This is an uncompromising mountainous area where the road ascends and descends through a harsh moorland. The slopes on either side are steep and rocky, and part of the route runs past old slate mines where men tunnelled neath the ground to extract Britain's roofing materials, until the mines closed some years ago.They opened again recently, but much of the mine zone high in the cliffs is used for adventure sports.
The land is,as you can see from the picture, prone to mists and rain, and at the far end is Seathwaite, England's rainiest village.It was misty that day and my father and I talked as we walked. We discussed religious matters, for Dad was deeply and genuinely religious, a man who spent his pension years serving the church before ill-health claimed him. Yet he was something of a paradox, a war time reconnaissance trooper,in a unit considered one step below commandos,he had seen much action, but it never sullied his religious piety. A faith that stood the test! As boys we wanted tales of war, and he gave us some, but it was only in later years that I realized how hard the conflict had been for him, a sensitive man forced by circumstance to do what he did not want to do.
He had learned his first bird watching skills when on duty with the army in Scotland, and on our walk he showed me my first heron. His alert eye spotted the flight when I had seen just a bird. " A heron" he declared and pointed, and I saw the large,wide-winged creature flying over the beck [stream.] I have seen many a heron since then, as they are common in my watery area with its canals and rivers, but at the back of my mind lurks my first experience of one,and that came from my father.
We also did a good deed. Encountering two very nice and vulnerable elderly ladies whose three wheeler car was stuck trying to ascend the pass, we stepped in to help. The hill start on the steep slope was too much for them, and they needed assistance. Dad was mainly Irish by blood and had the short,broad ,muscular physique of many Irish, a physique that he has passed on to me, so the two of us exerted our muscle to get the two nice ladies started. They waved as the car set off, and we never saw them again.
No more of note happened on that stage of the walk and we descended to Seathwaite, where being English we just had to get a cup of tea.