Without copious quantities of rain the Lake District wouldn’t be the Lake District would it.
There wouldn’t be sumptuous moss
Although if the sun shone, the spiders would get out more.
A selvedge of snow still remains, banked up against the drystone walls, it lies in dips and gullies (or ‘gips’ as I used to call them as a child, no point wasting words when you can blend).
There are lanes that are still full to the brim, some with cars still entombed! Our lane was cleared of snow this afternoon, by man in a JCB digger.
Tom has returned home from a geography study trip to Iceland*, it has been warmer there all the time he’s been away than it has here. How silly is that. On his return he said how ‘green’ everything looks at home, but this is only in comparison to Iceland, not ‘as it should be’, at this time of year, in this part of of the world. It is dire for livestock.
Here are Joe and Spud on our walk on Sunday
Mr Uphilldowndale wanted to show me some mine workings that have ‘opened up’ recently: as a child I used to play no more than a stones throw from here.
My Mum has said for over fifty years that she is convinced the loud crash she and a friend heard one summers evening could only have been to do with the old mine workings, of which there are many around and about, both coal and lead. It’s not really what you want at the bottom of the garden.
Making them safe is the remit of The Coal Authority.
* I’ve been envious of Tom, I went to Iceland in the early 1980’s with my friend Bob’s-mum; it seemed a bit off beat for a holiday destination back then. I loved it, however unlike Tom, I didn’t get to swim in The Blue Lagoon, or see the Aurora Borealis… sigh.
The Village starts tonight on BBC1 at 9pm.
I’m sure you will enjoy the scenery, it is going to look more than a little familiar to regular readers of this blog. Enjoy.
The drama sets out in 1914, here is the Uphilldowndale homestead in around 19006-1910
I’d planned a longer post with a few links to ‘The Village’ landscape, but that will have to wait. I’ve not been so well for the last few days, all those antibiotics came at a price, Joe tried to cheer me up, ‘At least it is better than the tooth ache Mum’. I certainly hope the reaction doesn’t last as long as the tooth ache.
Well you can guess who has enjoyed this weather, Spud the warrior dog with his icy breast plate.
The rest of us may be finding it all rather difficult, not Spud the adventure dog
I know that in many parts of the world, this amount of snow is not a big deal. But it is here, and so late in the year, I’ve not seen this much snow in the lanes since my childhood
(which wasn’t 1947 since you ask). It is the winds that have caused the drama, Tom and Mr Uphilldowndale spent hours digging out the lane yesterday, it was all back again in a few hours. As Tom wryly noted, it won’t stop filling in until every field east of here is empty of snow or the wind drops.
We went to visit Mrs Bee and her boys, they are not very happy. Mrs Bees road is worse than our lane, it is not going to plough out, it will be a snow blower, digger or a long wait for it to thaw.
We took emergency supplies of cheese and wine (essential do you not think?) and Tom helped carry a bail of hay for the farmer whose sheep are in the next field. Brownie points all round.
The space between these two drystone walls is the road, the walls are about five-six foot high at this point, full to the brim.
Spud the dog, retrieved a toy Landrover from the rock pile* today . Goodness know how long it must have been there, it must be years, it’s a long time now since the boys played with such things. It must have been pre Spud, which is just as well, seeing Spuds enthusiasm for trying to chew the tyres off it this morning.
‘Back in the day’ there would have been endless opportunity for Spud to have devoured all sorts of toys. I can’t but wonder what made him dig it out today, for he must have passed it a thousand times before.
Just as the boys specification for toys has changed, its all mountain bikes and computer games these days, so has the families idea of a suitable car. Our trusty family estate car, age 17, and with generous 290,000 miles on the clock will be off to pastures new any day soon.
I know, this post is a day late, I’m afraid toothache got the better of me last night.
* All the stone, we’ve ever dug up, or pulled down, since we moved here over twenty years ago. We have aspirations to make it into something more than a cairn, one day, one day.
Poor spud the dog has been upstaged by his feline friends this week. Spud can’t really see what all the fuss is about with snow,
It’s tricky these days to take a turn around the field without the company of the cats, whether Spud and I like it or not.
