Monday, December 4

Holmsley wandering - and unexpected pleasures

My Sunday wander out in the New Forest was a little delayed yesterday. Not by much; But enough to bring home to me just how much the season has changed and the days shortened.

The mid afternoon wander was put off in the hope that the gusting wind/rain would back off a little. Vain hope. A very late night Saturday, err well more a near dawn finish really, and a mild hangover didn't help much. Ahem.

As is often the way with these things, what started out grudingly as a short slog turned into a real delight. Nature in the raw, the air fresh and full of moisture. The path wet underfoot, but having picked a reasonable ridge route to the south-east of Burley, the gravel strata meant that thick mud could be mostly avoided.

And the few hardy souls that were around seemed similarly interested in enjoying the conditions, so for a change a few smiles and cheery hellos (It amazes me the amount of glum grunts that I often get as I pass by within a couple of feet of people, and offer the courtesy of a pleasant greeting. Miserable gits)

Starting to enjoy the wander it turned into a longer circular route, dipping down to the old railtrack once leading down from Ringwood and now a cinder & gravel cycle/tourist path. Usually this is littered with families trying to stay upright on their newly hired mountain bikes, and as a result it can be a bit of an obstacle course as they attempt to conquer their unfamiliar steeds.
My two collies are trained to voice command to heel/stay at distance, but sometimes the dogs can act as a magnet for small children trying to handle the mechanics of balancing on two wheels, safe from the usual threat of cars whizzing by. So I usually have to proceed with a little caution rather than watch some five year old disappear off the track and into the squelchy bog either side of the track. But n
o two wheeled traffic today. The deep flood across the track near the old rail bridge remains effectively cutting off all through travelling unless part of the welly brigade.

The original bridge, so the story goes, had been blown up by the local TA unit back in the 70s as a hands-on training exercise in the use of demolition explosive. Unfortunately whoever thought they were getting a bit of cheap remodelling work had assumed the TA would remove the resulting debris as well. Oops. Bridge blown the TA went into a full and effective tactical retreat, leaving bits of exploded brick bridge over a wide area. No great surprise there really - I can't recall the SAS being asked to clean-up after their workday. Quite.

So back onto the track along Holmsley ridge, following the deer and pony tracks back to my start point. As I dropped off the ridge ahead was the ending of a stormy day.......











.....and as I glanced behind, the sight of night coming on and the moon already rising high in the sky. Surely worth a picture? But no camera with me. No wait; Out with the phone camera. Not great but sometimes the feeling of the image is the important thing. The perfect shot picture isn't always strictly neccessary.

My New Forest view - Sunday 16:00;

Still managed find the car before it got dark though. Just as well as its black and covered in mud!

Not exactly a beacon of visibility as dusk falls and the rainclouds drift across once more.

Simple pleasures. Stolen moments. Sweet.


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