The Clerk in the Country

Tuesday 12th January 2021

Signs of progress

Flying in wide circles overhead, the big black bird, with its oddly elongated body and a duck’s wings positioned half-way along it, wasn’t immediately familiar but had it been standing on a rock beside water, wings outstretched, I would have recognized it instantly.

It’s some years now since cormorants started fishing on the river here, their presence particularly welcome because in my childhood the Aire, which reaches us after passing through the industrial areas of Leeds, Castleford and Knottingley, was heavily polluted.

Eighteenth century estate papers show that the first Lord Sheffield received rent from a salmon fishery in the village.  Perhaps in due course salmon will follow the cormorants back to our now much cleaner river.