Dunford Road outside our house was white with snow when I got up and that wind was not just rattling down the chimney but sat next to me on the sofa. It was early and dark and going back to bed held some attraction I have to say.
I put on my armour of thermals,fleeces and windproofs and trusted the Met Office prediction of showers dying out by dawn and a day of wind and sunshine.
I passed a bloke with 2 dogs up on Cartworth Moor . His hi vis work coat bright in the predawn gloom. We communicated our ” Mornings” with a nod each. Both aware that any words word be torn from us by the wind never to be heard.
It really wasn’t nice out and I mentally scaled back my planned walk from an over ambitious 18 miles to just getting to Holme for a bus back down the valley.
I looked out for some ewes I’ve photographed before up on Ramsden Road but struggled to see in the poor light. Looking hard at a snow splattered wall I began to see sheep shapes breaking up the courses of drystone wall. A line of snow covered ewes were sheltering behind this wall from the gale which blew across the valley. Some were stood,some lay and some were still asleep. The wall offering a few feet of sanctuary from the winter.
I took refuge down in Yateholme Woods rather than walking the exposed pony track around Ramsden Clough and below Holme Moss found a sheltered spot to sit and have a brew. Spindrift blew off the moors above but those showers had gone and cold blue skies were moving in. I decided to at least get up onto Holme Moss.
Whilst I plodded steadily upwards Paddy was full of snowy excitment and must have run 3 or 4 times the distance I walked up the hill. I kept stopping as we walked out of the cold shadows into a bright morning sun to look below at the unfolding view.
A hefty yellow gritter and plough had just about cleared the road as we crossed but there was no access to the transmitter except on foot. Walking behind the station we hit some very deep drifts which slowed even Paddy down.
A hare looking more grey than white appeared from one of the drifts and glided off into the snowy hags. The world is new and slightly strange under snow,it even sounds different. I’m glad to still have that child like excitement at it’s arrival and want to enjoy the world it creates at every opportunity. Days like this aren’t to be wasted.
By Black Hill I decided to take the Pennine Way back down into the valley but the snow had taken it beneath shifting drifts and it’s reassuring flagstone line was gone. I headed for Issues Clough to keep out of the spindrift before turning into it briefly and then off the hill altogether much to paddy’s relief!
We walked home through a thaw in the valley. Happy to have done 15 miles in the snow. Glad I hadn’t go back to bed.