Wild West winds, snow clipping the tops and a rather vague weather forcast gave a rewarding and mildly challenging walk up Kirkby Stephen way. In my rush to get on the road I left my camera at home and was reduced to taking photos with the phone! My maps were in the camera case too so I was navigating from my somewhat unreliable memory banks! All good stuff.
Nine Standards Rigg was a glorious tramp from spring back up into winter. The Westerly winds were rattling in bringing heavy cloud laden with hail and snow. Lady Luck was on my side and these showers were nothing more than wintry passers by who never quite bumped into me.
I do love this time of year and in particular this kind of weather with Spring and Winter all mixed up like a dogs dinner of warm valley sun,bitter winds on the fells,flocks of curlew and golden plover,snow falling and longer days. Heady stuff to be out in and savoured.
I seemed to be in good form and tramped on over High Seat and Hugh Seat at what passess for a fair old lick these days. Too cold to stop anyway. I walked into some beautiful late light which caught the fells twists,turns and pale colours as daylight coppered up and began to fade. As ever on these walks there was only me and the dog about to enjoy it.
As dusk settled I dropped into Red Gill thinking it best to get below 2,000 foot for the night. It wasn’t something conscious just a sixth sense pointing me down hill. I found a spot in a flurry of snow and it was tent up and brew on.
There’s a noticable population of Black Grouse in this area and a great deal of work has gone on to improve thier chances by creating a patch work of trees amongst these cloughs and gills. Real pleasure to see and hear them.
In the early hours I woke to that silence that comes with snow fall. The wind had swung from West to East and was now plastering the tent door with thick wet snow flakes. So much so that I had to declare an “ok to pee in the tent porch” event. The fly sheet sagged badly and I knocked it clear every time I turned over for the rest of the night.
I had a very laid back breakfast using the stove to warm up the tent before packing up inside , gearing up,tipping the dog out and then stepping outside to drop the tent and head off with the wind and snow at my back for Kirkby Stephen.