09-Sep-2010 -- Continued from 51N-02E.
September Crop Report: Three weeks after Gordon Spence’s most recent update, how are the fields looking around 54N 1W?
We came to nearby York to visit friends who have happily given up the automobile they found an absolute necessity during their five year stay in the States for a lifestyle of walks, bikes, and buses in a beautiful old city where it seems everything needed is close at hand. However, as they had offered to rent a car for a drive north so we could spend a few days hiking along Hadrian’s Wall, swinging by the Village Hall at Stockton-on-the-Forest on the way out of town was no problem at all. This was our first experience riding in a car on the left side of the road, and good practice to help us to mentally prepare to try this logically correct form of driving ourselves in Scotland a few days later! After a short four mile drive, we stopped near the centre of this small linear village.
From the parking space, the four of us, plus Shadow the dog, headed off to take in a lovely sunny morning. At the first stubble field, Shadow scared up a rabbit and for a few split seconds actually seemed to be gaining on the hare. However, when the prey kicked into “jackrabbit gear,” the chase was quickly over. My slow reaction time to record this event with my camera allowed me to capture only Shadow’s nose at the extreme right of the picture. [While most Americans are familiar with the use of the red poppy as a remembrance symbol for World War I sacrifice and death (“In Flanders fields the poppies blow/ Between the crosses, row by row”), this walk was the first time I had chanced on that plant quickly taking hold in the disturbed earth of the plowed field…]
On reaching the confluence field, we found a new crop had been planted since Mr. Spence’s latest visit, and in fact was just beginning to sprout. Anxious not to damage the young plants, the rest of the party chose to watch from a distance as I made the final cp approach. With clear weather and a strong satellite signal, this work should have been a “piece of cake.” However, the GPS had a hard time settling down, and the coveted zeroes proved most elusive. At the appropriate edge of the field, my slow responding machine showed I was still 15 feet away, and my lack of patience, increased by the knowledge the rest of the group was waiting for me, caused me to make an unnecessary trip through ditch and hedgerow southwest, into the next field and back. However, on my return to the proper location, I eventually found the sweet spot, and signaled success to my distant gallery, much to their relief (especially for the first time hunters in the group!). I’m afraid my pictures add little to those of the previous 17 reports, and they certainly fail to capture the excitement of my first ever confluence visit in the United Kingdom, on 54N, or on 1W!
As a side note, although we later passed up a chance to visit 55N 2W while driving by within a mile of the point on A68, we did have a great visit walking the extreme northern edge of the Roman Empire. We enjoyed some sightseeing at the ancient castrum (auxiliary fort) of Vindolanda, had a lunch break at Sycamore Gap under probably the most photographed tree in England (made famous by its role in the movie “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”).
Continued at 59N-03W.