Suddenly we catch sight of a fox running parallel to the road just a stone's throw from us. It lollops over the rough ground in an easy, relaxed way, covering the distance in half the time that the fastest human runner could manage, and it all seems so effortless that I feel it could keep the pace up for miles. With its neat ear markings, its red brown coat and its full bushy tail there's nothing mangy about this individual.
It's not just us who notices it. Soon four crows fly across the moor to see it off, calling in a chorus of disapproval. They escort the fox down into a dip and up the adjacent slope (this is the dip where a stream sinks into the moor to emerge one and a half miles to the south east at the foot of the cove).
Within less than two minutes the fox has disappeared over the next undulation of the moor while the crows head off to perch on the smelt chimney. The sheep gathered around the chimney which had been looking so bored have had a grandstand view of the action and they continue to stare intently in the direction that the fox headed.