Friday, 23 October 2015

Ferns on Old Castle Walls

Some ferns find old and crumbling castle walls an excellent habitat. I think that the above fern is the common polypody (Polypodium vulgare)
Common Polypody (on the right) together with maidenhair spleenwort.
Maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes) growing in the cracks along the wall. The walls also provide an excellent habitat for mosses and lichens.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Part of a Roman Tombstone

Still at Brougham Castle in the ceiling in one of the many passages part of a Roman tombstone had been incorporated into the original building.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Brougham Castle

While on holiday visited Brougham Castle a medieval building near Penrith built on the site of a former Roman fort known as Brocavum.  The castle was founded by  Robert de Vieuxpont in the early 13th century. It's in a beautiful setting close to the River Eamont and on a clear day the views are amazing.
 The approach to the castle
Ruined castle walls
The splendid view from the castle.
 The bridge over the River Eamont, a tributary of the Eden.

The confluence of the rivers Eamont and Lowther.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Feverfew and Tansy

A plant of feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) which has self-seeded in my garden. Although I think it's quite an attractive flower feverfew is usually considered to be an invasive weed in gardens. In the past, however, it was a useful medicinal herb. Its common name "feverfew" derives from the Latin  febrifugia, meaning "fever reducer" although it is no longer considered useful for that purpose. Though its earliest medicinal use is unknown, it was documented in the first century  as an anti-inflammatory by the Greek herbalist physician Dioscorides.
Recently, feverfew has been used as a prophylactic treatment for migraine. After taking feverfew some people reported that their migraines gradually became less frequent and in a few cases stopped altogether and a trial published in 2005 reported on the efficacy of feverfew as a viable preventative treatment for migraine. Various preparations of feverfew are available commercially. Although they are rather bitter, it is also possible to use one or two fresh leaves of the plant taken in a salad or a sandwich on a daily basis. Feverfew is contraindicated in pregnancy and as with any herbal product professional advice should be taken as there may be toxic side effects.

Another flower of the same genus is tansy  (Tanacetum vulgare) which was growing close to the old railway track in Lower Largo. For many years, tansy was used as a medicinal herb despite its toxicity. A bitter tea made with tansy flowers has been used for centuries as an anthelmintic to treat parasitic worm infestations, and tansy cakes were traditionally eaten during Lent because it was believed that eating fish during Lent caused intestinal worms. However, it has no place in modern herbal medicine.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Lion's Mane Jellyfish

Every so often, a number of jelly fish get stranded on the beach at Lundin Links. The stranding may depend on particular wind and tide conditions. In this case they were lion's mane jellyfish(Cyanea capillata) which is the world's largest - their bells can be over 2 metres across. However, they vary greatly in size and the bell diameter can be as small as around 10cm. The ones I saw stranded on the beach were around 10 to 25cm across. They have a mass of thin tentacles that resemble a lion's mane, which is where they get their name from.
They can deliver a painful sting, even once washed up dead on the beach and so should not be touched.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

A Sunny Autumn Day at Lower Largo

This has been a beautiful week of weather and Lower Largo looked picture postcard perfect.