The tops are hidden in mist this morning.
I have to take the quad bike over the crest to the far valley-
-vallee oscuree par nuages-
(I do have French guests after all).
Edouard shot two small stags yesterday
the type that the government wants culled
so no sporting triumph here.
It was late –
we emptied them of innards
and left them overnight.
So my work is not done.
I left reluctantly this morning,
rode the quad out to the hill gate
with the Nog as Passenger;
juggled the machine up the line of the burn
that leads down from the saddle
and hence over to the far valley.
It is rough ground,
and there are many dangers.
A quad bike will go anywhere
but being lightweight,
to be kept balanced –
and constant vigilance.
There are holes hidden in heather
many cross drains to drop into
with jarring abruptness,
or to take the wheels away on one side,
to tilt the bike.
There are deep holes left by peat cuttings,
banks that give way
puddles that plunge into
(I was glad of these once,
when the bike tipped and dropped me
safely to the bottom
with the quad propped on the banks
On the return journey,
my little rig is unstable
with the carcase weight.
It will take little more than
a moment’s unwarinesss,
or a hidden rock,
and I will be over.
There is no-one else.