Worlds apart

There’s a spot on the Long Mynd, a place where we often hunker down for a lunch stop: it’s generally sheltered, undisturbed, and – once we’ve been settled for a while – a good position to scan the sky for birds of prey; peregrines in particular. On those days when visibility is good, you can also see the flats in Dudley; something which will probably appeal only to a limited demographic and not likely to be featuring in any Shropshire Tourist Board literature…

Long Mynd-29.11.13_0002

Hills with a genuinely Welsh feel; which can only ever be a good thing…

Sitting among Welsh hills, looking at the – albeit distant – epicentre of the black country can be slightly disorientating. And yes, it’s true that the Long Mynd is in England: the high point – Pole Bank summit – is a good 9 or 10 kilometres on the English side of Offa’s Dyke; but the hills are properly Welsh. At least they have a properly Welsh feel to them; not least because, the more you get to know your way around, the easier it becomes to find the places where you’re not likely to have much company; that and the accompaniment provided by the sound of the free-flowing streams which track the floors of the hollows (as many of the valleys are known around these parts). Of course, in the times before arbitrary boundaries were drawn, or built, none of these semantics would have mattered; although Dudley did have a castle, long before the flats showed up.

Long Mynd - 26.0.813_0020This isn’t quite a case of “I can see my house from up here” – for a start, Wenlock Edge would be in the way; but looking back at those flats (one block now, where once there were many) and the transmission masts and assorted ironmongery atop the Rowley Hills, it all feels a bit disconnected. And the disconnect is a measure of just how many transitions there are in the landscape as you head out from the periphery of the west midlands conurbation and across the cultural and physical divide of the river Severn – the UK’s longest, and arguably its most turbulent. You can still see where you’ve come from, and to where you’ll be returning; but, for the time being, it’s a world away…

Peregrines aside, encounters with another falcon – merlin – if not exactly commonplace, are by no means unknown. Frustratingly, they mostly seem to follow a well established pattern – recognition (following initial uncertainty); excitement; a too slow raising of the binoculars; and finally, fleeting sight of the rapidly receding falcon. The whole process generally takes maybe 3 to 5 seconds!

One day, I’ll be ready.




2 thoughts on “Worlds apart

    • Thanks, Alan. I seem to have inadvertently lost your entry from the ‘blogs followed’ section; I shall rectify that omission as soon as I work out how to do it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.