So far this winter, the dog and I have walked in weather that's anything from damp and drizzly to gale-force winds and sideways rain. We've not had any of the snow that we saw in Yorkshire this weekend, apart from a few flurries which haven't amounted to much. It's just been dull and wet and that's not how winter should be at all! Occasionally, though, we get a day like this and it's a joy to be outside, especially early in the morning (small daughter had a before-school club) when the sun is just rising.
Our path took us past the theme park, the skeleton of the rollercoaster visible through the bare trees. I always think it seems a little strange to have a theme park tucked away between housing estates, but it's been there for years. The frost was thick on the grass and our breath steamed in the cold air. Much nicer than sideways rain!
The moon was still out, shining bright against the blue sky. I love mornings like this. I like to walk at quite a quick pace so it doesn't take too long to warm up. We don't meet too many other people this early in the morning either, so it's just me and the dog - him snuffling about in the bushes and me with my thoughts. It's a lovely opportunity to get ready for the day ahead.
And as we walked, the sun started to appear, painting the first pink streaks.
It's so low at this time of year and is often in your eyes. I find it especially difficult to see when I'm driving to school in the afternoon, but there have been some spectacular sunrises this winter which I've actually got to see because they're a little later in the day.
Most of the water that we passed was frozen solid (although true to form, the dog did manage to find some to splash in - he mustn't feel the cold at all!). I stood here for a long time watching the sun reflected on the ice. It was quite beautiful.
I think these are chicory seed heads. They all had frosty caps on! I must have walked past these a hundred times but only noticed them today wearing their winter coats.
These leaves were frozen into the ground. They've lost their autumn colours now apart from a few tinges of red around the edges.
There were frozen footprints too. These always make me smile - seeing them embedded in the mud always reminds me of dinosaur hunters looking for evidence of long-ago creatures! Boot-tracks make great fossils, don't they?
The dog skittered across the frosty bridge. He very rarely walks anywhere - he's always at full pelt which worries me at this time of year - he's far too heavy to carry if he damaged himself! Just past this bridge, I spent a good ten minutes trying to spot the woodpeckers which were tap-tapping away in the branches. I found one, but although I managed to take a picture, it wouldn't zoom in close enough for you to be able to see him without a large arrow to point him out!
And we spotted Mr and Mrs Swan. They were on their own so it's a good job I took the photo of the cygnets the other day as it looks like they've left now. I hope they live happy lives, wherever they end up.
As we headed back out onto the path home, the sun sparkled through the trees. It was a lovely walk - but I was very glad to get back to my nice warm house for a cup of tea in front of the fire!