Wednesday, 13 March 2013

My Path to The River

My journey to the river is just as enjoyable as my time spent waterside. An integral part of my day and time to be savoured - my paths to favourite haunts are well trodden and in many ways I carve my route in the landscape as others have done so before me. Usually by foot, but my favourite path is not one that leaves a footprint - It is rare for me to step out of the car until I reach my destination, but through the car window, more often open (even on the coldest day), I am on more than nodding acquaintance with the landscape en route to the river.

Each river has its favoured route, familiar, comforting and welcome as I make my regular pilgrimage - I take great delight with one in particular. This route, at the end of the coarse fisherman's season, I tend to carve more than any other - my pilgrimage to the Dorset Stour.

The landscape is full of antiquity. Familiar landmarks greet me at each turn of the road, but my excitement about the impending day means that I will not stop the car until my return journey home. Then I will stop once or twice to take in the air, listen to the sound of silence and even admire the view of the Jurassic Coast at night. I almost feel part of it now and certainly miss it when I am away - certain locations are in my minds eye when far away from home reminding me of where I come from and what I hold dear.

Most of my routes to the river could be done slightly quicker by keeping to featureless main roads, but the extra few minutes and couple of extra miles do more for the soul than a journey on automatic pilot with the wireless for company. I like the variation and expect the unexpected on these quieter byways.

I am on my way when I turn off the main road and head up past Spyway to Eggardon - here only last week on a freezing snowy day with leaden sky I spotted a white fallow deer (I spotted three today and think they must form part of the large Powerstock Common herd) in one of the dips. A magnificent sight standing like a beacon in the faded winter landscape. Past Eggardon I drop down into Wynford Eagle, past the church of Saint Lawrence and admire the lovely little river which is a tributary of the River Hooke. I do know that Wynford in Celtic is bright stream or white river, but I must try and find out the local name for this clear stream.

Soon I am waving at the Cerne Abbas Giant and marvelling at the Giants Inn (formerly The Red Lion) with its stained glass windows and before long I wend my way through the sleepy North Dorset villages which line my path to Sturminster Newton and journeys end.

It ends far too quickly, just long enough to contemplate the day ahead and the first trot of the float. The shadows of ancient hills my companions now until my return journey home which will be full of expectation - hope of a warming fire and the scent of comfort.


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