Archive for August 2020

Back to Wales at Last!   14 comments

It had been quite a challschmale looking out from my bedroom to the Black Mountains and Wales and realising they were out of bounds. Necessary of course but we were pleased that the reopening of the National Park coincided with a decent weekend of weather. Keen to avoid the busy spots we headed to the Black Mountain for one of our favourite walks.

Parking up in the east, following the infant river Tawe up towards Lyn y Fan Fawr/Fach and a circuit of the high peaks and edges

Intermittently cloudy and cool punctuating the sunny spells we walked on briskly looking for a spot for breakfast.

We eventually found a grassy shelf with a tremendous view over most of mid-Wales.

With a backdrop of the impressive edges of the Black Mountain.

I’ve really taken to the idea of breakfast in the hills. Makes the effort of carrying all the stuff around worth it when you have a view like this.

The shores of Llyn y Fan Fach were busy (only relatively) so we pressed on to the top. The view along the edges over the lake is truly magnificent.

Followed by what looks like a long walk along the edges but in fact the walking is so grand and easy its over all too quickly.

The sunny spells had increased and the air was amazingly clear. We could see a whole range of Welsh hills as far as southern Snowdonia. Looking the other way the view across the Gower towards Devon was equally fine. Looking closely I saw land out in the horizon – I could see the Lundy island out to the west of Devon. Must be close to 70 miles away – amazing.

We decided another long stop for a cuppa was in order on the highest point.

More sensational views, this time across Llyn y Fan Fawr, my favourite mountain lake.

On the way down you pass an impressive gully and narrow earthy arête that makes for a great photo foreground.

We had a brief stop by the shore for a paddle – well I did anyway. A truly superb spot.

The weather was just getting better and better and the Afon Tawe has some wonderful, if rather small pools that looked inviting for a dip.

We saw no point in turning down that invitation. It was brief and very cold but nothing beats a wild swim in the mountains.

It felt good to be back.

A Weekend Away At Last   23 comments

For us in rural Herefordshire the Lockdown was not as challschmaling as it must have been for millions of others. Those in big crowded cities, living in small houses and flats with no outdoor space and the only escape, crowded parks with as many people keen too judge as there were people trying to make the best of things. My heart went out to them while we were immensely lucky to live in a small country village and in a house with a large garden.

What we did miss was the chance to get away for weekends and see our friends of many years standing. We missed our regular May Day gathering but had filled the gap with a regular Zoom meeting on a Sunday for chats and quizzes.

TJS wanted to head back to Lancaster for a few weeks to see friends (socially distanced of course) and I suggested to the Silverdale Massive we could meet up for a walk to make a day of things. After a brief discussion we agreed that if we were cautious and careful we could stay over for a weekend under the new rules at that time so we jumped at the chance of a weekend away and a chance to spend some time with people other than ourselves.

After the glorious weather of Lockdown, the weather has reverted to type and Saturday was awful, damp cold and grey. No matter at all for a weekend with the gang. Outdoor walks were replaced with plenty of relaxing, cooking, drinking endless tea, eating endless good food and playing board games.

The Sunday was much better

After reading many of Mark’s recent posts about the Gait Barrows nature reserve and me insisting he’d never taken me there, I was very keen to see it this time.

We had a fine wander over the fields and across more new paths I’m sure I’d never walked on. As I say many times when we visit, this area seems to have limitless paths and stunning little corners such that I don’t think you could ever tire of walking here.

Its packed with interesting stuff and I can now add Gait barrows to that list.

The limestone pavement here is in my opinion quite extraordinary and one of the most impressive I’ve seen.

It lies at a very gentle angle its surface is quite astonishingly smooth and uniform, carved out with what I assume are rainwater channels.

I was absolutely fascinated and mesmerised in equal measure and as always the photos don’t really do it justice.

Mark, has an in depth knowledge of all the various rare and interesting plants that inhabit this unique ecosystem. I need to record these walks so I can remember all the information he divulges.

Even though the weather was far from settled and summery, there is always a chance for lie down!

Another of those plants and associated insects pointed out that I do not remember the names of. What I do remember is that the plant is poisonous and therefore so is the caterpillar. His bright markings a clear warning not to eat me!

A perfect Limestone feature to use as a toilet!

We spent a good while just wandering about, learning (and promptly forgetting) new stuff. We took numerous paths in varying directions to the extent I was completely disorientated by the end. Luckily our local experts have “the knowledge”.

Clouds were gathering so time to head back for lunch.

Hawes Water (no not that one) is somewhere I have been many times and its a lovely spot. It looks like a shallow reedy lake so I was surprised when Mark told me is actually a large limestone solution hollow and quite deep.

A walk around its shores and nearby fields is always a pleasure. Our timing was perfection as the rains came just as we reached the house.

We had another chance for a walk in the afternoon and time for another classic round over Heald Brow, down to Jenny Brown’s Point and back via Jack Scout and Woodwell.

The weather looked a whole lot more threatening and I was sure we were heading for a soaking at some point but again it never materialised until just as we got back.

The tide was fully out and the expansive sands of Morecambe Bay revealed.

There was a group of people way out in the Bay, not something I’d ever want to do without a guide. The tide comes in frighteningly quickly and there are far too many tales of people paying the ultimate price for errors.

A real tonic to be able to spend our first weekend away for several months. The weather wasn’t the best but no matter, a fine time was had by all

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