Country diary: Hallin Fell, Lake District:

Hallin Fell, Lake District: I managed to sprawl on the slope as thunder reverberated overhead and forked lightning lit up Howtown

My crutches trembled with static electricity like a tuning fork as black clouds glowered, and thunder rumbled over Hallin Fell. This Marilyn (1,271 feet) is a Lakeland miniature, surrounded on three sides by shining Ullswater. Flashes of lightning illuminated the lake. Dramatic. How the day had darkened. Blobs of rain began to fall, an ominous sign.

What did I once read about surviving? Quick, lie on the ground. I managed to sprawl on the slope as the first crack of thunder reverberated overhead and forked lightning lit up Howtown. I tossed my crutches away and waited. At last the storm passed, leaving me free to roll towards the alloy tubes I had been so keen to jettison. On my feet at last, and thoroughly bedraggled, I continued downhill.

It had been a good fell to do on crutches. Colonel Rusty Westmorland, he of the Westmorland climb on Dove Crag and the Westmorland cairn on Great Gable, climbed it when he was five. An emerald path like a bowling green wends its way higher to a col before rougher fell with rock outcrops leads to a magnificent summit cairn.

What a view across Martindale Common! High Street, Helvellyn (including a fragment of Striding Edge) and Blencathra were also in view as a steamer cut a V-shaped furrow on Ullswater below. The ground was sodden. At least it was still negotiable, as the turf had been burnished to a sheen by bum-sliding children when it was snuff-dry.

Slowly I descended to the car opposite St Peter’s church with its stained-glass window in memory of the officers and men of HMS Glorious, sunk in 1940. Sat on newspapers turning soggy, I drove down the hairpins of the Hause, a smaller version of Hardknott Pass – and near the Michelin-starred Sharrow Bay. I forsook this celebrated fleshpot for a cup of tea at the Howtown Hotel. © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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