Easy like a Sunday morning

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Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
13
Scotland
Though I try to get to the woods or at least the fields everyday I haven't written about them in a while. But the morning had broken with such quiet vigour that I decided that today I should.


Though I'd arisen before the sun I hadn't opened the curtains. So whilst reading and breaking my fast with some porridge I was pleased to see the light not only grow steadily but burst into a blaze of warm citrus orange.Dishes done I filled a water bottle, posed away an apple, cheese and a bundle of oatcakes into a paper poke and went to gather a few other things for the mornings walk.


Into my trouser pockets went the usual knife; today the little Damascus sheath knife I got for Christmas, a lighter, medication, handkerchief and coin purse. Then through to the hall press to decide on a jacket. As it looked so still and warm outside I decided on one of my Aigle shooting jackets as it's quiet with a plethora of pockets into which I keep secreted the multitude of things that we outdoorsy folks keep about our persons. Into my game bag went my water and repast along with my spotting scope. Bag slung I had a quick jump up and down(well you've no choice but to come down again) to ensure that nothing rattled and headed for the door.


Though I live in the country it seemed especially quiet today. No disturbance in the air,no birdsong and no traffic moving through the village.


I'm on the edge of the village so quickly I was over the last bridge (there are around a dozen sprinkled in it's environs), across the level crossing and starting up the steep incline to the auld kirk and graveyard. The grass was wet with dew, and the going soft from the heavy rain we'd been enduring for the last few days. It seemed strange to feel the absence of weather as for the last few days we'd been assailed with high winds and rain that would invade any nook or weakness in an effort to soak you through.


The only sound coming up was the squelch of mud under foot and a riotous group of sparrows squabbling in the denuded branches of a rowan tree off to my right. A lot of folk tend to ignore sparrows in favour of glamorous things like birds of prey of brightly plumaged visitors from abroad but I find the cheeky wee things a joy to watch and listen too. Such an industrious little bundle of feathers that endure the hardships of the winter and always seem so cheery in their gregarious flocks.Flitting through dense hedges and hunting the sparse winter insects and spiders they find there, truly joyous.


At the top of the rise I paused at the lytch gate and looked into the graveyard at one of my forebears and gave my usual nod. The cool morning air smelled of fresh damp earth and that cleanness that comes after heavy weather. The view over the valley was crystal clear and I could easily pick out the stump of the remaining tower of Castle Ogilvy nestled amongst the trees over the other side. I wouldn't be heading that far today but it was lodged into my head that I should pay it a visit soon.


Treading quietly over the hard packed track towards the woods I could see from the grass bordering it that not much had stirred that morning. The dew was undisturbed, punctuated only by the boles of the trees and poesies of snowdrops.


I stepped into the woods and was immediately overcome with a feeling of peace and oneness that I find particular to woodland. I don't know if most others feel it; indeed fairy-tales always seem to fear the dark wood,telling tales of robbers and wild beasts that make it their domain.But to me it's where I feel most at home. It can excite all five normal senses while fuelling the sense of wonder too. Though it rained and worked in forestry I've never grown weary of it. It not only shows you the usual three dimensions but encourages you to perceive the forth dimension of time. So I stood for a while and let this pervade my being and tuned into my surroundings. It was so quiet that I could almost hear the snowdrops break their skins as the new buds opened. The pine turpentine’s envagled into nose and mouth and the cool morning air washed my skin. A pair of crows had alighted onto the old church bell tower and were softly calling out where they were and as I turned I could see the water sparkle amid the flooded marsh down the hill. I always feel so lucky to live where I do. I was brought up in Angus but this part of Perthshire, though a corridor to most really fills my heart.


Strolling off between the trees I was happy to find that I was moving really well.No hint of the limp that had been such a bane over the last couple of years I seemed to have regained the smooth lope of before. May seem like a silly thing but I remember a lady-friend many years ago saying I walked like I was surrounded by wide open spaces and I took it as a great compliment. It made me think of those rangers and woodsmen in the books I read who thrived in the wilderness and would cover many miles in a day. I enjoy passing in wilderness rather than through it.You see so many groups of walkers cocooned in Goretex, laden down with kit forging through the landscape but not being part of it. It's like they're in a simulation rather than existing in it. They babble away to each other, kit clanking, clothes rustling not perceiving what's there and wondering why they don't see anything.


After a while I crossed the track and over the fence into Sandquarry Wood. It's my favourite mushroom hunting place locally though the last season was fairly sparse. Though it hadn't offered up a lot of boletus they had been of good quality. Little or no predation and very tasty. Most are eaten fresh, shared with a friend in the village. Wonderful gently sautéed and consumed with great relish on buttered toast and wobbling poached eggs liberally dusted with fresh milled pepper. The surplus is dried and he makes the best mushroom tarts I've ever tasted. A few years back we had a mast year of fungi which seemed topave the woodland with toast coloured cobbles and spent weeks slicing and drying the bounty to fill a stack of Kilner jars.


