The early morning lacked promise: a blaze of sun in a monochrome sky, the fells smothered in haze and parched grasses crisp and crunching underfoot. Flora burns out fast in the heat-wave that goes on and on. An interlude of butterflies was respite.
Today's weather relaxes the butterflies and they linger longer on their chosen flowers than in a breeze. Butterflies weave about the seeding grasses, come down on limestone clitter to absorb the heat. And vanish. Their cryptic colouring is remarkable. Shadow photographs become a motif of the morning, harebells redefining themselves in shadow. And butterflies with shadow-antennae and countless legs. Sunlight is so strong that shadows seem a sharper reality than flimsy petal and wing.
Weather, in its infinite variety, is a motif for a naturalist, for all who love hill walking. Thursday and another day of faded and frazzled skies as temperatures are set to soar again in the coming days. I miss cloudscapes, skies with subtlety and definition. And clarity, not this smothering haze over the fells.
Each day this week there's been a helicopter hovering over Kendal and Scout Scar. We're wondering if there's a moorland fire patrol, with fires at Saddleworth and around Greater Manchester and copycat fires in Lancashire. In an interview, a conservationist speaks of the destruction of wildlife: curlew, golden plover and owls, of moorland birds. Even if they escape the fires their habitat is destroyed.