I always look forward to going to The Beacon at first light. The view is never the same and is quite often wonderful.
If, overnight, a global apocalypse had befallen the world causing a massive rise in sea levels – it might have looked like the scene that greeted me. An ocean of mist had engulfed a huge area - all the way to the horizon. South Lancashire had been completely flooded.
I watched the developing mistscape, changing minute by minute as the sun rose. The colours were subtly altering – starting off with rosy hues then becoming sepia.
When the lightshow had played itself out I made my way to the darkly wooded, North West corner of the patch. On my way I passed the flooded former quarry.
This seems to be exactly the kind of place Donald Pleasence was talking about in The Spirit of Dark and Lonely Water, the famous public information film of the seventies. TV Talking Heads seem to be forever reminiscing about how this film scarred their childhoods (along with the Singing Ringing Tree), making them water-phobic. Well it’s clearly had this effect on me – I find the place borderline terrifying.
As I’d hoped, there was a good show of fungi. Amongst the toadstools I found, was The Deceiver (Laccaria laccata) – so named because of its variable size, shape and colour - depending on age, and also on weather. The widely spaced gills interspersed with smaller gills is a good identification feature.
As well as the fungi, this dark, damp part of the patch has a good range of mosses and liverworts. These often unregarded plants come in a bewildering variety of similar species, but are nonetheless fascinating.
I was kneeling down, photographing a liverwort, when a loud, nearby sound shot me to my feet. A bark crossed with a shout, with a bit of scream thrown in for good measure.
My brain instantly recognised it a Roe Deer, but even so I couldn't help from reacting with a microsecond of ‘fight or flight’ (I can't see myself fighting a Roe Deer in the near to medium term).
It always amazes me when I see a Roe then compare it to the sound it makes. How can such a cute animal sound like the Hell Hound from Hades?
Donald Pleasence, The Singing Ringing Tree, Roe Deer, while maybe not a quite Trio of Terror, perhaps an Axis of Anguish.
|A Moss Miscellany (plus a Liverwort) Top Row: Polytrichum commune, Hypnum cupressiforme. Bottom Row: Marchantia polymorpha, Eurhynchium striatum, Amblystegium serpens (some idenfications tentative)|