Moor Surprises … On A Saturday Walk

The trade-off for a having a fair amount of rainy days in Cornwall is the green you see everywhere when you step outside the door. Yesterday, John and I took a walk around our village and up on the moor. We were a short distance from our home when we were surprised by something pretty exciting.

The wild horses in the photo above are not unusual on the moor, but what happened not long after I took this shot was unexpected.

John and I were standing on a landmark piece of rock talking about the view when the horses munching nearby bolted and ran in towards the edge of the field. (John took the photo above)

They stood still for a moment as if they were listening for something and then began to move about in the direction of the path that leads walkers up to the moor. There’s a wooden gate not too far from where they’re standing and at one point two of them moved off in that direction.

A minute or so later the moorland horses turned and ran towards us and to our surprise, we saw that we were suddenly standing in the path of a fox hunt.

As the horse and riders came towards us, there were loads of hound dogs spreading out around them like cartoon ants swarming out across a picnic tablecloth.

Here you can see that some of the dogs have spotted us and are looking up where we are standing on the rock.

This man was the one blowing the horn which seemed to help in keeping the hounds focused and moving as a large mass. There’s a master of foxhounds for the hunt, but I don’t know if that’s what his role was or why he seemed to have the only horn. Maybe a reader can help clarify this for me.

The riders kept coming long after the dogs had passed by.

Fox hunting is no longer legal in England, Scotland, and Wales, but they are allowed to follow artificially laid trails. It’s said that abuse can and does occur, but we didn’t see a fox anywhere near the hounds and riders.

After they passed by we continued walking, going about a mile before seeing something else we didn’t expect.

We were walking down a lane when I spotted a red fox who broke into a run as soon as he saw us. We stopped and waited to see if  we might catch another look and he came back and stood on the other side of the bramble above staring at us for just a minute. I tried not to move or even breathe hoping to get a photo, but the best I could do was the shot below.

The reddish-brown blob you see in the center is the fox as it turned to go. It stared at us full on for about ten seconds before running off. I was surprised that it didn’t keep going when it ran from us the first time. It actually seemed as if it came back to check us out more carefully before disappearing across the field.

These last photos are just a few that I took on our way home and have no special meaning other than I liked what I was seeing.

We did run into Polly, who seemed anxious to get home. Her owners were with her and said that she always picks up a stick when they goes for walks and carries it all the way.  She leaves them outside in the garden and they go into the wood burner to help heat the house.

Last week we got a wood burner … perhaps we need a dog like Polly to help bring in some extra fuel for the fire.

A Seaside Visit Today For This Birthday Boy

Today is John’s birthday and while he would rather not have too much notice made, I have a sweet pile of presents or “pressies” as some might say here and his requested blackberry crumble with candles and ice cream for later. (Okay, he didn’t ask for candles, but he needs them to make a wish … right?)

As soon we pull ourselves together this morning, we will head south to explore several places where we can walk on the beach and touch the sea. We won’t be taking any little pails and shovels like John had in the photo above, but I expect we will have plenty of fun just the same. I was thrilled when he mentioned going to one place in particular when I asked how he wished to spend his birthday.

Cadgwith is a sweet little seaside village which looks much the same as it did in 1930 when his dad at sixteen took this photograph while the family was in the area on holiday. I plan to take John’s picture as close to the thatched cottage on the right as I can get and will edit this post to include it when we return. (If you click to enlarge this, you can see John’s grandmother on the left.)

Photo by Victor Winchurch, Age 16 - Cadgwith, Cornwall 1930

I am so pleased to be able to share a third birthday celebration with this lovely man who changed my life so dramatically only a few years ago. Happy Birthday John!

* If you are reading this through email or other subscription, please refresh to get the edited version. I had an old family photo from the wrong village and had to correct it.

Updates & Additions … I am back as I promised with some pictures from our day. These were taken 80 years after the one above and another one taken the same day 80 years ago.

Cadgwith 2010

Color Cadgwith 2010

( I added the color version of Cadgwith by special request for Dorothy I mean, Kim who wanted to see OZ * see her comment below)

I took this photograph this afternoon of John standing where his grandmother stood 80 years ago when she was two years younger than I am now. I was a little closer to my subject than John’s dad was in 1930. I also thought you might enjoy a few more from today that go with the original taken 1930.

Photo By Victor Winchurch – Cadgwith, Cornwall 1930

My image from today is below.

Cadgwith, Cornwall 2010

Here is a last image before I say goodnight, It is one I took of John while he was photographing from what is likely the same spot his father did when he was still only a sixteen year old boy. I bet his dad would have loved digital photography. Remember you can click any image to enlarge. Click twice to make it ginormous.

John Winchurch – September 27, 2010