button to main menu  Gents Mag 1899 part 2 p.545

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Gentleman's Magazine 1899 part 2 p.545
The shepherd may be driving, on what appears to be a settled summer day, along an elevated valley, walled in by rocky ridges, when a cloud drives in behind and beneath him, completely blotting out dogs and flock in a filmy veil. At such time young shepherds may lose their bearings and wander into an adjacent valley, but the dogs will bring their charges safely home. Sheep do not move far when the mist hangs, but as soon as it rises make off like the wind. Experienced men, therefore, simply halt and wait for the clearing, which may be some hours distant. But even if he abandoned his flock, the shepherd would come to no harm. The novice at traversing fells under cloud may suddenly find himself on a ledge where an incautious movement threatens a fall into a tremendous chasm, but there have been signs of this far back. Occasionally a shepherd who has been caught in the mist walks home in front of his flock, having passed through without seeing or hearing them. It is obvious that the air, being surcharged with particles of moisture so fine and dense as to convey a white impression to the eye, will not readily carry sound.
There are many opinions as to whether sheep-dogs are ever at a loss to determine their position as well as that of the flock. My own idea is that they locate themselves perfectly by hearing - and it is acknowledged that their sense in this direction has a wider range than ours. Some of the more observant shepherds, too, use this power. They are aware of wide differences in the sound of wind and streams at different points of their beats, and of this we have a proof. We were wandering over Bowfell with an old shepherd. The mist hung in ragged edges half way down the Band; the ill-marked path ceased at the summit, and we blundered along towards Esk-hause. The old man allowed us to guide until we came to where sheer cliffs seemed to drop in every direction, and we in despair appealed to him.
"Listen," he said.
A curlew whistled far above, the wind lisped among the crags and screes around, the merry rattle of a distant rill rose from beneath. The old man, without a word, of explanation, took us round the hillock, and again we listened. The curlew was silent, the wind a trifle more boisterous, and the sound of rushing waters more clear.
"The sound heard on the far side of the hill was that of the outlet of Angle Tarn" (which, indeed, was almost sheer below), "whereas you now hear the infant Esk."
The weeks pass on - the days are sultry and the newly shorn
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