Sunday, 18 December 2016

Pale shapes beyond the Pale

Whilst working in the north west of England, a Saturday afternoon with the promise of dry and bright winter weather tempted me to look for walking locations.  As the area was unfamiliar, nearby Delamere Forest looked a good place to start.  The bright sunshine and clear air at the coast were replaced by dense mist as I drove to Delamere, obscuring the sun but lending great atmosphere.

As expected, most of the trails were busy with families enjoying the dry conditions and escaping the madness of pre-Christmas retail pressure, and with dog walkers and cyclists.  It's good to see the forest so well-used, although there wasn't much of a sense of solitude.

Having walked the longest of the trails around the forest and its glacial relic lake, I decided to extend my walk to take in another trail which led up and over Old Pale, which as the name suggests was once fortified, as was nearby Eddisbury Hill.  Old Pale forms the highest point of the northern part of a long sandstone ridge above the Cheshire plain.

Seven counties are visible from the 176m/577ft summit, marked by a sandstone monolith surrounded by stones representing the seven counties.  On this misty day, not even one county was visible though!  A cloud sea just below the summit extended to the horizon in most directions, but offered an atmospheric descent....

Shifting mist brought trees in and out of focus; pale shapes looming from the grey and then disappearing again.....

A slight sinking of the cloud sea allowed the shapes of winter trees to stand out in sharp silhouette, all the more marked as I'd been in mist for several hours.

As the sun dipped towards the skyline the lowering rays made for a very atmospheric winter scene- a small effort to make time for a walk had been amply rewarded.


  1. Very beautiful pic's and I love that of the lonely tree!

  2. Thanks Leif - it was a very atmospheric day. I didn't take a camera so these were shot on my phone, I'm quite pleased with them :o)

    Best wishes

  3. Amazing pics, Ian. "Atmospheric" is true. What a lovely descriptive term..."cloud sea". I'll be using that one! Warm wishes.

    1. Thanks Duncan..... I can't calim originality on that term, but it is very appropriate at times!

      warm wishes

  4. Mist in forests can be beautiful. Not an area I'm familiar with although I do know that Ian Brown(Stone Roses singer) grew up in nearby Warrington.
    The glacial lake sounds interesting.

    1. Hi Bob, there is some synergy here between this and some of your recent posts - an oasis of wild country in close proximity to big cities, special and precious places...