As usual, I’d been monitoring the forecast as the weekend approached and it was pretty unequivocal: snow first followed by rain, rain and more rain. I’d just about resigned myself to a lazy weekend indoors, but late on Friday night, decided to check the forecast one more time. And lo and behold, between the two weather fronts, it seemed that there would be a few hours of much brighter weather. I hastily chucked some gear into my rucksack and retired to bed with the Ordnance Survey’s Lake District South East sheet.
Accordingly, I was out early the following morning. Our driveway was coated with a thin film of what had clearly fallen as snow, partially thawed and then refrozen into a crackling, slippery surface. But the road through the village was clear – it would be fine! A mile down the road and I was driving on snow. Another mile and I was passing abandoned cars and feeling the wheels spinning as the car struggled to to gain traction on a short, sharp little hill climb. The main road, when I reached it, was only marginally better. In Milnthorpe, I stopped at the petrol station to ask about the road ahead and to weigh up my options. To the North apparently the roads were likely to be bad. To the South I would find no snow at all.
I deliberated for a while and then decided to head home. I took a circuitous route and found that the snow had indeed petered out in just a couple of miles. Silverdale seemed to be on the dividing line, with green fields on the south side of the village but a thin white-over covering on the north.
I’d already formulated Plan B: drag the kids out in search of snow. Little S couldn’t be enticed away from the goggle-box, but A and B were both keen to go seeking the white stuff, with the proviso that we must take sledges and find somewhere to use them.
Arnside Knott from the Tower.
In Eaves Wood, there was more mud than snow, and a lot of water dripping from the trees, but once north of the wood we found enough snow to sledge. It was as much ice as snow however and the sledges skittered down even a slight slope at an alarming speed.
Once onto the Knott, the snow was still pretty patchy and I began to worry that I had lured A and B out with false promises.
Not that I felt too guilty about that – it was fabulous to be out and they were clearly enjoying themselves, although both seemed to be quite tired, or at least, that’s what they told me when they insisted that I should carry the sledges.
We kept giving the sledges a try, but it was still too icy to commit to anything but the gentlest of slopes.
Near the top of the Knott however, the snow was slightly deeper, although still with an icy crust. The view across the Kent, of Cartmell Fell and Whitbarrow Scar was wonderful, but the higher hills beyond were obscured by cloud, so perhaps it was serendipitous that I had turned back from my planned trip to the Lakes.
Along the shores of Morecambe Bay to the south we could pick-out green fields where no snow had settled.
A and B found another place to sledge….
…and then we paused for hot black-currant cordial with a view.
We visited the trig pillar…
…thinking of heading home for some lunch, but decided first to check on the sledging possibilities in the large open field on the north side of the Knott.
Pay dirt! This was the best sledging yet. A tells me the best sledging ever. That’s her…
…slightly right of centre in this photo, on a long sedate run which will take her almost down to the far trees. Two of those, and two reascents of the hill and she declared herself ready to head home. Whilst A made her steady, controlled progress down to the bottom of the hill, B made several wild careering runs down the steep top part of the slope, all ending with him tipping out of the sledge or crashing into a bush or a patch of heather. They’re very different.
This photo of the two of them, which really belongs a little earlier in our story, made me smile, I think because it reminded me of..
Well, I know, it’s not very similar. But it was in my mind because we’ve been rereading the stories together. What a delight it is to have an appreciative audience to read them to. All three of the ankle-biters enjoy them and find them funny, despite, or perhaps because of, how many times they’ve heard them before.
Great walk, anyway.
The next day the snow was gone. It’s raining again now, of course.
"Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he.
"Why, what’s the matter?"
"Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can’t all, and some of us don’t. That’s all there is to it."
"Can’t all what?" said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
"Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush."