Early Christmas Present

Burnsall to Linton: Dec 15th, 2019


On the way to Burnsall. There’s a double-edged quality to the feeling of having a snowplough bearing down upon you.


Reaching Burnsall Green, the snow had stopped and the sun had appeared.


On the day that Ben Stokes won BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the cricket season felt a very long way away, both looking back to the past summer and forward to the next.


At low levels, even without their leaves, the trees cast enough of a thermal shadow to promote the inevitable melt.


On higher ground, the snow was drier. Many trees were engaged in conversation, no doubt discussing the weather and this surprise fall of snow.


Climbing higher, towards the hamlet of Thorpe, the snow became thicker and drier. Caught off-guard with totally inadequate footwear, I decided to channel my inner-sheepdog and pretended I was herding trees.


As the landscape becomes more wintry, it feels appropriate to apply my usual black and white filters. Colour was all but gone anyway.


I was compelled to visit an old friend.


Snow has a sublimative power, transforming the landscape, lending it a whole new personality. Gentle hills become inaccessible mountains.


Contours are softened. Edges are delineated.


The patterns in the landscape are exposed.


I was encouraged to create art out of nature wherever I could, forgetting time and the people I was supposed to be walking with.


I rather disgraced myself by losing them and having to find my own way to the Fountaine Inn at Linton for lunch.


Finally, the snow turned to slush, making it impossible to stop feet from getting saturated with freezing water. Nevertheless, it was worth every minute of all the time it took to eventually thaw them out.

With thanks to the Leeds University Walking Club and the leadership today of Adrian Smith. Thanks also to the lovely staff at the Fountaine Inn who looked after us so well, with drinks and lunch, and for tolerating the various puddles that formed on the floor around us.


    • Hey, thanks. Nothing to do with technical ability (little camera left on auto all day), but a lots of yards and a bit of post-processing, of course. Happy Christmas. x


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