The twisted boughs above were beaded with moisture and excitable streams rushed below my feet as I paced along the trail. The night’s rain was being channeled around me; drips, rivulets, forces, becks and rivers all on a downward course to Ullswater.
The previous night had indeed been wild. I’d slept in a pod, one of those parabolic sheds that find favour with holiday parks and holidaymakers these days. The shelter’s idiosyncratic profile would have made a half-decent boat if upturned – a mini ark for hill lovers should the rain have become really bad.
Maybe it’s my age, but I was glad of my wooden home as it shuddered in the wind. I was grateful too of the wool wadding insulating its walls and keeping the night’s chill at bay. The snap decision to leave the tent at home had been a wise one.
I was in Lakeland to walk and early morning prospects were grim. The rain continued and heavy gusts of wind promised a thorough bludgeoning on the fell. However, after exhausting the delaying tactic of making yet another cup of tea, the skies began to clear. A pasty-shaped hole opened in the clouds and the rain became a mist haze. When the sun appeared, so did the rainbows.
I hastily put on my boots and waterproofs and headed out.
The path was wonderful – a section of the Ullswater Way following a balcony well above the shore. It skirted plantation and much more gnarly woodland, trees with sodden branches just showing the buds of new growth. Spring, tantalisingly close thank goodness.
It felt good to be out. The difficulties of the last few months that still weighed so heavily fell away, if only for a short while. I felt invigorated, optimistic even. More important, though, was a rekindled enthusiasm for these fells.
Later, back at the hut and armed with a warming dram, I pored over maps and made plans.