and rugged Rhinogau and made his way to Barmouth.

drws

After a few days at Barmouth Darwin returned home for the shooting season. Instead he accepted an invitation to travel on the Beagle

Here is Topper (1992-1994) my faithful field assistant, navigator and mountain climber.

a21

He took a stagecoach back to Shrewsbury and found a letter inviting him to join the Beagle!

In the summers of 1837 and 1838 he spent a few weeks while staying with his father in Shrewsbury looking at glacial deposits (c18000 years old around the town and by the field centre)

At this time he was very ill and only walked short distances.

In June 1842 he felt better and wrote the first half of a draft on evolution and went to Snowdonia and went home to finish it. It as not published.

Darwin spent two weeks in Snowdonia, staying at Plas y Brennin and other inns.

He looked for evidence of glaciation especially in Cwm Idwal and was convinced that Snowdonia used to have glaciers. He could only walk five kilometres.

But this will be my next installment

***************************************************************

CHARLES DARWIN AND THE HISTORY OF GEOLOGY, 1831 AND 1842 

 Along with many earlier visits to Snowdonia, the mountainous region of North Wales, in the 1820s to study natural history and to “climb every mountain”,

Darwin made two important visits to study the geology. In 1831 he spent nearly four weeks studying the geology of Shropshire and North Wales, mostly under the tutelage of Adam Sedgwick of Cambridge and then in 1842 to see whether there had been “former glaciations2 in Snowdonia. In 1831 he was a “learner” and made no contribution to geology[1], but his work on glaciations was highly significant[2].

My purpose here is to put Darwin’s two visits into the whole context of geology as a developing science. I give it in note form as a developing historical theme.

  1. 1660-1700. Earliest geology beginning with Nils Steno in Italy. Little grasp of an ancient earth
  2. 1690s E Lhwyd (born near Oswestry – 20 miles from Shrewsbury) and John Ray (the English Linnaeus) noted the boulders in Nant Peris a valley below Snowdon. As there were lots of boulders and only one or two fell down in a lifetime, they suggested that the earth must be much older that the biblical 6000 years. These were in fact glacial erratic transported there by glaciers.
  3. 1700- 1800 more evidence for an ancient earth and beginnings of working out the order of strata
  4. 1788 Rev John Michell, prof of geology at Cambridge worked out an order of strata;

Chalk                                                         Upper Cretaceous                                           120ft

Golt                                                            (Gault   Lower Cretaceous                              50ft

Sand of Bedford                                        Lower Greensand  – lwr Cret                          10-20ft

Northamptan andPortland lime                      (Jurassic)                                                        100ft

Lyas strata                                                       (Lias –Lower Jurassic)                                   100ft

Sand of Newark                                              (Triassic)                                                          30ft

Sherwood Forest pebbles and gravel              Permo-triassic sandstones                               50ft

Very fine white sand                                      uncertain

Roche Abbey and Brotherton Lime               (Permian Magnesium lst)                                100ft

Coal Strata of Yorkshire                                 Upper Carboniferous

This gives a good summary of strata from Upper Carboniferous to Upper Cretaceous

  • Smith developed this with use of fossils and then Geology map of England and Wales 1815.
  • untitled

6 Cuvier worked on Cretaceous strata around Paris

  1. By 1820s strata reasonably well-known down to Old Red Sandstone/ Devonian. What lay below was totally unknown and refered to Killas. This was classically put in The Outline of the Geology of England and Wales by Conybeare and Phillips (1822)

Below are a series of geological columns and the final development for today is the right hand column. What is crystal clear is that the order has not changed since Michell made his preliminary one in 1788. After the publication in 1822 there was an immense amount of geological fieldwork all over Europe but only the British work concern us.

