Monday, 11 October 2010


as i climb the narrow spine of the cat's back
i am released from my earthbound destiny
instead i float on air
to my left the monumental hatterrall ridge rises up like an enormous cliff
almost blotting out the low-angled sun
which stands on tip-toes to peek over the ridge
an impregnable barrier between wales and england
an immense offa's dyke before offa was even thought of
far below the lovely secluded olchon valley bathes in hazy sunlight
to my right the undulating fields of rural herefordshire spread out
punctuated by tiny buildings and thread-like lanes
on both sides the hillside falls away precipitously
one slip and i'm a gonner
surely, i think, this must be one of the best panoramas in southern england
suddenly my reveries are disturbed by a huge black form
which sails over my right shoulder
momentarily i know how jason and his argonauts must have felt
when they first caught sight of the giant roc
but this is no mythical bird
it is a great black raven
hanging there on the thermals
croaking out its strange call
huge against the sky
before dropping down out of sight to a crag below
there are plenty of fleeces here
though not golden ones
they belong to the grazing sheep
which scatter when i abruptly appear from behind a rocky outcrop
rounding the cat's shoulder i traverse the spongey hilltop
and descend by a babbling brook to the enchanted olchon valley
where i am sadly earthbound once again

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