Another weekend and another hill; this week’s ascent was of Shillhope Law in Upper Coquetdale. The weather swapped between winter and spring with hail flurries and sunshine, a cool breeze but warmth in shelter. The wildlife too tried to cling to the hope of spring with a pair of oystercatchers by the River Coquet and pairs of ravens flying close. Up on the hill skylarks climbed in song, to go suddenly quiet as the hail came, restarting as it passed. The air was clear but the showers shortened the horizon making Cheviot almost invisible to the north.
The path ascends through hill grasses until it approaches the summit where heather takes over. Here crowberry and mosses such as Sphagnum capillifolium and Pleurozium schreberi shelter below the mini canopy of the heather. Lower down, by the river, small rocky outcrops were coated in lichens such as the descriptively named map lichen (Rhrizocarpon geographicum) and others that will remain anonymous to us at least.