Sentinel Watch

Oil landscape by Yorkshire artist Jo Sykes

” The majority of our walks, particularly through the times of lockdown, were local to where we live. We made this into a bit of a game using OS maps and google to plan circular walks of suitable distance for our, occasional, dodgery legs, and ones that would be suitable for summer or for winter. We didn’t always get this right and had several instances where ‘lanes’ becoming muddy and water-logged tracks!

One of these ‘near disasters’ was a circular route we had not done before and was attempting it in December when there had been a fair bit of rain. Yes, the promised lane became the be-puddled muddy track! But it was made up for by the stunning views over the valley towards Castle Hill, made more atmospheric by the dark clouds on our right and the light desperately trying to break through on the left.

I stopped to reflect a moment at this spot where a group of trees stood, slightly battered and bent by prevailing winds, still tall and determined, looking westward like a sentinel watch towards the dark, heavy clouds. Behind and through the trees light from a shy, retiring sun played in the branches.

Each lockdown has felt like a sentinel watch – sometimes feeling rather battered and bent by circumstance and worry, often scouring the news for the latest updates but not too much to lessen our determination and optimism, watching and waiting.

The ‘lane’ became increasingly muddy and puddly – the lockdown became more urgent and stringent. I looked back to check the light was still playing in the branches.”

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