May 20, 2013

A hill without a name
Veiled in the morning mist.

(Matsuo Basho 1644-1694)



Cornudella de Monsant

May 19, 2013


Red in tooth and claw

April 18, 2012

I had to look twice and then once again before I understood that this wasn’t a broken branch of the tree.


The Guard

March 18, 2012


Dave’s nickname is Chough, not in the Yorkshire sense, but after the bird that he’s spent much of his adult life watching. We were out skirting Trwyn Cilan, teetering on the edge of The Orange, the treacherous convex slope of wiry turf that overhangs the South Western tip of Lleyn, Gwynedd.


It’s an awesome place, as a climber even more so, with every zawn bristling like an overhanging Escher drawn amphitheater of buckled geometry. It’s hard enough to even find out where you are, never mind contemplating climbing the routes.

Today though, Dave was working. Counting and watching and I was on holiday, the auditors assistant on work experience carrying the flask, welsh cakes and binoculars. As we descended to the first site on the more amenable side overlooking Porth Neigwl, a fox darted out from the cliff top and made for the old tin mines, probably nursing a brood raised on guillemot eggs and young chicks.

“thats the male” said Dave”, pointing at the black tumble of feathers, tips outstretched like fingers wheeling toward Abersoch. “it’ll be back in twenty five minutes for the female” who was still in the nest somewhere below us. Sure enough, its orange beak visible two hundred yards off, the black bird came back to collect his mate and together went off to feed.