Monday, 21 August 2017

Solar Eclipse

In August 1999 I travelled to Devon in the hope of seeing a total solar eclipse. Although I did not exactly see it (I caught the briefest glimpse in a break in the clouds), I did experience it and even on a cloudy day it an experience I will never forget.

Today a total eclipse swept from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic giving millions the opportunity to witness the greatest show on earth. Here in the UK it would have been possible to witness a partial eclipse just before sunset but, as so often is the case, cloudy weather promised to spoil the view.

Resigned to missing out entirely, I began preparing dinner whilst watching live pictures on TV. To add insult to injury, the sun broke through a gap in the clouds and streamed through the kitchen window. On a mad impulse, I abandoned the cooking and made a mad dash up the nearest hill in the vane hope that I might catch the merest glimpse of the eclipse.

On my brisk walk I saw a stag bounding across the hill top (too fast and too far away for me to get a pic) and a heron (ditto) and could hear but not see the Red Kites but when I reached my destination it was clear that I would not see the eclipse because a) I was too late and b) the sun was obscured by a bank of cloud.

After pausing a few minutes to catch my breath and enjoy the view I started to make my way back home when the village below me and the trees lining the track lit up with a rosy glow.

Rarely, the sun and the moon come together to treat us to the dazzling display that is a total solar eclipse but every day, 24 hours a day, the sun puts on a pretty impressive display while setting, and simultaneously rising, somewhere in the world.

On the walk back I was further entertained by three hares frolicking in a freshly harvested field (I hope one day to witness them boxing) and listened to an owl calling. Then I went home and finished cooking dinner!