This season's extended day out was to Derbyshire and the limestone delights of Lathkilldale. Brian's cousin Jo and her friend Peter proved to be very knowlegable guides and Jo's leaving her car at the finishing point of the walk to allow us to retrieve the minibus enabled us to do a linear walk from Monyash to Over Haddon which added much to our enjoyment of the day. We had one or two light showers, but apart from that the rain held off until we were safely enconsed in the Lathkill Hotel for aperitifs prior to our evening meal (the local Whim Ale's Hartington Bitter was almost worth the trip in itself!).
Lathkilldale is a narrow steep-sided glacial melt-water valley and is part of the Derbyshire Dales National Nature Reserve. An abundance of butterflies and moths flitted about all day long and we recorded 10 species. The vast variety of flowers to identify and record ensured that the speed of the walk never got above crawling pace at most times with the total plant count eventually being confirmed at 176 which included 130 species in flower. This week's highlights were Jacob's Ladder, Hoary Mullein, Red Hemp-Nettle and Nettle-Leafed Bellflower. In Sue's absence, Julia was chief photographer and she took some super shots of what Peter hopes will prove Joan's identification of the red hemp-nettle, which Peter advised us would be a first record for Lathkilldale. Birds were not too numerous but dipper, spotted flycatcher and redstart were welcome sightings.
Another excellent day's outing was arranged by Joan, Brian and Margaret (who had to miss the trip as she is still unfortunately hors de combat - we all wish her a speedy recovery).