CUMULUS clouds pile up in heaps to the south, east and north-west like stately galleons
lumbering along ready for a fight but making sure they keep plenty of clear blue
water (or, in this case, clear blue sky) between them.
They look as snowy white as alpine peaks in the late afternoon sun, which reveals
their billowing contours but I realise that beneath one of these towering forms it
must be dull, grey and threatening.
I hear that they’re having snow showers in Halifax, which must be right under the
anvil top I’m observing to the north-west.
You get an inkling of the energy involved in building up one of these monsters. It’s
strange to think that there can be so much exchange of heat - I guess that’s what
powers them - on a cool March day.
As sunset approaches and we walk home across Horbury Bridge there’s one with ragged
veils of grey hanging from it, making its way down the Calder Valley towards us.
An approaching snow shower?
We make it home before it reaches us and, in the event, we don’t get a shower of
By now the sunset has added rosy highlights to the outlying fingers of this cloud
system, which now fills much of the western sky.
These were drawn from memory at home. The cloud approaching down the valley reminded
me of the thunder storm that Turner quickly sketched on the back of a letter when
he was walking on Otley Chevin, at the opposite corner of West Yorkshire. He was
staying with his friends the Fawkes family and said to Walter Fawkes “In two years
you will see this again, and call it Hannibal Crossing the Alps.”