During an unseasonably warm week in early spring I read about Noo Saro-Wiwa’s trip to Dagona lake part of a wetlands conservation project, near Nguru, Nigeria’s most northerly town. In a chapter of her book “Looking for Transwonderland: Travels in Nigeria”. Her description really captured my imagination; Saro-Wiwa describes her journey to the area on the back of a motorbike:
“…through the arid savannah dotted with acacia trees and down palms; there was not a house or building in sight. Every so often a lake appeared, transforming the parched landscape into a quenching patchwork of shiny blue water and quenching reeds.” (p164).
Given recent developments in the last year I wonder if the trip will be possible to repeat anytime soon…..
One a hot summer’s day in July 2013 despite engineering works adding an extra hour to my journey I made it to the north shore of the Solway Firth, south-east of Dumfries. I suppose my perseverance was due the thought that it was a great day for cycling along an unknown coast. I wasn’t disappointed. As part of my research for the Ankur Ha Ha writing project I planned to visit several nature reserves/ wetlands for inspiration. Caerlaverock, a national nature reserve was first on my list. From Dumfries train station I made my way south cycling along the River Nith for part of the way. Then along quiet winding country roads. I had been advised that some of the most dramatic scenes occur between September and April when large numbers of Barnacle geese are resident for the winter but there is still plenty to see in the summer. At the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust centre, I explored the bird watching hides and viewed the large expanse of Merse and mudflats supporting a variety of wildlife. Merse is low-level ground by a river or shore the soil is sandy and fertile.