We were all set to go out for a walk on Saturday but events conspired against us so we went yesterday instead. Inevitably, the weather was less kind (chilly, damp and grey) but at least it wasn't pouring with rain, blowing a gale or covered in ice. Everything is, however, absolutely squelching with mud after all the rain and many of the smaller or higher level paths are so disgusting they're not really safe, so we chose the Coppermines Valley at Coniston which is on good, stony tracks (actually old miners' tracks to the vast network of historic mines and quarries in the area).
It was surprisingly enjoyable. Thanks to bad weather, frequent trips back to Birmingham and various work commitments we've not been out walking since Christmas Day, and even that was a short toddle up Post Knott, hardly one of the highest peaks in the land. It was lovely to get out into the fresh air, get the old legs moving again and see some scenery close-hand rather than through the windows of the car. And what scenery! Coppermines is a classic hanging valley, almost flat once you heave yourself up the steep slope out of the village and over the lip, and it positively bristles with evidence of its ancient mining past. To some people this would be dark, dreary and depressing but we love it. It's so full of atmosphere you can almost hear the miners, the pit ponies, the old rail trucks clanking down the slopes filled with ore... and the whole place has a wildness and remoteness about it that's extraordinary considering it's only a mile or so from the centre of the village.
Here's a couple of photos I took, with the mist down over the fell tops and drizzle blowing in the breeze, to show you what I mean. Pretty it ain't. Stunning, yes.