I have just come in from a really bracing walk. Not very far, you understand, but quite far enough in the conditions.
We woke this morning to a westerly gale - with gusts over 53mph because the remaining wind turbine was stationary. Much to my relief, apart from beech twigs and mast on the lawn, no damage had been done - and still hasn't. But they really are not the sort of conditions that are conducive to gardening and the walks westward and eastward involve passing under quite a lot of trees, which I did not fancy.
So after lunch, after checking that the Church was alright, I set of southwards. This involved a longish pull up a hill completely exposed to the full force of the wind on my right-hand side, which was trying to blow my walking pole between my legs. Why did I not use it in my left hand? you may well ask. Just my blurdy mindedness. The top of this hill is the site of a WW2 observation point and there is an amazing view. I was able to enjoy it in reasonable comfort because trees have grown up round the site and protected me from the gale to the west.
The Lake District hills were hidden by another piece of high ground. To the south is the northern end of a very large quarry and beyond it a fairly young wood. Glimpsed beyond that were the Durham hills. Going on round to the east, the horizon for many miles is the coast. If I had had my binoculars I would have probably been able to see the sea. As the crow flies it is about 18 miles away at the nearest point. Continuing round towards the north you look over the village towards the Simonside hills near Rothbury and on to Cheviot, the most northerly point of the Pennines. They run on down the west side to complete the view.
It was made more spectacular than usual today by a rainbow reaching from Simonside to the coast and a great black rainstorm from Cheviot to the Roman Wall, which at that point is due west of us.
Walking back down the hill, the gusts felt even stronger and I had some difficulty in maintaining my balance. However, if it does as 'they' say, it should start to ease soon. At least the sun is shining mostly, with small white clouds rushing across the sky, reminding me of the White Rabbit in Alice and Wonderland.