It was good to get out last Friday onto Cronkley Fell at the top of Teesdale. It was cold and breezy, with a covering of snow on the higher hills, but the benefit was that it was superbly clear, and dark clouds added drama to the landscape.
If you could only visit Cronkley once in the year, it would have to be in the spring to see the flowers - not just spring gentians but other gems like birdseye primroses and sandworts, and clumps of wild thyme and rock roses growing in the sugar limestone. And this is where you'll find golden plovers, choosing the most desolate places to nest despite their delicate looks and plaintive calls...
But for me wintertime is a close second choice...
It's a wonderful, varied and interesting landscape, combining distant views and lots of interest on the fell top: unlikely rock formations, waterways appearing and disappearing, the crumbly limestone, a line of well kept cairns by the path and a trig point nestled almost out of sight. You rarely meet anyone else, especially at this time of year. The only sounds are the buffeting wind and the yakkety tak of the grouse.
I'm afraid I'm no good at fumbling about in the freezing cold without my gloves and the paper would have blown away so no sketching... but I did take plenty of photos and I came home feeling inspired. Below are a few of those images.