Rising steeply above the deep corrie tarn of Blea Water are scree slopes and rock ledges where purple saxifrage is said to grow. It’s a zone of montane flora where sheep cannot graze. I love these solitudes, these mountain redoubts. Paths on High Street and Mardale Ill Bell follow the ridges, giving vistas but that’s all. Life begins at the spring-head, where the first trickle of water sustains mosses and flowers at the headwaters of the River Kent. These are the wondrous places, biodiversity begins here. In such a habitat I always hope I might find ring ouzel, the mountain bird.
Jan Wiltshire is a writer and naturalist living in Cumbria. She take photographs.