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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!