Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Caterpillar glut

It's not quite all over yet. Penny and I spent part of the weekend making the lovely crossing from Ennerdale to Buttermere along the Floutern pass (pronounced Floo-turn). It's little-frequented at this time of year and my illustrious namesake Alfred W has put off potential explorers by dismissing the section at the head of Mosedale as a quagmire. So it is, but a quagmire with ways through it. It's also rich in this particular variety of 'woolly bear' caterpillar which I shall research when I have time. Some sort of Tiger? Or Eggar? We will see. I've included the end of my sturdy walking pole for scale, and to demonstrate the quality of Mosedale Head mud. The valley is also notable for a large holly which is the only tree in the Lake District to be marked individually by the Ordnance Survey. The reason is simple and understandable when you sit at the head of the valley munching your pie. There are no others to be seen anywhere in the huge view.
PS I've done my research now, and I think it's a Fox Moth cattie. It looks right and Arthur Ransome, my illustrious predecessor on The Guardian wrote in Swallows and Amazons about episodes based on his own youthful visits to the Lakes, including tickling trout, meeting charcoal burners - and collecting Fox Moth caterpillars on the fells.


Anonymous said...

Bit of a coincidence, I've been trying to find out the identity of this same caterpillar having recently found it on the cliffs at Whitsand Bay, Cornwall. They're all on the move!

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Toni - you're dead right. We found five and they were all heading somewhere. I guess to pupate. I'm pretty sure they are Fox Moth ones cos someone usually corrects me pretty promptly when I'm wrong, as is often the case. Interesting that the moth has such a wide range, although the high ground in the Lakes and Cornwall and Devon has a lot in common. All warm wishes, Martin