Under clear blue skies, I head across the forest towards the Esk. It’s mid-morning. Ponies are standing broadside to the gorse brakes soaking in every bit of warmth as the sun slowly melts the sugar coating of frost on their feeding grounds. Some are lying so that the rays fall fully along their backs. Only a couple show any sign of hunger as they muzzle into still-whited grass. A carrion crow struts among them, looking for a meal of insects in the piles of fresh dung.
Nearing the water, I pick my way carefully down a steep slope with rivulets running on each side which seem to be flowing faster than I am making progress.