It shouldn’t be happening. Bowness-on-Windermere swans are notoriously aggressive, and yet these two are approaching me as though I were another swan.

I’m not, obviously. But I am in the water with them. Why this is taking place needs some explanation…

We live a short drive from the shores of Lake Windermere. Our collie needs a decent daily walk, and the park areas around Bowness are ideal. There’s only one problem – the mud, especially in the winter. Winter walks, here, need a robust pair of wellingtons, often well into the spring.

The first part of the walk over, we headed along the shore, past the ferry point and up the slope towards the Costa Coffee shop; one of the few places open in the town- but only for take-aways, of course.

Returning with our coffee, we settled on one of the benches to watch the birds: mainly geese and several of Windermere’s beautiful but deadly swans.

And then I noticed a potential photograph, and remarked to myself that one would need to be a few metres into the water to do it justice. Looking down at my feet, I realised that I was equipped to do such a thing. I asked Bernie to hold my coffee, and to the surprise of several passers-by, waded out into the calm lake.

The first image was disappointing. I realised it needed a ‘vertical panorama’ to make a full mirror of the cloud formation that had drawn my attention. It’s quite an athletic operation when you’re practically knee-deep in icy water. But it was worth it.

Hearing a noise behind me and still holding the camera at arm’s length, I turned. Two large swans were approaching me, fast and stealthily. My first reaction was: “Well, if I’m going to get attacked, I might as well have the photo that goes with it…”

But they didn’t. They stopped a couple of feet from my wellies and stared at me, peacefully. It took me a few seconds to realise that my presence in the water had somehow reassured them. They escorted me to the shore and my laughing wife with her surfeit of coffee. I don’t expect ever to get a shot of swans like that, again, but I’m glad I got this one!

I’ll not be pushing my luck, though… I’ve seen them steal cheeseburgers from children… Mine, a long time ago.

©Stephen Tanham, 2021.

Stephen Tanham is a Director of the Silent Eye, A journey through the forest of personality to the sunrise of Being.

18 Comments on “Approaching delight

  1. Pingback: Approaching delight | Books & Bonsai

  2. We often had swans and their cygnets come alongside us on the boat. they were not aggressive and content to let us take photos, but we weren’t daft enough to try and touch.
    here the geese have let me get close to take pictures of their young. I suppose in a way it’s because we always talk to them when we walk by and they were used to us. Maggie never used to bother them either, or the ducks for that matter, so it always made for a lovely walk and some nice pictures. These swans are beautiful Steve.

    Liked by 1 person

      • It was truly wonderful Steve. It was as if they were showing us their babies. We never fed them, but we did talk to them every day in passing. I wish my Mum could have seen them. She loved swans, so I was always writing about them and sent some pictures via email to my sister for her.


  3. The vertical picture is fantastic, Steve. Worth wading into the water for. I’m sure the swans thought you were most interesting, and the people, well, they probably thought you were quite mad [smile].

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Robbie. Yes, ‘another crazy tourist… and he’s going to drop that phone, mark my words!’ And, had they attacked… 😎


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