Towatds the end of March of this year, I headed over the fells above Whinlatter Forest near Keswick just as dramatic skies raced in from the North West and brought the last snow of winter to the mountains of the Lake District. We’ve had snow since – notably when I was camping with the family in mid Wales – but in the way of British weather, that was in spring though it didn’t much feel like it!
My plan had been to head to the fells above Buttermere but the snow had closed the Newlands Road that morning and I opted for a shorter walk from the far side of Whinlatter instead. With blizzards sweeping the hills through the earlier part of the day it was probably just as well.
This was an easy walk of about 9 miles that visited 4 of Wainwright’s hills; Lord’s Seat, Broom Fell, Greystones and Barf and provided some beautiful views that were given a touch of the dramatic by the atmospheric conditions. This is what weather forecasters refer to when they talk about snow on high ground.
Whinlatter Pass was passable with care and this was the scene that greeted me on commencing the walk
The Loweswater Fells appear dramatic in the snow showers. This was the region I was originally bound for.
Lake District weather is nothing if not varied but most of the heavy showers – which were snowstorms up here – passed to one side and left me in peace
Looking towards Skiddaw. The threatening skies were never far away but only once did I ned to take shelter.
In the clear spells the views extended across the snow free lowlands of West Cumbria to the Solway Firth and Scotland.
Looking south from the top of Lord’s seat to the mountains of Central Lakeland
Skiddaw appeared of Alpine proportions from the mists across the valley of Bassenthwaite. Bassenthwaite Lake itself is unseen behind the hill called Barf in the foreground.
What a difference a few hours makes – Lord’s Seat seen at the end of the day from the Darling How track where I had started the walk that morning in snow and grey cloud. It was now positively spring-like!
Pete Buckley May 2012