I crossed the 200-mile threshold on my #walk2017 journey yesterday. Here are some photographs from the second hundred miles.

While January was all about tree silhouettes against the sky and extraordinary light, the unifying theme of February has been colour. Iโ€™ve taken fewer monochrome images this month. My attention has been turned to the first signs of life bursting through winterโ€™s sterile surface.

The big change Iโ€™ve made for February is a slight tweak to the route. Much as I like the loop through the Gunby grounds, the mud is unbelievable at this time of year and early in the month I decided to cut right along the old railway track to the end of the village. This reduces my daily mileage by half a mile, but the mud is at least bearable going this way. And this new variation takes me through some beautiful woodlands.

Theย Shrike Palace

Mist

For most of January, I kept my mind occupied by listening to podcasts and audiobooks on the trail. But I decided to stop doing this when I crossed over the 100-mile threshold. Why? A number of reasons โ€“ but the main one was the haunting echo of birdsong I could sometimes hear over the noise in my headphones. I wanted to hear that gradual crescendo of natural music as it wakes from its long winter sleep.

So I put the headphones away and started to listen. Birdsong now accompanies my footsteps.

Farewell to the Gunby parkland โ€“ until the trails dry out

Tragedy in green

Free of distractions, Iโ€™ve started to notice new things. There is a lone birch tree standing amongst hazel coppices in the wood by the old railway line. The birch is my favourite tree, so Iโ€™ve paid particular attention to this one each morning. However, today I looked down and my heart leapt when I saw a stone otter looking back at me from the base of the birch โ€“ย greened by algae, well embedded in the soil, it has clearly resided there for some time. But I somehow failed to notice this woodland sprite until I unplugged my ears and opened my senses.

The woods are starting to wake up. Iโ€™m looking forward to March.

Woodland sprite

The Crystal Monolith


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