Saturday, 3 October 2009

Wind, Water and Whoopers!

Holywell Dene and tranquility out of the wind!
3rd Oct. One thing about leading pre-planned walks is that you have got to get there what ever. When I heard wind this morning I could have happily rolled over and gone back to sleep. Instead, I was off to Holywell Village and surprisingly fifteen other, gluttons for punishment, I mean, group members and prospective members turned up. After a brief introduction in the bus shelter, I wonder how many bodies you could get in there if need be, we were off to the pond just about as the heavens opened. I began to wonder if this was rally a good idea! Not to worry, after sheltering under the trees we thought the wind would dry us.

The pond bird life included, Grey Heron, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Coot and Moorhen. There was also the odd Lapwing and large flocks of gull. Enough interest to keep people happy anyway. It was just as well, as we found practically nothing in Holywell Dene with most birdlife seeming to be keeping heads down in the depth of the bushes. Long Tailed Tits proved to be the highlight. Despite the winds of today and lack of birds it was surprisingly pleasant and tranquil down there as I told people of Hubert De La Val in an authoritive manner, as if I’d known the man all my life. Hubert owned the dene and probably a great deal more at one time. Apparently he came over with William the Conqueror. I’d never heard of the guy until I read up about him on Thursday evening. Andrew Bell a 13 years old mine worker who had his head squashed by moving tubs in Holywell pit, was another I read about. At Andrews’s inquest it is recorded that ‘he should have waited until the tubs were staionary.’ Thank God for unions! Andrew is buried in Earsdon churchyard. The water in the Seaton Burn was extremely low.

I decided to return via the paths on the opposite side of the burn rather than through the open grassland such was the winds.
We stopped of at the pond on returning and founsd a flock of Lesser Black Backed Gull and just before we were due to leave six Whooper Swans flew in as if by prior arrangement, ending the walk on a high. It had been a really sunny day after that initial downpour and everyone, I think, left having spent an enjoyable four hours, in the main out of the winds

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