Country diary: curiosity and the crows
Wardlow, Derbyshire: The birds’ intelligence and aerial harmonising add to their appeal
Cycling up from Monsal Head, I crested a ridge, and soon after turned down the quiet lane that separates Longstone Moor from rough pasture east of Wardlow. On two wheels, this is among the most glorious stretches in the Peak District, a spin downhill with wide views of high grassland plateau and the even higher mass of Kinder Scout behind it. The day’s billowing white cloud and shafts of sunlight only added to a feeling that I’d taken to the air, riding out across the sky.
I wasn’t alone. Above the distant hill of Mam Tor I could see several paragliders hanging beneath their canopies, carving arcs through the air. Closer by were two white gliders over the airfield above Great Hucklow, their long narrow wings glittering in the sun. And right next to me, matching my pace and at head height on the other side of a limestone wall, were two crows, dipping and lifting around and across each other, a sort of aerial harmonising that I sped alongside.