With the moon covering 90% of the sun at the peak of the eclipse, it didn't go massively dark, but there was undoubtedly an eerie dimming of the atmosphere and a distinct temperature drop... Of course, I had chosen to view it from one of the most exposed spots in Yorkshire, the Coldstones Cut on the very top of Greenhow Hill... no escaping the chill wind up there!
But what a show, and what better place to view from the top of a hill - Greenhow is atmospheric on the best of days. After turning up early to meet my friend, expecting the car park to be packed, I couldn't believe it wasn't busier... just a handful of people from the local area, all who knew each other in some way - a lovely community buzz! How the vast majority of the population hadn't booked the morning off work I have no idea!
Unlike the 1999 total eclipse where solar viewing glasses were ten a penny (although most of the country had only the same cover as this time round), this time they were like gold dust and in the week leading up to the eclipse, pairs were selling for around £40 on eBay... So up we all walked, armed with sunglasses, colanders and flipchart paper, feeling particularly unhopeful given the solid cloud cover approaching. 10 minutes later after being thoroughly distracted by the bubbling Primus getting our Yorkshire Tea ready to stave off the cold, I decided to try using the camera on a dark setting to see if I could pick anything up from the teeny gap forming in the clouds. And there it was! Three giddy children replaced the previously sensible adults...
Despite the assumption clear skies would be required, the weather pulled a blinder... Just enough transparency in the cloud to let the light through yet just enough substance to let us see it without solar glasses... After a period using our sunglasses, by the height of the eclipse we didn't even need them - a perfect view. Not recommended under ANY other circumstance! We must have had one in a million weather conditions.