The moorland spreads out before me disappearing into a heat shimmer and molten sheep. They pant and cough harshly with an uncomfortable mixture of warmth and a heavy lung worm burden hindering each breath.
I am walking and waiting and filling my time while Eldest volunteers up in the Dales. I can feel warm air filling my nostrils and lungs and it is only 9am.
Boots on and haversack shouldered, we - Moss and I, set off towards a small village down in the valley below. It appears we are the only ones on the hills as we walk along a quietly babbling stream. The sound of the water on the rocks calls to the dog who gratefully throws herself into the tepid flow. Our walk all the way down is punctuated by watery stops and a swimming dog.
The sky lark, meadow pipit and the occasional screaming swallow are the only sounds around me as we follow the path. I am warm - not in a I-can't-cope sort of way, but in a warm-and-defrosted-at-last sort of way where I can feel my bones are no longer chilled and my skin prickles under the fierce autumn sun.
Moss - who failed as a sheep dog - still has residual aspirations to be the working border collie she thought she was ... In sheep festooned fields I have to be careful either to have her on a lead or be ready with a sharp word. If they suddenly bolt - it triggers an automatic rounding up response. Today is different, the sheep are too hot to care and Moss just chooses to look at them sideways with head held low as we pass by.
The path runs on and on, over styles, through gates, round hills and most importantly - alongside streams. I don't run, I plod. Moss pants and wallows.
Strange. This late heat, it is September now and as I walk I can see sweltering red and dripping faces and sun-seared pink shoulders of hot fat women and their thin baggy trousered sweaty husbands.
We reach the village - it is full of day trippers in shorts slapping on suntan lotion. It is busier than I like and we leave as soon as we can. Our path turns upward on to an old drovers track, I can feel the rise of the road as I shorten my step and deepen my breath. Moss' tongue hangs down thick and pink almost to her knees as we both notice the distinct lack of water in this half of our walk.
We trudge on, the busy day trippers are left behind as they all stay in the village by the cafes and river. We on the other hand wade through airless air, shadeless sun and up a steepening track.
Finally the track ends, I spy a thin and hard hawthorn providing meagre shade in the field ahead, we are not fussy - this shade looks luxurious and deep and cool. It is not but is still wonderful.
We sit, share water - Moss is not keen on lemon flavoured tepid bottle water - I muse I'd never had her as such a connoisseur... I knit. She sleeps. We sit for an hour. Only one other pair of walkers trudge by, I can feel their pain as they pass - their shoulders are boiled lobster pink and their faces shiny and flustered. I knit a row or two more - time to find Moss a stream to wallow in.
Shouldering the haversack again - it feels heavier as do my boots. My feet had been let out and my toes dug themselves into the grass, being re-shod doesn't really agree with them today.
The sun is still fiercely shining as I think I catch the sound of distant thunder ... I stop - listen, thunder? Not sure. We carry on, the dog is hot, her paws are heavy and her head down. I offer her my water again and this time she drinks.
We trudge up and over the crest - finally we can see the tarn where the outlet stream calls us to cool off. The last three quarters of a mile seems so very slow and long as we approach.
Moss does not need inviting twice to lie in the stream. She stays for 20 minutes. I wait with her as I watch hot sheep cough and as equally hot walkers plod along the track I have just left.
The sun blazes down as huge heavy thunderous clouds built up. I still need to meet Eldest - another hour away. Reluctantly we leave the languid stream as Moss recovers her bounce and wag.
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Later, as we drive home Eldest and I listen to the thunder as the clouds boil and grow hiding the sun. Moss sleeps on the back seat.
In the absence of the video I took of the dog wallowing
(blogger grrrrrr keeps inserting it upside down?!?)
Here is a screen shot of her the correct way up
(from the same video - explain that blogger ...)