After a bit of a lie in, reading the Times in bed, I kicked Lilly out and got ready for a walk. She had been up in the night and I had taken her out at 2.00 am and 4.00 am, so the lie in was slightly justified, along with the fact that I was having the day off. It was a grey, drizzly, damp sort of a day with the hint of rain and a strong breeze. Actually perfect for a walk in the Goyt. The car park at Goyt’s Lane only had a handful of cars, but the six wheel camper van that was there on Sunday was still in the same position by the edge of the pond. I was beginning to wonder if I should knock on the door to see if everything was okay, when one of the occupants appeared at the door to let their dog out.
We set off on a slightly different route than the usual tramp along the disused railway, crossing the road and heading towards Rake end before following the contours round and down the hillside before crossing the road again at Bonsall Cob. A female kestrel hovered, working the wind to maintain her position, and Lilly began to take a little too much interest in the sheep that have reappeared on this part of the hillside. I understand that the landowners have given up trying to get the heather to spread and are resigned to leaving it for sheep to graze.
This route gives a view of the heather clad hills towards Goyt Moss. Standing and just taking in the view, it felt like I was miles from anywhere, with not another person in sight.
As we headed towards the wooded area and then onto the bench overlooking the upper reservoir, I noticed a hawk flying in level flight and reasonably high from the Goyt Lane direction. It had slightly bent wings and made a series of flaps interspersed with a period of gliding, its tail was quite long. It was hard to tell its size, but it was smaller than buzzard, and initially I thought too big for a sparrow hawk. Its shape was all wrong for a buzzard anyway being slimmer and not so blunt. I momentarily thought it might be a Hen Harrier, but on reflection I suspect that the binoculars distorted my impression of its size. When I got home I checked out some videos of the Hen Harrier and Sparrow Hawk in level flight and I am now 100% convinced that it was a Sparrow Hawk. Whatever it was, it was a wonderful sight.
Lilly wanted to extend the walk and seemed put out when I headed back up the path to the car park. She was on a long line though, as she was showing way to much interest in the sheep, so sensibly she took the path I choose. Another day we will go further but I have things to do.