By half eight I’d pulled clear of the oak wood and sat drinking sweet flask tea as a blue sky emerged above us. Leggy heather and a lichened rock made a seat worth two teas and a biscuit. I contemplated a third cup when a cuckoo began to call nearby.
Walking on, the path is drawn into a rock filled stream bed cutting deep into the moors. I felt like I was stepping inside the hill. Confined in a landscape within a landscape. Feeling my way through shadows. Absorbed in the detail of hand holds and stretches. Breathless, I chucked the dog up big blocks then followed with a nervous commitment myself.
The scrambles were brief and punctuated by black rocky pools where water wept from cracks and wagtails flitted in the shady silence. Beyond the shadows and out of reach the blue skies and greens of spring were framed by the cloughs’ dark edges.
Each scramble was steeper than the last as the contours held me ever closer. I could almost feel their touch as the clough narrowed around me. The wind became their breath as I imagined man made map features coming to life.
Beyond a last dark pool filled with sky a greasy waterfall pitch forced me out over exposed crumbling rock toward the cloughs fringe. Here sun filtered in to shine on bees and bilberry. The atmosphere lifted and I walked back into that spring day.