Watching out for the Short Eared Owl on Marsden Moor

Short Eared Owl on Marsden Moor

I’ve become *slightly* obsessed in the last few weeks by the notion of spotting and photographing a Short Eared Owl on Marsden Moor, in more than a blurry camera phone fashion.

And I haven’t had much time for longer walks or indeed whole days away on a hike of late, so when I head out on what are essentially longer dog walks, it’s been great to have a bit of a focus.

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Greenfield to Marsden via Laddow Rocks – a Halloween hike

Wimberry Rocks Saddleworth

Phantom planes, occult activities and ghostly figures have been allegedly heard or spotted over the years around the saddleworth moor area. Perfect then for an eighteen mile hike across part of them, on Halloween, as devised by friends Jenny and Mac. And a chilli at Jenny’s had been planned for afterwards, making it even more of an event to look forward to.

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A last look for Lepus Timidus – Mountain Hare ..

Watching out for Mountain Hare in Marsden

I took my two boys to look for the Easter Bunny this weekend. I’ll reframe that (to change the scene in your head): they’re 25 and 21 and we were after Mountain Hare. But the Hares were harder to find than all those badly hidden Easter eggs in the garden over the years. Despite lots of tell-tale Maltesers in evidence (keeping the chocolate theme going), no Hares were seen this time. The lads were home for Easter weekend and we’d set off early in the evening on the final round of the two grid squares I had been allocated for the National Trust annual Mountain Hare survey.

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Snatching words on the Marsden poetry trail

March Hill Marsden Moors hike Hiking Yorkshire Walking rambling

I set out last Saturday with friends Jenny, Karl and Taru, after the Hare surveying training, to walk the Marsden poetry trail that I put together last year.

Taru and Jenny had wanted to do the ten mile circular that navigates Pule Hill, Close Moss and March Hill. The weather looked like it would be pretty good to us. Although good in Marsden is relative: ‘fresh’ or ‘blowy’ would be kind euphemisms.

But as Simon Armitage says in ‘Snow’ (a great piece and a stop along the trail) : ‘We should make the most of the light”. That’s a pointer to the poet’s birthplace and conditioning right there.

The poems that we took turns reading out at each ‘waymarker’ (yes, I sprang that on them) were frequently snatched from mouth and hand.

And the winds crashing against the industrial cliffs of Pule Hill quarry knocked Taru and Jenny over at one point. Then threatened to snatch at least one of the three hounds off and away into neighbouring Lancashire.

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Mountain Hare Surveying with the National Trust (@marsdenmoorNT)

Millstone Edge Close Moss Marsden Moor hike

I met up with a few other folk (including walking compadre, Jenny) above Marsden, early on Saturday morning. We were going to be shown how to spot for signs of the (elusive, as it happened) Mountain Hare. Signs that will help us complete an NT survey within the individual 1Km squares of Marsden Moor that we have been allocated.

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A choice of sleet or sun.. a walk around Close Moss

Photograph of Close Moss on Marsden moor Pennine Hike

I had a choice this weekend: go for a long walk around the Marsden Moors on Saturday (forecast: sleet / snow and low cloud on the tops) or Sunday (forecast: sunshine). I went for Saturday, as I’m perverse like that and I fancied a bit o’ weather to get me in the zone for a trip in early February up to Crianlarich.

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