Image Credit: Pete Jeff

Something Missing?

15th September 2014

One grey evening last week I took my mountain bike up the corpse road from Garigill to Gregs Hut bothy. Not may Pennine Way walkers will have fond memories of the Corpse road - it's 7 stony miles seems much further, a feeling heightened after the elation of safely passing over Cross Fell. I first walked down the Corpse Road 0ver 30 years ago, the 2 friends I was walking with had packed in at Dufton, so I was alone and a bit nervous, I remember listening to Martha and the Muffins Echo Beach on small radio I was carrying.

Years later Echo Beach still takes me back there, and strangely enough on my ride last week I still felt a bit nervous. In fading light on a gray evening the Corpse Road didn't feel like the place to be.

I like feeling instinctive things - the fear of nightfall, the warmth of a fire, my instincts on the Corpse Road was that something was missing.

You know what was missing? - a single bird of prey. A huge protected upland area of Northern England and no birds of prey. Not a wilderness, but one of our wildest places.

On the way down Teesdale a large flock of Lapwings came up out of a roadside field - more than I have seen anywhere this year - and my mood lifted.

However, over a week later as I write this it still keeps coming back in my head - not a single bird of prey.



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