Newsletter April 2020

At the end of March, we were all ready to jump off with the organisation of a major long-standing fell race and then on April 5th, a fully booked Beginning Fell Running day. It seems strange now looking back that we were unsure whether these two events would go ahead or not and that the words ‘social distancing’ and ‘lockdown’ hadn’t really entered our vocabulary. Like everyone, I am still living with much uncertainty about when and whether our future events will happen.

My policy for the Beginning Fell Running days is to offer a re-scheduled date later in the year or a full refund. I will write out via email to everyone booked on each event closer to the dates or when a decision has been reached about a trip or event.

Please be assured that all events and trips will be fully refunded if they do not go ahead. I will contact you personally via email about this.

This is a tough time for all of us in many different ways and everyone’s personal circumstances are different and there are many different COVID19 realities.
I’ve been really impressed by some organisations and their handling of refunds and equally despondent at others, notably airlines, who from personal experience are making it very difficult to obtain rightful refunds

Personally, I feel lucky that we completed on the purchase on a new house and land in the Black Mountains prior to lockdown and so I’ve had my mind and body in a new project despite the absolute dust-bath that the building site house is in. It’s been a stunning 3-week block of sunshine during April, most of which I’ve spent working on the land. The weather has been most definitely deserved after the constant deluge that comprised last winter.

We have two fields in the Black Mountains with the plan to make these ecologically diverse. The first move has been to get the sheep off the land.  Sheep eat almost EVERYTHING so nothing gets the chance to regenerate. It’s noticeable that there are four 200-old oak trees on the land and yet there’s no natural regeneration or younger oaks at all (the sheep have eaten them) to take their place when these great grandees die. I’ve planted 40 new saplings to try to remedy this – it’ll be interesting to see how many survive.   Already the fields are covered in flowers and tiny saplings so I’m keen to see how this develops. It has been a gift of time and space that I never thought I’d find and I am grateful to have been more or less healthy throughout the past two months if very exhausted by nightfall with the realisation that I don’t have long physical days in me like I once used to!

Never much of a birdwatcher before, I’ve now discovered binoculars and the beginnings of being ‘a birder’. Like many people I’ve noted just how loud the birdsong is without any extraneous noise at the moment. There’s a lot to be said for sitting for a bit and looking and I’ve even found myself stopping on my runs and walks to look and listen!  It was with real delight that I saw the first swallows on April 6th and later laughed at bluetits taking old wall insulation out of the building skip in great beakfulls to build nests. You know it’s getting serious when you’ve got your binocs on the table at supper just in case anything flies by.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me via email if you have any questions. I will be in touch as and when things become clearer. Stay well – mentally and physically – and hoping that the second part of the year will see us together and in the hills.

Very best wishes

Ruth

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