I had an hour lie-in this morning: a dry run for the next two month’s cattle free marsh. I spent most of my early morning extra respite trying to stop myself getting out of bed – I will get used to it.
It’s a volunteer’s Tuesday workday on Wilden Marsh today. As I load tools into my car boot, a dark and threatening sky looks down on me, but rain isn’t forecast; I hope the experts are right. I prefer a crisp day and clear blue skies, but who doesn’t! Today’s task is lopping, topping and cropping willow and alder trees and scrub in the wet Hillary Road Field, and around South Pool sluice where the fierce black mink lives. The temperature has been hovering around freezing early mornings recently, so I’m not taking any chances: I’m wearing my thermals.
My first port of call this morning is the Orchid Field to check the pedigree herd. I must remember that Terry Bull and TWB were removed from the marsh yesterday afternoon, or I’ll be mud-plugging all over Middle Marsh looking for them. Apart from the remaining cattle not wanting to be in the Orchid Field, they were otherwise fine; although, very vocal. Wayne and Waynetta stood together on the top end hard standing, with the rest of the herd scattered around the swampy bottom. Wayne and Waynetta bellowed instructions and all the cattle were in front of me at the gate within five minutes, shouting: “See yoose laddie, lit oos oot aya thes sockin’ dreich feld.”
10 am and we are lugging tools, stools, and rucksacks along the river bank to South Pool Oak, under which we will rest and eat our packed lunches. Far from being cold, it was very mild, 13 degrees, on the marsh and layers of clothing were shed pretty quickly. Rain did stay away all day.
More lopping, topping and cropping in the Orchid Field on the next Sunday workday, 26th November, so make sure you wear your wellies.