Saturday, January 2

New Year. New Forest. Old Haunts.

The local cold snap continues unabated. With local low lying areas exhibiting their seasonal floods the persistence of hard & frozen ground is at present an useful advantage. Boggy and potentially treacherous areas have for a brief time become firm routes of iron surfaced mud and thick ice.

Well mostly. As I found out today - the sun may be far away, and brief in daytime appearance - but it still has the power to weaken icy surfaces. So crossing some of the flooded paths turned at times into an adventure of ice skating & river crossing, all within a few footsteps.

Strange to think I had sat on this bridge a few months earlier, munching sandwiches and watching a small New Forest stream trickle down below, firmly in its watercourse.

Signs also of the recent gales. Not yet up to the full strength of the Feb/March winds that will blow hard and long straight across from the nearby coast. But already impressive enough to knock about some less secure victims.

I like this hidden spot.

In fact I once bivvied the night here. Intending to sojourn with nature & pass a night with the deer herd that I can guarantee to find whatever the time of year & wandering tourists. Instead I discovered what horses can get up to during the dark hours
(The curious amongst you should follow the link)

But that's the joy of the British seasonal variation.

Familiar land & bye ways transform as vegetation growth rises & then falls, whilst the ground underfoot changes in response to the influence of sun, water & wind.

The deer didn't disappoint. Three heads bobbing up at a distance. Eyesight poor, but noses as keen as ever. The cold weather and low vegetation at this time of year making them less reluctant to flee with their usual alacrity.
(Spotted them yet?)

A pleasant way to pass a couple of hours on a sunny day. Five miles of crunching underfoot, with only the occasional crack/splash along the way as my usually accurate footfall adjustments were mislead by nature's cheeky jests.

My audio accompaniment today - a documentary about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. World famous for his literary colossus Sherlock Holmes. But slightly less familiar as the man who introduced skiing to Switzerland, Portsmouth FC player (pre pro days), regular MCC team turnout & the catalyst behind the creation of the Court of Criminal Appeal.

Wonder if he had managed all this if he'd had TV in his day?

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