It’s been a miserable winter. November crashed in fast followed by three months of wet, dark, grey gloom. Very little respite, storm after storm battering the country starting with so called Abigail and finishing with so called Imogen. Floods in Cumbria, Wales, Scotland, and floods again. A few days of sunshine: nothing more. Snow in the mountains, but not much.

The mood changed the last few days and I hope it continues. Sparkling blue skies, light stinging through your eyes as you gaze at the sun like you’re suddenly on holiday. That feeling, on a hot sandy beach, leaving damp old Britain behind: carefree skin bathing pleasure. It’s been much the same across Europe. France and Belgium have also suffered.

There are flowers and I’ve been watching a few favourite places. Snowdrops beside the River Mersey. Crocuses, now everywhere. It’s early because despite everything else, the winter was and remains mild. Temperatures of eight, ten, twelve degrees. Scotland has had minus fifteen but, well, that’s Scotland.

I have several walking escapes. Lyme Park is the optimum, balancing big views with quick access, but Edale goes further and prettier into the Peaks. As I walk up the lane, preparing for a walk, it feels like Borrowdale. I sense in myself, and ask why, and will I find that feeling of release which comes with duration and distance from the city. Not quite, my feeling says, as I gaze up at the Kinder plateau and connect with past Lake District trips. But it’s a taste. This is the countryside. There are farmers, there’s wood smoke, and sheep.

Three choices. I take a pretty route along the valley, a climb up and over towards Kinder Scout, or a lesser climb up the hillside and down again in the other direction. The plateau is actually quite featureless, and I decide to emphasise my photography and walk easily. I go up the hillside and across to this ledge, where you have the best viewpoint for the afternoon setting sun.

 

Edale Sunset

Tuesday February 16, 2016