(Very) Early Morning on Bryn Arw   15 comments

All the talk over the weekend of my previous two walks had been about the good weather and the crowds out in the mountains across the UK. This included scenes of madness at places like Pen y Pass and the Storey Arms as sunshine and panic over the impending COVID-19 crisis really started to hit home.

It was becoming clear that any trips to the mountains would have to be carefully planned and discrete to avoid adding to the crowds and the potential spread of this unknown foe. I hatched a plan that I would get my walking fix by only heading out either very late in the day or early in the morning. I figured if I got up the same time I head to work in the office (around 6am) I could fit in a walk and be back home at my desk before 9am, avoiding any people as far as possible.

The Monday after our two previous walks I put this to the test with one of my favourite short walks, Bryn Arw.


Even in the peak of the day and on many visits I’m still yet to meet anyone on this diminutive hill and its fine little ridge.


At 6:45am when I set off that was more than true. Despite feeling somewhat bleary eyed it was grand to be out at first light and the chill air and sharp frost soon had my eyes open!


The usual range of views was there but its rare for me to see them in this light. I’m not much of a morning person. Sunrise behind Ysgyryd Fawr.


The fabulous grassy path along the ridge. It’s one of my all time favourite stretches in South Wales. Mainly as I always have it to myself. Its one of those places I’m surprised isn’t better known as an easy couple of hours walk.


Across frosty fields to the Sugar Loaf.


The Social Distancing measures yet to reach these ladies…


A really enjoyable outing and one I was looking forward to repeating in the coming weeks while working at home.


I was back at my desk before 9am, bright-eyed and ready for the day.


What that day brought was increasing talk of Lockdown, a phrase none of us had ever used before but is now in the global psyche. By lunchtime it was clear that staying at home would be the instruction for all of us.

My thoughts turned from outdoor activities to my son, TJS. He was still in his student house in Lancaster, on his own and was planning on coming home by train later in the week. I was really worried about his train travel or whether the lockdown would stop him travelling at all. I just wanted him home, safe with us. By lunchtime I’d convinced him that he needed to come home now and that I’d collect him. I left at lunchtime and had him back home in time for a late tea. By the time we got home the new Lockdown was in force.

He’s become used to the lively atmosphere of a University city and finds our peaceful home in rural Herefordshire a little dull. However in the current circumstances, even though he is obviously missing his friends, I think he’s relieved to living somewhere that’s much safer than a city with more opportunities for outside exercise (and a regular supply of beer from the old man!)

For the foreseeable, hill walking was off the agenda and our local fields are not very good for walking. An alternative means of exercise would be needed.

15 responses to “(Very) Early Morning on Bryn Arw

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  1. Blimey – an early start! Grand views as ever. I didn’t realise that you’d fetched TJS – that’s quite a round trip.


    • It was a plan I was going to stick to until the Lockdown closed Wales. We’ve been out a early a couple of times (not that early I should add) to have a cooked breakfast out on walk which is always nice. It was a rather long day that one but the message to stay at home was already in force so the roads were quiet. Managed the round trip in about 8 hours. Just wanted him home before as quickly as possible.


  2. A wise move to get your son so quickly, you’d have had to make the harder trip later otherwise. A walk like this is great at different times, but 6.45am is just daft!! I’ve been to bed later than that!


  3. I’m surprised you are not an early morning person. Definitely worth getting up for this so very satisfying hike. Quite the busy day but it must have been such a relief to have your son home as lockdown hit.


    • I’ve never really been a morning person but when the mood takes me I’m pretty good at getting up and about. The lockdown has taught me to make the best of things while you can so once I can access my local hills again I’ll be doing this more often. Selfishly, I like having TJS home with me even though he’d much rather be at Uni.


  4. Getting up early, although tough, sure has it’s rewards! Lovely morning and scenery. Glad you got your son home safely. They are just starting to open up hiking trails where I live. But I’m going to pick early mornings to avoid people.


    • I’ve noticed on your blog that you often get up early to have trails to yourself and its something I should do more often. I used to travel into my office 3-4 days a week that involved a 6am rise and only back home around 12 hours later so sometimes its tough to summon the enthusiasm to do it again at the weekend but the rewards are obvious


  5. Dawn starts are OK as long as you go to bed early- never my preferred intention :o)


    Blue Sky Scotland
    • I remember I hadn’t slept well the night before either, so that plus a dawn walk and 400 mile round trip in the car the same day, not sure how I managed it!


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