One Day in June: 24 hours in eight movements
Eight sequential sections from the eight successive recordings of a replicated walk, walked every three hours across a June Icelandic fell
Eight times I face east across the fell to the cairn
9:25 a.m. Movement one; start to 8 minutes
Down the slope track along the south side of the fence through a yellow mat of marsh marigolds step/jump the stream that spills from rough pasture to ditch climb the double fence
Among the birches
redwing cackle and churr.
Arctic fox hunts the hill.
12:15 p.m. Movement two; 9 minutes to 16 minutes
Blown across the wet paddock to the leaning post follow a horse-track east towards the valley the next fence cross on a downhill slope
Step with care;
tussock, ridge, trough, tussock.
Wind chases the fell.
3:20 p.m. Movement three; 17 minutes to 24 minutes
Pick along the wet hillside cross four small streams drop down from the wind to the valley burn
Hunched low, the dwarf birch
is not in leaf by June.
A raven flies over.
6:18 p.m. Movement four; 25 minutes to 32 minutes
Upstream to a waterfall clamber onto a raised bog an unsteady sink to a final stream cross by a water’s meet up the slope to a false summit on up over a lip to the cairn
Mosses and lichens,
rainbows splashed on new rock.
Horses walk the fell.
9:18 p.m. Movement five; 33 minutes to 40 minutes
West over the shoulder head for the gap in the ridge down the stone and mud slope follow my own track there are no other footprints same stream different stepping-stones
The wind picks up
and floats the whimbrel’s call.
Colour blue-greys away.
1:32 a.m. Movement six; 41 minutes to 48 minutes
Step step up onto the bog step step sink step concentrate the waterfall tumbling into earshot along the edge of the burn around the shoulder of the hillside
Home lights shine,
pin pricks in the gloaming.
Iceland past midnight.
3:29 a.m. Movement seven; 49 minutes to 56 minutes
Pull up pull pull up up the hillside stride four streams step over step step over the fence on up the slope up the slope contour round to the horse-path and the leaning post
Seven walks in
the way on the fell is harder.
Walk, step, stumble.
6:14 a.m. Movement eight; 57 minutes to the end
Step stumble trip across the paddock climb over over the double fence jump the stream cross the mat of marigolds to the last pull last pull last pull up the slope
snipe croak, dive and drum.
The fell feeds the sky with song.