|Christmas starts here
The first snows inevitably turned our thoughts towards the joys of Christmas, so we've been pretty busy this past week. To set the scene, and get us into the right mood, the tree was hauled out of the loft and duly adorned with sparkly glass baubles and multi-coloured lights. Windows were polished and secondary glazing installed to keep out Jack Frost, making the cottage more cosy for forthcoming celebrations. Seasonal messages were scribbled on festive cards and sent hurtling off to friends and relations all over the world. A few presents were bought and wrapped, though many more have still to be decided upon. There is still ivy to collect, to curl around the overhead creel, and holly to brighten spare corners, but we're almost there.
|The desolate track into Mossdale....
In rare weather windows we also found time to run, over Castle Hill, around Burnsall and even through a snow dappled landscape into the wilds of Mossdale where, in no uncertain manner, the window slammed firmly shut. Rain and hail, driven by gale force wind, rattled the hood of my lightweight cagoule as I trundled along the track towards the huge bulk of Great Whernside which was totally hidden in thick, drifting cloud. The landscape was totally desolate, not a tree nor a sheep, not a rabbit or wild bird; only the bare rocks, tangled heather, mist, patches of snow, moss and weathered walls.
...and the muddy way out
I was glad to reach the high point at four miles and 1,540ft where I'd shortly afterwards turn for home. Unfortunately I was also turning into the path of the oncoming storm that slowed my pace considerably for the next couple of miles until reaching lower ground. Near Bare House I passed Nigel, a local dry stone waller, bald headed and hatless, repairing a fair sized gap on quite a high and exposed part of the moor. A real hard man! We flung greetings through the wind, but I didn't stop. There were three more miles to go.
It was quite a relief to drop into the more sheltered confines of Hebden Ghyll, cross the overflowing beck and run back into the village where, naturally, I put on an extra spurt for the benefit of anyone who might happen to be peeping through their window! My Garmin registered an exact ten miles. After a few stretches while the kettle boiled I flung a couple more logs on the stove, then slapped my hands round a welcome mug of tea. The animal was happy. Very happy!