Thursday, June 2, 2011

As the light fades from the trail....

            As you may have gathered from previous posts (or the lack of them!) I have been a tad occupied of late. What with the grind, work being carried out to the Wooldridge estate grounds and now the room de bathing, the completion of Poultry Towers, and a host of other day to day chores I’ve had time to neither fart, burp or complain (ok so the last bit’s stretching it a tad). But this does not mean that I’ve been neglecting the Warthog and her exercise regime, hell no if anything we’ve covered more miles in the last couple of weeks than Hannibal and his pachyderms did on their journey of conquest. Thing is though the recent workload your beloved scribe here has been brutally forced to undertake has meant that the walking has been given  a slightly different perspective. Normally I walk in the morning (although not early enough) or the afternoon if the sun is not blazing down too hot, that’ll be most afternoons then here in ‘sunny’ Wales. But due to circumstances beyond my control the Warthog and yours truly have been unable to hit the trails till the evenings, and I have to ask myself why haven’t we done more of this type of meandering before?

            It’s difficult for me, being the person I am, to put into words the whole damn thing that makes evening walking that tad more special, there are far better wordsmiths blogging away that this tongue tied bugger from Wales I can tell you that could sum up the atmosphere with some well chosen lines, but I’ll have ago anyway.

The whole ambiance of being out and about in the evening is so different to walking at other times, even the air smells differently. Whether it’s because in the build up moisture or that plants change their systems as the light fails but I’m telling you the bloody air smells differently, and it smells wonderful every evening that we’ve been out over the last few weeks, whether it was raining, windy or clear. Although having said this, there was one night last week when the air smelt, erm… rotten is the best way to describe it, every where we trod there was a dank smell of decay following us. This brings me to my next observation, and that is there is a difference to your comfort levels as the light just starts to fail, certainly under the close canopy of the older woods the light swiftly dims and to be honest it’s a relief to hit more open aspects of the trials.

It’s funny how we humans claim to be highly evolved and have an understanding of the world around us thanks to intellect, science, higher intelligence etc. Bollocks, every hair on my neck stood up at times passing through the darkest parts of the forest as the sun dipped to the horizon, every nerve screamed with primitive fears, my eyes saw threat in every darkened hollow and my hearing detected noises that stretched the imagination. Scared at times? Bloody right I was but I tell you what, it’s a great ‘I’m alive feeling too!’ It also doesn’t help matters when the Warthog becomes skittish and instead of quartering the trails ahead at her usual twenty yards she loiters behind saying ‘go on you’re big an ugly enough to go first’ to be fare though she’s becoming quite the trail companion and I’m beginning to trust her instinct more and more.

I touched on the sounds, not all are threatening the arrival of a banshee, indeed the woods take on a mass of sound that if you just stand in an open (and preferably well lit) glade the sound washes over you like a tsunami of noise. From the territorial calls of many birds claiming their space before turning in for the night to the wind driven chatter of trees as they discuss the hobbit and his scruffy dog below them, from the clap, clap, clap of wood pigeons bolting from trees as their roost is disturbed to the bark of a fox (hairs up at this point) the woods are awash with calls and noises not heard in the day.

Then there is the light, yes it’s fading but also as you pass through glades and emerge from tree cover at times it seems so much clearer with small details defined as crisp as you like (really wish I was a better photographer at this point). But also it does sometimes drag your primitive fears to the surface when up the trail a shadow pauses before moving on and for the life of me no matter how hard I squint I cannot make out what I’ve just seen.

I suppose I’d better leave you with a few pictures from when the light is good ‘till it starts to desert me. Maybe they’ll help, with my simple words above, describe the rush of emotions and feelings felt whilst walking through the woods as the light fails;-

A small Wasp nest unearthed

Home at last....
One last thing, would I put myself through the roller coaster of emotion when the light is going and there is still a few miles to go to the fun cruiser? Damn right I will, hell it confirms one thing – I’m alive.

I hope that I’ve conveyed a little of the joy I felt during these walks, till next time take care my friends.



Kath said...

I think every scary fairy tale I ever heard started in the deep dark woods and those childhood fears lurk in our subconcious minds.
I'm very impressed that Willow stays with you, as my 2 ruffians would have dissapeared on their own business and left me prey to the bogey man :-)

Shoreman said...

One might throw a 2 cell Maglight into one's back pocket. Might scare away some of the darkness until you can get back to the Fun Cruiser.


Damn The Broccoli said...

There certainly is something unsettling about a walk in the woods in the dark. Suddenly even the trees whisper malice.

I find a pint or two has always helped when ever I have had to be in woodland after dark.

Bob Mc said...

The woods is a different place at night, no doubt about it; but really nothing more to fear than during the day. More animals are awake and moving about, and maybe that bothers some people who aren’t used to the sudden scurrying of something unseen. Maybe that awakens the primitive side of us and stirs ancestral memories of a time when we were the hunted. It heightens the senses at any rate. A walk in the woods at night can really be quite enjoyable. Just don’t let the imagination run away with you.

Meanqueen said...

I know what you mean, I like to get out of a forest before it starts to get dark, too spooky for me. The pics are fab.

Gorges Smythe said...

Good post; good pictures. What was the narrow round-topped structure?

Rachelradiostar said...

Think that shed was in the Blair Witch Project!

Murphyfish said...

Hey Kath,
I think that in the same circumstance your ruffians may well surprise you, dogs can b extremely protective of their loved ones you know.

I know, I know I have head torches and all many of kit but I become a tad slack when it’s trails that I know well, must do better.

Eh up Damn,
Hobbit, beer n dark woods Mmm perhaps not the best combination but hey ho if you think it’ll work….

Logic tells me to agree with you put when my limited senses are blanketed by the dark woods it’s difficult not to let the imagination run riot.

Thanks MQ, spooky yes, but still enjoyable though.

Mr. Smythe,
Cheers my man, the structure was an old rail carriage put into use years ago as a farmers store – still see the odd one decaying away in fields.

Hey Rach,
LOL, now whose imagination is running wild?

Dan said...

Great post. I always find the screams of a fox can stop you in your tracks - that banshee is really coming for you! Wildlife really comes alive at dusk though and gives you a new perspective.

Le Loup said...

A good post my Cymro Friend. I love the dark, my senses are far more keen at night. I remember one time camped on the edge of Buffalo plains in the Territory. Myself & a friend sleeping on camp beds with mossie nets. A wild boar came out of the night & turned my friend out of his bed, leaving him staggering & tangled in his mossie net as it sped away across the plains.
Take care.

Helene Burnett said...

Eerie in the woods at nightfall, yes? You do have your trusty staff with you?

Beautiful descriptions, lovely photographs. Thank you for shring your experience.

CDGardens said...

A nice description of your trail walk-about with pictures allowing us to be there...I truly like seeing the countryside of Wales.

Kath said...

Hey John, Rosie's mum just sent me over to Williams blog

He looks rather like Willow, leggy and delightfully dishevelled :-D
He has deerhound in his mix.

Murphyfish said...

Cheers Dan, feeling so much better now that the Banshee is a coming for me!!!!!!!!

Now that conjures a picture that made me chuckle my friend, until I remembered how dangerous boars can be.

Of course, my staff is a constant companion when walking theses days, it’s a great confidence booster.

Thank you CD

I’ll be checking that out Kath me dear, thanks for sharing.