Friday, 30 November 2012



Ice sculptures are often commissioned at great expense to give an event a 'wow' factor. For most of us though, the good old ice cube tray and, weather permitting, snowman building is probably the extent of our dabbling with ice. I seem to recollect that one of our cookery books, of a certain vintage, detailed how to make an ice bowl from which to serve that 1980s classic... the prawn cocktail. (I never tried it.) So it was fantastic to come across some wonderful natural 'sculptures' when we were out walking on a sunny, blue-skied day right at the end of November.

There had been a hard frost and we came across this puddle at the verge of a farm track. The top layer was quite white and still, but underneath the surface there were spiral channels of trickling water around the stones on the track's surface. 
As we left the bridleway to start our climb up the fellside, we noticed these icicles tucked underneath overhanging rough grasses. These were the first that we had seen this winter. How long they had taken to form was anyone's guess, but they were beautiful as they clung on to their grassy host.
Crystal clear
Simple, agricultural wire fencing provided a structure for snow and ice too. Bending down, it was like peering through cottage style casement windows. Each 'window' provided its own view. Earlier on we had seen small, regular shapes of ice lying at the bottom of the fence as if the 'windows' had been shattered.

Further up, the snow and ice had remained intact and made for a very impressive sight. Here, the snow had also drifted into ridges emanating from the fence. The contrast of shadow and glistening snow was spectacular. In the sun, the snow sparkled as if it had had a sprinkling of glitter on it. Magical.

The triangulation pillar had also taken on a new guise with sculpted sides.

Triangulation Pillar - Skiddaw
The summit of Skiddaw Little Man was graced with a magnificent sculpture thanks to mother nature and some twisted metal. With the sun behind it, it had natural illumination. It was the ideal place to stop for our lunch and contemplate nature's beauty.
Skiddaw Little Man - summit
Earlier in the day the melody and words of Harold Darke's, 'In the bleak mid winter,' had come to mind as the ground crunched underneath our feet. But, as the icy artwork kept emerging, this day had been anything but bleak.

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