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Art Rocks !

I had a lovely day out today with Ven and Helen; we went to visit Creswell Crags, which is the site of the only Ice Age rock art known in Britain. It's a beautiful limestone gorge, not very deep, but still dramatic and a lovely place to spend time on a nice day like today.
  After a slight misunderstanding of the Googleearth route plan Helen had downloaded, we consulted the regular road map and arrived by what was a better route. The visitors centre is currently rather small, but they're building a much larger museum and esducation centre. We pottered around the little exhibition they currently have and then took out picnic lunches outdoors to eat in the shade of the wooden pagoda.

Refreshed, we wandered down to the gorge and looked at the lake there. There were plenty of wildfowl to watch - the usual mallards, a swan and some coots, with little cute coot chicks. It's a great site to practise your bird or plant spotting. We saw some long-tailed tits swooping about, and watched jackdaws popping in and out of a hole in the cliff face. Ven threw her bread crusts for the baby coots, and the parents picked the bits of bread from the water to feed to their chicks. Then the ducks came flying in for the food, so fast and furious that two coming from opposite directions actually collided as they landed.

We were the only people who'd signed up for the Rock Art cave tour, which was rather nice. It took a little while to get your eye in, so you could make sense of the shapes and begin to see the art. The guide had a laser pointer she used to indicate the outlines, which was very helpful. I think Ven rather intimidated her at the beginning (unintentionally) by telling the guide that two of her three visitors had studied archaeology at University. I pointed out that this was a good 20 years ago.

On the walk back, we were asking questions about some of the plants, as there was masses of wild flowers growing. It so happened the the site's warden was a little way behind us, so we let him catch up and asked questions. We saw a cuckoo flower, cuckoo pint, forget-me-nots, English and Spanish bluebells and a few others. There was plenty of wild garlic growing, so Ven and I both  nibbled leaves. There were also masses of yellow-flowered dead nettles, which I'd never seen before. Ven had seen the yellow ones in Aldershot, where she grew up, but was less familiar with the red-flowered ones, which were common where I grew up.

When we got back to the visitors centre, we all reckoned we'd done enough walking to justify ice-cream, so treated ourselves. I'd been using my stick and was limping all day but there wasn't too much walking involved for me.

Got home with plenty of time to relax and get settled down before Dr Who.

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