A very unusual experience to be posting about a walk only a couple of hours after getting home. Normally it’s weeks or even months delay.
Been a quiet couple of weeks since my last post. A weekend of truly dreary weather last week and a drab an grey one this week. Yesterday I indulged my new “passion” for cycling with a 35km ride around the Forest of Dean but today the weather seemed a little brighter (I could actually see the Black Mountains from the bedroom). Forecast said east and not too high so the classic circuit of Hatterall Hill from Cwmyoy fitted the bill.
I’ve been up here many times as its short and satisfying for a half day or after work.
I’ve enhanced the walk of late with a sneaky way up the back of the small un-named top created by a landslip – I think anyway. The cloudy views were enhanced by some beams of sunlight and scant patches of blue sky
It was a very mild day but there was a keen wind so finding a lunch stop was a challenge as was not getting ourselves shot. For the second time recently we had to share the hills with several people driving around the summits in 4WDs and armed with shotguns. I have to say I find it intimidating. I have no idea what today’s sport was but in the few hours we were out I never heard a single shot so they can’t have been very successful
We did find a spot out of the cold wind with a fine view over the Marches countryside
Nice to get out but I’m starting to reach that point in the year when I want the weather to make up its mind. Either winter needs to re-assert itself or it needs to bugger off for the year and warm up so I can start walking in T-shirts and shorts again. I hate this cold gloom, not sunny but not cold enough for clear skies, frost and snow
Finally managed to get in some evening walks as well as Sunday stroll. All routes and hills I’ve done many times so just a few photos to prove I don’t sit in front of the TV every evening, just most of them 🙂
Ysgyryd Fawr – iPhone photos as I forgot my camera and no summit cuppa due to a dodgy gas canister
Bryn Arw – another classic “small hill with disproportionately good views”
And a Sunday afternoon stroll around Hatterrall Hill. Complete with young foals – everyone say “aaaaahhhhh”
I drive past all these hills on my home from work so nice to climb them from time to time after a long day in a crappy office doing a crappy job. Equally, as they are on my way home I should do it more often. But there are so many great TV shows around I need watch though…….
One week on from deep snow and spindrift in Scotland we were back home and treated to a glorious warm spring day. TBF was away at her sisters so I informed the kids we were going out for a walk. TJS was chuffed TJF less so.
I chose my classic Hatterrall Hill walk as it’s an easy high level stroll for such a fine day. I’ve posted about this several time , the last one over Xmas a couple of years back and a post work walk a year before that. Plenty of words on those posts so just a few words and memories from the day this time:
Past the wonky church at Cwmyoy
Spring lambs were frolicking or in this case asleep
The day was warm and glorious
TJS strode out ahead
While TJF pottered along at the rear taking photos
Once on the summit the walking was easy and the views superb
We enjoyed playing with self timed photos and remote shutter releases
Onto Offa’s Dyke and a visit to the Trig Pillar
Before starting the stroll back down
The green fields under blue sky and sunshine were a good deal more pleasant than in the dark in the mud
A fabulous day out just the three of us and even TJS enjoyed it more than she’d like to admit 🙂
There is still hope….
My mate Geordie Munro came down for a visit over New Year and we had grand plans for some walks that the weather appeared determined to spoil. We were planning to meet for a walk in the Shropshire Hills near Church Stretton on his way down from Derbyshire but an initially promising forecast turned dispiritingly dismal so we abandoned that plan in the hope the weather might improve by the time he arrived at our place. Luckily it did (well it stopped raining anyway) so me, GM and D dashed out for a short walk in the Black Mountains. Keen to show him somewhere new I plumped for one of my favourites, Hatterall Hill, the southern end of the eastern-most of the Black Mountains ridges that runs from Hay Bluff in the north. The ridge splits into two arms making for a rather splendid and in my experience very quiet circuit.
6.1 Miles, 1,340 feet of ascent
My last visit in late spring a couple of years back couldn’t have been more different. Warm sunshine then was replaced now with a chill strong wind and dark scudding clouds. The first major obstacle on the walk was the world’s greasiest stile that the worlds clumsiest man promptly fell off leaving him with a fine yellowish-purple bruise that is only just fading 2 weeks on. As we wandered towards the river it became abundantly clear just how wet everything was after the recent biblical rains.
Sliding across the fields
Every square inch of every field was completely sodden and muddy, even the green and grassy bits had a thin film of water running. Within a few strides my trousers were splattered up to the knees in mud, a recurrent theme throughout the next few days. The river here is normally a pleasant babbling brook but today was a raging torrent of noisy brown water. Quite easy to see how careless behaviour results in fatalities, you could easily paddle across this in summer but a casual foot out of place today and you’d be swept away with little chance of surviving.
The rest of walk turned into a rather nice, brooding but fast paced march. I quickly realised that setting off at 2pm for a 6 mile walk in December was slightly ambitious so we had to push on to make sure we didn’t end up walking in the dark. Not sure D was expecting this when we set off but I rationalised with him that it was “all part of the mountain experience”. GM was suitably impressed by Cwmyoy’s wonky church (I must take a look inside one of these days) and the fact that, for unknown reasons, the signposts were in kilometres rather than miles.
“Bloody European Union”
By the time we’d reached the top of the steep climb the light was already fading creating some nice light and dark effects but increasing my concern about where exactly we’d be when it got dark.
Ysgyryd Fawr from Hatterrall Hill
Sugar Loaf from Hatterrall Hill
We reached the summit of Hatterrall Hill where Offa’s Dyke joins and pressed on down the stream/path.
Me and D on Hatterrall Hill
D on Offa’s Dyke
On to the farm with the poetic barn (see previous post on this walk) and started heading down the other side of the horseshoe where the last of the light left us and I officially declared it “dark”. The last half a mile down an astonishingly muddy track to the lane was interesting and kind of fun. By the light of my head torch I saw D giving me a look that said “you never told me this was likely to happen”. All part of the experience was all I could offer him but he seemed to enjoy it nonetheless. We traversed the fields, river and slippery stile back to the car without incident pausing to snap some “hikers by head-torch” shots and were back at the car by 5:15.
“Hey, it’s dark!”
Rabbits in the (head-torch) lights
Sometimes you just have to go for it, it would have been easy to stay in on such a damp day when the time is pressing but it’s always a positive to extract some pleasure from what could have been a dead day.