Tuesday, 3 March 2020

A bridge too far......

Snow was nearly blinding us as we set off from Ilkley past fields rapidly turning white.   As we drove farther North it cleared to reveal a flooded landscape with large lakes where none had previously existed, products of Storms Ciara and Dennis.  Storm Jorge hadn't yet arrived but was hurtling towards us and would no doubt raise the water level even higher.
Lakes where none should be    (Click to enlarge)
  The sun came out briefly as we lunched in the quaint little market town of Settle with its Grade 2 listed Shambles, an arched. picturesque block of six shops and houses I'm told were designed by a bridge builder!  That figures!
The Shambles  (picture from Internet)
When I worked in that area I had friends that dwelt in the Shambles and very cosy it was.   With an excellent Fish and Chip shop underneath them, a market square in front and a pub just across the road, I reckon they'd found the ideal place to live!
Tourist information
We motored on through Ingleton, Kirby Lonsdale and Shap until pretty soon we reached our turn-off to Pooley Bridge.   At present it could be simply named Pooley for the Bridge bit was washed away by Storm Desmond in 2015.  A new all steel bridge is scheduled to be completed in Spring of 2020 but a local shopkeeper reckoned 'not before June'.
Parts for the new steel bridge have arrived
Meanwhile pedestrians can cross the River Eamont by a temporary structure where one can watch ongoing work or gaze pensively down Ullswater.  Whichever turns you on!
Looking across Ullswater with snow clouds approaching
We carried on to our destination, a luxury flat midway between Pooley Bridge and Howtown.  The lake had obviously burst its banks for there was debris strewn across the road but thankfully it was still passable.
Breach point with debris on the road
We stopped to take pictures during a brief lull in the weather and were glad we did.  From then on it rained and sleeted, snowed and blew a gale.  Storm Jorge had arrived.
Snow on the tops
We made a quick visit to Pooley Bridge the following morning for a newspaper, milk and biscuits. Higher Lakeland hills were covered in snow and as we left the shop we too were caught in a freezing flurry that numbed us to the bone.
Trees getting their feet wet
We were glad to scutter back into the car and head to somewhere warm.  Not much happened after that.  We attempted The I cryptic crossword but Lohengrin's clues were mostly beyond us.  We prefer Phi whom we've got used to. 
Feeder of seeds and nuts
We were intrigued by a man screwing something to a tree and scattering stuff around just off our driveway.  We waited till he'd gone before going to investigate.   We assumed it was a feeder for red squirrels he'd been fixing up, then throwing a few seeds on the ground to attract these charming little creatures that are known to live in the area.
clean up
What else did we do?  Well, nothing really other than a little clean-up around the property.   On Saturday night I was rather ill, nasty cold, trying to cough my lungs up, unable to speak properly, etc...
"We're going home tomorrow" my wonderful partner declared. 
And we did.
I can't remember much about it, except the horrendous wind, a huge wagon blown onto its side over Shap Fell, Motorway signs advising 50mph but few drivers taking any notice.....
It was good to get home.

Monday, 24 February 2020

Snowdrops and snow...

 We can't rely on the weather forecasts at all.  On Saturday we'd incessant rain which continued throughout the night and into Sunday morning.  There was a day when I wouldn't have bothered how much it poured.  When Munro bagging or marathon training they'd have had to chain me to the wall to keep me in.  Last weekend my favourite rocking chair held me in its clutches.  
Until Sunday lunchtime.  
My all singing/all dancing phone assured us the sluice gates would be closed and we'd have wall to wall sunshine throughout the afternoon.  We were daft enough to believe it.  At lunchtime we got changed and set off on a run to Linton to view the snowdrops.
Blue sky lured us out    (Click to enlarge pictures)
It was nice when we set off but after a few minutes running a glance behind revealed heavy clouds advancing upon us which looked ominously full of snow. 
Sheep and snow clouds
 If a herd of sheep over the wall could speak our language they'd probably have warned us we were right.  But we carried on.
Evasive action in a flooded gateway
Until then we'd been running on a hard track but things were a little different when we stepped through a gateway into a field.  Water and mud were above our shoes at times but we're fell runners so didn't let that bother us.
What we'd come to see - snowdrops under the dripping trees
After a mile of saturated fields we passed through a tunnel into a tree lined lane full of glutinous mud that was impossible to avoid.  To add to our discomfort, water was dripping from the trees, as it was when we reached our destination. 
The snowdrop garden.
A last glance as it began to snow.
Flowers weren't quite at their best and we maybe should have waited another week.  What's more, as we stood admiring them, it began to snow.  My all singing phone had got it wrong again.  
 Or the Met Office did.
The weather turns nasty as we beat a retreat from Linton
We beat a hasty retreat from Linton with snow stinging uncovered flesh, mainly our ears, and I wished I was wearing the woolly hat I'd left on the table.
Just water under the bridge
From hereon it was all road and tracks but the snow was blowing directly into our faces.  My wonderful partner forged ahead whilst I followed in her fleeting footsteps.  Remarkably, as we headed down to Linton Falls, snow stopped abruptly and bits of blue sky began to force the clouds apart.
White water at Linton Falls
We stopped on the bridge, deafened by the roaring torrent that flowed beneath us, and gazed in wonder at the whirling mass as it sped towards the sea.
Whiter water under a clearing sky!
As we ran the last half mile to the car park, the sky cleared and we could feel a little warmth in the sun again.  But it felt lovely to get home and step into a warm kitchen.   As we lie in bed on Sunday night it seemed wonderfully quiet compared to the hammering of rain on our bedroom window the previous night.   We slept in peace, blissfully unaware of what was happening beyond the curtains until, at 7.30 am, we awoke to find...
that slowly, silently and surreptitiously,
snow had arrived.

