Venturing out in the wilds of the Peak District the other day, I found myself at the mercy of the elements. I was prepared for the cold with warm clothing, gloves (they become important later), beanie, face cover and a flask of hot tea. What I wasn’t prepared for was the wind.
From the moment the door opened I was hit with a relentless gale. It didn't let up the entire time. During my ascent I came over one knoll and was nearly knocked off the path by a super gust. When all you can hear is the sustained rush of the wind you have to start to rely on other senses, primarily sight. I have included a short video which captures some of the intensity of what I experienced.
Then the clouds started to close in, enveloping me into an increasingly white world with the snow drifts coating the heather. The path was either snowy, ice or slush.
My goal was to reach Mill Hill, hoping if I was fortunate, to catch a view of a snow capped Kinder Scout. Mill Hill, yes. Kinder, no.
I decided to hang around hoping that the clouds might clear as they were blowing by at speed. No such luck. It was during this brief spell that I really wondered whether I was cut out for doing cold. I had been reasonably warm with the chosen clothing for the day, but had to take my gloves off for about 5 mins to pour tea and take photos and it’s where I nearly fell apart.
I had to redefine cold after that experience. Brrr. The actual temperature itself wasn’t that low, it was the windchill that knocked the numbers through the floor and having a freezing effect. Now I know it’s not arctic by any stretch, but it’s a new level in my experience of cold.
Time to move. The sun had occasionally poked through the haze but never fully managed to take over. Gloves on and go. As the blood started to return it felt like my hands had doubled in size! After a few minutes the feeling started to normalise as I began my descent. I would occasionally turn, just to make sure Kinder hadn’t poked her head out from behind the cloud cover. It was not to be.
As I came lower sunshine returned and the howling wind tempered slightly, until…
There’s one point where the valley to my left sweeps across the path and where the wind was at it’s strongest.
Remember that knoll I mentioned? It was just off the path providing a sweeping panorama of the valley above and below with it’s windswept heather covered sides and the occasional smattering of snow left by previous flurries. It was all I could do to stay upright, opting for a kneeling stance to keep my balance.
The temperature rose as I dropped further heading back to the car and it was now I was able to ease up.
As is often the case, I happened to catch a glimpse in my rearview mirror and there was Kinder. She had poked her magnificent snow capped frame out from behind the cloud (well mostly) and I couldn't resist turning the car around to find a vantage point for a pic. Mission accomplished.
In such conditions, don’t take your gloves off. Just don’t.
Sometimes getting the shot is not worth risking life, or in this case, limb :D
There’s usually another way to get a result.
I can push myself further than I think I can.
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