The kitten-cats however are less keen to get their paws to deep in the stuff. They prefer to tiptoe along the wall wherever possible.
They only came down to play when I pulled the mono-pod out of the bag, then quite frankly they were a pain, the idea is it helps steady the camera, not when it has two cats trying to run up and down it, doesn’t.
It is quite frankly enough to drive you up the pole.
The snow keeps coming and going, this morning we woke to delicate confection, a butter cream topping of snow upon a squelchy sponge of a soggy muddy field (I despair of keeping the mud out of the house) the light was diffused and sort of floury for want of a better word, I rather liked it.
Spud the dog, Jammy and Dodger the kitten-cats all came with me for my turn around the field, but I’ll save the resulting mayhem for tomorrow.
We’ve more snow forecast for tomorrow, how much remains to be seen. Here earlier drifts lie under today’s ‘top dressing’.
I was just about to go back indoors to toast my cold toes when I spotted a brown hare in the next field.
I do like hares, but I never get very close. Maybe I need a longer lens…
He lolloped over by the sheep, before exiting over the ridge.
Derbyshire Harrier has some lovely shots of mountain hares, over on his Flickr page
Nothing finer than a winter walk for the restoration of equilibrium, Mr Uphilldowndale and I were both in need the other afternoon. We went down by the river, always a good move.
Up through the woods and across the fields.
Spud had a high old time, you can just see him here, heading off towards a rather handsome wall, that’s topped with snow.
At the moment freezing rain is hammering against the windows and the rising wind has been piling snow back into the lanes this afternoon. The forecast is for the weather to get warmer over the weekend and for the snow to melt; we’ll be glad to see the back of it for a while I think. The weather conditions have led to tragedy.
We walked back past the church, not a bat or a bear in sight.
I saw some photos of ‘ zombie snowmen’ in the press this week, I had to admire the skill in their making, their location was described as a disused graveyard in Bristol, it led me to wonder, how can graveyard be disused? Its not like a factory is it? Isn’t always going to be ‘in use’ by its residents?
What I can I tell you, we have snow. Is there any part of the UK that doesn’t have snow? I wonder.
The sheep in the next field seem quite unperturbed
They are fed daily, which seems to make them happy.
It took a wee while to find a sheep that would look me in the eye, as most had their backs to the wind (and wind chill).
I can vaguely remember a farmer telling me this is how sheep end up stuck in snow drifts, they keep working their way along, keeping the wind behind them, scratting for grass until they run out of field and the snow piles in behind them.
He also told me in the winter of 1963 that whilst many of his flock perished in snow drifts, some were able to survive by eating their own fleece.
But there are people better qualified to comment of sheep and snow, have a look at herdy’s blog, up in Cumbria.
We’ve just watched a cracking little programme on BBC2 about the winter of ‘63 (flighty, it is worth watching on iplayer (Winterwatch)
I should be carful what I wish for, after the relentless rain, this morning dawned dry and bright, but the light came with a high wind-chill price tag.
I took a trip out to the recycling centre (formerly known as the tip, goodness, I’m a girl that knows how to have a good time!) en-route I paused to admire some fine winter coats.
There was a camouflage version
One of the problems of pulling into field gateways when driving a Land Rover is that, as they are still the farmers vehicle of choice around here, every beast around thinks you bring food*. I attracted some attention; coming down the hill at speed was the leader of the herd, if it were summer you’d have described him as gadding.
You may notice this photo is not that sharp, sorry, but never mind fiddling with the camera, I wasn’t going to stand the other side of a pile of loosely assembled rocks with that hurtling towards me, all beef and horns, a steep hill and a muddy field under hoof, I stepped swiftly behind the Landi as he skidded to a halt.
I don’t think there was any malice in him. See he is rather sweet (I do want to liberate him from under that fringe though maybe he has to run fast to see where he’s going).
Then there was the horse, equally well wrapped up.
It’s a beautiful spot, but one that gathers the wind, by this time I’d lost, sensation in my fingers, and my hat.
* This has happened before, I once pulled over into a gateway in our old Land Rover (a Defender 110) to take an important business call. I was immediately surrounded by about thirty heifers all mooing loudly, demanding to be fed. Fortunately the client had a sense of humour and was tolerant of my country ways