Sunday, May 10, 2009

National Park Ranger

I waited for the ranger to contact me to see where & when to meet him. No phone call was forthcoming, so I called him. "Oh, we've swapped duties - you'll be with Stuart Rees...".
So I give him a call. No answer. I eventually manage to make contact in the morning of our patrol.

Trish drops me off att Goathland (Aidensfield) in the morning and I talk to the car park attendant John, whom I've known for many years, until a couple arrive. One is obviously my ranger, but the other is not and I'm introduced. Pauline I assume is his girlfriend, whom it appears is going to join us. We start off down the incline to Beck Hole. From the incline we turn left to take the footpath along West Beck and head up the road to Julian Park collecting some litter as we go. We leave the road and take the footpath directly back to Beck Hole. At the incline again we meet a large party of walkers on the railway walking back to Goathland. My ranger adroitly avoids the crowds and chooses to return via the road. This is strange as I thought with all the badges and things we're the 'face of the park'. I smile and ask him if he doesn't want to get asked questions but receive no reply. We immediately turn onto the Goathland Road.

At 12ish I'm getting hungry and were nearly back in Goathland.
"Shall we stop here for lunch?", I suggest, at a quiet spot just outside the village. Before the ranger answers Pauline says she needs to get back home. So no lunch stop is required on this patrol!.

We've probably covered a little over 7 Km in just over 2 hours.

As Trish was not planning to return to pick me up until 4ish I decide there is no point in returning all the way to Goathland and at the Darnholm turn off we say goodbye and I head back across the moors to Whitby.

I quickly reach the old Whinstone mine & quarry, noticing the now caved in entrance to the mine I've spent many enjoyable times exploring. I wonder how many bats were trapped inside.

Nearing Barkers Crag high on Sleights moor I see a female Ring Ouzel - my first for many years as they are very rare in Ireland. A little later a Wheater appears in front.

Nearing Sleights Trish 'phones. She's locked herself out of the house in RHB and we've no spare keys. Oh, and we've just had, almost , all the windows double glazed.

She picks me up at Sleights and taken to RHB I soon force entry through a small top window of the only window frame without double glazing. Thank god for rotten wooden window frames.

My trusty Raleigh Tour-lite is in the garage so as it is still only 4:30pm I elect to cycle back along the lineside to Whitby. I hear a Whitethroat, Yellow Hammer and many Blackcaps singing along the railway line past Stainsacre. In the sky I spot a large bird. Seagull? It turns out to be a female Harrier but I can't identify which. I watch it slowly fly north at a hight of a couple of hundred feet.

Sunday dinner is three bacon rolls!!.

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