Tuesday, April 28, 2009

woozle's rock and a boar

What a morning I had today. I went up to document some ancient paths and carvings with my camera to illustrate my next blog. I started up a path that even though I have been wandering the area for 16 years I had never been up before. Actually it’s not that surprising that I hadn’t been up it as recently a lot of paths are becoming uncovered (and covered) with the excessive rains and all it takes is for the start of a path to be covered and you’d never know it was there.

To put some order into the dozens of rock outcrops I name them: jessie’s rock (one of my favourite places) flora’s place and so on. This path led up to a place that is now going to be knows to both myselves as woozle’s place. Mine all mine. It’s an hour’s walk to get there from home so convenient enough for an extended lunchbreak, it’s high enough to be interesting and provide a view and is probably the furthest point to date, in my regular stamping ground, from inhabited houses or people.

When I got there, after draining the thermos of drinking chocolate and munching on some bikkies, I circled the area and found what could quite possibly have been another path which went up quite steeply following a ridge. As I started up it to see if it was I saw something white in amongst the trees. Cat I thought. So I carried on. It, or they, as it turned out, were 5 possibly feral dogs growling and showing their teeth hackles raised and being generally obnoxious. They were only little dogs mind, jack russel types, but even so defending my dog against five other dogs was not something I wanted to try. As it turned out they were quite friendly so I put the sticks down. Anyway, they went up as though following a path and I followed. I found another two abandoned houses I never knew about and some interesting terraces to detect on and better still, some nice flat grassy terraces to camp on. Isolated enough too to have a fire without people coming over snooping. Routing round the area I also found a huge badger set, mostly abandoned but still in use in part and a foxes’ earth so I feel some badger watching coming on.

When I had sussed out a place to put the tent and have the fire and get water from I started down to take the photos I wanted. I’d just bent down to put my rucksack down and the dog stopped breathing. As I started to straighten up I saw a big and I mean BIG, huge enormous, black and I mean BLACK, pitch it was, smelly, very smelly big (did I say that?) boar at 10 o’clock only 8 or 9 yards away.

We occasionally see boar from the car or from the house but to be this close to one, unarmed in ITS territory is slightly unnerving.

It looked at me and spoke. ‘Fuck with me English and you’s dead’.

I moved not a muscle for a full minute (possibly an hour) and believe me no copulatory thoughts entered my mind. Slowly, though I don’t know what use it would have been, I slid my hand to my sheath knife which I carry round my neck and drew it out.

I might have ended up in national geographic with the photos I could have taken but believe me I was NOT going to take a photo of it until it was a few kilometres away. But it was big. Really big, and black.

Having been attacked by a boar a few years ago and being wary of them ever since, and just a teensy bit nervous when walking in areas I know they are in, I was actually quite surprised at my calm. I didn’t panic, I didn’t brick it or run away. I didn’t cry or snivel, I just stared it out. I know this is what you should do with bears but I’m not quite sure if this is something one should attempt with boar. I will be doing some Googling this afternoon I feel and if I find out this was not the thing to do I will feel free to brick it in the comfort of my own home.

So a long moment came to an end and slowly with that annoyingly self-assured and menacing air you find in your common or garden chav, it wandered off and I mean totally without hurrying. As it did it just exuded solidity. I reckon with the size It was it would have been well over a hundred kilos. You could hear the solid stomping and total lack of effort as it walked off.

I climbed a tree.

A bit late I know but I have had this before. See a boar skulking near a rock, it goes away, you walk forwards and a bloody herd of them shoot out from behind the rock so I wasn’t taking any chances and I even got the camera ready. But it was only a solitary male.

As I started back down the path I promptly got the fright of my life because a something or two shot out of the bush behind me. I didn’t wait to see what it was and zipped up another tree and from up it I peered over my shoulder to see a pair of bloody roe deer bounding into the distance sniggering. I swear they had been following me and had been waiting for the right moment.

Other than that a pretty normal day.

The photos are woozle’s place from above and from below (up in the mist)

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