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Date & start time: Thursday 1st January 2009.

Location of Event : The red phone box, Loweswater , Cumbria, Uk ( NY 143 211 )

Places visited : Local.

Highest point : The weather.

Weather : High pressure, cold, damp, misty in the valley . . . a generally poor morning.

A generally poor morning ? . . . you couldn't even see fifty yards !


Winter temperature inversions in mountainous areas like the Lakes are a wonderful sight.

Today we were treated to one here in the Loweswater area . . . but it's not always obvious what is happening from below.

It's a cloudy day in the land of Puffins . . . It's cold, it's been cold since Christmas

but today it is a damp cold that penetrates deeper than normal.

The hedgehog was feeling really cold . . .
Even our squirrel was eating his breakfast quickly to keep warm.

But there's a brightness in the sky . . .

Mellbreak and Hen Comb from the garden.

Suddenly it cleared and the cold damp day was replaced by beautiful winter weather.

The cloud had drifted away from the surrounding fields and the pine tree on Low Fell was visible for the first time.

Yes it was going to be a great day after all.

This is Loweswater Church with Black Crag and Gavel Fell behind.

Time for a few photos, breakfast, then pack our rucksacks.

Inversions happen when the high ground becomes very cold and cools the air next to it. This encourages the adjacent air mass to descend into the valleys. The moisture within the air condenses out as cloud and hangs within the valleys giving us the freezing fog and exaggerated hoar frosts.

When the morning sun rises above the clouds, it often shines through clear blue winter skies but the weak strength of its rays fails to burn off the cloud below. However it will warm the fell tops sufficiently to create an unusual 'temperature inversion', where the air above is warmer than the air below.

That's the time to walk high . . . get out above the cloud . . . and enjoy the view.

Today the cold air was slowly flowing down the valley from Buttermere, through Loweswater, then on down towards the open ended Lorton valley. It was the cold moisture laden air mass slowly moving away that is giving us the breaks and the changing conditions.

One of the oaks at Lanthwaite Green covered in a thick hoar frost.

Beneath it, the small black object is another red squirrel which just puts pay to the myth that they hibernate in winter.

The cloud rolls away again and the same tree catches the sun with dramatic effect.

Time for our walk . . . just waiting for the rest of the party to arrive . . .

- - - o o o - - -


Technical note: Pictures taken with with my Cannon G7 or Ann's Ixus 75 Digital cameras.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

This site best viewed with . . . a good forecast but also being in the right place at the right time.

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Previous walk - 28th December 2008 Middle Fell with Gareth

A previous time - 25th December 2006 Candles, Tinsel, Inversions and Altitude