The Road Less Travelled

Or: Fleeting Moments of Wonder IV


Leighton Hall Farm

As I came out of the woods around Deepdale a buzzard flew overhead, disappeared over the trees, but then briefly wheeled past again. I almost got a photo. I tend to use the photos I take as (lazy) notes for the blog: things that don’t end up in the camera often don’t make it into my posts either. A case in point would be the ravens I saw on my Swindale walk recently. As I walked along the valley bottom, photographing meadow pipits and wheatears, I heard a strange soft gurgle behind me and looking back and up towards the crags I saw three ravens. They were stalling and swooping: dropping like stones and then pulling sharply out of the dives and coasting steeply back up again using the momentum of their falls. Playing. Later, as I approached Scam Matthew (a minor top near to Wether Howe), a raven took off from a spot which had been out of sight, but which was very near by. Sadly I didn’t, for once on this walk, have my camera in hand. As it flew away the raven twice barrel rolled. As before in similar circumstances I had the feeling that the acrobatics were for my benefit.

I’ve been working my way through ‘Mind of the Raven: Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds’ by Bernard Heinrich. I picked it up from a charity shop earlier this year, very excited to find it after reading about Heinrich’s study of ravens in ‘Nature Cure’ by Richard Mabey and ‘Crow Country’ by Mark Cocker. Heinrich speculates that Ravens have an almost symbiotic relationship with wolves and possibly other predators, perhaps even man. He visits Inuit communities and learns that the Inuit believe that ravens will indicate the presence of potential prey to hunters by dipping their wings in the relevant direction. Perhaps my intuition about ravens is not so wide of the mark after all.

My route took me down to Leighton Hall farm, joining the route I had followed the week before and in the process passing by….

…the mayweed or chamomile I had photographed en masse the week before. Having a closer look wasn’t much help for identification purposes in this case.

I considered continuing across Leighton Moss as I had the week before – there’s always so much to see there that it’s difficult to resist heading that way, but this view…

..has beckoned to me every time I’ve walked past it recently, so I decided to head this way for a change. I watched a pair of buzzards flying together over the woods of Cringlebarrow. Whilst I watched, and took several blurred photos, I was joined by first one cow and eventually a whole herd, who proceeded to walk with me for the rest of the (long) way to the end of the field. Which was slightly unnerving.

The path emerges at the small hamlet of Yealand Storrs, from where I continued into Yealand Allotment. Of which…..

To be continued!

The Road Less Travelled

One thought on “The Road Less Travelled

  1. Hi Mark, I like the idea that wildlife might play – it’s a thought that has crossed my mind too while watching birds fly, especially fulmars.
    Having been charged by a herd of cattle a couple of years ago (after spooking a fox which ran into the hedge, and the cattle seeming to think I was the fox which ought to be trampled) I share your feeling unnerved.

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