Nature is lovely. But nature is also brutal and harsh.
And to be out in it is wonderful and frightening. It is to feel your significance and your insignificance at once and to wonder at it all.
We should all do it more.
First thing you notice as you leave the road and cross the bridge onto the path is the sound of the beck, the river. The rush, whoosh and roar is everywhere beneath the tree lined track as we begin our walk, slowly fading too a high background ‘ssshhhhhh’ as our route moves away from it.
When we reach more open ground, the fell sounds change. Trickles and bubbles of ghylls meeting culverts and gulleys; streams of water winding their way down the hillside; shimmering clear sheets over stones. Sparrows, blue tits and robins chirp and chirrup from the trees; A pied wagtail on a corrugated roof from the farm below, a wind chime drifts up from the kitchen garden.
Then as we go to round a corner, the sun breaks behind us over Lingmoor fell and a rainbow appears over Pavey Ark and the southern crags and pikes of Blea Rigg. We stand amazed. It’s colours visible from start to end.
The photo is not what we saw, it is never what we saw. What I recall was our wonderment as it appeared, became more vivid, fade slightly, return again. I couldn’t tell what colour the fells really were, what was rainbow and what was not and how fantastic it felt to be here. In all of this.
Two weeks ago to the day, three generations of us climbed up Loughrigg Fell. The picture above is of our view of Grasmere coming up to the top of the ascent. It was a gloriously clear and bright day. The view below us in the sun was incredible and I doubt any photo could do it justice. I remember distinctly the amazing white of a swan at Grasmere’s edge where a young family were feeding it – the brightness. All of the colours below seemed almost hyper-real.
But what about the sound I heard on that fell side? Well, that’s a curious thing. There was little bird sound – a couple of jackdaws earlier on, a lone rock pippit. There was also the voices of fellow walkers. But over all of that was one particular sound – the sound of the traffic making it’s way along the road though and out of Grasmere. It was constant, it was distinct……
But then over the peak was another sound all together. A quietness punctuated by the voices of walkers dotted about continuing their walk or eating sandwiches. There was also the delicate sound of the herdwick sheep nibbling on the grass, almost like a brushing sound. So light and delicate and gentle. I have no recording of it, just the memory of it’s softness on that beautiful day.
I’ve just come back from my first ever visit to the Lake Districtand there is so much I could (and might) write about. The place is incredible and, in the autumn, an amazing mass of colours. Whilst there, I visited Tarn Hows and bumped into these Belted Galloways. They were awaiting feeding time and were pretty noisy! In the recording you can here the cows calling to one another over the hills and here the sound ricocheting across the landscape. The sound was unbelievable! Cows are big animals and when they are expelling that sound and it is mighty loud!
This was recorded using the iPhone Soundcloud app so you’ll definitely need headphones and a bit of volume to get the full effect here. The only day I didn’t bring my recorder out with me but I really like the SoundCloud app for quick snapshots and placing it on a map.