Monday, 27 January 2020

A little further....

My plan for last Sunday was to run a little further, to get strength back into my legs, but we'd been celebrating Burn's Night so things got a bit out of hand.  A horrible pain in my nether regions caused something of a delay at the start of our six mile jaunt to Appletreewick but after a brief stop we were soon on our way. 
Well wrapped up against a cold wind by Hebden Suspension Bridge. 
(Click to enlarge)
It's nearly six months since we ran this route and I was really looking forward to running the riverbank again. 
River Wharfe near Loup Scar
A dipper bobbed around on a stone at Loup Scar but by the time I got the camera out, it had gone,
Passing the Red Lion at Burnsall Bridge
It was early morning and I can only remember passing four people and none of them had dogs.  Quite an unusual occurrence!
On the bridge at Woodhouse Farm
We pressed on, following the river past the Red Lion in Burnsall  (it was shut, not that I'm ever allowed in such places) and through Daggett's car parking field to Woodhouse Farm.
Running the short road loop
Here, we normally leave the river for a short loop onto the road, hence the name - the Appletreewick lollipop.
Passing the campsite
In half a mile or so we cut back to rejoin the river at the campsite.
Flat, easy running
We'd run three miles and were now at the half way mark and turning for home with a cool wind in our faces.  
Peering into the River Dibb at Woodhouse Farm
There were no hills until the last ¼ mile, it was all delightful running, through Burnsall, over the River Dibb that flows into the Wharfe, past Loup Scar again and on to the Suspension Bridge.
Passing Loup Scar again
After another mile we'd got into our stride.  Breakfast was calling.
A cormorant drying his wings
We'd never seen a cormorant on the river before so were surprised to see one perched on a rock mid stream, wings outstretched.
Full steam ahead
We tried to take a decent picture of him but he flew away. We ran on.
Towards the Suspension Bridge seen in the distance
It's a lovely stretch of river to the Suspension Bridge and we never tire of running this, especially when we have it to ourselves!
Crossing the bridge again 
Pretty soon we reached the Suspension Bridge and out onto the tarmac again. It was steep tarmac and shhhh,, never let it be said, we walked up it....   It was only 150 yards or so.  Pretty soon we were home enjoying porridge and coffee, crumpets and honey.
Well, I was.....

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

A good weekend...

The forecast was good for our neck of the woods so we were determined to make the most of it.  On Saturday we went walking over Hebden Crag, past Mossy Mere and back via Hebden Ghyll.
I needed some hard uphill work and some faster running to get the old body operating as near to optimum as possible. for my age
Hebden beck   (click to enlarge)
Approaching the Crag path gate

The Crag path
Crag path
At Mossy Mere

Back into the ghyll
Hebden Ghyll
Dwarf ferns growing from a mossy wall

On Sunday we got out of bed in the darkness, had a quick coffee and were driving up the road to Grimwith, scattering pheasants as we went., prelude to a glorious run.

Breaking dawn.  Running frequently stopped for photographs
Dawn colours and ice on the track

Avoiding the ice

More ice
Running into the sunrise
Feeling a bit of warmth in the sun
Back o' Grimwith
Sun rising on a frozen landscape, back o' Grimwith
Reservoir like a mill pond
Back into the shadows under the hill
Almost finished
Time for porridge - almost - just a short drive home now.
Hope the car hasn't frozen up again!