Young country diary: A fungi fest and a dip in the loch

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Young country diary: A fungi fest and a dip in the loch

Woodhall loch, Galloway: Seeing fieldcap, sickener and crab brittlegill in the woods prepares me for the cold of the water

crab brittlegill mushroom

Sat 6 Nov 2021 07.00 EDT

At first I didn’t know where to look, as I was interested in every sight and sound around me. My focus was soon snagged on the mushrooms. They littered the woodland path, all shapes and sizes. The small, red sickener; the thin, yellow, gooey fieldcap; a large, green, puffy bolete; white bracket fungus and a broad, dark red crab brittlegill.

Woodhall loch, Galloway.

As I passed the gushing Kennick burn, I saw moss-covered spruce and damp tree stumps coated in wood sorrel. Its lemony taste filled my mouth as the wooded path emerged on to an open loch. My thoughts of fungi were washed away as I looked over the perfectly still expanse of water. Overhanging willow branches were mirrored in the loch’s surface, and a jumping brown trout was creating little ripples.

I sat on the stony beach and removed my shoes and socks in preparation for feeling the loch at my toes. I stretched my feet into the water’s silver surface and cold engulfed them. At first I wanted to cringe away, but gradually my body adjusted. I sat watching the wildlife go by, feeling the cold on my feet. Eventually, I arose and walked back through the woods to tell my family what I had seen.

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