Friday, July 6, 2018

Bøyabreen, a glacier in Norway

On our journey through the Norwegian fjords, we stopped at the Norwegian Glacier Museum in Fjærland. This is also the visitor centre for the Jostedalsbreen National Park. From here you can just see part of the Bøyabreen, or Boya glacier.

 An oystercatcher -
 Looking away from the glacier -

This glacier is an arm of the Jostedalsbreen. We left the museum and headed for the glacier.

The sun came out and gave a blue tinge to the side of the glacier -

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Nærøyfjord, Norway

In 2016 I visited part of the World Heritage site of Geirangerfjord in Norway. In June 2018 I managed to visit the other half of the WH site, Nærøyfjord. To get to it, we took the railway from our hotel in Voss to Myrdal, and there we transferred to the Flam Railway. This took us down to the fjord. This is one of the steepest descents in the world and this adhesion type railway on normal tracks is the steepest in the world. It descends 863 m. Myrdal is at 865 m and Flam at 2 m. Consequently the line goes round and round. It is 20 km in distance and has 20 tunnels totally 6 km. The maximum gradient is 55%, 1 : 18. It takes one hour. The railway criss-crosses the river. In this photo taken from the train window, 2 levels of tunnels can be seen -

It is one of the world’s most scenic rides with high mountains, rivers cutting through deep ravines and waterfalls cascade down from snowcapped mountains. At the really impressive Kjos waterfall, 93 m free fall. The train stops to allow passengers to get off for photos. A girl was dancing and singing high up by the fall. 

The line ends at Flam, 

Flam is the start of the Aurlandsfjord - 

We then took a cruise along this fjord, to Gudvangen. 

It is the second arm of the fjord that is the Nærøyfjord. These are small branches of the main Sognefjord. The Sognefjord is the longest and deepest in Norway and is 204 km long and more than 1300 m deep, with the mountains rising to 1700 m. The Naeroyfjord  is UNESCO World Heritage – it comes under the West Norwegian Fjords along with Geirangerfjord which I did in 2016. Naeroyfjord is the narrowest of the fjord arms with very steep mountains. 

The Naeroyfjord area is famed for the anorthosite rock and there is just one quarry, no more are allowed under WH. All the mountains are white anorthosite, although of course the outside has weathered to dark colours. Anorthosite is igneous and contains aluminum oxide though it is too expensive to extract.

Friday, June 15, 2018

St Antholin's Spire, Forest Hill

I've been using Forest Hill library for many years, but it was only this year that I found out about the nearby St Antholin's Spire. This is a church spire without the church!

The original St Antholin's Church was located in Budge Row in the City of London. After it was destoyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666, the church was rebuilt on designs by Sir Christopher Wren. It had an octagonal stone spire.

In 1829 the upper part of the spire was replaced. The removed portion, including the dragon's head weather vane, was sold for £5 to Robert Harrild. Harrild was a printer and erected the spire on his property, Round Hill House, where is still remains, surrounded by modern houses.

The spire is Grade II listed by Historic England but its future is unknown.

This Cedar of Lebanon tree is very close to the spire, and once stood in the garden of Harild's grand manor house. The houses later became the Sydenham and Forest Hill Social Club, then was demolished in the 1960s when the townhouses were built.

St. Antholin's Church was demolished in 1874. See Wikipedia entry.

Read more about the spire on Forest Hill Society.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Jupiter, May 2018

Jupiter has been really bright the last few nights.In May 2018, Jupiter is the second brightest planet, after Venus. Jupiter ascends in the east after sunset, and I have been getting a clear view of it in the south sky as it is dark, from around 9.30 pm.

According to earthsky.org, Jupiter is at its best this month in all of 2018. It is brighter than any star.
However Venus, which is in the western sky, is brighter, so I need to look out for that.

I only have a digital camera and no tripod, so can't get any good photos. These are the best I could do!

10.30 pm on 19th May

9.38 pm on 20th May

camera shake, not Jupiter on the move!!!

9.44 pm on 22nd May
On May 27th, the almost full moon rose in the sky and situated well to its right was Jupiter -

The full moon was on 29th but it was too cloudy in London to see it. This is the 30th view -

I did see Venus in Jan 2017.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Millers Pond, Shirley

Millers Pond is a very small park in Shirley, and comes under Croydon Council. There is a pond, which was originally one of three in the grounds of Spring Park House and farm estate.

The pond was used for watering the animals and soaking cartwheels to prevent them from shrinking. The original farm buildings no longer exist, but were situated north of the pond. You can see the second pond to the north, and the farm was west of this -

The house was demolished in the 1960s. However Croydon Council acquired the pond and surroundings in 1934 and it was named after the last farm tenants.

Today there is a small area of green as well as the pond. 

The pond is home to many waterfowl. There are Canada geese, mallards and coots, which I saw, as well as tufted ducks, grey herons and moorhens. Birds among the daisies -

 Different markings around the eyes on the above and below goose
 A coot -

Many people go to the pond to feed the birds. But as with most other public parks now, there are many notices asking people not to feed white bread to the birds -

A coot -

Mother coot and fluff balls -

There are two islands on the pond, on which the birds live and breed.

The park is now looked after by Friends of Millers Pond.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Coombe Wood, Croydon

Coombe Wood near Croydon is an ornamental garden and woodland. I went in early May primarily to see the rhododendrons and azaleas but they were already past their best. However the gardens and woods were still really pretty and well worth a visit.

Coombe Wood was first opened to the public in 1948. It was the former garden of Coombe Wood House. Coombe Wood supplied water to the estate through three conduits, hence the name of the adjoining road, Conduit Lane.

You enter the gardens and are met by colourful flower beds and a small pond on the left.

A little path winds through a rock garden. Surprisingly the rockery is made from artificial rock, named Pulhamite after the landscape garden who created it in the late 19th century, James Pulham.

Heading towards the woods -

Rhodondrodons -