An Indian Summer.
At last some sunshine.
High pressure and blue sky.
When the schools have closed and the majority of tourists have fled down the M6 to their more mundane surroundings.
I arrived in Grasmere at 8.20am a few days ago the car park was empty!
As were the streets. No one was about, shops were closed, the only person I met was a disgruntled paper boy.
Trees tinged with gold by the cold, cloudless nights. Hills floated eerily above mist rising slowly from the lake.
Leaving the lake I headed up through a newly carpeted woodland to open moorland,
and the distinctive saddle of Silver How.
For once the air was completely still. So clear I could pick out every fold in the Helvellyn range. Lazy, laconic cloud reluctant to let go.
Summit and Helvellyn
As I was reluctant to move. There have been few days this summer where it has been so comfortable just to sit and look at the hills. I was still surrounded by solitude. No one spoilt my reverie.
Eventually I plodded off across the hummocks. Sphagnum moss still soggy. Glad of recently new boots.
I skirted Lang How a body, not a sheep, appeared. Another early person grabbing the late summer sunshine. The only person I met on the fell all day.
Tiny tarns, still and blue. Bright purple heather adding to the palette.
Langdales dominated the skyline until I reached the top of Swinescar Pike and changed direction to return to the village
Swinescar Hawse suddenly steep and rocky, led down to more sodden sphagnum on Blindtarn Moss. Yet more unceremonious hopscotch avoiding the wet, grabbing occasional dry ground.
Moss left behind the path clung to the edge of the gill. Waterfalls heard but hidden by still waist high bracken.
People appeared. Heading up the popular Easdale and its more promiscuous waterfalls.
And so the public return. Grasmere had morphed into a tourist trap. Shops open, cafes full, cars loitered with intent as I pulled off my boots and dumped my pack in my car.
I was glad of my early start.