The cowering hills hide under each other, bending away
from the mean sky that sends sharp messages to them to express its
Walking over a hill becomes a struggle between myself and the
ground that rises into a windblown hump on the open moorland. Blind
pushes my fiery legs one-step at a time to the top of the rolling
that bars my way. A long line of slumped figures in bright wet
gear and huge humpbacked packs stretches along the ridge,
against the steely sky beyond. The rhythm of footfall after footfall
up thoughts into tiny, dusty fragments in my head. Images flirt for
moment in my mind's eye, rising and falling to the beat of my heavy
Music arranges itself as the landscape produces sound in my head.
melody of winds play tunes in the branches of a nearby copse. It
joyfully bounding effortlessly through trees in whistling song. A
quarry on the hillside scars the sloping landscape with its blasted
This relative shelter seems still and eerie after the loud orchestra
the open moor.
My heavy legs drag along the ground with despair
weights them down even more. I hope that every step I take brings me
to my goal; the Torr. It stands as though proud of all in its
It tops the hill like a glorious jewel and will stand in a blizzard
a desert in a blink of its heavy eyes.
We trample over a bog that floats on many feet of
filled water, so that the surface is floating on the sodden moss.
I feel the earth move under my feet, and tread as if I were walking
a platform of cardboard. I’m afraid that the bobbing mixture of mud
grass might crack under my weight, swallowing and drowning me in its
water. But despite this danger, small scarlet flowers grow, warning
away and brightening up a landscape that is otherwise a dull rainbow
greens, purples, blues and greys.
There are small scrapes of red peat open on the hill
their backs turned to the wind so sheep have shelter. On wild winter
there is nothing more that these scrapes to avoid the pelting fury
the sky as it punishes the landscape for being there, thrashing it
tiny, scared, quivering pieces. Hills try to pull away, to avoid the
sky that screams down on them, trying to thump them into submission.
they stay firm, resting on their beds of steely granite, and waiting
the fury of the storm has blown itself into silence. Then, as spring
over the freezing wet landscape, small curls of ferns offer tiny
of life, shy in the cold light with a firm weather keeping
ordered, until summer. This is when the landscape revolts against
strict order that the atmosphere imposes on its subjects. Heather
a purple glow over now glorious hills, which puff out their chests
show off their new uniform to the glowering sky above. Gorse bushes
like hermits, surrounded by low clipped grass. Sheep wonder around,
in the nakedness of Shaun skin, lambs not so small, leaping and
as their impatient mothers nudge them away.
Through this season the sky bides its time, and as
fierce heat of summer frizzles the fresh skin of the ferns, it
up electricity. When the thunderstorm comes, dark cloud armies
together, to beat back the unwieldy revolution. They spike the
punishing them for their disobedience, and kicking them back down to
lowly form. Autumn draws in thick mists, separating wanderers and
becomes scarce as freezing drizzle drips down the back of my neck,
my hot blood filled skin that shivers as I continue to fight my
My twisted blistered feet feel the land, which has
past a year with the sky. But not long now. The course of the year
has flown through my mind as I trudge up the hill becomes irrelevant
I see the sculptured stone that is the top. I stride the last few
nearly tripping over my own feet and too weak to choose a
place to rest. Instead I simply flop down next to the cold granite.
All I can hear now is my own pitiful gasps as my
fight to give my brain its backlog of air.
And as I slowly recover, I open my eyes to stare at
tangled grey mass of cloud above me. It twists and coils under my
steely at midday in evening light. It looks down on me, and a slow
crosses its face.
‘I have won for another year.’
By Lyndsey Melling
(Beta Read version)