At the fish stalls in Leeds Kirkgate Market we must look like a bunch of tourists, gawping at the produce of rivers and seas laid out on the ice before us. The stallholders look down on us with no-nonsense scowls, as if suspecting that we might be too intimidated to buy something. Perhaps this is why Tom points at the nets of mussels sitting there on the counter and orders two, receiving them in an orange plastic bag.
“Do you know what to do with them?” I say, trying hard not to imagine the consequences if we get this wrong.
“We’ll work it out. It’ll be fine”
At the harbour at Kladow most of the waterside restaurants and beer gardens were empty, although they were obviously getting ready for the weekend. As the weather gets warmer, this corner of Berlin becomes a popular spot for walking and bike riding on both sides of the Havel, and the next few days would see hundreds of people heading down to the water, but on this Friday afternoon we had the place pretty much to ourselves.
We sat on a bench and looked across to a small island and a colony of cormorants nesting high in the trees. We ate the remains of our sandwiches and sipped at cups of tea. Across the water we could see the Peacock Island and the Wannsee shore. That was where we wanted to be, to find a shady table at the beer garden before catching the S-Bahn home. But first of all we had to get across the water.
What do we think of when we hear the word “landscape”? The first thought might involve hills and mountains or endless prairie fields and wide, wide rivers. It might involve sea cliffs and beaches, bleak moors or a Postman-Pat patchwork of land divided into neat parcels by high hedges. Landscape feels like it should be somehow “natural”, and it is tempting to idealise it as such, even though there are very few places – especially in Europe – that can truly claim to have been untouched by the influence of humankind. After all, we introduced the sheep that tore away the natural vegetation of the Welsh hills and we planted the corn that waves back and forth across the Mid-West. But still, more often than not the word is used to describe something different to the built-environment of the city, which is why I remain amazed when I find those corners of Berlin where it feels as if no other word will do.
Cairnsmore of Fleet, Galloway, Scotland, February 2014
By Daniel Greenwood
A wading bird bursts from the bog. I watch its sharp wings cut into the wall of mist and descending treeline. I put my binoculars to my eyes and the bird is lost. The world has been reduced. All terrestrial life but for water, a few lichens, heather and wintry moor grasses has escaped. I have left behind oak woods overcome by rhododendron and cherry laurel, and Cairnsmore Burn choked by the former, its water crashing from the shadows. It was not right. Snowdrops still managed to create small rugs of white flowers and winter green leaves. Bluebells peeked through the leaf litter amongst them. Behold the denizens of Galloway’s oldest woods. Up here those are images in the mind. The life in the lap of the Cree estuary – the buses, postman, trees and gentle flowering plants are mere memory. The cover of Glenure Forest’s regimental spruce is the last notion of protection. It’s now up to willpower, my body and clothing. The path leads clear from 20 metres, visibility coming and going with cloud.
At the car park just downstream from the Hardcastle crags we met. These were friends I had known since school or university, with partners and children, a rare shared afternoon together with a walk by the river. Some of the kids ran off ahead, searching for the next bird sign laid out by the side of the track by the National Trust. Along the way we split, into smaller groups and pairs. We talked about work and life, trying to fit in the different events since the last time we’d met.
The approach to Colditz, just south of the Dresden-Leipzig motorway, was a pleasant drive through rolling countryside, until the castle appeared in the distance. We saw it almost from above, as the road dropped down into the river valley, but by the time we reached the town the famous castle was looming above the rooftops, as it had in my imagination. As for the rest of the group that was meeting there it was something of a mystery… and in planning this Sunday trip south of Berlin I had discovered something quite interesting:
Most of my German friends have never heard of Colditz.
Wild Boar Fell at Dawn, chosen by Matt Neale, Area Ranger, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority: “This is on one of my local runs. I get the train up to Kirkby Stephen early in the morning, run over Wild Boar Fell and back home, which is about 12 miles.”
Sarah Butler writes…
Working The View (www.workingtheview.co.uk) is a two-year collaboration between my brother (a landscape photographer who lives and works in the Yorkshire Dales ) and myself, exploring the relationship between the Yorkshire Dales landscape and its guardians. Working with 40 participants – from farmers to planners, from archaeologists to experts in peat restoration, water management and forestry – we asked them to choose their favourite view and tell us how and why they feel connected to this unique part of the world.
We’ve brought the results – a collection of gorgeous photos and fascinating insights into the passion and politics involved in maintaining and making a living from this landscape – together into a coffee table book (available from http://www.yorkshiredalesphotography.co.uk/wtv/products-page/) and a series of exhibitions throughout the Yorkshire Dales.