The south west corner of Cumbria is dominated by the bulk of Black Combe, nowhere else in the Lake District do the hills reach so far towards the Irish Sea. The Whicham Valley sits to the south with its own weather dictated by its mountain neighbour. When the wind is from the north-west bringing cooler damp air off the sea Black Combe, with its smaller neighbour White Combe, can find itself with a long blanket of cloud clinging to the ridge.
In the valley below the sun managed to keep shining, the cloud limited to the high hill then breaking up as it was blown south. The ancient woodland that is now part of Brockwood Park, is marked on maps as Brocklebank Wood (a name predating its current incarnation and that as part of the Victorian built Chappels). The woodland floor was colourful carpet of bluebells, wild garlic and stitchwort while the oaks’ new leaves were a lightly bronzed green. Last year the bluebells were beginning to flower in mid-April around Muncaster.
Over at Hallthwaites the Black Beck water level was quite low, a sign that this spring has been relatively dry. The warm weather had brought out insects to hang above the water, in particular mayflies. There are hundreds of species of these distinctive flies which have two or three long ‘tails’. The adults do not feed so once in adult form life is simply about laying eggs for the new generation of nymphs which live in the river itself.