‘Have you seen the cuckoo yet?’ He made me laugh. Ewes huddle about their feeder, pawing the snow to reach grass. ‘Don’t the trees look beautiful.’ We must have met before. He’s local, he loves the place and he’s a looker. Being a looker is about responding to the day, being curious.
We need nature, we hear this repeatedly during lockdown. We may need nature but nature does not need us. Wildlife does rather better when we stay away, when we allow it sanctuary and no-access zones. When we respect habitat and acknowledge this is nature's home, we merely visit for an hour or so.
Let nature thrive says the RSPB. Let nature thrive here on Scout Scar, this spring and summer. During the pandemic, our impact on countryside close to towns is far greater. There's nothing much else to do, nowhere else to go. So let’s think exactly where we are walking or running. There’s a rash of mountain bikers on Scout Scar during lockdown 3, their tracks are everywhere in the snow. They should not be there at all. There are far more walkers than usual and more dogs than ever. Many have dogs on leads, respecting nature, respecting other walkers. Dogs running loose are a nuisance and a threat to wildlife and to sheep. Soon skylark will return to breed. They lay their eggs on the ground, hidden amongst grassy tussocks. Skylark cannot tolerate disturbance.
The lambing season is not far off. So farmers need walkers to show respect and consideration for their pregnant ewes. The farmer's notices on Kendal Race Course, asking walkers to keep dogs on leads, to respect his flock, have been repeatedly vandalised.
Scout Scar is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, within the Lake District National Park. It is within walking distance of the town of Kendal with housing developments creeping ever closer. The pressures of footfall it is experiencing are a pattern of what is happening nationally. So it is a microcosm. There needs publicity for the plight of wildlife in such places. Urgently.