I noticed the sculptural effect of corniced snow years ago at Helvellyn. It was the first time I’d seen and photographed it in good light. Here it is again providing a sliver of foreground interest. The effect is silky. The very best shot I have for that effect was in the Swiss Alps about nine years ago. I took the train ride through the Eiger and walked a little at fourteen thousand feet. Japanese tourists had oxygen masks. I panicked when I couldn’t breathe. Then I realised you had to breathe differently. Short and fast. It was a vast glacier area and a taste, I suppose, of what Everest is like.

I climbed a snowy bank and suddenly realised it might be unsafe. The snow at the top could be unstable. It was a strange experience because I didn’t understand it intellectually. It felt wrong. The hairs on your neck don’t literally stand up. Nor do you especially feel it there. It is however a reasonable way of describing the sensation of danger.

It’s exhilarating having a good snowy walk. It’s restricted however because of wintry demands. The days are short. You can’t wild camp unless specially inclined. Most valley sites are closed and they’re uncomfortable. I camped at a Borrowdale site a few years ago not far from here. The evening was pleasant, sat in front of a blazing pub fire at Rosthwaite. The morning was worse, leaving a warm bed when it was bitingly cold. There were no showers. The water was turned off to avoid burst pipes.


Maiden Moor Newlands Valley 5

Monday April 6, 2015