Tuesday, March 23rd. 9 miles. Longridge.
My birthday happens to coincide with the date Lockdown commenced last year. There seemed quite a fuss about this [not my birthday], whilst I have every sympathy with the thousands of families affected by Covid deaths and they should not be forgotten, I am not one for lighting candles or creating memorial days for an event we have not dealt with very satisfactorily. I would almost go so far as to say they are devious attempts by the government to distract our attention from the failings and flag wave for our vaccine successes. Dangerous tactics.
Back to today’s walk, which I have completed many times recently, to make an occasion of it I took a picnic with me to enjoy higher up. Last year I visited the limestone quarry opposite Arbour Farm occasionally for its wildlife so as I pass today I have a look in. There are a couple of roe deer scampering away and a hare following. It’s too soon for any significant flowers but there a few mallards on the water and pheasants taking cover. In the past this area has been used as a shoot and the birds fed in the season. All around are spent shotgun cartridges. I take particular note as I’ve just been reading a DEFRA report of the latest attempts to ban lead ammunition. Lead ammunition could be phased out under government plans to help protect wildlife and nature, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow announced today (23 March). There has been a wealth of evidence that lead is damaging to humans, wildlife and the environment and yet a large amount of lead ammunition is discharged every year. Apart from the yearly slaughter of birds there is research showing wild fowl ingest lead pellets, mistaken for food, causing considerable deaths from poisoning. The Government have been slow to do anything about it and a voluntary transition by the shooting industry has not worked. A recent review showed the majority of game birds sold to the public had been killed using lead shot. So all change then – well not quite – the Government is proposing a two-year review of the evidence and then public consideration. A typical fudge when the hunting and shooting brigade are involved. Why don’t we just get on and ban it now. [In Denmark, hunters have had to use alternatives since 1996, when lead shot was banned]
Moving on I made my way up onto the fell and found a sheltered spot for my simple Birthday picnic in a little quarry nearby. I have recently started climbing in here again after many years, there is a small wall suitable for bouldering away from the Covid crowds that are making themselves unwelcome at the usual bouldering spot, Craig Y Longridge. It is up here that I have been regularly seeing Barn Owls flying around at dusk. Today a kestrel was hovering not far from me and a pair of Buzzards were wheeling high in the sky. Nice place for a picnic in the sun.
I wander home down the switchback lane. I had various texts etc appear on my phone from absent friends and family and in my porch a box of beer and a single malt. Not such a bad birthday after all.
Well done and here’s looking forward to many more to come. I was all agog waiting for the menu of your picnic, and a little envious, and then even more so when you told of your prezzies.
The menu was two satsumas, a banana and a KitKat. My evening meal was rather grander, supplemented by the presents.
Happy Birthday. 🙂
Ta. The Barn Owls are out hunting most evenings, from 5pm onwards, on the fell near the road at Cardwell House, Jeffrey Hill. 639 402
Happy birthday! What a lovely day to be out!😀
Ta. Yes it was. The evenings up on Longridge Fell have been delightful this week what with the sunsets and the Barn Owls.
“Why don’t we just get on and ban it now.”
I guess we all know the reason for that…. I expect a huge majority of the shooting fraternity are very close friends with the current prime minister and his party. Logic and what’s good for the country come a distant second to buttering up your mates 😒
I enjoyed my little rant.
Many happy returns on your birthday. That was a respectable mileage, and a grand idea to have a picnic. I’ve been wondering how the “voluntary transition” away from lead was working out – not very well from the sounds of it, and no surprises. I hope the malt is going down well!
Ta very much.
Yes the malt, even though it was from Speyside, was lead free.
A belated Happy Birthday!
I hope you and your family are coming out of this lockdown on the positive side.
We are, John – thank you. We have all had our first injections (except our younger daughter, who we hope will get one soon) and we have all remained healthy, but bored!
Take care of yourself.