Winter-misted Hills

Beyond our neighbours’ frosted washing lines,
Their silvered slates and chimney-pots,
Our borderland begins …
Make what you can of it, for no one knows
What story’s told by winter-misted hills.

Douglas Dunn – Northlight 1988

Fawcett Hill

Looking west from Fawcett Hill

Towards Beaufront Woodhead from Fawcett Hill

No way through to Beaufront Hill Head


Hummed Low …

The green truck hummed low
Oh, we took only back roads
We drove miles of country
We saw an old barn burning
Skies were a light blue
All the billboards read untrue
I read them, each one
We passed by the thousands
Was a full sun and I knew
That up rose a bright moon
Casting shadows like dancing sparrows

It is my Blip birthday today 🙂 – 1460 entries and four years on Blip.  In some respects it has got in the way of blogging on WordPress, the constant daily quest for a new image.  The upside is the incentive to use a camera everyday while the quality of images across the site provide a constant source of inspiration.  In some respects it has enhanced my enthusiasm for photography while feeding my sometimes obsessive-compulsive tendencies.  In celebration, these are a few images taken recently – at this time of year and in this weather, I probably would not have bothered but for Blip:

On Windermere, from Waterhead

The view from Stock Ghyll Lane, Ambleside

More from Stock Ghyll Lane – inspired by John Martin 😉

The longhorn dreaming of sunlit prairies.

Fawcett Hill on a snowy day

A bend in the North Tyne between Barrasford and Chollerton.

The loneliness of the long distance golfer – Tyne Green, Hexham

The light has gone

A blizzard blowing in

You don’t need a weatherman …

climate (n.)
late 14c., “horizontal zone of the earth,” Scottish, from Old French climat “region, part of the earth,” from Latin clima (genitive climatis) “region; slope of the Earth,” from Greek klima “region, zone,” literally “an inclination, slope,” thus “slope of the Earth from equator to pole,” from root of klinein “to slope, to lean,” from PIE root *klei- “to lean” (see lean (v.)).

Whatever the climate might or might not be doing, in these parts, it has certainly been changeable.  From bright, cold March sun through heavy snow, to biblical rain and out the other side to hints of summer, we have had it all these last seven days:

… bitter March landscape

… high water

… lonesome highway

… winter returns

… beneath Hexham Bridge

… bring me sunshine

Leaves like rain

We have been hidden beneath a blanket of damp misty days, not a breath of wind to ease the leaves from the trees.  Then, this afternoon the skies cleared, a wind rose from the west and they fell like rain on the lanes that run up the hill to Hadrian’s Wall.  We were fortunate to be out in this brief respite, the camera set to emulate the slightly saturated world of Fujifilm Velvia:

Raining leaves ...

Brief respite ...

Golden ferns ...

Wanting to go,
all the leaves want to go
though they have achieved
their kingly robes.

Weary of colours
they think of black earth,
they think of
white snow.

Norman MacCaig – Autumn – 1982

Praying for Snow

Things can only get better – the UK weather at the start of 2014 has been dreadful, a combination of high winds, high tides and endless rain.  Compared to other parts of the country we have had it quite easy and we are thankful that we live on very high ground but these thoughts provide only fleeting compensation.  The bike remains on charge in the garage, the golf clubs hide in the boot of my car and the cameras remain on the shelf – too dull/wet/cold to venture out.  I find myself praying for snow – still no good for the bike or golf but so much better for the photography.  The only solution has been to delve into the archive; this was taken many winters ago along the lane that runs up from Beaufront Woodhead to Fawcett Hill (the middle chimney is ours).  It is from a time when I was heavily into airbrushing and over-saturation – I have got over it 🙂

Beaufront Woodhead

(click on the image to enlarge)

Digging around for the link to Tom Paxton’s lyrics, I got distracted by a whole series of his videos on Youtube.  I watched him many times live, mostly at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester; his songs, along with Bob Dylan’s, were the primary soundtrack to my teenage years. It is reassuring to find he can still write a cutting lyric:

As I finish this post, the sun is coming out – things are getting better.

Sunday Walk

Last year we travelled as far east as St Petersburg, as far west as Quebec, as far south as Tunis and as far north as Cape Wrath yet some days I think we would have been happier just walking up the road – there is not much beats Northumberland on wild winter days (yes, I know, St Petersburg is marginally further north than Cape Wrath – poetic licence 🙂 ).

After seemingly endless days hibernating in front of a PC screen I was finally persuaded to venture out – it was good advice.  The lanes around our home were looking at their best under a blanket of snow despite flat grey skies.

Fawcett Hill Looking west from above Acomb Trees near Acomb Grasses in snowThere was more snow forecast overnight and it duly arrived with a vengeance – I am delighted.  This is the view from our front door; I have no intention of venturing further although the tyre tracks suggest our neighbour has set off for work.  Getting back could prove quite difficult – all roads up to Beaufront Woodhead involve a steep incline at some point.

Snow at the door