Bless the Weather

A pleasant stroll today, with S sleeping in the backpack. The wind was cold, but not as Siberian as I had expected, and although there were some ominous clouds in the sky, there were also some substantial breaks of blue, certainly enough to patch a sailor’s trousers, and for much of the walk some strong sunshine. The air was clear and heading across the field towards Stankelt Lane there were good views to the hills in the east. The Howgills showed initially as one brightly lit ridge on the northern edge, another on the southern edge and in between indistinct hills shrouded in shadows – like two pincers emerging from the shady corner of a rock pool. As the cloud moved, different parts of the range were spotlighted in an ever-changing show. The path climbs, only very gently, but enough to gradually reveal more hills – Lakeland fringes west of the Howgills and, poking out from behind Farleton Fell and Hutton Roof Crags, Calf Top and Crag Hill which looked to have a dusting of snow.

We crossed Sharp’s Lot onto the lane beyond hoping to pick up the permission path that runs from the lane to more NT land at Heald Brow. The path used to pass through the grounds of Hazelwood Hall, but since that was redeveloped into flats (sorry – ‘luxury apartments’ in estate agent English) that path has been closed. However, on my last visit to Heald Brow I had noticed that the far end of the path was still open and had new sign posts. I found that the path now crosses a field a little further down the road than Hazelwood Hall and then rejoins the original path close to where it enters Heald Brow. The field is quite cut up with hoof marks and very well manured.

Which is perhaps why this enormous mushroom grows there…

The permission path follows a line of tall trees growing from limestone pavement – Scots pine, larches, beeches. This beech hosted a holly sapling growing from its trunk…

A constant companion on the walk was the constant pock pock of shotguns but here a caw of a crow followed by a very differently timbred kew kew turned my head to catch a buzzard coasting across the treetops.

The path now only passes through the grounds of the Hall very briefly, but where it does it almost passes this old limestone seat:

The seat looks back over the field we had just traversed and it’s easy to imagine that it once had a great view, but now the trees are too tall – I could just make out hints of snow between the branches which suggested Cumbrian Fells in the distance.

Heald Brow is a an area of mixed open ground, trees, limestone pavement and thickets of prickly shrubs. Not at all spectacular, although a bit of drama in the sky helps…

Hopefully under the care of the NT, the wildlife thrives here, certainly there were mole hills galore.

Heald Brow doesn’t really feel like a hill, it certainly isn’t very high, but from here the ground drops away very steeply to the salt marshes. Despite that fact it can be quite difficult to find a spot with an uninterrupted view of the bay, the marshes and the edge of the Bowland Fells.

Warton Crag is closer to hand…

Turning north from here to head homeward, it was clear that we wouldn’t have the sun for much longer, but we enjoyed its effects whilst they lasted. Picking out the pale limestone in this dry-stone wall against the darkening sky for example.

The walk had an unexpected treat in store for me though. I’ve walked this path from Heald Brow to Woodwell many times, but I don’t recall ever noticing that it has a view of Coniston Old Man…

Although I have to confess that it was only when I looked at these long-lens shots back at home that I was sure that it was the Coniston Fells that I was seeing.

The post title is, as is often the case, lifted straight from a song – in this case by the incomparable John Martyn RIP.

Bless the Weather

4 thoughts on “Bless the Weather

  1. fatdogwalks says:

    Mark, are you really sure that’s supposed to be a mushroom…or is your resident tree chopper into Cambodian Temple Art?

    Noticed the term “permission path”. I assume it’s not a right of way but a temporary wayleave granted by the landowner? Up here the law allows us to trample mercilessly over anyone’s private property looting and pillaging as we go. I know it’s a little different south of the border.

    Looked a lovely walk and it’s always interesting to find a wee surprise like your view to Coniston.

    Saw John Martyn play…I think it was about 1974. He was brilliant. Saw him play a couple of years ago and he was awful…the guitar work was well gone…in fact his belly was so big he could barley reach the strings. It was sad to see. Hope he has got his old talent back where he is now.

  2. beatingthebounds says:

    I never saw John Martyn live and now I never shall. I almost paid a small fortune to see him last year, but a friend warned me that I might regret it. At least through the wonders of Youtube I can get some idea of what I missed, not the same I know, but…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s