It was so cold yesterday (the accumulation of several days of cold, rainy weather) that when I got back from my singing practice at lunchtime I even succumbed to putting the heating on for a couple of hours. I then headed out for the Lanercost Festival Writing Competition workshop, and the sun came out… as I drove home I had a yen to get out either on my bike or on my feet, and then a further yen to be up Talkin Fell. It’s so lonely up there and yet I feel very grounded, and love gazing at the view from the top.
I felt too tired, for various reasons, to get changed into my running kit but thought I’d put on my walking boots (it can be pretty muddy up there) and walk up.
I really must get myself a new camera as my phone doesn’t produce great photos, but here are a few snapshots of what I saw and my thoughts and feelings.
As I got out of the car I looked at where I was going. You can’t see it in this photo, but there are some cairns on top of Talk Fell (the one to the left of the picture), and that was where I was headed. To my right was Geltsdale, and as I walked up the track which winds ever higher up the side of the hill, the sandstone of Geltsdale Farm shone golden in the late afternoon sun. Look at that glorious blue sky: the clouds being blown away to the east perhaps give some indication of how grey and wet it had been only a few hours earlier. Cumbrian skies are fantastic: we get wonderful clouds up here (so perhaps I shouldn’t complain too much about the rain!). Look how verdant the hillside is, too. The first thing I noticed when I got out of the car was the birds singing – I can’t recognise specific birdsong but there were a load of different varieties of bird singing about what a beautiful evening it was and how glad they were to be alive.
Here I am at the top, standing leaning on a trig point, the wind blowing wildly in my hair and blowing the cobwebs away. Having been too cold at home earlier in the day, I was by now too warm! The left hand photo is looking over towards Blencathra and the Lake District; in the right hand photo you can see the shimmer of a farmer’s plastic sheeting over a crop and then another shimmer which is Talkin Tarn. Scotland’s away in the distance, the other side of the Solway.
I had been at the top of the world, and left it only slowly, wanting to stay longer but conscious that I did need to get home at some point. As I headed downhill feeling strength running through the core of my being, I got a waft of hawthorn blossom (I think it was) as the Solway glimmered in the distance in the sunshine.
The stony track heads downhill quickly and through some woods, back down to the splashing river in its rocky gorge. I wish photos could capture the smells and sounds of the evening: they also turn something so vibrantly alive and three-dimensional into a flat and less atmospheric picture. I can only hope that with my few brief words and inadequate photography that I have summed up the essence of a lovely walk, and perhaps inspired you to go up there too.