Why is it so empty?

I pull over and park in the old quarry. There is no one about and the dogs, damp and puzzled in the back, can’t think why we are not getting out.

But we aren’t and I sit and stare at the cliff where the old kestrel nest used to be, now long gone, abandoned. I found it one balmy summers evening, we were celebrating our anniversary and I had dashed back from London to sit drink wine and eat strawberries with only the curlews and the kestrel for company.

Further along above Derbyshire Bridge the wind marches the rain across heather and rough grass. In the distance a gantry telling people to slow down stands ineffective and ignored above England’s notorious and third most dangerous road.

I stare out at the bleak and empty moors, keeper’d free of predators and prey so the thousand can have their day of sport and fun while the rest of us make do with thoughts of what could be.

I leave the dogs in the car and walk a little way up the old road. They stare at me through the window, with that puzzled ‘you’ve forgotten us’ look on their faces, until their breath fogs the window and I can see them no more.


A wheatear startled by my approach, flits and stutters, alarmed and wary, along the old dry stone wall. There is nothing else, not even the sound of curlew or golden Plover above the wind and the rain.

Back in the fuggy, doggy warmth of the car, I give the moors one final glance, and with a sigh and word of encouragement to the dogs, turn the key and set off for home.

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