Landmarks are gone, swallowed whole in mist and low cloud. It is disorientating. We read a landscape, read a route by looking ahead for what is to come, for known features. With only the ground at our feet and a hundred yards around us we focus and think detail. Senses are heightened. The morning is silent and still and sound carries, natural sounds. Nuthatch call in the wood below the escarpment. I hear the ewes of Barrowfield Farm, lost to view.
Skylark and lapwing were displaying on Scout Scar earlier this week. So I hoped to find them once more. A bright and sunny day, with dramatic cloudscapes.
Skylark sang on Scout Scar, chasing each other, seeing rivals off a territory each hoped to claim. Soaring in song.
Three buzzards sighted over the escarpment, I was told. No sign of the lapwing I'd seen displaying three days ago. So, to Cunswick Fell.
Winter seems endless in lockdown. Biting cold followed by rain. Spring comes late to the Cumbrian uplands and how welcome it will be.
Sunday is a day of mist and low cloud, of hazy sun. But there is sun and Scout Scar suddenly pulses with life, seemingly out of nowhere.
A hint of skylark in the air and now they’re all about me, standing proud on a low outcrop of rocks, bursting into song flight.
February 12th. A beautiful sunrise on a cold morning. By 7.15 am it seemed as if the sunrise spectacular was over. Then over an hour later there was a pattern of cumulus cloud and mackerel sky, in gold.
A beautiful day on Scout Scar. Snow gone from the escarpment but visible on the distant fells.
Beads of snow bounce off windowsills, grauples ricochet. Snowflakes light as air float through sunlit branches, all ways. Fat white snowflakes go on quests, avoiding touch-down. The ways of snow, all ways and always.
‘‘ Light icing in white,’ said weatherman Tomasz Shafernaker. Icing in white, naturally. Kew Gardens – 5, -6 , -7 on the night of February 10th. The coldest night for 25 years.
Jan Wiltshire is a nature writer living in Cumbria. She also explores islands and coast and the wildlife experience. (See Home and My Books.)