It's time for us to take a stroll once again in the land of local blogs. With winter drawing in, bringing with it its cold and its rain, this is an apt time of year to remind ourselves of the more positive aspect of nature, wildlife and the great outdoors in general.
First up, is Save The Ribble, a blog whose aim, in the words of the blog itself, is to preserve 'the beauty of the River Ribble, and opposing the Riverworks 'vision' to build a barrage on our River and develop on our riverbanks, floodplains and green spaces, causing damage to wildlife and the environment and increasing the risk of flooding to our homes.' Active locals and regular visitors to the blog will know it has already been successful in preventing the Ribble's riverbanks and South Ribble's Green Belt from being 'developed', and also in forcing the council to abandon plans to build a barrage across the Ribble.
Save The Ribble is part of a wider campaign to protect local nature, the Ribble and the surrounding area in particular. A campaign which includes Along with Ribble Cycle Diaries, a sort of companion blog, which, after contributing to the victories against local council plans, continues to promote local cycling, currently recommending the Ribble Coast And Wetlands Walking Festival, and features some plain ol' lovely pictures of the Ribble.
Wildlife pictures abound on Brian Rafferty's blog. Brian is a photographer and uses his blog to showcase his stunning wildlife pictures. It's a truly absorbing portfolio with close-up and crystal-clear shots of all the birdlife the region has to offer, with a brief but illuminating accompanying texts. One of the joys is that, although we're currently entering into the grip of bleakest midwinter, you can still see the natural world of the summer: a spotted flycatcher here, a bittern there. Or, if you like, you can marvel some of the current climate's miracles of the nature, such as this flock of starlings.
Continuing the bird-theme, Ribble To Amazon! is another birder-blog, this time taking in the birds of Latin America alongside those found in Lancashire, as Colin Bushell documents his travels through the exotic climes of Peru and Brazil, and through the marginally less exotic climes of Cumbria. So, as well as our native Shore Larks and Egrets, you also get to gander at Brazilian Red Crested Cardinals and Peruvian Wire-Crested Thorntail Hummingbirds.
Finally, African Brew Ha Ha, another travelogue blog, this time beating a path via motorcycle from Lancashire to Cape Town, South Africa. Although Alan Whelan, the author documents customs, cuisine and an unfortunate incident in which he crashed his Triumph and ended up in hospital, the main focus of the blog is the unifying, human powers of a cup of tea. Although the adventure came to an end last year, Whelan continues to add posts about all of these topics and a book based on his experiences is forthcoming in April next year.