Radio Lento podcast

Wind on water under an equinoctial sky - on the Dengie peninsula Essex

October 3, 2020

Not a place for unstable microphones. A mile along the winding footpath beside the River Crouch, with Althorne railway station and the ringing masts of Bridgemarsh Marina behind us, the landscape ahead is barren and wonderful. We pass concrete river bank reinforcements like sculpted mounds, treacherous slippery with weed. Further on, we come upon a stony beach and leave the microphones to record on a tripod, at the water's edge. We bid them farewell while we retire for a flask of tea. Drawn by the low tide and a waiting sea, fresh water streams urgently out, shallow over stones, rushing in sparkling eddies, blown this way and that by the equinoctial winds. But at 12 minutes alone and overcome by the pressure of air, the tripod keels over. It clanks onto newly exposed mud and stone, saved, by the outgoing tide. They carry on recording with flowing water perilously close. From this angle, the sound balance has shifted. Less river, more sky. A desolate grey sky, alive only with wind. The water hurries on. A lone redshank rings overhead. Gusts bully and blow. Wet mud glistens and dries. Then at 19 minutes seen from afar, back one of us runs over the stones, to set the tripod straight, to record a little more. The River Crouch is shrinking steadily, as it empties itself into the sea. Another lone bird passes. Then back we come again to collect the microphones and carry on with our walk to Burnham-on-Crouch.

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