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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Teesdale Fighting Ant. A New Discovery

its that bloody kirkcarrion again

There’s been a slight hiatus on the Pie Blog during which I’ve been mainly dog-sitting for an urgently incontinent geriatric dog. Sometimes you have to do these things.

But I’m back now and I’ve noticed that during the gap, there’s been a bit of a build-up or queue of Things To Do, including today’s Reccy for a walk up the Pennine Way in Teesdale wot I’m doing at the weekend. I will include more stuff about this after Sunday, including maps and photies, diagrams and scientific references.

But, after such a gap , I must say that this morning, Teesdale was looking extremely beautiful and sunny and, well, just really good. And here’s some pictures of Things I Saw…

bog asphodel near high force

There’s a lot of this flower near High Force. No, I mean a lot……  I think it’s Bog Ashpodel

high force

And if you visit High Force and pay the fee and you’re by the river taking pictures, be aware that there are people on the crag above you watching what you’re doing. So don’t do anything rude or naughty. We could spit on your head from here…

juniper berries

The juniper woodland near High Force is dying from a fungus infection. These are juniper berries. These could well be very important for the survival of Teesdale junipers.  They taste of gin by the way. They’re a bit crunchy.


This is some kind of vetch. Its obviously a pea family flower, but I seem to have a problem identifying vetches. Its pretty, though, eh? There’s loads of it in the meadow near Cronkley.

river tees

The Tees is just magnificent at this point. Its quite wild up here, innit?

pw middleton forest reccy 018

It’s heartening to see that the farmer’s kids of Upper Teesdale are learning the right way to express Get Off My Land notices. This one shows a certain flair. Bless ‘em, ..sniff (sign at forest School)

pw middleton forest reccy 019

I came across this pair of juvenile hedgehogs behind the school.  Before you all go “ah, bless..cute..” you should be aware that they’re both dead. Stiff as bricks. It’s a bit odd, though…..  maybe I should tell somebody….

pw middleton forest reccy 020

This lad just doesn’t care….  There’s a few of these up Teesdale just now. They all seem pretty relaxed, which is A Good Thing.

And that was it.

Justaminnit, I hear you ask…worrabout these ants…?

Its a sad tale, and there will be no photographs. I sat by the river today, for the purpose of scoffing an orange and watching the foam drift by..  and I was brutally attacked by a bunch of ants. Not only did these gangsters bite my bum at the time, but several hid in my shorts and delivered several nasty nips over the next half a mile, during my retreat, as it were. These turned out to be a rare breed of Teesdale Fighting Ants – A vicious, scheming, sneaky, suicidal (I killed a few of them) and completely ruthless breed mainly concerned with the targetting of unsuspecting innocent ramblers’ naughty parts. My shorts area now appears to be grievously damaged in ways which are unsuitable for family viewing. So no pictures (be grateful for this) .We have germoline, though and I’m going to be busy picking scabs over the next week or so. So every cloud….

Luckily, my wife is a qualified nurse. Unfortunately, she seems to think that this is funny for some reason.




dittzzy said...

I'm not laughing either (Much). :-D

Alan R said...

Good to see you out and about again Mike. I wondered what was going on. I thought "is there a bloggers convention on somewhere" because blogland is pretty dead. The weather must be putting peeps off.

I think those ants had laid up in your gear from Cadair and the warm sun brought them back out. However they were lost and hungry. Were they Terabytes by any chance.

Oldmortality said...

There's something reassuringly 1950s about Germoline. When pink was the colour of health. Kids went to school wearing bread poultices on boils and vivid purple iodine on impatigo.

Jules said...

Funny how an experience like this happening to someone else is hilarious!

Enjoyed that very much.

Mike Knipe said...

Dittzzy and Jules - Thanks for your sympathy...! (Incredibly itchy this morning.)
Alan - I think the Holympics may have something to do with lack of activity on the interweb. Forums are quiet too. I seem to be attracting ants, for some reason. I had a nip on Cadair Idris as well.
Oldmortality. You're quite right, soothingly pink and smells a bit of a fine Islay malt. My brother was stripped naked and painted with dolly blue by my Grandma after blundering into a wasps nest. (Dolly blue was for washing whites, for those who don't know. I think it worked anyway..)

Mike Knipe said...

I should add to my last comment, that my brother was aged about nine at the time - it was a long, long time ago. No, I mean, a really long time ago....

Eeek said...

I love your quips and tales and quirky comments. Damn those virulent Teesdale Fighting Ants!

lol at Mrs knipe finding it all so very funny.

PhilR said...

I don't know its a funny world, nothing from that MONSTER of a bull but you get viciously attacked by the deadly Teesdale fighting ant, brilliant enjoyed that. BTW some very nice photos.

Dawn said...

Oh dear Mike, antsy ants!! You have a thing about ants? Be warned there are more where we are heading next week. The ant telegraph system will be sending those Welsh ants all your details!!

Andrew W said...

If you sit on their nest you will of course ANTagonise them.

I'll get me coat....

Louise said...

Conall (our youngest son) has a similar tale of biting ants from when he was about four. He too was striped naked, to remove the offending creatures on top of a hill, Creag Beag behind Kingussie I believe. There was much hilarity and tears...