For the last couple of years I have approached the change of season with some trepidation knowing that my winter walking trousers will need to be retrieved from the back of the wardrobe and hoping against hope that they still fit. I have actually been pleasantly surprised for the last couple of years; the waistband button approximately coincided with its buttonhole. This year it was perhaps a little more approximate than previously – but I am 60 you know!
Today we are heading for the delightfully named Wormhill and what our walking book describes as ‘a stroll through Peter Dale’. I’m so pleased I managed to fit into my fleece lined trousers as I catch my first glimpse of the peaks, glittering with snow.
There are three strata of peak in the distance; the nearest a band of sepia and cream fields, behind that a vivid green and, nearest the horizon, blue/white polar flecks merging with the ice blue of the sky. The snow remains in patches, contouring the hills and emphasising their dips and rises. The sky is banded too; In the distance, sunshine and brightness clearly underline the charcoal smudged cloud that is our blanket for much of this walk.
Our parking instructions suggest a lane just outside the village of Wormhill but there are no indications of any nearby toilets. We walk up the tarmac lane; a less than imposing plod which is lifted by the sight of those arctic blue peaks, just to our right. We are soon in more open countryside where, as luck would have it, I spy a small field with high enough walls on three sides for relative privacy.
We move on, more comfortably than before, through chilly air and muddy ground along Peter Dale. Just before we leave the dale the sun breaks through and we eat our lunch in a veritable sun trap. This is followed by more mud trudging, alleviated by the icy sun on cracking snow patches.
As we turn back along the road to Wormhill we spy two peacocks in a cage, their turquoise fans surrounded by snow. I wondered how they find this weather? Do they like this bright, sunny winter?