Nature's Question Mark
Trip Start Apr 01, 2012
67Trip End Ongoing
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Start temp : 10.0c Finish temp : 11.0c
Distance walked 14.61 miles Time : 7 hours 51 minutes.
For 30 plus years the Lapwing has been an abundant migratory visitor to my beloved Somerset levels, the earlier years saw fields covered with the 'Pee-wit', it's numbers have declined but still seem plentiful.
The moors of the North are blessed with their presence, however they are generally solitary or in pairs, day after day this species among others have shown their annoyance at our presence, with the Lapwings 'Sooty and Sweep' calls being the most common. A look of bemusement as they stand with their question mark quiff, presumably as confused by the seasons as we are.
En route we stop at the 'Once Brewed' visitor centre to find out todays weather, Sunday is a day of rest which has been taken seriously, the displayed forecast covers the previous days and an enquiry to the Rangers Office results in a guess for today's forecast.
The neighbouring pub is called the 'Twice Brewed', so called because workers complained that the ale was too weak, so it was brewed for a second time. The 'Once Brewed' is a teetotal establishment that was built in opposition.
Steel Riggs car park is empty and we are today's first customer, yesterdays Summer Fair visitors have left and the cleaning up has begun. Just as we are about to leave, another vehicle arrives, two Seb Coe lookalikes emerge and go through a series of loosening exercises, too much energy for this time of the day we feel. An enquiry reveals that they are practising for next week ends charity event who's proceeds will be used to help a young lad to walk again. Their days jog is a mere 30 miles back to Newcastle, but next weeks main event is the walls entire 84 mile length. We offer our best wishes and a small donation.
Zebedee, the Roman guard for this fort puts us through our paces and when fit for purpose, sends us on our way, to complete our final two mile stretch along the walls ups and downs.
A dakl listless moor awaits, sad as it is not a welcoming challenge, indeed this remote, featureless region does not do Northumberland proud and this will be our only visit. A trudging stomp through endless bog before we reach a forest, our only sign of wildlife are the frogs which evade our size 9's. Yorkshire seemed to corner the market when flagstones and waymarkers were dished out, conditions underfoot could certainly do with some assistance.
Climbing a service road which feels like heaven, a small companion in the shape of a hedgehog scurries along the verge. Wearing his Sunday best he poses for the days first photo call, Ted 'bristles' with delight at meeting such a friend.
As miles are gained thoughts turn to the evenings food, our original plans had been to cook al fresco and be as self sufficient as possible,indeed many meals have been bought and eaten under canvas as well the occassional 'fish supper', but the seasons reluctant change has increasingly put demands upon the 'pocket', it's not always been the pleasant experience that we had hoped for when 'eating in'.
Warmth and comfort combined with hot food have been sought more frequently than we had originally desired but we still harbour hope for the remaining weeks.
The European Football Championships are being screened live and with the promise of dining out of the elements Penfold accepts my offer.
Amongst 'Wye - eye - lad' company this football hotbed celebrates tournaments such as this and the evening lifts our spirits after the days hard toil.