I spent most of today bobbing about in an inflatable boat on a mere in Cheshire. It was the second day of a two day trip to help out colleagues there with their lake monitoring. The setting was superb, a large mere with an old abbey sitting close to the shore, reedy edges and bays with water lilies. But somehow, it just couldn't compare to this view along the shore back towards the Arnside viaduct, a wonderful light show and molten skies reflecting in the estuary.
As M and I drove back to Cumbria, we were both feeling relieved to be back amongst the low wooded hills, the coast and looming Lake District mountains. The Cheshire mere was only superficially attractive. Up close it was like pea soup with a scum of blue green algae over the surface. Alas, the catchment is dominated by intensive dairy farming, and we were seeing the by-product of this land use - the run off of phosphorus and other nutrients from fertilisers and slurry spreading. Phosphorus levels in the mere are ten times higher than they should be.
Great as it was to have two days out in the field, messing about in boats, nothing could compare to an evening walking along the estuary after the sun had set. We are so lucky to live and work here.