What a difference a day makes.

After the rain, mist and low cloud yesterday evening, today clear blue skies, and a glorious sunset. I got to the car park a little bit later than normal this evening. I decided to walk the other way round, which means I started off along the disused railway track. As I walked down past the pond the ducks, seven of them came quacking and waddling past me. I turned round to see where they were going. They were heading for a middle aged couple, who were carrying plastic bags. Judging by the strength of the greeting, the bags were full of food, and this was not the first time that the ducks had seen them. It explains their rapid growth during the later part of the summer though! Whereas yesterday I was alone, apart from one other walker, tonight there were about a dozen people walking their dogs on the track. So I had been walking for twenty minutes or so before I felt that I was alone. One of the reasons why I like the Goyt is the way it preserves the broken remains of mans attempts to tame it. Of these the railway track was quite a feat of engineering. After half a mile or so it had to cross a small tributary valley. To span this a large bank was built up to carry the track. I don’t know when it was built, probably in the 1930’s when the resevoir was constructed. To the side I noticed that there was quite good soil profile. It was clearly not natural though, being spoil from the building of the track. I learn’t to distinguish natural features like this from man made features the hard way on a field trip to the Sierra Nevada mountains in Spain. We were split into groups and given a sand and gravel feature in the river Guadalfeo to survey and explain its formation. Ours was a gravel bar quite flat, apart from one end that had a raised platform on it. We spent a day surveying it had coming up with a plausible hypothesis as to its formation. The next day we had to present our findings to the rest of the party. After we had finished Dr Thornes (as he was then) smiled and said in his broad Yorkshire accent, “Very good lads, but a pity you left out the bit about the JCB. Any fool could have see that it was man made!” Well obviously not these foolish undergraduates.

By the time I reached the end of the track and headed off down into the valley the sun had set and it was getting dark. It was quiet apart from the sound of running water, and the startled cry of grouse. By the time I reached the car the light had almost faded. The pond was still and duck free. I headed back to civilization.

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