SELECTED CLASSIFICATIONS OF ROCK STRATA

WERNER

1790’s

WILLIAM SMITH

1799, 1812, 1815

CONYBEARE and PHILLIPS
1821-1822
DE LA BECHE

1833

LYELL

1841

HITCHCOCK

1860 US

 

1981

ALLUVIAL
VolcanicSTRATIFIED
(FLÖTZ)TRANSITIONPRIMITIVE
London Clay

Chalk

Greensand
Brick-Earth

Purbeck, Portland
Coral Rag, Cornbr.
Upper Oolite
Under Oolite
Red-ground

Magnesian Ls

Coal Measures

Mountain Ls

Red and Dunstone

Killas and Slate

Granite, Sien
Gneiss

SUPERIOR ORDER or TERTIARY
Alluvial
Diluvial
Upper Marine(Freshwater: London Clay, Plastic Clay)SUPERMEDIAL ORDER
Chalk
Chalk Marle
Green Sand
Weald
Iron Sand
Oolitic Series
Purbeck, Portland
Coral Rag, Oxford
Inferior Oolite-
Lias
New Red SandstoneMagnesian Limestone
MEDIAL ORDER
(Carboniferous)
Coal Measures
Millstone-Grit
Carboniferous or
Mountain Limestone
Old Red SandstoneSUBMEDIAL ORDERTransition LimestoneSerpentine
Sienite
Greywacke
Clay SlateINFERIOR ORDER
Granite
STRATIFIED

Modern Group

Erratic Block Gr.
Supracretaceous
Group

Cretaceous Group

Oolitic Group

Red Sandst. Gr.
Red Marl
Muschelkalk
Red Sandstone
Zechstein

Carboniferous Gr.
Coal Measures

Carboniferous Ls

Old Red Sandst

Grauwacke Group

(Inferior Strati.
Nonfossilif.)
UNSTRATIFIED
Serpentine, Trap
Granite, Volcan.

POST-PLIOCENE
RecentPost-Pliocene
TERTIARY
Newer Pliocene
Older Pliocene
Miocene
EoceneSECONDARY
CretaceousWealdonOolite or JuraLias
Trias or New Red
SandstoneMagnesian LsCarboniferous
Coal Measures
Millstone Grit
Mountain Ls

Old Red Standst.
or Devonian

PRIMARY
FOSSILIFEROUS
Silurian

Cambrian

CENOZOIC
AlluviumRecent
Pleistocene
Tertiary
PlioceneMiocene
EoceneMESOZOIC
Cretaceous
Chalk
Gault
GreensandJurassic
Wealdon
OoliticLias
Triassic
PALEOZOICPermianCarboniferous
Coal Meas.
Millstone Grit
Mountain Ls

Devonian
Upper
Middle
Lower

Upper Silurain
(9 units)

Lower Silurian
(4 units)
Cambrian

AZOIC

CENOZOIC
QuaternaryRecent
Pleistocene
Tertiary
Pliocene
Miocene
Oligocene
Eocene
Paleocene
MESOZOIC
CretaceousJurassicTriassic
PALEOZOICPermianCarboniferous
PennsylvanianMississippianDevonian

Silurian

Ordovician

Cambrian

PRECAMBRIAN

1830s. After the publication in 1822 there was an immense amount of geological fieldwork all over Europe but only the British work concern us. By 1830 British geologists had felt clear on the geology from the Old Red Sandstone to the top of the Cretaceous, but what lay above and below was still to be discovered. Lyell was instrumental in bringing order to the Tertiary, but in 1830 Sedgwick and Murchison decided to tackle what lay below the ORS in Wales, in preparation for a second volume continuing Coneybeare and Phillip’s work. They had described what lay below the ORS as SUBMEDIAL ORDER; Transition Limestone, Serpentine, Sienite,  Greywacke and  Clay Slate, indicating that it was scarcely elucidated. All this later came to be termed Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian, but in 1830 it was simply unknown strata.
(Shrewsbury is just north of the Long Mynd on the map, and Cwm Idwal is slighty above the letter “N” of Snowdonia)

