We traveled out into the South of the park yesterday with Derek Proudlock, crossed another border, this time between Northumberland and Cumbria. Passing through a village with an identity crisis called Gilsland which straddled the border, we headed further out into the remote areas where the border reavers (moss troupers) used to operate in lawless, debatable lands.
We wanted to get out onto the mire, an area of incredible biodiversity, to get a sense of this strange place, how it felt. At the edges the ground was firm and grassy, as we plodded further in toward the centre of the mire its consistency changed, squelchy and springy. We were told to watch out for adders that might be basking in the sunshine. We were hunting for a rare insect eating plant, but didn't find it. What from a distance looked very bleak on closer inspection was a very delicate, beautiful, almost alien landscape.
Derek told me that the peat in the bog can be harvested in moderation, that when you slice a piece out it will eventually heal itself, like skin.