Landlinks (text)

start                                                                                          14:00 to 14:10                             sit                                                                                                                                                                     undercuts deprives gifted                                                               ground level                                                                                                                                                        surprised at the seven other cars lined up on the grass             I’m used to having this place to myself                                        sit on the dry stone wall                                                    bright sunshine as a cold east wind gusts at my back                            moss and lichen coat the northern side                                 a sycamore         15 feet tall          grows out of the base of the wall                                                                 the verge is still spread with last autumn’s beech leaves                                                                        tarmac mud grass             tyre tracks squeeze the road edges                                                          twigs lie on grass and road                                                                         red gravel path from the church gate to the road                                                                                     behind me          over the wall       rough grass and the stream                                                                                                 beyond the churchyard sheep graze                                     calls of distant rooks                      jackdaw                          distant quad bike                                                                                                                              finches calling                               woodpigeon                                                                                           another car arrives

walk 500 paces                            14:16 to 14:30                             stand                                                                                                                                                     investors voters juggles                                                                             east                                                                                                                                                                                           I lean against a fence                                                         listen to the rookery                     and a lawnmower                                                         two cars go by                                                     “Ideal Removals” van                                                                     east wind                        coming and going  gusts                                                                             Alnham House                                                   telephone box                 glass      a patina of green algae                                           red plastic door handle faded          starting to peel                                                                                                    the burn goes under the road and   in the field          joins to form the river Aln                                                 Ewartly Shank 31/2                                                                                               very small lambs in the field over the road                                                                                         a farmer off on a quad bike and trailer          presumably to check for ewes or lambs in trouble                                                                                                       another two cars                                                                                                                                                              something flushes all the birds from the field               two oystercatchers circle   calling

walk 20 minutes               14:50 to 15:10                             stand                                                                                                                                                    blatantly wages snoozing                                                                horizon                                                                                                                                                                          stepped over the wire fence                       oblongs of wire                a separate barbed strand runs along             pinned just below the tops of the fence posts                                                                                                                            from the valley bottom I look up to skylines defining the valley                                                             old beech trees tower to the west                                                                                                   down the valley a view to a series of plantations                                                                                                                              small groups of hawthorn dot the west slope                 sheep graze                                                                                                         on the east a rock outcrop             there are stones and rocks all the way along as I walked in                             there was once a quarry                                                                                                                            the valley bottom here is wet                                                                       the fence makes a line       the effect of sheep grazing on the protected side the grass is longer             denser   lusher                                                                                        buzzard mewing                           drifts east over the valley                           another bird in the distance                                                                        I acquire a cloud of small black insects                                                                                                                       three red-legged partridge appear over the western skyline                   start to walkrun down the slope                              launch    into a controlled glide down the valley side                one glides to the valley bottom                               two go off along the slope away from me

walk 15 minutes               15:25 to 15:35                             stand                                                                                                                                                     holdings clarifies form                                                                               distant                                                                                                                                                                           furthest point out                                                                                                                                                                                     the burn drains into the Coquet                  I’ve walked over a watershed                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          concrete slab bridge just upstream                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           long low valley                                                                                         running up to the hill fort on east flank                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          water surface dances to the shape of the riverbed                                                                                                                                                                                           two big old beeches                                  one has split into four trunks                                   each one huge in its own right                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   an old silver birch leaning   hollowing out with time and age                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              the sounds of the burn                  drowns many other sounds

walk 750 paces                            15:42 to 15:45                             stand                                                                                                                                                     instance obeyed outs                                                                                            lost                                                                                                                                                                                                       valley bottom                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  release pens                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 last season’s bracken lies low                      wind-burnt and dead                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         pheasant calls

walk 10 minutes               15:55 to 16:05                             stand                                                                                                                                                    cargo     wasps    stubble                                                                                       north                                                                                                                                                                                         moving away from the burn                                                                                                                                    two dippers                    from out of nowhere                    fly off upstream                                                                                                                                                                                        up the slope                    is the path to join road                                                      a hare                                                                                                                                                                                                                this        upper valley is very wet                         soggy                                                     soft under foot                                                                                                                                                                                         a makeshift bridge                                   wooden pallets    held together with chicken wire                                                                                                                                                                                                                               yellow ochre dusts the grass                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 red-legged partridge calls                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               swathes of bracken                                   waiting                           no green shoots yet                                                                                                                      sheep graze the steep hillside                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     gaze across the fell                  to where the shepherd died in the blizzard                                                                                                                                                                                                                wind picks up a little                                 gusting                                       feels slightly colder                                                                                                                                    a new plantation                                      of pale green tree guards

walk 1000 paces              16:23                                                                             stop/start                                                                                                                                   stencil restrict digests                                                                                incline                                                                                                                                                                                        with the pull up the hill                              I don’t reach 1000 paces    until after I’m meant to carry on to the next step

end                                                                                           16:35                                                                             sit                                                                                                                                                                    drumbeat confined wiring                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      tea                               fruit cake                                                                                                I’m glad it’s done                                      in the current circumstances                       being this far from home feels a bit transgressive                                             only two groups of people             social distancing                                                                                                                                       the pauses                      an enjoyable way to slow               to stop               and just be