Out To The Wind


Back to Ongar Hill (again).

This time as a direct response to Tim Dee’s Into the Wind programme, recently shown on BBC4 – if you’ve not seen it go and watch it now, it’s easily one of best things that’s been broadcast on television this year.

In Into the Wind Tim walks from Guy’s Head, at the mouth of the River Nene, along the route of the Peter Scott Walk to stand on the edge of the Lincolnshire coast* and attempt to record the incoming wind.

“As I have grown old, even though I have liked most of the people I’ve talked to, I’ve become more and more keen on listening to the sound of the world after we’ve all shut up. This means going after wildtrack, the song of the Earth, for its own sake – wind, above all, pure wind. And Richard Alwyn, who directed Into the Wind, caught me at it. He asked where I might like to go for a walk and talk about the weather. I showed him my fluffy dog on a stick and said the Wash, that jaw-bite out of East Anglia, opening to the sea.

So I thought I’d try my hand at the same.

Obviously my kit isn’t in the same league as Tim’s, but that’s perhaps no great surprise given that he’s an experienced producer of radio for the BBC, and I’m not.

We walked in the opposite direction to the route followed in Into the Wind and eventually found the pathway that stretches across the marsh to the Inner Trial Bank, a peculiar man-made island (albeit that it’s not ordinarily an island) built in the early 1970s, as part of a now long defunct government research project. For a location so relatively close to the everyday it’s a wonderfully remote, disconnected place which I really can’t recommend visiting enough.

I have a sense I’ll be back (much) sooner than later.

*The pedant in me needs to point out that although Tim starts his walk in Lincolnshire he actually completes his recording in Norfolk  – an admittedly minor point, but as a Norfolk boy an important one.

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