Sunday – a grand walk in the morning sun to herd the cattle away from the road, and across the river to the Assycombe Ridge, and relative safety from speeding traffic.
Such hikes are often rewarded with autumnal wild produce – blackberries, whortleberries and mushrooms, including the magic variety for those so inclined. Berries this year have been unusually prolific, especially those of the Rowan and Hawthorn. Our avian winter visitors have a feast in store for them, although they tend to gorge themselves and then be short later on.
The September warmth together with the rains, have given a flush of grass. And the moor, if anything, is under-stocked. The heather has recovered well, but is now inhibited by an excess of Molina grass and gorse.
Last evening, for the first time ever, I heard the roaring of a rutting stag on the hill; a truly primeval sound. It explained the brazenness of two hinds and their calves that were unperturbed by my passing.
A different farming routine this year, with the cows and calves running with the bull on a nature reserve to help maintain the ecology of the area. A different bull as well, a Luing (a Shorthorn/Highland cross), hopefully to impart hybrid vigour to the Welsh Black offspring.
The weanlings and store cattle are summering on the moor, chaperoned by our veteran matriarch, Orphan Annie, now aged 19. They thrive on the hill, enjoying the freedom and summer breezes which give relief from unwelcome insects.