It appears to be an innocuous shot of cotton grass in Devilla Forest, Fife, but beneath this very ordinary photograph lies a different “tail”.
The Fatdog and I were doing a bit of light geocaching in the forest, no more than a dogwalk really and normally we turn up, walk along the path, wait for GPS to go beep and there, straight it front of us is the blindingly obvious cache sight. The enthusiasts who set these caches, god bless them, have a tendency to make the finding of these wee boxes fairly eejit proof, which is just as well given some of my normal walking decisions. An out of place rock covering a grassy hole or a pile of potential firewood hiding a space between tree roots in an old stump – these are the bread and butter of the normal cache setter. To those seekers of the wee plastic boxes these signs are like waving a bloody big red flag over the cache site accompanied by loudhailer blasting out encouragement with a cheerful “Over here ya numpty!”
Which is why, when I started having to battle my way through the tangled undergrowth of the forest floor, I was wondering if this particular cache setter was a renegade, a fallen angel of the geocaching community now turned to the dark side. As I tripped, squelched and stumbled through what is loosely termed managed forestry (i.e. all cut, broken and collapsed vegetation left to rot as wildlife habitats) I quietly contemplated writing a note on his cache file with the ominous overtones…
“I’m afraid your cache appears to have been vandalised”
The Fatdog was busy digging the pit and sharpening the spikes while I worked on the wording destined to lure the unsuspecting cache setter into the woods…to his untimely end.
But enough of the happy thoughts and on with the “tail”…
We had two more caches to go…which meant two more excursions off the comfortable cinder track and into the forest beyond. Various wild and invisible beasties were beginning to claim their pound of flesh as we squelched through the oft soggy terrain. But I’m sure it was fun.
Having successfully found the required volume of Tupperware and in one case an egg, we opted to follow the path (for once) through the forest to see what wondrous things there were to see in this particular corner of Devilla Forest.
As we rounded what appeared to be a small lochan, a lone buzzard swooped silently up and away from near ground level, too quick (as always) to allow me time to whip out the camera. By way of recompense for missing that opportunity the lochan was bounded on two sides with, what I think is called, cottongrass. Downwards from the path, across a dense bright green moss carpet, we made our way to the start of the swaying white mini pom-poms.
I fiddled about with the camera changing settings but as usual never quite got it right. Much as enjoy this photography lark I think I need to read a bit more of the theory. You can only get so far on pressing the shutter release on a random selection of settings. The Fatdog went for a paddle in the boggy bits while I stuck determinedly to my task of creating the not-so-perfect photograph.
There were a few more boggy bits than I had imagined at first glance…and it appeared I was standing in one of them! Glancing at my feet I realised that there was 1mm of clearance between the top of my boots and the local water table. The rising tide had already reached the bottom of my trousers which were wicking up the water good style. Busy looking through the camera lens I had failed to realise that I was sinking…fast.
I grabbed the gear and stuffed it in the backback before gingerly retrieving both feet from the now treacherous mire and tentatively picking my way back to solid ground. Notwithstanding the fact we had ceased geocaching some twenty minutes before, my revenge on the cache setter responsible for enticing me to this corner of Fife would be terrible indeed! The Fatdog squelched by way of approval.