The Empty Quarter

It was the week before Easter, a gusty Sunday.  Stormy easterlies continued to sweep across the country.  We headed up into the Lammermuirs for the first time, a day hike with a friend.

The view from the summit, hard won in high winds and spindrift.  The pylons are regular sized, its the turbines that make them look tiny.

In a way, this is a Frankenstein landscape, a farm for killing - shooting butts dot the moorland, traps set to kill grouse predators, a morbid place.  Turbines are the latest in a long story of mechanical extraction.

The control of toothy predators means a surfeit of hares, more than anywhere I've seen except the Monadh Liath.  They are incredible creatures.  A broken leg means death in hours in these conditions.

There were other consolations, apart from the snowy white hares and a refresher course in the weather's casual brutality.  The winds meant sculpted snow

and in the glens and hill clefts, lines of broadleaf trees the sheep can't reach still hang on.  A few fragments of an alternate reality, some relief from all the hunting hubris.

There's much to love here, and much to feel unsettled by.  I enjoyed the Lammermuirs - the solitude of a man made desert, a great place to see mountain hares, and spring fen traps.  These gentle slopes would be a great place to learn to ski.  In the meantime, I'll be back for an overnighter, or a full moon moorland wander.

David's take on the day includes a video, and a map, and is here