The map above is a sketch map fo the geology of North Wales marking all strata older than the Devonian, i.e. all the shaded area on the map. In 1830 the weather was so bad that neither geologist went to Wales, but both went in the Summer of 1831. Murchison went to Southern Wales about 25 miles southwest of the Longmynd and was guided to an excellent downward succession from ORS to what was to be called Silurian by the Rev Thomas Lewis. Sedgwick went to Northern Wales and his aim was to find the ORS (marked on geological maps as lying below Carboniferous Limestone from Llangollen to Conway. When he found the ORS he hoped to find it going down conformably into Killas/grauwacke (now Silurian). This did not happen and he and Darwin concluded that there was no ORS from Llangollen to Conway, thus frustrating his intentions. Ironically at over 300 metres on top of the Long Mountain between Welshpool and Shrewsbury , there is a capping of ORS/Devonian strata but Sedgwick and Darwin did not go up the steep hill in their gig, thus missing the solution to the puzzle by two miles!

In early August Sedgwick and Darwin left Shrewsbury for North Wales to  look at the base of the Carboniferous Limestone hoping to find first ORS and then “Silurian” below it. They failed as there was no ORS. After that they went round Anglesea and found that no more helpful, though they found some ORS identified by Henslow in 1822, though some of that was mis-identified and turned out to be far older.  On 20th August Darwin left Sedgwick to go home via Cwm Idwal and Barmouth.  Sedgwick started working on strata by Llanberis, but had no stratigraphic markers or fossils to guide him. After a few years he managed to make sense of the geology.  Sedgwick called all these Cambrian and Murchison called southern Wales strata Silurian. It took another 50 years to sort them out properly into Cambrian Ordovician and Silurian.

 

After leaving Sedgwick at Caernarfon, he took a coach to Cwm Idwal, not knowing anything about the geology, except that it was older than the ORS. He had no geological guides to help him, so simply made notes. Cwm Idwal is a glacial cirque carved out of Ordovician Volcanics. Darwin gave brief descriptions regarding most as “altered slate” with some resembling basalt.

He also note volcanic rocks at Devil’s Kitchen which he considered  the Volcanic rocks at Devils Kitchen to be  “Basalt protruded out of the slate” as an “inverted cone”. In fact, they were laid flat  and then gently folded into a syncline, as Sedgwick pointed out to Darwin in a later letter after .

1842 Glacier visit

In 1842 Darwin returned to Snowdonia, having travelled round the world in the Beagle. His purpose was to see whether the Glacial Theories of Agassiz and Buckland were correct. In 1838 he had been to Glen Roy and in 1838 and 1839 had looked at the gravels around Shrewsbury and concluded that “glaciers” has some influence. Initially he was wary of Agassiz’s ideas of a continental ice age and after Buckland visited Snowdonia in October 1842, when he demonstrated glaciations, Darwin went to Snowdonia for 10days in June 1842. (In fact he had half written his first manuscript[1842] on Natural Selection before he went and finished it on return.)

He confirmed the terrestrial glaciations in Snowdonia and confirmed Buckland’s identification of glacial troughs. The highlight was his visit to Cwm Idwal where he identified the remains of an icefall by Ogwen cottage, ice-scoured rocks and moraines. Most interesting are two boulders he described, now known as Darwin’s boulders. After visiting Moel Tryfan, which he realised was sea-ice he returned to Nant Peris near Llanberis and made more observations.

Darwin had confirmed that these deep valleys were not formed by rivers………

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

References.

Darwin at Llanymynech; British Journal for the History of Science, 1996, Vol 29, pp469-78

Darwin’s Dog-leg ; Archives of the History of Natural History, 1998, Vol 25, p59-73

I   coloured a map ; Archives of the History of Natural History, 2000, Vol 27,p69-79

Charles Darwin’s 1831 notes of Shropshire,Archives of the History of Natural History 2002,Vol 29 , p 27-9; co-authored  with Prof.S.Herbert (University of Maryland)

Darwin’s Welsh Geology, 1831,  Endeavour  Spring 2001, 25, p33-37

Darwin, Buckland and the Welsh Ice Age, 1837 – 1842, accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Geological Association 2012

