Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Stomping The Stiperstones

The Stiperstones is a 10km ridge in the Shropshire Hills. It is an unmistakable feature since all the other hills around here are rounded. It's an area of heather heathland and, although at this time of year the heather and gorse have gone over, the area remains beautiful.

Five ravens moved along the ridge ahead of us and still found time to make playful dives. I also saw a couple of late red admirals fluttering by and also a couple of pipits and a skylark. On the lower slopes I got a glimpse of four red grouse.

Above is Devil's Chair which is one of the craggy outcrops along the ridge. Click on the images to enlarge them.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Why is it harder going downhill?

I'm spending a few days in the gold and green Shropshire Hills. Small flocks of redwings and fieldfares are working across the trees. I have to say there doesn't seem to be an abundance of haws - little wonder the mistle thrush are being vocal. Although the holly trees seem to have done better. I regularly see buzzards flying over the caravan but have yet to spot a red kite. I'm told there was a pair around here although it's possible they've moved on. I'll keep looking.

This afternoon we enjoyed a short, energetic walk up the double summits of Earl's Hill. The colourful oak, ash, hazel and beech soon gave way to pines as we began the steep climb. And just as the path levels, I climbed over a stile to be greeted with the final gasp - another short but steep grassy climb - but well worth the effort for the views from the top. And then the difficult bit: skidding back downhill. It must be something to do with how our feet grip the ground, or maybe the way we place our feet, but whatever it is, it's always easier to climb than come back down (or is it just my mentality?)

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Too late

I enjoyed my visit to Rotherham this weekend and presenting awards to the winners of the Mike Haywood poetry competition which I've recently judged. It's always satisfying to select a winner when you can't fault the poem in any way, as was the case with the winning entry "Dates" by Julie Mellor. I was also pleased to meet the short story judge, John Turner, and of course Graham Rippon who organised the event.

I was thinking of entering the poem below into a local competition (the theme was 'heat') but I didn't manage to edit it sufficiently before the deadline. Not to worry; every poem takes its own time. Anyway, here it is so far:

Great White Horse
As polar bears swim
exhausted after the ice,
and glaciers mourn themselves,
a great white horse begins to swell,
gathering walrus, whale and fox
as it starts to rear, to shake its mane,
ready to fling carcasses
sprawling towards the equator,
and then trample everything below
its white, frothing hooves.

Friday, 2 October 2009

A few more fungi

Thanks to Joyce and Tony for helping me ID a few more photos:Above and below are two views of a deceiver

Next are common yellow russula

And finally birch bolete

from the field book

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