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Winter in the Pennines

Flush House
Flush House

Winter came and went in cold bites. It’s first nibble in November tinged the fields of Flush House white as showers of rainy snow rattled down the Holme Valley leading to the rare abandonment of a wind tunnel walk on Cartworth Moor.

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Naze End

By December the snow was established up on Holme Moss and Black Hill and we would wander up from the valley into a crusty frozen world white with frost and snow. Low cloud and wind sweep this plateau and but for the ruins of Wrigley’s Cabin there’s little shelter. The Mountain Hares seem to find refuge with their backs to peat hags and Grouse care not what weather is thrown their way.

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Issue Edge

 

Kaye Edge
Kaye Edge

 

Wrigley's Cabin
Wrigley’s Cabin

At some point on Boxing Day Dunford Road outside the house fell silent under a blanket of snow. There’d been no gritting and the steep hill roads here were shut. We went out for a wander and Holmfirth was silent and white. Someone skied down South Lane and we ended up soaked and cold by the fire in the Nook.

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Back of the house on Boxing Day

The Pennines sparkled next morning beneath a blue sky. Not a thing moved as we watched the sun rise and begin to fill the still, cold morning with light.

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Black Hill
Holmfirth
Holmfirth
Holmbridge
Holmbridge

Mid January saw us attempt a walk up to Wrigley’s with the tent. It was another day of rattling snow showers. Light and shadow. In the midst of a shower things went black and it was best to hide behind something solid until it blew over.

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Cliff Lane

By the time we made it onto Naze End the wind was whipping up a blizzard. We turned back dropping onto the steep slopes of Issue Edge and finding a reasonable place to pitch. I ended up peeing into the tupperware so bad was the wind and snow outside. By midnight as our tent sagged beneath it’s drift the weather improved. I got up to a starry sky and dug out our chilly home.

Camped below Issue Edge
Camped below Issue Edge
Jemma
Jemma

Believe me there’s nothing better than waking up to a perfect winter morning,brewing up in the tent and walking off up the hill with it all to yourself.

Dawn and time for a brew
Dawn and time for a brew
Goodbent
Goodbent
Wrigley's Brew
Wrigley’s Brew

At Wrigley’s we brewed up seeking out a little shelter against a wall and in the sun. In the distance I noticed a snowy Pen Y Gent.

West Nab and Pen Y Gent from Wrigley's
West Nab and Pen Y Gent from Wrigley’s

West Nab is a perfect Pennine peak and especially so in winter. We often walk up there for dawn or sunset and it’s sweeping lines and peaty bogs never disappoint. Standing clear of the main moorland chain it gets the best of all lights and is usually found in a descent mood compared to some of the more character building moorlands around here.

Dawn on West Nab
Dawn on West Nab
Last light on West Nab
Last light on West Nab
Looking to Black Hill from West Nab
Looking to Black Hill from West Nab

Lower down the valley winter often struggled to hold it’s grip but there were some wonderful still days after a heavy snowfall when you could just step out of the door into it.

The Beech stand at Goodbent
The Beech stand at Goodbent
Ewes on the Cliff
Ewes on the Cliff
t'old towser in the snow
t’old towser in the snow
Walkers
Walkers

Through February and into March winter hung around. Big banks of snow filled the cloughs on Holme Moss creating a necklace of white around the head of the valley.

Holme Moss
Holme Moss
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Winter holding the high ground

There was fresh snow in March which covered the tops again but it was short lived as milder air seemed to be getting the upper hand.

March snow on Black Hill
March snow on Black Hill

I began watching the last few snow patches in Issues Clough and on Kaye Edge. Issues Clough was clear of snow by about 2oth March but the drifts on Kaye Edge clung on until around the 27th March. Of course many times I’ve seen snow last much longer up there into April and even May. Ironically just after I noticed the Kaye Edge snow disappear it snowed again on 1st April!

Issue Clough 18th January
Issue Clough 18th January
Issue Clough 18th March
Issue Clough 18th March
Black Hill in January
Black Hill in January
A semi frozen Jack Russell on Black Hill
A semi frozen Jack Russell on Black Hill
Paddy in a sea of spindrift
Paddy in a sea of spindrift
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