The mapmakers built it, long ago. Lichens write the years upon it, and autumnal mist steals its vista from human eyes, but it remains our grey witness to the hills.
The Ordnance Survey’s trigonometry points crown hilltops throughout Britain. Surveyors used them to triangulate distance and draw this island upon maps for countless purposes. They are a monument to scientific brilliance, but only in chorus. One trig point makes no more sense than one limb of a tree.
But its sister hill with its own trig point is still there, 11 miles away, wreathed in cloud. Trig points may have concrete hearts but they share wild nature’s habit of hinting at greater tapestries beyond our sight.
Fungi like these shaggy scalycaps are only the fruiting bodies of the mycelium, the thread-like organism that lives unseen within soil or tree.
A slime mould is only one life stage of the wood’s strangest lifeform: it existed as single cells before aggregating and becoming sessile.
Goat’s rue is a quiet monument to human hope. It is not a native species in the UK but has been here since at least the 17th century, given passage as a forage crop for livestock. Perhaps these dew-spotted petals are descended from plants tended by farmers who walked these hills in centuries past.
Crystalline clear skies seldom provoke questions about what lies just beyond our view. Mist is the master of those.