Archive for the ‘madley’ Tag

Water! Water! Everywhere!   6 comments

The journey back home from the airport after my ski trip through some truly appalling weather, some the heaviest rain I’ve ever seen in the UK, was a taste of things to come.


February was a dreadful month with seemingly endless rain, storms and in the case of my county, floods. After two weeks of this we finally had chance for a stroll round our village to check out the water levels.


These photos were of three of the five routes out of the village. The other two were just as bad, effectively cutting off the village for anyone without a 4WD or SUV.


Whilst we are relatively near the river Wye all of these floods are just a result of excessive rain, blocked ditches and a high water table. You would never walk around the village in summer and think it was an area prone to floods.


Flood damage in Madley was limited but the Wye in Herefordshire broke all existing records going back a couple of centuries by over half a metre! The damage in the towns of Ross and Hereford has been very sad to witness, businesses will likely be finished as a result.


Our usual walk around the fields is a very muddy one at present, sections are impassable.


This grove of trees normally has just a babbling brook running through it.


The water table is effectively at the surface so even if we get a spell of a few days without rain, one spell of rain and it’s all back again. It’s hard to tell if the fields will dry out any time soo.


Makes for some nice images but what I’d give to be able to walk round and not see huge expanses of mud and water.


Posted March 9, 2020 by surfnslide in Local Walks, Walking

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A Review of 2017   18 comments

I’ve read quite a few blog post in the past few days reviewing other peoples 2017 exploits. I enjoyed them so much I thought I’d do the same. Good excuse to look back through my photos and remember what we got up to. At my age I need help remembering stuff!.

Acutely conscious of the modern trend for these awful “round robin” letters you get at Xmas (we get one of these smugograms every year) I tried to select photos that bring back a particular memory for me so its more a personal, family introspection on outdoorsy stuff, than a blow by blow account of the year. As its based on my photo collection if I didn’t photograph it, it ain’t here!


We started the year off in Tenerife and New Years Day was spent on this rather splendid beach (the earlier part of the day was in the mountains but I cocked up the photos from that part of the day!)


Returning to the British winter, a walk along the Cats Back in the Black Mountains with TBF, memorable for a cloud inversion after a very wet morning. A reminder that despite our travels we are lucky to have some stunning scenery on our doorstep


A solo day out in the Brecon Beacons, the first snowy walk near to home and pretty much the only one with significant snow during the early part of the year (made up for it at the end)


A glorious day out in the Black Mountains with TJS and a cooked breakfast on a cold Table Mountain. I like this photo though as it has Mynydd Troed in centre shot, my very first mountain climbed when I was about 10


And my usual skiing trip (only a weekend this year) to finish off the month. Snow was a bit rubbish but we had a laugh nonetheless



Another solo day on Fan Fawr in the Brecon Beacons. I remember this day for a very mild Friday afternoon (16C) and snow in the mountains 18 hours later


A short walk with TBF on Hatterall Hill



The first weekend of the month is always spent in Scotland with friends of long standing. A new location at Bridge of Orchy and a two out of three days were magnificent winter days. The walk along this ridge high above Rannoch Moor on the first day was superb


Me and TJS also managed a cheeky backpack into the Black Mountains. Straight from work on the Friday for a one nighter in my new tent. Need to do more of these this year


2017 is the year I rediscovered cycling – mainly to help my knee and also to be less of a lazy layabout during the week. The Hardman – a VERY keen and VERY fit cyclist caught wind and insisted we meet up in the Peak for a trip along a couple of the old railway trails. A cracking sunny day and I survived cycling with the Hardman!


And we finally managed a meet up in the Berwyns with Uncle Fester after a few aborted attempts



More cycling and solo trip through the Brecon Beacons on the “Gap” route. Cycling to over 600m was a first for me and I started to feel that I almost, might, actually enjoy cycling.


Easter and a major backpacking trip with TJS to the Cairngorms. The weather was wild and windy but we had a couple of superb wild camps and TJS bagged his first Scottish 4000 footer


I even coaxed TJF out for a bike ride along the Brecon and Usk canal


May Day weekend was mostly in April. Mixed weather but we had a fine gaggle of friends on a hike around Greendale, taking in Buckbarrow and Seatallan



No finer way to celebrate a birthday than a lunchtime hike. This one was on one of my local hills, Bryn Arw with TBF


Followed by a weekend away in Cornwall. It almost felt tropical on the white sands just north of Padstow on one of our walks


Whitsun weekend was spent with our good friends in Silverdale. The Sunday was a real winner with a long but easy stroll and a fantastic pub lunch. Weather was mixed the rest of the time but great company, many laughs and a chance to relax



A different walk from the usual mountains. One of the small hills that overlook Gloucester and across to the Cotswolds. Not something I’d do every day but a nice change


One of the highlights of the year was the long-planned backpacking trip with the kids into the Howgills. Despite poor weather we gave it a go and it was a huge success. The kids really enjoyed the adventure and I’m hoping they have caught the wild camping bug



After the backpack trip I was out of action for a few weeks recuperating and resting after a minor knee op. Didn’t affect my water based fun though, a nice albeit far too long trip down the river Wye


By the end of July I was back in the hills again (the knee op has been a great success I’m pleased to say). A fine evening stroll with TBF and TJS on Ysgyryd Fawr (we even took a cheeky cold beer to drink on the top)


Another “local walk for local people” – this time Garway Hill where we reached the top, saw this nasty storm approaching and raced it back to the car. We won.


