11 January 2009

The big freeze has finally come to an end and we have rain and grey skies this morning.  It's been about three weeks now since temperatures were this balmy, we have seen snow and freezing fog and the ground has been iron hard.  The Tarn is slowly beginning to thaw out so hopefully the resident waterfowl will return over the next few days.  It's been strange to stand by the hut in absolute silence with no sign of life either on or around the water.  Clearly something has been visiting when I am not there as the ice is criss crossed by a network of tracks and prints.  These are too indistinct for a positive identification, but judging by their size they were probably made by a fox.

You do wonder just how well wild birds and mammals get on during prolonged spells of frost.  Those birds such as snipe that probe feed must have a thin time of it and with the river margins frozen even ducks must feel the pinch.

The crack of dawn found the Hon Sec and me up at the Tarn busy manhandling ply sheets and timber down to the hut.  It was a brisk morning with a sharp frost, fog and a stiff easterly breeze.  After six or seven trips between the lay by and the hut (I lost count) I now know every blade of grass and am intimate with the weight of various thicknesses of 4 by eight plywood sheets.  Still, with all the material needed for lining the hut now in it I can make a start on the job tomorrow.

Ian

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