Spent Christmas up in the snowy north with Clare’s parents – are they my out-laws? Despite all evidence to the contrary the drive up the M1 was no problem at all, indeed getting acoss London only took us 45 minutes – it can sometimes take that to get past IKEA – result. It was Christmas Eve and we’d had snow in London on and off all week but it got noticeably deeper as we left the motorway at Wetherby. Does it still count as a white Christmas if it don’t snow on Christmas Day?
Well apparently it snowed in lots of places round the country but I don’t know if the bookies had to pay out – though I hope so. While eating a couple of slices of toast for breakfast – is that traditional? – we watched a lesser spotted woodpecker scuttle up and down a tree in the back garden. We laced up our boots, put on our hats and gloves and set off on a short walk before lunch. Not only was the snow about 10 cm deep and crunchy underfoot but the sky was blue and cloudless – magical. It ain’t far to the countryside from the front door but there’s a bit of meandering through surburban alleyways and streets to be done first.
Up in Harrogate you soon hit the countryside though. I walk so rarely in the snow – not because I’m a fair weather walker but because we get it so rarely in the south – and I’m always struck by how difficult it is to follow paths when everything is covered by a blanket of snow. No need to worry today though ‘cos Keith is a local and we just follow him. He also walks really fast so you’ve very little choice but to follow. Hence all the photos are of people’s backs often rushing to keep up with the figure striding into the distance. That said I reckon, and I’ve been told often, I’m a fairly slow walker – more often than not ambling along chatting or looking at everything around me.
Spotted this local waymark when I was clambering over a stile. I used to work for the Ramblers and am always heartened when I see evidence of the many improvements made up and down the country by local volunteers. They’re mostly unsung but these people make a very real difference if you care about walking anywhere in Britain. On the way back we run across several dog walkers out and about and have time for one last friendly encounter with a snowman (snow woman?) before going back indoors for the traditional Christmas of too much food and booze.
Seasons Greetings Everyone