After several days of near-torrential rain, in which the northern half of the country has become more or less submerged, we have had a day of sunshine and duck-egg blue sky.
Yesterday, Tunnel End was a lake again (it was originally a reservoir for the Huddersfield Canal) and the path I trundle along on my scooter was under water. Today, the water has receded, leaving a sodden world of flooded depressions, full ditches, and alder carr.
It is probably this area of swampland in this upper stretch of the Colne valley that keeps flooding to a controllable level further down the valley. The equivalent river system to the immediate north – the River Calder – doesn’t have an area like this, and, as a result, the flooding is much more severe. Hebden Bridge, the main town on the upper Calder, is flooded regularly, with devastating results.
To make matters worse for our northern neighbours, the valley sides on the upper Calder tend to be steeper, so rainwater rushes off the moors and quickly swells the rivers, whereas the moors above us are basically liquid black bog.
But here, today, one could almost imagine there was a bit of warmth in the sun. The river chuckled through the grassland, rather than roared,, and the northern side of the valley – which faces south – was almost warm and spring like!
The formless lump of ground known as Garside Hey and its little boundary valley of Purl Clough 0looked to be almost shimmering in heat haze – though I’m not stupid enough to really think it was.
All my walk is spent north of the river, so I had sun most of the time. The south side of the river has lost its sunlight behind Pule Hill now, and it will not re-emerge for a couple of months. When the snow comes, it will linger longer beneath the crags of Pule Hill.
It is just so wonderful to get outside again, away from the dull inertia of Christmas television.