tempus fugit

By ceridwen

On the black hill

Coffee and cake at a Ukrainian fundraiser provided the impetus to climb Carn Ingli which, although not very high as mountains go, is quite a slog if you start from sea level.

The view over Newport  and the estuary is  superb on a fine clear day like this but it's a shame about the scorched zone. Acres of heather  were accidentally set alight  when local sheep farmers  aimed to burn off the dead bracken and gorse on the lower slopes. It's a 'traditional' annual practice said encourage the growth of grass for the sheep that spend much of the year up here. But very often wind spreads the fire to the higher heather zone where  by mid-March many ground-nesting birds are already laying, reptiles are emerging from hibernation and insects are hatching or on the wing. These established patches of scrub vegetation* also sequester carbon which is released into the air when burnt. 

Traditions, especially rural ones, are hard to overturn. Best to lift your eyes away from the damage and admire the view.

* Heather, whinberry, moss, lichen etc

Title borrowed from Bruce Chatwin's memorable  1982 novel about two old Welsh border sheep farmers...

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