Spring Dreaming

April, the clocks have shifted.  The weather is warming, feeling a little more friendly.  Buds are bursting and the world is greening.  Time to ramp things up, to remember dreams of long laid plans.  Perhaps finesse them, perhaps make some more. Time now for long days over the hills; days …

Fell Hack – Go Whistle

A literal hack this.  Modern plastic whistles are great; light, loud and kind to your lips in cold weather.  They are however, difficult to keep hold of, and have a bizarrely useless clip on the back.  Solution?  Chop the clip off, smooth the burr (a flame helps, plastic is difficult …

Recipe: Oat Pancakes

It’s pancake day, so here goes with some robust & filling oat pancakes, tasty hot or cold. These are orange & ginger, but it’s a basic mix; have a play.  These are very good with warm fruit & yoghurt.   Of course, these can be made as savoury pancakes too. …

REVIEW: Mud Broddler

Not really running kit this, but post-run maintenance kit.  Weekend.  You’ve been out in forest or fell.  Places deep in mud, glorious mud at this time of year. Inevitably, whatever shoes you use, you’re bringing dollops of that mud back home, stuck in the tread.  Which of course needs removing.  …

On Reviewing

Doing reviews? Freebie time for me. Ah, yes, well; no.  For now certainly, no freebies.  Everything I’m currently reviewing here, I’ve bought.  With my own money.  Yes, even that frighteningly expensive vest(that review’s going up later, in spring) and that huge Jean Gaumy book(that review for autumn).  The kit is …

As The Driven Snow… a winter run

“The wood, under a winter storm.  A time when all creatures thought of good sense seek shelter of burrow or nest.  There remains though, dancing through the tempest,  a runner, chill of finger, wet of foot, wide of grin.”

Desk work day done.  Storms are building, both ADHD and weather.

So.  Night run.  Winter night run.

Headtorch, leggings and lifa, hardshell and hat.  Lock my door with glove clumsied fingers, quick step up the ginnel.  Grin growing on my face.  Couple of hundred metres of sleet slick pavement ‘twixt house and wood.  Most times a skippy dog walker dodging warmup, tonight it’s a lone stroll, chilling fingers and feet. 

The wood.  My local patch, a bright place of birch and willow and hawthorn hedge. Not this night though. This night it’s a wildwood waiting. Tonight the gate is a liminal space, a creaking transit from blandly civilised suburbia into an older place.  Into a dark wood galethrashed and sleetlashed.

Step through into the wood anyway.  Go, now. Go run.  

...

The Winter, A Walker Passes

It is deep winter night in the northern hemisphere.  The long enduring dark winter night of the year’s true turning.  Neither stars nor moon in the sky, but pale, swirling wind borne clouds and a familiar chill, a bone deep rawness.  Toward England’s seaward edge, a silent village nestles upon one of those peculiar fenland rises.  Atop the rise the old church, with the yet older yew is a darker shadow on the village bounds. None now recall why, on this one night of the year, in this rational age, a candle burns in a tiny east window.  The candle is always lit though, as the sunlight leaves the apse.

The parson, secure in her faith, rests in her armchair.  Parsonage curtains drawn tight, doors locked, hallway lit, dry wood stacked beside the burning hearthlog.  A glass of fine whisky waits close to her hand.  In the edge of the empty churchyard, a prunings’ bonfire.  A gathering of yew and ivy, haw and holly lit at duskfall by the silently praying sexton. The dead branches smoulder still, white ash on red embers.

 ***

...

Winter’s Calling

Late November, the dark peak.

Winter is home again on these high moors,

mewling in with chill-lash days of sleet and gale.

With fellhard testing days of hail obscured horizons and roaring, bed broaching brooks.

...

REVIEW: Mountain King Trail Blaze Poles

Trekking poles, we know they can help whether uphill or down.  We also know they’re often designed by Captain Complex; heavy, bulky and slow to set, or light and beyond flimsy.  All this of course means many of us leave the things in the shop or at home. 

These Trail Blaze poles from Mountain King may just change your mind.  Super light(115-135g), fixed length(110-130cm), anodised alloy body, tungsten carbide tips, folding to about a quarter their open length(pic 1) and quick to rig they’ve got me using poles again.

...

The Alder Pool.

The voice of a cuckoo

      Dropped to the lake

                           Where it lay floating

                                                       On the surface.

A foreword;

A foreword? To a short piece? Yes, there are a couple of words in here that bear definition. One very old, one new. Both I think deserve more use. 

Mogshade: an old English for the welcome cool shade cast by trees in leaf

Shivelight: a word coined by Gerard Manley Hopkins for the gleaming shafts of light shining through trees in leaf 

The verses are haiku by Bashō, from Sumidawara, published in 1694

Now that’s done, let us away to the story…

...