Bibliotreks: 5. Around Great Knoutberry Hill
Did I find what I was looking for on this, my fifth and final walk? Yes and no.
I was aiming for a little moorland tarn. The dry stone walls follow the county boundary, crossing the centre of the tarn which has a structure in the middle: a dry stone grouse butt. I had my swimsuit in my bag and was hoping for a refreshing dip, a symbolic swim across the border.
I found the grouse butt. It’s a stunning little piece of architecture, crafted, well-considered, a really special place. But I didn’t find much of the tarn. Certainly not enough to swim in! It had dried up in the recent heat, the bed a cracked skin of peat pitted with the hopeful tracks of birds and animals.
It’s been so dry recently, I wonder at what point ‘heatwave’ becomes ‘drought’. The cracked, eroded peatbog was clearly suffering. This is such a fragile environment and I felt I should leave it be. It’s a beautiful place but in wetter weather it would be a near-impossible bog trot, so be warned!
Thunder was rumbling moodily. I beat a hasty retreat before its favourite companion joined in too. This walk was definitely about water, and the lack of it. Drought and storms, often symptoms of human carelessness.