A small tortoiseshell nectars on thistle, all hot colours.
Dark red helleborine are at their most beautiful, amongst the limestone clitter and beside larch trees. The air is fragrant with resin and with herbal hints from the flora of limestone grassland.
How to survive a heat-wave? It has killed 33 people in Canada this last week. 'Far too hot' say the bikers we met on the approach to Skeggleswater, melting in lycra. We wilt differently. That Skeggleswater day had moments of glory, but I wilted. I had taken all the water I could carry but sweat poured off me from the moment we set out. Barbara found the next day on Scout Scar to be more humid, more oppressive. Austin strode out manfully and did not complain. Friday 6 July on LIngmoor and we had the fells more or less to ourselves. Simply too hot for many. Clouds were the wonder of the day, ' proper clouds' said a young woman whom we met on Brown How. Beautiful fair-weather clouds. If only they'd bring rain. But as we climbed up onto the Lingmoor ridge we found no water at all and few flowers) until we reached 250 metres where the merest trickle sustained them. The becks were dried up, their beds stony. To the people of Manchester who rely on water from the Lake District, know that there isn't any. Nothing to replenish. Nothing coming off the fells at all. The beautiful sphagnum mosses are almost all water, and there is none so they shrivel and fade. Skeggleswater looked lovely and we went down to the shore to paddle. But the stones fringing the tarn were slimy and the softer edge quaked under our feet- there amongst the rushes the dragon flies were mating.
I know Lingmoor and Skeggleswater in all seasons, all weathers. And the heat-wave experience evokes all those other days. I seek a little time to reflect upon it. As I write swifts screech about the house, all windows open to welcome a slightly cooler and fresher air. It's like living in an open frame-work, and open windows seem like an invitation to bees who have to be to guided to safety, ants who follow any trace of sweetness in the kitchen and like cherries as I do. Double glazing insulates us from wildlife and I feel more akin to Gilbert White in the late 18 century where the fabric of houses was less of a barrier.
I want to tell the story of Lingmoor and Skeggleswater in the heat-wave, the drought of 2018. And it's only early July. That's the ordeal of it, that we cannot see where it is heading.