…dry by eleven.
This piece of optimism is presumably based on the weather in NW Britain, where early-morning rain could mean it has been raining all night. The front producing it may then blow through giving way to fine weather later in the day, though not necessarily by eleven. It had certainly been raining most of the night when I awoke this morning at six, and it still was at nine. A couple of coffees, a poached egg and the crossword later I wondered about getting out. I wasn’t in a rush, just going local, so let’s give it to twelve to be certain.
My previous foolproof method of forecasting the day involved looking out of my bedroom window. If I couldn’t see Longridge Fell it was raining, if I could see the fell it was going to rain. Such is life up here. But now Barratt’s have built some ghastly houses in front of me, so I can’t see the fell at all. What does that say about the weather?
Parked up at Jeffrey Hill to do my usual short round on this end of Longridge Fell. Why not incorporate a litter pick whilst I’m at it, haven’t done one for a few weeks and after Easter I expect a good collection. The clouds over Bowland still suggest rain but is that some brightness behind me coming in from the coast on the strong winds? We can but hope, and anyway I’m fully waterproofed.
To my surprise, or should that be pleasure, there is very little litter heading up to the trig point. I suspect someone else is helping out. Apart from the phantom orange peeler all I find is the usual d** p** b**s, no surprise there. It is also no surprise to see, in the distance I’m afraid, a couple walking with their dogs off the lead. There are signs everywhere suggesting this is not a good idea due to ground nesting birds at this time of year. Tell me if I am becoming pedantic.
I splash on through the bogs, we have had a lot of rain, to the trig point, Bowland remains gloomy. The wind is behind me but still has a cold bite to it. Families coming the other way are frozen, and the children look miserable. They have the time to thank me for my litter efforts. Whenever I meet people whilst I’m in litter clearing mode, a conspicuous bag and a grabber, they all say they should do the same – if only 5% did that would be a success.
Approaching the edge of the woods I’m surrounded by a dozen barking dogs. All loose and followed not that closely behind by a couple of ‘professional’ dog walkers. I stand my ground, I’m getting more confident with the canine species these days – there are so many of them. Pleasantries over I suggest that on the fell the dogs should be on lead. Of course their guardians have come from a different direction and claim there were no warning notices. We walk along together, and I explain about ground nesting birds – lapwings, curlews, skylarks, grouse, plovers etc in this area. The dogs are a delight to watch as they know their way and jockey for front position. A diverse selection of breeds all getting on together. I begin to wonder that as they are staying on this side of the wall and not transgressing onto the open fell I may have been a little harsh on their human friends. Dog walking has become big business these days as people who bought dogs for companionship now need to go back to work. We part company as they go off down the forest track. Out of interest later in the day I drive round to their point of access onto the fell and there are no signs warning of ground nesting birds. Fair enough.
I’m soon back on the road and the weather, as prophesised, is improving so I incorporate a loop around Cowling Brook Plantation. I had noticed some litter starting to appear in this woodland of late. There wasn’t much to be honest but my d** p** b**s total now was above a dozen. I enjoy my ventures into this plantation and feel the need to preserve it. There is so much unidentified bird song in the trees today. It would be good to come here with a proper birder and learn to recognise the calls. Any offers?
The little Cowling Brook coming down from Gannow Fell is in full lively flow heading to Knowle Green where it used to power the bobbin and cotton mills.
On the short stretch up the road into the strong wind the carrier bag was getting heavier, and I was in danger of repetitive strain injury from the trigger on my grabber.
The sun was shining once back at the car and indeed we have just had an almost good red sunset. Red Sky at night Shepherd’s delight, another ancient folk law. A red sky sunset tells us the worst of the weather has now eased, with higher pressure and improving weather approaching from the west for the following day. Red skies appearing when dust and small particles are trapped in the atmosphere by the important high pressure.
What will tomorrow bring?