Sandra Herbert; Charles Darwin;geologist 2005

DSCF7006

A stormy sunset from Plas y Brenin looking to Snowdon – Crib goch peeping through the clouds

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1]

[2]

bowland brewery subjected to hate campaign for supporting hen harriers

Are the comments an admission of guilt that Hen Harriers are being exterminated in the Bowland Fells

I haven’t seen Harriers in the Bowland Fells for nearly 10 years and want to know why. The fewer raptors I see in the fells convinces me that something is going on

 

https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2016/07/27/bowland-brewery-subjected-to-hate-campaign-for-supporting-hen-harriers/#comments 

bowland brewery subjected to hate campaign for supporting hen harriers

Bowland brewery HHEarlier this year, the Bowland Brewery in Lancashire committed to donate a proportion of the proceeds from the sale of its Hen Harrier beer to the RSPB’s hen harrier conservation projects (see press statement here).

James Warburton, owner of Bowland Brewery said: “The hen harrier is a living symbol of Bowland Brewery’s intimate connection with the landscape where we produce our beers.

The very real prospect that this beautiful bird of prey may disappear from the skies above the Forest of Bowland is unthinkable. That’s why we are committing to donate a significant sum of money each year to safeguard the future of one of Bowland’s most iconic residents.

As the harriers return to the Bowland Fells to nest this spring, we hope to see nature-lovers visiting the area to marvel at their amazing skydance and celebrate with a pint of the beer these rare and precious birds inspired.

By buying Hen Harrier by the pint or in bottles, locals and visitors alike will be making a positive contribution to hen harrier conservation in Bowland – and ultimately helping the population to grow.”

bowland breweryRecently, this photograph of Chris Packham and Mark Avery enjoying a pint of Bowland Brewery’s Hen Harrier beer, was posted on the Bowland Brewery’s social media platforms (twitter and facebook). As a result, some individuals from the grouse-shooting industry have launched a hate campaign aimed directly at the Bowland Brewery.

Bowland Brewery’s facebook page was targeted with a torrent of fake reviews, resulting in a drop in their overall review rating. Comments posted on facebook by the grouse-shooting trolls included:

“Get this off tomorrow or we will hound you”.

“They drink with the devil. Destroy the business!”

“Side with Packham and the knife comes out”

“They thought going with Packham was good. Now they must feel the pain”

“Shut them down. Anti shooting”.

“You can run but not hide. Hammer em!”

“Shut down the business. Shut down, boycott, whatever. Get Bowland Brewery outed”.

“Get hold of the boss and tell him to mend his ways. Otherwise we will crush em”.

Nice guys, eh? Wonder how many of them making threats have a shotgun/firearms certificate? There are some known gamekeepers involved in this hate campaign, including the Head Gamekeeper of Millden Estate in the Angus Glens, Bert Burnett from the Scottish Gamekeepers’ Association (who wrote “Well done everyone”) and some of the comments have been ‘liked’ by the official facebook page of the National Gamekeepers’ Organisation.

All slightly ironic from an industry that has recently accused Chris Packham of ‘celebrity bullying’ (see here) just because he’s politely asking Marks and Spencer to be transparent about their claims that their red grouse are produced ethically and sustainably (see here).

It’s also ironic that this hate campaign against the brewery comes from an industry that purports to be interested in protecting rural jobs. The Bowland Brewery is a small business, employing local people, in a rural community.

If you want to show your support for the Bowland Brewery and their ethical and charitable support of hen harrier conservation, please consider buying their beer. It’s available in various local outlets (see here) and can also be bought online (see here).

If you want to support the campaign to ban driven grouse shooting, because it’s the only way hen harriers will be allowed to thrive in the English uplands, then please join 65,000 others and sign THIS PETITION.

16 Responses to “Bowland Brewery subjected to hate campaign for supporting hen harriers”

  1. 1peter hatton

    July 27, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    could do with a pint after reading all that I’m spitting feathers!

