There are some places to visit where you have to be spot-on with your timing. You might have a window of maybe a couple of weeks … maybe even a few days … to see the place at its very best. The rest of the year, it’s rather ordinary. And, if you’re unlucky with the weather, that window gets even smaller.
One such place is Cumbria’s Lyth Valley, famed for its displays of damson blossoms in the Spring.
(For those who don’t know, a damson is a small, purple plum. It’s rather sharp and acid on its own, but makes delicious jam and pies, and there used to be … maybe still is … a small brewery which used damsons to flavour one of its brews. And, I can tell you, that beer with roast lamb was an almost ideal pairing)
Unfortunately, we were a little early with our visit. The blossoms on the damson trees were just minute white globules on the trees at this stage. But, the hawthorn blossoms were out, which was some consolation, although it wasn’t really seen at its best, owing to the rather damp weather conditions.
We nearly collided with a tourist coach which was really a little bit too big for these narrow roads. I did hope they hadn’t come especially to see the blossoms, for I fear they were going to be rather disappointed.
Of course, it’s impossible for tour operators to predict the optimum time to see the blossoms with any accuracy. But, when I was at school, ‘urban myth’ told of an old lady who could pin it down to a few days with remarkable reliability. It was said that she could foretell when the Autumn colours would be at their best, too, and several coach tour companies had her on a small retainer.
Luckily, I have relations in the area, and can always try again another time. The Lyth Valley blossoms are on the same list as the Northern Lights. I’ve seen them … but would still like to visit again when conditions are better.