Tuesday 21 December 2010

Solstice Morning

brian and sunrise
Me, Brian and Charlie got up outrageously early this morning and turned up on the Durham/Northumberland border just as the moon was going into it’s final stages of a total eclipse.

december solstice 001
(Very poor picture of the lunar eclipse. Well, it was dark, see..?)
As we totterred off over the hard neve of Middlehope Moor, it finally blanked out, turned red and disappeared into some Cheviot haze.
We pressed on up the hill, reaching the summit cairn not too much later (its not very far)
december solstice dawn breakfast
Here, we lit some hexamine and produced a fairly frazzled breakfast of sausages, bacon, black pudding, tomato and rolls.
And then the sun rose in a pink and red light. We all agreed haw great it was to be here and not tucked up in a warm and cosy bed.
charlie in the sun
The snow began to steam gently and, despite the severely negative celsius readings, Charlie pointed out a heat haze.
Everything was now bathed in sunshine.
december solstice sunrise
The snow conditions in the North Pennines, I have to report, are absolutely superb at the moment. There is hard neve to walk on. The bogs are frozen up. There is blue sky and sunshine. And the roads are open. This can’t be missed. I must have a walk tomorrow.
timer shot
And, of course, the year has now turned. From now on, each day will have just that extra few minutes of daylight. There is hope. Spring is lurking somewhere far away but has it’s bags packed, the taxi is waiting, the cat is at the Aunty’s and the neighbours have a key, just in case.
Solstice sunrise and a lunar eclipse. That can’t happen very often. It would have been a shame to miss that one.


AlanR said...

Hi Mike,
Thats brilliant. 10 out of 10 for getting up out of a warm pit and setting off. That initial first step is always difficult.
Well i find it difficult anyway.

icklebigsis said...

Solstice Blessings... Luna Eclipse was amazing, we were on the moor bit above Stanhope this morning, with a mug of tea (coffee in other half's case) watching the sunrise. Such a perfect day.

Alan Sloman said...

A splendid effort Sir! I see you pinched Father Christmas's coat too! He'll want it back you know, what with the National Freeze an' all...

Denise said...

Gorgeous photos! Nothing like a early winter walk in the snow!

markswalkingblog said...

Mike - one of the joys of being retired. I was up early this morning missed the eclipse. Spent my morning inside a series of freezing warehouses doing our annual stock take. Great photos !

selfpowered said...

nicely done sir, seeing out the old year in fine style.

seasons greetings

Mike Knipe said...

Thanks for the comments everybody. Charlie and Brian have sent me some more pictures, so I may post a few more since I can't walk tomorrow (have to wait for a parcel delivery)
The coat is called "herbert" by the way, Alan. Its very warm!

Laura said...

Well done!

Apparently it's been 400 years since the last eclipse on the shortest day. Sadly I didn't know about it till this evening.

There's always next time...........

-maria- said...

Enjoyed your post. These four times a year (winter solstice/vernal equinox/summer solstice/autumnal equinox) have always been something special to me.

Nice pictures, too!