Sunday 25th March 2018, 12.40pm (day 2,404)
A morning’s spring cleaning on the allotments revealed this colony of frogs living in an old plastic bath on one of our neighbouring plots. These two seem close….
Had to go into Manchester today. Once the errand was done, Joe and I passed some time in the Manchester Museum, which is on the university campus but which I have managed never to properly explore in the 8 years I have worked there. It’s a good natural history and anthropological museum, in fact. These frogs are native to Madagascar and critically endangered in the wild. They’re toxic, though not extremely so.
I left Wasdale Head in grey but dry and tolerable weather. As far as Dropping Crag the way was steep but unproblematic. Then everything changed. The cloud came down and the rain started, making the rocks slippery, and the climb just got steeper and harder. It was an unpleasant 90 minutes to say the least. But there was this one dramatic moment, as this huge crack opened up in the world ahead, mist rising up through it like something out of Tolkein. For a moment I did not have to worry about getting down again and could just wonder at the sublime nature of it all. Did it make the horizontal hail on the summit worthwhile? That’s an open question.
Halfway down the torrent of scree which drops a thousand feet from Dore Head to Wasdale, descending by a mixture of precarious clambering and simply sliding down on my butt, this frog hops across the ‘path’ and just sits there, waiting for me to do something. Whatever it was doing up there, only it knew for sure. Perhaps it spends its days hopping up a couple of hundred feet then climbing on a little flat piece of rock and schussing down to the bottom again when no one is watching.