Monday, 7 March 2011

Maize Beck: II

But even in these wild and remote places you are reminded of the outside world. The Army has a firing range at Warcop on the southern side of the hills and the Ministry of Defence has annexed hundreds of square acres of moorland for its own use, planting their ugly signs in this wilderness, telling people to Keep Out. Let the army mind its own business and I will mind mine.
There is evidence all along the beck bed of the special microclimate of this place. Ice forms where spray from the small falls has frozen on the cold stone slabs that face away from the sun. Icicles grow where water drips from exposed faces in the peat, making beautiful and delicate shapes against the dark, muddy background. Walking in these places you can hear the popping suction of air squeezed up from the bog or the hard crunch of frozen ice just beneath the surface. There is a feeling of cold in the land, that on these tundran hills the last ice age was yesterday and may come back again tonight.

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