This is probably one of my favourite walks, certainly locally. Depart from The Hermit’s Cave, across The Exercise Yard departing through the Cold Comfort portal. Then up through Coldcomfort Wood; across the fields and then following then fording The Spittal Brook and then return. Wild flowers can be seen and birds watched in almost total peace and calm.
But today a cold and blustery wind whips in from the east carrying spatters of driven rain. Not a single flower can be seen. Not a primrose; not a bluebell. The newly cut hedges and verges seem to add to the bleak prospect for this walk. At the far end of the field beyond the wood I turn into the wind and almost immediately pull up my coats zip and bend into the wind, rain spatters bounce off me. A single other walker, a Lowry-like figure, half a mile away, hunches into the wind and trudges after her dog.
However, there is one bright spot. I have to cross the ford over a Spittal Brook at a point I call The Spittal Brook Interchange. A point where several paths meet and cross. Usually I manage some disaster here. From a simple wet foot to last years disaster when I managed to slip and land face down in the icy waters. But today I managed to cross, equipped with walking pole and new boots, safe and dry.
And so an hour later, with hands clamped around a steaming cup of coffee I reflected on a good walk but perhaps a couple of weeks too early in the year. Walk distance 5.1 miles.