THE GREAT thing about walking in winter (which it still is in my book, never mind the Met Office putting the first day at 1 March – what rubbish) is no cows. Bliss for an old bovinaphobic like me. So I hadn’t reckoned with a flock of rampaging sheep lying in wait for us behind a wall as we climbed over a style near Newbiggin. (I always knew the countryside was a dangerous place). All with massive horns and pawing the ground like mad Spanish bulls, prior to charging, showing no fear at all of a small and loudly barking border terrier. And charge they undoubtedly did. Which meant I didn’t get the best photograph of a suddenly-terrified Maud, tail between legs, scuttling across the open field on her fully-extended lead, woolly monsters in pursuit: I was too busy fleeing for the safety of the far side of the gate, which was looking a long way away. Once she was safely across, and they’d more or less lost interest, she couldn’t resist turning to face them and delivering one last, not very threatening, bark. It gave a whole new meaning to sheep-worrying.
At Nappa Hall we discovered this fantastic carpet of snowdrops, which I can’t help thinking loses something in the snapping, and a forlorn-looking Hall itself. It’s apparently been bought by a local developer. There didn’t seem much developing going on there yesterday.When it does, we hope walkers don’t lose their right of way.