Scrapbook ~ Wildlife walks throughout the year
Saturday 11th January 2014
Amberley - Rackham Hill - The Burgh - Burpham - North Stoke - Amberley
Things didn't start out well. While taking our usual perusal of the area from the old
paddock above Amberley Museum, we noticed ambulances and police cars up at Downs
Farm. On getting closer we were told that a cyclist had died of a heart attack
at the top of Rackham Hill. On continuing we were passed by a policeman wheeling
his bike back down, followed soon after by the poor man in an off-road
ambulance/recovery vehicle. What a thing to happen in such a beautiful place on
such a perfect day. Mind you, on many occasions I've thought that if I had to
decide on somewhere to leave this mortal coil, then Rackham Hill would probably
be my place of choice, preferably in the summer, amongst
the orchids and the sheep.
We tried to give up on thinking about mortality and to concentrate on the good
things around us instead, which soon corresponded to tea, cake and the views
from our favourite tiffin spots.
Today we were lucky
enough to see something incredible that I have been hoping to see for
years, ever since I first heard about it: The mythical
'Green Flash'. This takes place at the very last moment of sunset when the
last vestige of the sun travels through the widest possible amount of our
atmosphere and turns a brilliant emerald green for just a split second
before it slips behind the horizon.
When sunlight is scattered by the atmosphere it splits up into different
colours, like the reds, yellows and oranges of a sunset. Green is not usually
visible but warm air just above the sea causes an 'inferior mirage' to
occur, making the flash visible after the sun has actually sunk. You need very clear conditions
with no particulates in the atmosphere to see this effect and as it's been raining
almost constantly for weeks, the air above Sussex has been well and truly rinsed out.
Gill didn't know about this rare phenomenon as we watched the sun sink behind the
sea together, but when she turned round to me and screamed, "the sun went green"
then I knew I wasn't hallucinating. Another ambition realised.
Soon after, as we were
approaching Burpham village and were still buzzing about 'the flash' we came
across a pair of Tawny Owls playing kiss-chase. Not something you see every day
Certainly a day of ups and downs.
The castle from the train. Both still
surrounded by floodwater.
The water course that flows on top of the paddock wall.
We think Amberley Castle looks much better surrounded by water.
A fantastic sunset topped of by a Green Flash (not pictured).
Take the time to read
countryside code for yourself and please stick to it at all times.