Friday, 8 October 2010

Small things in big places

I walked from Boot to the Jaws of Borrowdale yesterday, over Scafell and Scafell Pike.  Fifteen words to describe eight hours in Paradise, especially as the mist lifted shortly before I became, for half-a-minute or so, the highest person in England. Thereafter the sun shone and shone. My Paradise opinion seemed to be shared by a Small Tortoiseshell which was basking in the sunshine on Broad Col. This is pretty impressive, as the col is 3030ft high and the weather there volatile. Only yesterday, four of our party were driven back down from just the same spot by rain, thick mist and even hail. 

What was the Tortoiseshell doing then?  Maybe it flew up yesterday from the nearest bunch of nettles, its larval foodplant which isn't to be seen anywhere near Broad Col. Or perhaps it finds shelter deep in the omnipresent piles of stones (see the pic of the Pike's summit, Broad and Ill Crags, above) which also make excellent storage heaters to bask on when the sun does shine. Either way, I was so surprised to see the butterfly that I failed to sort out my camera in time. But down in Borrowdale, I saw three more on the roadside verge between Seatoller and Rosthwaite and here is one of them. Also a dead shrew on the fellside between Burnmoor tarn and Scafell summit. There is, or was, a lot of life in them there hills.


worm said...

shrews have a fairly luckless existence, don't they!?

MartinWainwright said...

It's sad. I found this one just after deciding to make for the summits in spite of mist, rather than take the clear route down to Wasdale Head and up the Sty Head pass. I don't believe in omens, luckily. Anyway, the choice turned out to be right. All v best M