Tag Archives: Winder

And suddenly everything, absolutely everything, was there

photo joiner looking west from Howgills

up on the windy ridge between Winder and Arant Haw, with glowering clouds

One night I decided, just as the light was disappearing, to hasten up the fell, 1,955 feet of steep climbing right up to the summit of Winder. A lung-opening, blood-stirring, bone-strengthening lunge of an effort, guaranteed to leave you feeling at first terrible and then, as your body begins to recover, elated while surrounded by sweeping views up in the clouds.

Going up the hill at night is even more exhilarating than a daytime jaunt because you are racing against the dark and know that you will probably have the summit and the ridge all to yourself to scream or dance or quickly scrawl a sketch.

On this particular evening the sky was full of threatening clouds but, as I stepped across the windy ridge that links Winder and Arant Haw, with views west over the Lake District mountains, there was a single band of red sunset colour streaked across the grey. The strong dark shapes of the clouds and the dash of colour seemed to vibrate above the steep plummeting hill slopes that run away from the ridge to right and left and the scene painted itself in my mind’s eye, making me promise to return.

This afternoon I dodged rain storms and braved an icy wind to take photos, subsequently joined together, of that view. The forecast promised worse this evening so no return trip was made and no sunset recorded. Following my original night-time foray I had created a watercolour from memory to test my first impression of the night-time experience, to see if I could capture the feel of that moment on the ridge. During today’s afternoon visit I quickly made a pencil sketch before my hands went numb.

near Winder at night, watercolour sketch from memory

small watercolour impression, from memory, of being up on the fells near Winder with night drawing in

The sun was trying to break through as I approached the summit of Winder, creating some interesting patterns of light and dark.

Winder summit photo

view from the summit of Winder under dark cloud

Over in Dentdale the village of Dent was bathed in sunshine while I was donning a rain jacket on my journey across the heights.

photo of clouds over Dentdale

boiling clouds over Dentdale, with Dent itself lit up in the distance

Proving that, once again, my trying to carry out any art-related activities on the hill activates some kind of spoilsport alarm, a team of film-makers arrived just as I was reaching the spot where I wanted to stop and sketch. They, naturally, chose the same area I was interested in to set up their tripods and proceeded to record a local guide and her party of walkers treading the path to Winder.

Resigned to my fate I skirted around them and assumed they would be there all afternoon but – no – in a matter of moments they were gone! My sketchbook was released from its bag and I managed to get down the basics of the scene I have in mind to paint before succumbing to hypothermia in the biting wind. Who knows what will happen when I return with my paints – maybe a parade of unicyclists or a troupe of accordion players will march over the horizon … but it will make for an interesting blog post nonetheless.

view towards Arant Haw

looking toward Arant Haw with film crew member showing as a red speck in the distance

I have two rules in life – to hell with it, whatever it is, and get your work done.

― Ray Bradbury

A good night’s sleep, or a ten minute bawl, or a pint of chocolate ice cream

photo of the way down from Winder fell

the way home (or spot the dog)

Today we had a perfect walk on the fell, even though I hadn’t really had any sleep and we met a deranged man on our way back down to town. I took the camera, intending to photograph a ridge I have been studying, making sketches and paintings, with the aim of producing a large piece of work. I wanted a photo to make a more complete blog post, to show the spot I’d been working in. Unfortunately, I was so sleep-deprived when I hit the top of the hill that I forgot all about it, turned left instead of right, missing the vital spot and not realising until I was well on the way back to town.

I keep stealing Ray Bradbury’s words to head these blog posts, because he wrote so well. Sleep has been tricky recently. We live in a flat here in our rural idyll and every now and again young people, fresh from home, move in to the flat above. They haven’t enough experience of life yet to understand the concept of being kept awake and needing your sleep so they tend to make a lot of noise in the early hours. They do try to keep it down but have no idea how loud they actually are, in our rickety old building which has no soundproofing at all. At times I end up craving sleep (although a good cry or chocolate ice cream could be temporary substitutes) and looking longingly at the bracken on the hill. When you are really sleepy it looks so welcoming. Couldn’t I just roll myself up in it for the night, far away from all the clamour?

Tilly the dog sits on the hill, photograph

Tilly sitting patiently with a background of hills

dog looking at the camera

Tilly gives me one of her looks

Tilly, who can sleep in all circumstances, tells me we have to go home because she is hungry.

view of fields and hill

looking south-west across the pattern of small fields

Nearing the fell wall we came across a man with two children and a very calm-looking dog. The man was brandishing a child’s scooter and yelling, in an uncontrolled manner – at the dog as far as I could tell. He sounded extremely angry, shouting “Sit down (dog’s name) Sit down now!!” while the poor animal slunk around in his vicinity looking most unhappy. The man was brandishing a lead and had his back to us. I wondered if he was reacting to us approaching from higher up the path, although both Tilly and I were standing still, not wanting to approach as the yelling continued. “I’m just trying to establish control!” the man shouted, seemingly at his children, as he had not acknowledged Tilly and I and still had his back to us, the scooter held aloft across his shoulders.

I looked at my dog, who seemed as unwilling to meet this raging person as I was, and we turned together, leaving the path to plunge through bogs and bracken, escaping as the shouting went on. We picked up a lower path that would take us home and, after a while, the noise ceased. I looked back and could see the three trudging up the hill away from us – no sign of the unfortunate dog, which couldn’t really have been blamed for keeping its distance. What on earth had caused the man to feel so irate, I wondered? Maybe he too needed some sleep.

view of Sedbergh seen from Winder

Sedbergh hoves into view. Tilly is still lurking.

In my next post I’ll include the work I’ve been doing on the fell ridge, hopefully complete with a reference photo.