Monday, 25 March 2013

Winter Walking. . . in Spring!

Yesterday, as the coach travelled north, I was really doubting my sanity.  The Royal Navy helicopters had been called out to rescue four hikers in different parts of the Lake District on Saturday.  The weather was calling for gusty winds and -22 degrees windchill on the top of the hills.  But the sun was shining and I made sure I was well bundled up (long-sleeve base layer, wool sweater, fleece on top of that, and then my windbreaker, with fleece tights under the walking pants).  I also finished my new woolly hat in time (and it fit!!!!  - the pattern is the Check Slouch by Triona Murphy)

And you know what?  It was one of the nicest walks I have ever done.   Yes, the wind was fierce but the paths were good and it's actually easier to walk on snow than in mud or bog. Our leader wisely decided to alter the route and not climb too high to avoid being blown over, but the wonderful thing about the Lake District is that the scenery is just as stunning from the valleys looking up as it is from the tops looking down.  This northern part of the Lakes is one that I hadn't walked before and I definitely want to return and explore it more thoroughly. We started just outside the village of Threlkeld.

And then made our way through the lovely St. John's in the Vale.

The sheep were enjoying the scenery too.

And clearly in this region, hikers are always expected no matter what the weather.

We skirted around High Rigg with Skiddaw (England's fourth highest mountain) then coming into view.

We then detoured half a mile to see a wonderful stone circle.  Now there are many of these all around Britain, but you'd be hard pressed to find one with a more beautiful 360 degree view.  Stonehenge has nothing on this!

Then it was downhill toward Derwent Water,

en route to the town of Keswick and a well deserved shandy.

And a day that I was half dreading turned out to be a very enjoyable one indeed.  Unfortunately, not all of the country has fared as well during this unseasonable snow storm.  Lots of people are still without power and especially on the Isle of Man hundreds of sheep and other livestock have died in the snow drifts.  I'm definitely ready for spring now.

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