Some more high notes in the life of an Ir­ish singer

Macclesfield Express - - THE LAUGHING BADGER - SEAN WOOD

IT’S a tough job be­ing the singer in an Ir­ish band, and af­ter an­other round of gigs in the English Lake District I won­der how I cope at all, espe­cially as one of the con­certs was in a brew­ery.

But you know the old say­ing: some­one has to do it.

Glos­sop’s own, the Cur­ragh Sons, have been per­form­ing in Cum­bria for nearly 30 years, play­ing count­less wed­dings, fes­ti­vals and fundrais­ers.

This happy accident, pure serendip­ity, has also pro­vided me with a mul­ti­tude of amaz­ing wildlife en­coun­ters, from red squir­rels at dawn, to roar­ing stags at dusk, and from pere­grines at noon to bad­gers at mid­night.

Last week­end was no dif­fer­ent, and as we headed for the Kirk­stone Pass at noon, af­ter our first gig at the King’s Arms in Hawk­shead, you would not have wanted to be any­where else in the world; glo­ri­ous blue skies, clear heads and the hills high­lighted with a dust­ing of snow, ac­cen­tu­at­ing the gul­lies and crags in the most amaz­ing way.

The pic­ture (right) is un-re­touched, no mess­ing, no Pho­to­shop, and was taken with my phone. What you see is what you got, stun­ning.

As for my en­coun­ters, they hap­pened as fol­lows, prov­ing, as al­ways, that whether you get up early or go out late, be sure to do it, leave the tele­vi­sion be­hind, and the wildlife will re­ward your ef­forts.

Red squir­rels have crossed my path many times. How­ever, be­ing face-to-face half­way up a tree was a one-off and I’m not sure who was more sur­prised but, I laughed, the squir­rel did a dou­ble-take, and shot off be­fore I could say Beatrix Pot­ter.

The red deer stag, as Land­seer painted the beast, was def­i­nitely a monarch, and the sight­ing, or should I say ‘sound­ing’, oc­curred on a nar­row road in the Grizedale For­est.

There was a loud roar to my right, and a stag hur­tled down the slope, bash­ing through the bracken, and bounc­ing over the road be­fore dis­ap­pear­ing into the fad­ing light.

Truth is, the badger en­counter hap­pened in sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances, but in slow mo­tion as Old Brock me­an­dered across the moon­lit wood­land floor, chun­ner­ing to him­self with­out a care in the world. ‘Go on lad’, I re­mem­ber think­ing.

Not so se­date the pere­grine, which I watched hom­ing in on a pi­geon at over 100mph on the Wrynose Pass. It was like an ex­plo­sion in a mat­tress fac­tory as the sky was filled with down feathers.

If read­ers would like to sam­ple the de­lights of the Cur­ragh Sons in the Lakes, we are play­ing Hawk­shead Brew­ery, Stave­ley, on July 8, from 8.30pm.

The Laugh­ing Badger Gallery, 99 Platt Street, Pad­field, Glos­sop

●● The Kirk­stone Pass be­tween Win­der­mere and Ull­swa­ter in the Lake District

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