I was up on the moor last week. It was shrouded in cloud, visibility down to about 75 metres. The kind of day most people just wouldn’t go there, and yet there was stunning beauty there. Perhaps the lack of distant view made me look closer at the habitat, but the colours were almost enhanced by the dingy light. Bracken turning golden is the most beautiful plant especially when seen against the heather as it changes into its dark brown winter garb.
In the mist I could hear but rarely see birds. Migrating Redwings and Bramblings must have virtually crashed into the hillside in these conditions, even tiny Goldcrests announcing their arrival with thin calls as loud as they could do, probably migrants too, all the way from Scandinavia. In the heather a very active and beautiful colony of wood ants fascinated my 18 month old son. We scrumped bilberries, gathering enough for a pie would have taken a long time, so why not just enjoy the goodness of the fruits straight from the bush. For these we had to compete with Red Grouse who take them with relish in the autumn. Red Grouse were a feature of the walk mainly heard but not seen and we had great fun impersonating them to bring them close through the mist out of curiosity. Then the haunting piping call of a single Golden Plover. We left the moor draped in cloud hauled there on a south easterly wind, no far reaching views but still beautiful and inspiring.