Sunday, 13 September 2009

White Coppice > Great Hill > Brinscall Circular

Start at the cosy cricket pitch fielded by a row of white cottages. Cross the stone bridge and note the willow warblers' overs have retreated to warning hu-eets. Scan the bracken tops for stonechat and marauding brown hawkers.
As your calves work the climb and boots skidder on scree, enjoy the persistence of bright heather spikes poking through the deluge of weeks. And long for linnet, pipit or lark to lift the life of the sodden moor. Strip down to your T-shirt, absorb the breeze, feel its strength as you stride up the slope.
At the T-junction, take the track to the right and look for the kestrels that perch on headwinds approaching the knoll of Great Hill. Pause at the summit, stand and salute: to the east - Darwen Tower and to your back - Winter Hill. Observe how Lancashire smooths down her skirt to the west, right to its hen which is frilled by the sea.
Follow the flagstones and witness - here by the path - a pair of wings which are all that remain from a peregrine's kill. Watch skaters spread over dark, peaty pools and rub the last remnants (between finger and thumb) of soft, cotton grass as its pile recedes from the moor.
At the stile, choose the grassy path to the right, looping back to the well of Sam's Cup. Thrust your hands in the hollows of dry stone walls and touch the loneliness there - the emptiness now that the wheatears have flown. Then take the broad track that cuts Heapey Moor watching swallows that lack lustre now as they skim for flies and channel their strength to migratory flights. And search amongst them for this season's young with their non-streaming tails and wonder how many will grace here next year.
At the bend, take the hidden path to the left, cross the stream and keep to the old stone wall. Pass the overgrown quarry and climb the stile to the woods where wrens suddenly stutter as your boots approach their low, tangled world. Cast up to the coal tits flitting high in the pines. Be alert to roe deer sifting through shadows and tree creepers hugging oak trunks.
Emerge from the plantation to follow The Goit, being watchful for froglets before placing each step. Pass sheep shaking bracken and listen ahead for the crack of leather on wood and a rippling crowd whose thoughts peter out and wonder whether we'll hear the cuckoo next spring.


Pete Woodruff said...

Don't really know you very well yet Carol but this is a wonderful introduction for me to your writing/poetic ability.

A simply excellent read peppered with 'birds' which is 'just up my street'......Thank you so much.

Kind Regards, Pete.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Carol, I am with you on that walk - would that guide books could produce such poetic descriptions.

novel-as-blog blog-as-novel (sam smith) said...

Hi Carol. Saw a good review of 'From the Field Book' in 'Tears in the Fence' #50 by Jeremy Hilton. He called one of your poems Wordsworthian. Not sure what to make of that. Otherwise it was generally positive.
Did you also notice a mention of your bird poetry in the latest Journal?

Coastcard said...

A very immediate and engaging piece. Thank you, Mistlethrush.

Susan Richardson said...

Really enjoyed this Carol - it has such immediacy, as Coastcard has said.

holdingmoments said...

Your words painted the pictures all the way on that enjoyable walk.

Mistlethrush said...

Thanks for your comments everyone.

The next post has been a bit delayed but has finally arrived!

Brian Rafferty said...

Carol. I felt I was with you every step of the way and enjoyed very much your descriptive walk from White Coppice. Beautifully written.

from the field book

from the field book
An inspiring gift for anyone who enjoys watching nature.