    • 2Andrea Goddard

      July 27, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Me too Peter. I’ve just left a 5* review/comment. It seems that Andy Richardson has been stirring again and has initiated the hate-filled posts against the brewery.

      • 3Les Wallace

        July 27, 2016 at 4:09 pm

        Andy Richardson – oh well there’s a surprise. Not so long ago a wildlife rescue centre in Wales posted a picture of a juvenile cucloo that had come in misidentifying it as a kestrel. He had a field day mocking them for that, people who donate time, effort and money helping injured wildlife being ridiculed for a not so bad and probably temporary mistake. One of Richardson’s charming buddies added the lovely comment F***wits (they didn’t use asterisks mind). Richardson wasn’t quite so hard himself though when he posted one of his narcisstic videos in which he berated the RSPB for its supposed mismanagement of Mar Lodge Estate. A very serious criticism indeed considering Mar Lodge is owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland. We know who the real bile brigade are.

  2. July 27, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    To the grouse shooting industry – keep giving us the nails and we will happily hammer them in to your coffin.

  3. 5Marco McGinty

    July 27, 2016 at 2:00 pm

    Aye, nice people right enough.

    They’re not content with carrying out widespread persecution, trying to get people sacked, or just blatantly lying on the whole, they’re now resorting to acts bordering on terrorism.

    Hopefully the Bowland Brewery have informed the police, and swift action will be taken against those trying to bully and intimidate.

  4. 6Secret Squirrel

    July 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I do hope they have all use dtheir real names, as it makes it so much easier for the Police to identify them. I do hope that Bowland Brewery report each of them

  5. 7Marco McGinty

    July 27, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    Forgot to mention that I was reading some nonsense recently on the shooting pages, and apparently there are people going around Scotland reintroducing Goshawks and Pine Martens just for the sake of it.

    A lot of these shooting types really are dim-witted in the extreme!

  6. 8Caro McAdam

    July 27, 2016 at 2:09 pm

    Just bought a case online. Looking forward to it!

  7. 9Peter Shearer

    July 27, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    I will support these and we all need to do the same to help those that make the right decisions. Perhaps at some time we should compile a list of the good and the bad-so that we can at least make an informed choice.The ethical consumer website might help us.

  8. 10Tim Dixon

    July 27, 2016 at 2:39 pm

    Just bought 12 bottles of Hen Harrier. Suggest everyone else does the same.

  9. July 27, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Like Caro, I have just bought a case online and suggest others do likewise. I’ve also posted this story on FB & asked others to follow my example. In addition, I have emailed a message of support to Bowland Brewery. Anyone know who I can email in the CA?

  10. 12Jeff S

    July 27, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    And the shooting folk behind this hate campaign refer to normal, rational people like us as the “bile brigade”…

    I’m teetotal but will buy some anyway.

  11. 14Carole

    July 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Bile; hate; aggression. Maybe these poor people can’t help it? If they are eating lead contaminated game, perhaps they have been affected?

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/jan/07/violent-crime-lead-poisoning-british-export

    The evidence does seem to be stacking up. Thank goodness lead has been banned in paint & petrol. I also believe it affects fertility. Several of my male ancestral relatives, who were housepainters in Victorian days when paint was lead based, although married never had any children. Their brother, my ancestor, who was a miner, had a large family.

    Anyway, lets all support Bowland Brewery and hope the extra publicity, far from being damaging, results in improved sales of Hen Harrier beer. My husband likes it anyway!

