An elderly lady on the bus was relating how children she'd seen in Ilkley were ever so excited, shrieking with delight and snowballing, at sight of winter's first significant snowfall. Her implication was that only children can enjoy such conditions and lamented the fact we were getting old. Well, I didn't do any shrieking but must admit to being quite excited on waking up Sunday morning and gazing out the window onto a white wonderland. After breakfast it didn't take very long to don my neglected running clothes, fix Yaktrax to my trail shoes and set off up the ghyll, wallowing in virgin snow.
Although sub zero it was sunny at first so was able to run comfortably with a couple of thin layers, gloves and headband. But as I trundled up onto the moor it clouded over with a threat of further snow. At 1,100ft in a light wind my Garmin registered 28ºF, but felt more like 23º, so time to drag out a windproof jacket to counter the chill.
Meanwhile my wonderful partner, a National Park Volunteer Ranger, was scheduled to patrol Grassington Moor. However, due to accumulations of snow and ice, her car launched into a skater's waltz on the approach road and refused to go uphill to the parking area at Yarnbury. It was fortunate we'd put a bag of sand, and a shovel, into the boot before she set off so was able to extricate herself and return to Grassington for a much needed cup of coffee.
I'd had the moor to myself as I trundled upwards early morning but met a few brave hikers advancing carefully over the ice and snow on my way down. Yaktrax generate a sense of smug satisfaction, enabling one to cope easily with slippery conditions whilst others are teetering steadily along with concerned looks on their faces. I believe some take umbrage, regarding me as a 'show off' as I confidently tootle past, and are loathe to return my cheerful greetings.
Unfortunately, my trusty camera doesn't share its owner's enthusiasm for winter landscapes and is quite unable to cope with a combination of matt blacks and dazzling whites. It managed OK when blue sky and sunshine highlighted the few remaining landscape colours but as the sky clouded the camera lens cast a dense blue haze over everything. Disappointingly, none of the photos reached the required standard and 90% were deleted. Roll on the next big snow when I can experiment with different settings. Or a different camera.
|Up the ghyll (Click pictures to enlarge)|
|Hebden Beck shining like quicksilver|
|About to meet the first walkers of the day|