May 2023 started in a showery mood on 1st, with heavy rain and a sharp drop in temperature just after lunch. The thermometer dropped from 15.4 degC at 13:31 to 9.8 degC just an hour later.
On 9th there were some very heavy showers, especially around mid-day, yielding 8.6mm in total for the day. It was quite warm however.
The three day spell from 9th-11th produced some fine spring weather, with 18.7 degC on 11th, but the following day by contrast was very windy, cold and drizzly, with a maximum of only 10.8 degC.
Up until the middle of May, the showery regime continued, with showers nearly every day, some of them heavy, and the weather never really settled down. Temperatures began to creep into the upper-teens, but there always seemed to be a nagging cool breeze to go with them.
Temperatures perked up after the 21st, reaching 20 degC on 5 days, with plenty of sunshine evident. There was an incredible display of solar halos on 28th May. This was visible all over the North East, with the best displays at the coast.
In the last few days, the flow off the North Sea produced cool cloudy conditions for the North East, while the west of the country basked in 25 degC with wall to wall sunshine.
We managed to haul ourselves out of the house today – 12th December 2022. It was bleak, about -1 degC and there had been another dusting overnight.
Starting in town, we headed south, passing the Fulling Mill and the Wear, and then over Prebends Bridge to the Cathedral.
The walk took us past the huge monolithic bulk of Durham Cathedral on the Peninsula on the other side of the river. The towers were just scraping the cloud. Our fingers had already started turning numb by then, and taking gloves off became a pain, but needs must.
The Fulling Mill was wearing it’s ‘snow hat’, the conditions being that little melting was happening. Little melting was happening in my soul either. The situation was beautifully bleak.
Even the logs floating in the river had a layer of snow, with just the signs of the birds feet in the snow, leaving evidence that wildlife still thrives in the river when the weather turns bleak. I have seen Cormorants here, Otters swimming and even the odd Kingfisher adding a flash of colour.
The boat houses and the weir looked very wintry indeed, with the usual pile of trees behind the weir to the right of the photograph. It’s a continual struggle on behalf of the Council to keep the river clear, with each spell of heavy rain bringing more flotsam and jetsam down into the city. There are three main areas it collects: (1) here, (2) on the main weir and fish ladder just up from Millburngate Bridge, and (3) on the piers in front of the ancient Elvet Bridge.
Video of the weir at the Mill
Here, looking back slightly, we can see how the Cathedral towers have started to vanish into the mist as the distance increases. The top of the central tower is almost completely gone, almost a ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
It was a welcome respite when we crossed the river via Prebends Bridge and walked into the South Bailey, around the back of the Cathedral (a very pretty and tranquil place) and inside the main building. The huge Christmas tree dominated and donated presents could be seen under it. All very festive in the run up to the big day. A chance to thaw out a little, and contemplate things.
I always like to pop around the corner and pay my respects at the DLI Chapel. The wreathes were all still there from the previous months Remembrance Day. The ancient regimental colours protect the wooden cross and offerings below.
Lastly, a shot from Palace Green. Looking up towards Durham Castle, I spotted this growing out of the wall, rooted in the joint crack between the cap stones. Perhaps a learned reader might be able to advise what it is? I’m no gardener, so any help would be appreciated here.
A beautiful sunny February day saw us visit the Durham Botanical Gardens for the first time this year. There were a few losses because of Storm Arwen in November last year, but the trees largely survived intact.
The following was observed just after the passage of a very potent shower on 6th February 2022. The ‘cows udder’ appearance of Mammatus Cloud is due to intense updraughts in the base of the cloud, effectively throwing precipitation back upwards, against gravity. They can be intensely turbulent, and aircraft are best advised to avoid them if they are on a flight path.
The cold front that passed through Durham actually resulted in a sleet shower and snow was observed on the high ground in the County further south and west. Not really unusual for February, but we had so little snowfall this winter that it was worth the mention.
I spotted these photos on Facebook and contacted the owner Zanna Clay, who kindly gave me permission to use them.
These photos show fantastic ice formations on the grass and hedges by the side of the road on Potters Bank in Durham. It was caused by passing cars spraying water from the road onto the grass, then freezing, making incredible ice formations.