No fungal bounty today but instead a feast of sights and sounds as I made my rounds of the wood checking on the dormant elder trees and paying a visit to the now vacant kestrel nest that made the wood alive with calls last year. I spent many days watching as the young were reared and fledged before taking their first tentative fluttering flaps before learning to be masters of the invisible to us currents of the air.


Decided it was time to stop for a bite to eat, I wasn't really that hungry but enjoy the time taken eating in the woods. I rested on a fallen tree top. This one, which had been a split crown before it cleaved off had yielded some good lumps of resin a couple of years back. It had collected and formed in the stress pocket of the wood before coming to rest nearby when the tree gave into another stormy night. So giving me another valuable resource. The trees in here are mainly a mix of Scots and Lodgepole pine. This was a Lodgepole which as well as this big lump seem to give a continuous supply of resin in the form of small lumps exuded from the lower trunks of the trees. Handy for many things I mainly use it as a tinder or just to make the house smell nice. The branch affords a view of the lip of the rabbit warren that dominates the small old sand quarry that was once worked here. A couple of rabbits were topping up their vitamin levels by basking in the morning sun close to their bolt holes. They attract other wildlife including stoats and foxes. The biggest fox I've ever scene was here.A huge dog fox with a very dark coat was mooching around the burrows looking for his dinner totally unaware that I was watching him. No foxes today though, one of my other favourite locals was also absent.The red squirrels have made a comeback after the invading greys succumbed to pox and my old pooch Snoop. I suppose it's too early in the season to see them abroad much, the same with many of the plants that can add extra interest to a walk and as an addition to the snack I'd brought with me.


So food over I decided it was time to ponderously make my way back to the house. I made my way down to the wee burn that would take me back to the house, The water was still fairly high though the level was noticeably lower than the day before. No dippers or kingfishers today though I did catch sight of one of the red kites soaring up above,They don't visit often as the area is pretty heavily patrolled by an extended family of buzzards. The local buzzards are pretty distinctive as they all have a high percentage of white feathers, a throwback to an almost albino one which was dominant about ten years ago. There seems to be a thing for white feathered birds around here as for the last couple of years I've had a female sparrow, with very distinctive white bars in her wings nest in the eves of the converted stable that I live in. She's pretty tame and comes very close when I'm sitting outside to gobble up the food that I put out for her and her brood who also share in varying degrees the white colouration in her feathers.


So over a few more bridges (though no trolls or billygoats gruff) I crunched onto the stones afore my door. Maybe not the most thrill filled day for some so sorry if I lulled some of you to sleep, but it was good for my body and soul. My daily excursions to the woods help me to be as I think I should be, an animal at home in it's proper place rather than a distressed beast on show in a class cage.


Hope you can get out soon and I always look forward to reading about your trips, they helped me get through life when I was unwell and could only live vicariously the wondrous tales I read here in BCUK.
 
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Dreadhead

Bushcrafter through and through
Thanks for the fantastic read Colin :) I know that feeling when you get out after a spot of ill health, and every sound is that little bit sharper, you feel the atmosphere that little bit lighter, and the colours are brighter, the air frsher, and you realise what a joy it is just to be standing outside taking it all in :)
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
13
Scotland
Cheers Hamish, I know it wasn't necessarily an in depth guide to building a shelter or anything, as you say more of an appreciation of being out and wandering. Glad you enjoyed it too.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,712
2,630
S. Lanarkshire
Lovely :D

I'm away for a walk :cool: you put me in the notion for it, and there's a new badger's set just dug into the steep burnside that I want to have a look at from the other side.

Glad you're getting out and getting into your stride again :D

Thank you for sharing your walk too.

atb,
Mary
 

Macaroon

A bemused & bewildered
Jan 5, 2013
7,122
278
71
SE Wales
A very well written and interesting piece; this kind of writing lends the lie to the old "pictures or it didn't happen" thing......Images is what we need and you've provided plenty of those :)

Very good post indeed, thanks.
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
13
Scotland
Thanks for the kind words folks, it was a lovely day (about the 3rd best this year I reckon). I know it wasn't filled with skills and thrills but it was an enjoyable wee wander though I do get a wee bit carried away with myself in my head when I plod about.

Did you get to see the badgers Toddy?
 

Zingmo

Eardstapa
Jan 4, 2010
1,276
90
S. Staffs
"...poesies of snowdrops"

I don't know if this was deliberate or a happy accident, but either way it is good.

Thanks for taking the time.

Z
 

Goatboy

Full Member
Jan 31, 2005
14,956
13
Scotland
"...poesies of snowdrops"

I don't know if this was deliberate or a happy accident, but either way it is good.

Thanks for taking the time.

Z
Actually I hadn't thought of it in the poetical sense until you pointed it out, at least not consciously. Good catch :eek:
 

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