A melting-mellow day, so still and warm. Can this be Halloween? Sunlight poured onto the Scout Scar ridge but a soft blue mist lingered below. The panorama of Howgills and Lake District Fells was swallowed up in mist, simply vanished. Even Whitbarrow could not be sure of itself, might have been cloud. Sound carried: pheasants sunning themselves on the escarpment edge, a cockerel down in the Lyth Valley, distant traffic. Bramble patches interweave with hazel, rose hips and sloes. Insects sun themselves on autumn leaves and seek nectar on late flowers.
Study of bramble leaves against a limestone wall
I hear mistle thrush but neither sight nor sound of fieldfare. Impossible on this summery Halloween morning, all out of kilter. A chevron of geese flies overhead. I'm rereading Adam Nicolson's wonderful book Sea Room, about the Shiant Islands which he owns. He writes of Barnacle Geese from Greenland. I hope, soon, to see the Barnacle Geese from Svalbard. Fingers crossed. In the meantime, a bramble patch.
Shrunken fruit, late flowers of bramble, and richly colouring leaves
My fascination with a bramble patch, and its rich and diverse life, goes back to childhood. Some years, the leaves are an enduring green. This autumn they are magnificent in decay. Their plague-blotches look livid. I like to watch the chlorophyll draining back into the veins to reveal those carotene yellows and purple-red anthocyanins.
Jan Wiltshire is a nature writer living in Cumbria. She also explores islands and coast and the wildlife experience. (See Home and My Books.)