Wind sounds, sheep and a clarinet in the wilderness

by Caitlin, 30 June 2015

The view from Little Mis TorI’ve been experimenting with ways to capture the sound of wind over the past couple of days. Wind is a real feature of Dartmoor, as much as the granite tors and the ponies, but recording the sound of wind is a real challenge (as opposed to having recordings messed up by wind hitting the microphones directly, which is outstandingly easy). Yesterday I was experimenting up at Little Mis Tor by attaching my Røde M3 microphone to my recorder and recording from within crevices in the rock, which I think has been quite successful, although I’ll need to listen to the result on the proper speakers I have at home to be sure.

Today presented a different option though. I took the parents off to Drewsteignton to find Castle Drogo, but owing to finishing up at Wistman’s Wood later than planned, and the travel between Two Bridges and the castle taking far longer than anticipated, we arrived to find the castle all shut up for the evening. However, the benefit of this, of course, was that everybody else had gone and as the grounds aren’t locked up at night, we drove up to see what we could see. Imagine my delight to discover a fantastically tall line of trees (basically a 30-foot hedge) which caught the wind with a marvellous rustling sound, while blocking most of it from the area I was standing in. So I just had to make some recordings there and I think I’m going to be pleased with those too.

And yes, Wistman’s Wood actually happened today. I’ve captured some interesting video footage, but sound recording was hampered by high winds and some intrepid rambler playing a clarinet. Very nice indeed, but not quite what I was after…

I’m super-pleased that I’ve managed to capture some sheep sounds on this trip. Random bleats are very much part of the soundscape of the moor, but last time I was here, the sheep were very shy and I failed to record any at all, so I’m delighted to finally have some sheep-sounds to play with.

Dartmoor sheep are also extremely photogenic:

Black-faced sheep