A false dawn

I needed something cheery for my guest picture on a very gloomy day, so I looked back for this picture from my Lancashire correspondent Paul, who was in the Lake District earlier in the year.

When I got up, it looked as though we might have a cheerful day here after a -5°C night . . .

. . . but it proved to be a false dawn. By the time that we had finished breakfast, the clouds had come in and the rest of the day got progressively gloomier and gloomier.

It wasn’t a day for going out, so I stayed in and tried out a new recipe for parkin. This is a kind of tough gingerbread made with oatmeal and wholemeal flour with butter, treacle, syrup and dark brown sugar. While it was in the oven, Sandy metaphorically brightened up the day by coming down for coffee, but even he couldn’t shift the clouds.

I had misread the recipe for the parkin and had set the oven a bit too hot, so it came out overcooked on the outside. Inside though, it was delicious, and I will certainly make it again.

Once the parkin was out of the oven, I watched the birds for a bit.

The feeder was fairly busy at times, and there were several blackbirds and doves about, as well as an anonymous bird trying the peanut butter feeder.

The star of the show was a robin, posing on a willow twig.

I got itchy feet after lunch. Although it was calm enough for a bike ride, the temperature had hardly crept over zero degrees, so I settled for a short walk to check on the storm damage. It had been raining in the town but I couldn’t tell whether it had fallen as snow over the hills. This was because I couldn’t see a hill at all.

I started by going up the Eskdalemuir road. I didn’t get very far before I came to a stop. A pole had snapped and wires were threaded through a fallen tree.

There was devastation on all sides, and when I had crept through the first tree, avoiding the wires, I soon came upon another obstacle which was totally impassible.

I took the hint and turned back for the town.

Walking along Eskdaill Street, I could see some of the spruces which we had cut on the moor waiting to be transformed into Christmas trees.

I went into the park and up the steps to the Stubholm where I saw that the large oak tree which Mrs Tootlepedal and I had seen on Saturday morning was still lying across the track . .

. . . so I headed the other way to see what the track to Gaskell’s walk was like. It had not escaped the carnage but I could sneak under a couple of fallen trees until I got to another kind of obstruction, the notice about the dangerous bridge.

I didn’t sit on the bench to admire the view for obvious reasons.

I thought that I might as well round up my review of local paths, so I went back down to the park and tried Easton’s Walk, the path along the river bank.

The story was much the same., although I could get along fairly safely for a bit . . .

. . . until I came to this . . .

. . . where I thought it prudent to stop. To tell the truth, I had to stop, prudent or not, as there was no possible way through.

It looks as though our local walking opportunities are going to be severely curtailed for some time. After the initial excitement of seeing the havoc wreaked by the winds, it has got rather depressing as the extent of the damage has become clear. The scale of the mammoth task of clearing things up is daunting. The very gloomy weather didn’t help at all, so it was lucky that there was some tasty parkin to have with a cup of tea when I got home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had given up on the day quite early in the proceedings, and we settled for closing the curtains as soon as possible, and ignoring the outside world.

The flying bird of the day is a beleaguered chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “A false dawn

  1. Yes, good you had that parkin, which sounds excellent. (I have never had it before.) So much damage. I will be interested in learning how long it takes to clear the fallen trees. Is it common for your area to have such fierce wind storms?

    1. Storms like this are not common at all. We do get quite a lot of fallen trees, mostly from a combination of wet and windy weather, but to get so many from one night of wind is most unusual. Many old inhabitants are saying that they haven’t seen anything quite like this before. We have been here nearly 50 years and certainly haven’t.

  2. In our little hamlet of Pickup Bank all the tracks leading in and out have to be maintained by the community including repairing tracks and drains and occasionally fallen trees. Every man and his dog round here own a chain saw and would all set to clearing fallen trees and shovelling away snow,apparently it’s what they’ve always done here.
    But obviously for health and safety reasons not something you’re small town would be allowed to attempt,not being your responsibility anyway.
    Are your cycling routes closed off.
    After a few quiet days the local birds are now using the new feeding site..with the sudden freeze I think they must be glad of any food they can find.

    1. I did a test cycle today, and as soon as i got out of the town, conditions were much better so I think that cycling will be no problem although routes through woods may needed to be avoided for a while. Plenty of people in the town have been doing their bit to help others but shifting large fallen oak trees is a specialist skill I would think.

  3. A sad state of affairs indeed. And the cold gloom does not help. I have been using it as an excuse to cut my outings short. Your pictures are wonderful in spite of everything. The Robin certainly did its best to brighten the situation. I hope the path clearings are forthcoming.

    1. We keep saying to each other, “Only a month until the days start to get longer.” It has worked quite well in keeping us cheerful in the gloom.

  4. Two men with a chainsaw can do a lot of cleaning up of fallen trees in a day, at least to get roads and trails open.
    The morning sky was beautiful, false dawn or not.
    It was nice to see the robin. It made me think of spring.

    1. The men will have to be careful with the road clearance as there are a lot of wires among the branches. They have started on the blocked road that I visited yesterday.

  5. That is quite a bit of devastation there. Wind can be a powerful force of nature. What was the wind speed in your area?

    The birds are nice to see on a cold snowy day. The robin presented you with a very nice profile for photography.

  6. It is quite saddening to hear the extent of the devastation you’ve suffered. It takes generations to replace the lost mature trees.

    We had fire on the mountainside above where I live a little over a year ago. It burned an area of about 6 square miles that included many of wild hiking trails near my home. The forest service closed the area to all access in order to allow the vegetation a chance to recover. So I haven’t been back there at all this year, staying in town for my walks, or going a bit farther away. Hopefully next spring I’ll be able to go back to the area that was burned.

  7. This is creating such a drastic change to your walking enjoyment, it’s sad to see. The one tree upside down is awe inspiring. I hope perhaps the powers that be will focus on getting one good long loop sort of trail cleared so townsfolk can take their exercise. And a cleared path up to the moors would be good, where there are no trees. It will be such a hard job! And the sound of chainsaws will go on for awhile but each hour of chainsaw noise will achieve a bit more length to walk on.

  8. The photographs of so many fallen trees brings home the extent of the devastation caused by the wind and makes me think how awful it must have been listening to it howling through the hills and the valley.

    1. There were quite a lot of nervous people in the town while the wind was howling around over night, and a lot of happy people next morning when we found that damage to houses was minimal.

  9. When I see all these fallen trees, it must have been a hell of a storm !
    Next time more succes with your cooking, but never the less the taste good and that is what counts 🙂

  10. What a gloomy day, weatherwise. Easton’s walk looks very alarming after the devastation. Glad the parkin cheered things up.

  11. Guess it’s going to take quite some time for authorities to clear that lot. It’s our authorities that are causing the mess here. The canal at the end of our land is having its sidings redone. Scary mess and even scarier machines. Hope you can come up with some inspiration about a walk that isn’t too dangerous.

  12. On the plus side, your robin photo is stellar – the best of many lovely robin shots you’ve included over the years. I also like the foggy shots.

    But the wind damage to trees – oh my, it’s so very sad. It’s going to take such a long time to clear things up and the face of the area will be greatly changed. It’s as depressing as the flood damage in B.C. – devastating and incomprehensibly expensive to repair the infrastructure.

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