  12. 15Mr Greer Hart, senior

    July 27, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    For the first time in human history, there has arisen a part of humanity, represented world wide and across many cultures, that shows a deep and committed concern to save the other life forms with which humanity shares the Earth, from cruelty and death from many forms of abuse. Arraigned against that force of compassion, there are many who act harmfully towards animals, and the whole natural world. Shooting game birds on a large scale, poaching and trophy shooting endangered species, using animals in circuses and in certain badly designed and managed zoos, unmonitored slaughterhouses and factory farms, illegal pet trade, blood sports and bullfighting, laboratory experiments, and many more forms of ill-treating other creatures, have brought into existence many organisations to campaign against animal cruelty and the conservation of wild species, along with the protection of essential habitats. Surely some approach by the management of all our charities working to save from pain and from extinction, whereby, in some matter of deep concern, there could be a coming together to get those members who may have an interest in forming a common concern. That common concern would create good Samaratin attitude to epiphanise all, and henceforth, all welfarists and conservationists would coalesce and make the Government see that one area of gross and impertinent criminality requires immediate attention. That corrupting and nullifying of the law by powerful interests, who mock and threaten when some celebrity like Chris Packham or a company such as the Bowland Brewery, make a humane appeal to save our Birds of Prey, and to donate the resources to campaign more effectively. When a man like Donald Trump can become a landowner, as that man once did in Scotland’s Cairngorm area, and use it as a shooting estate, then Scotland does need a more revitalised attitude from its Governments; one that recognises, despite the blusterings that shooting estates contribute so much to our economy, that not just anyone should own or manage integral parts of our natural landscape, and do as they please. The future for any country in this world, is now painfully apparent, is to ban all excessive hunting and to eliminate poaching of wildlife. If not, then we will have created an extinction as bad as any asteroid strike would create.

    Donald Trump and his ilk have made the USA a horror story for its wildlife, with many species under severe threat, such as the Grizzly, the Wolf, Mountain Lion, Wolverine, from an obsessive hunting lobby that wants all opposition to their killing deer. Our shooting estates are their counterparts here, with pogroms of Mountain Hares and Birds of Prey. Trump was eventually persuaded to sell up through the efforts of Olympic runner and rambler, Chris Brasher, and his former estate is now part of the Cairngorm National Park. Scotland has an opportunity to become the first country in the world to eradicate industrial scale slaughter of game birds, and to effectively reduce in size, if not eliminate, if nonconformity to the law is experienced, the centuries old grip of excessive hunting has had. Our politicians have been woefully lacking, in the main, in seeing the need for the teaching of humane education and respect for life, in our schools and further education. If the Government can attain targets to cover the land and seascapes with wind farms to make Scotland free of fossil fuel use, then surely it can use similar fervour to challenge and overcome the “industry” that appals all humane thinking people, the cruel suppression of our wildlife. Those who support the various political parties should pressure their respective representatives on this subject, as should those of religious persuasion to help save the creatures of God’s wonderful creation. How can all our wonderful conservation charities ask other countries to save their willdlife when we have such an anomaly here in Scotland and the rest of the UK, of our law enforcement not being able to effectively deal with protected species? How can anyone derive pleasure from the mass killing of birds and other animals, without conscience? It exhibits a contempt of Life. The Bushman can hunt to survive, but the trophy hunter kills for perverse pleasure and ego enhancement.

  13. July 27, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Fantastic conservation – ignore the trolls they are the dinosaurs. Keep up the good work – will happily buy your product.

Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth

An excellent book about a wonderful place which Creationists are determined to misunderstand

Age of Rocks

Book Review
Grand Canyon: Monument to an Ancient Earth
by Carol Hill, Gregg Davidson, Tim Helble, and Wayne Ranney (editors)
(hardback from Amazon or direct from the publisher for under $30)

divider

Prelude to Catastrophe: Why this book is so needed today

When I was 16 years old, I encountered the first book I ever read about geology. It was the first step of many toward a doctorate in the discipline. To this day, I can still praise Steven Austin’s Grand Canyon: Monument to Catastrophe as a simple primer on the processes by which sedimentary rocks form. His explanations of features like cross bedding, faulting, erosion, and layering were clear, accessible, and generally accurate. Yet Austin’s book did not gain popularity for accomplishing what any introductory textbook already had. His provocative message was that the Grand Canyon was laced with fingerprints of a recent global catastrophe, as described in chapters 6-9 of the…

View original post 1,871 more words