A stuffed horse and his bottle of Southern Comfort

We brought friends to see El Shacko today, had lunch in the local bar and walked the mile up the hill. We walked around the site and explored a bit more.

We met another two neighbours whose hut has been empty and leaking for five years. He was beginning to repair the roof and she showed us inside.. wet and damp, complete with mushrooms and filled with old furniture. It’s still small, never having been extended, and has no wood burner yet. She said another neighbour was giving her a small burner so as long as they can get the roof watertight and get rid of anything rotten, the rest should dry out so they can spend time there. She remembers running round the site as a small child when her parents and grandparents owned two huts on the site so she had fond memories of the place.

As we walked back up the track the kids crossed the burn to a little bench and found a stuffed horse under a tree. They placed it carefully beside the bench with an empty bottle of southern comfort nearby in case it gets thirsty during the night.

Once they had gone home we drove along the single track road I ran up yesterday morning. We found the site of the friend’s 40th all those years ago where we all camped and enjoyed a band playing in the middle of nowhere. The toilets are now boarded up but it’s still clearly a wild camping site. The ferns are turning brown as autumn approaches, making the hills a beautiful pale rust colour and the trees won’t be far behind, the first glimpse of red showing on some.

The housemartins haven’t all gone south quite yet as this afternoon we heard and saw them again. Sadly I found a broken egg on the window sill, a tiny thing about the size of the end of my thumb and tinged with yellow. This must surely be their last brood for the year.

It’s 19:32 and starting to get dark. As we sit here in the quiet the solar lights are beginning to flicker on, not fully yet as it’s not dark enough. The fire is burning quietly. We can hear hammering in the distance, probably the roof work continuing as long as possible before dark sets in and the weekend is over.

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