Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, Whether summer clothe the general earth With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall Heard only in the trances of the blast, Or if the secret ministry of frost Shall hang them up in silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
Saturday, October 20, 2012
A Walk on the Moors
On a beautiful autumn afternoon my friend P and I took B Baggins and his friend Bertie up on Big Moor for a short walk. The colours on the moors at this time of the year are really beautiful - the bracken is a patchwork of greens and browns and the grasses have turned to gold. Moorland is a stark kind of landscape but each season brings its own beauty and autumn is my favourite - it starts in late August with the rich purple of the heather and then gains a wonderful golden glow which is accentuated in the sunlight of an October afternoon.
The moors around here are full of stone circles and burial cairns though if you are looking for a Stonehenge or Avebury you will be sadly disappointed. You will need to click on the photo to see the circle of stones surrounding a larger central stone. The circle dates back to the Bronze Age and is around 4000 years old. Quite close by are traces of pre-historic field systems and a Bronze Age settlement. I suspect that there is a lot more of each stone below ground as over the centuries the peat layers will have built up and the ground level will be a good deal higher now than it was in 2000BC. This is purely a personal opinion not based on any archaeological knowledge:)
This is the centre stone and if you look carefully you will see that people still leave offerings here - mostly coins but there are other things too.
While P and I were looking at the stone circle other members of the party were having a good time too! This is mostly Bertie but B Baggins is in there too:) Can you spot him?
B Baggins is a bit more visible here, at this time of year it's often hard to spot him as he blends in with the colours of the fallen leaves and brown grasses.
This is a proper path across the moor and as you can see it's pretty wet and muddy, it was a good deal worse than this in places too. Once you get onto the small tracks the open moorland can get very boggy indeed - peat bogs can be large and deep and dangerous.
About half way along the path is this small reservoir, a stream connects it to a much larger reservoir further up - as this was only a short walk (about an hour and a half) we turned off just before reaching the second one. I love the reflection of the trees in the water here.
We could hear more than one stag roaring as we walked and eventually we spotted this handsome chap standing on the skyline - he was a long way off so even with an 18x zoom I couldn't do any better than this.
Further along we spotted another stag with several hinds, they weren't quite as far away but still too far for a decent photo. In different territory I'd have tried to get closer but it was so wet and boggy here that discretion seemed to be the better part of valour! Clicking on the last two photos will make them a bit clearer.
Just before we reached the road again we passed this guide stoop - these date back usually to the 1700s and were put there to help travellers to find their way over lonely and difficult terrain before the turnpike roads existed. These high moorland routes were used regularly by pedlars,jaggers,salters and tinkers. Jaggers were men who led teams of packhorses carrying all kinds of goods, the salters transported salt from the salt mines in Cheshire over wide areas of the north of England. Mostly the routes were used between May and October, during the winter months the harsh moorland conditions made the journey extremely dangerous. Many lives were lost when travellers lost their way in snowstorms or in the thick mists which can descend suddenly out of nowhere. No mists or snowstorms yesterday though so we made ir safely home again:)