Time to burn off some Christmas excess. Like a retreating Santa Claus I decided to head upwards with a bag on my shoulder full of presents. Out the front door, walk up the road for all of three minutes and it was on with the crampons. The path is really steep here. And covered in hard ice. Which in turn is cunningly covered with a layer of fluffy dry snow.
One sweaty hour later I was at the top. Time for more toys. Crampons exchanged for snowshoes. On with a wind-shirt, hat and bigger gloves.
Swinging west into the wind I settled in to my new gait, feet slightly wider apart than when I'm on my skis. It was hard to tell if there was any change in my pace. On my skis I'm quicker on the flat and on the down-hills. Apart from when I'm lying face first in a drift.
The snowshoes did allow for as-the-crow-flies travel while the ski tracks zig-zagged around me and the odd boot tracks, post-holed the path of least resistance.
Time to head home. The sun, on it's lazy winter arc, decided to wind down for the day. Christmas marzipan treats and hot blackcurrant drink fuelled my swing south and home.
The sun gave a quick wave goodbye, bursting briefly into the space between the cloud and horizon flushing the hills with pink. Animal tracks popped out of the flatness. The light caught the waft of dry snow that erupted with my every footstep and made it sparkle like crystals. The light show was beautiful but short lived. The various trails from over the hills slowly converged and the snow grew firmer. On the edge of the city the trail stopped and the streetlights started. Toys packed away I buried my hands in my pockets. Ah good, I hadn't lost my front door key.