Late July brings the annual camping trip to Towyn Farm on the Llyn Peninsula. We packed in lots of walks and beach fun in a very mixed few days of weather. My abiding memory though was this game of Kubb which was huge fun with both adults and kids alike taking it far too seriously and larking about in equal measure. A happy afternoon



The big family trip of the year, a rail trip around some of Europe’s finest cities. An real change from our usual outdoor camping trips and it was real success. We all took took to the city life rather well you might say. One of my best ever holidays. A few photos that made me smile

One of the many fountains in Paris (we called this one the fountain of throttled fish)


A monster thunderstorm in Turin


My favourite seafront walk in Venice


The Colloseum in Rome – of course


Schloss Belvedere in Vienna (courtesy of an unplanned extra couple of hours from a very late train)


The thermal baths in Budapest – “like taking a bath in a wedding cake”


A stroll along the Spree river in Berlin on a sunny Sunday afternoon


And the railway bridge over the Rhine in Cologne



Back to earth with a bump. A few days after the heat and sun of Europe we were walking in the Black Mountains in driving rain and cold winds!


But there was still enough warm weather left for a round of the hills near the Talybont Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons



A walk with friends in the Roaches on the dreariest day of the year (when everywhere else was sunny – I’m not bitter)


More evidence of my new found cycling passion (probably too strong a word). A ride around the tracks of the New Forest while TJS took a look around Southampton University


And why settle for one trip to see major cities when you can do it twice. As a special treat for TJS 18th Birthday we spent a week in Barcelona. Probably my favourite city but despite all its famous sights, this little known hill and its view overlooking the city was my favourite spot



After sunshine comes the reality of winter. A couple of cold but beautiful days. One in the Black Mountains on the Sugar Loaf and Crug Mawr


And one of my favourite walks in the Black Mountain


A delayed birthday treat weekend for TBF saw us in Padstow for a couple of nice meals and walks along the Cornish coast and Dartmoor



And last into the proper depths of winter. The first snows saw me and TJS head into the highest peaks of the Black Mountains


The day after saw the biggest dump of snow I’ve seen in my own backyard for many a year. Walks around my village in deep snow under crisp blue skies were wonderful


The start of the Xmas holidays is marked with an annual get together of my University friends and their families. Always great fun but this year we could climb the hills in snow (rather than wet rain) and play at snowballs


Finally coming full circle with a return to the Canary Islands to spend Xmas in Lanzarote and Xmas Day sunning ourselves on the beach


Well I enjoyed looking through my photos, choosing a few and reliving a great year. Hope you enjoyed it too. All the best for 2018 🙂

Home Sweet Home   16 comments


I’ve lived down here in Herefordshire for 15 years now and I’ve been blogging since 2011. Occurs to me I’ve never shared any photos of the village I call home so a combination of circumstances allows me to correct that.

When I’m at home either working or lazing I’ve been trying to do a bike ride each day to keep fit and help with knee problems. Last week the cold weather arrived and cycling is not much fun in freezing weather. I changed approach and went for a walk around the village and took a few photos.


Madley’s most striking feature is its church. On a clear day its a very attractive photo subject and one I can see from my desk where I’m typing this



The surrounding area is a little bland, mainly muddy arable fields with distant views to the local hills and a glimpse of the Black Mountains.



Not somewhere you’d drive miles to see but seeing as I can explore without getting in the car it’s not too bad especially on a clear sunny winters day


The other point of interest is we have a major satellite installation on the outskirts. You can just make out the top of the dishes in the photo below



You can just make out the first fall off snow on the low hills below and this prompted the day out me and TJS had the following day and subject of my last post


On the Sunday morning we woke up to this!



It never snowed especially heavily but it did snow continuously for around 24 hours. We had close to a foot of lying snow once it stopped


These photos are from almost the same walk as the first one, so you can see the change!


Many paths were impassable not due to the depth of snow on the ground but the weight of the stuff on the trees and bushes


It was a weird, white and silent world to walk through. The local wildlife seemed unperturbed



This is my road and it remained white and slippery well into the week


The day after, the skies cleared dramatically and it was a glorious day. Well other than the hour I spent digging the cars out!


It would have been a great day for a mountain walk but the roads were still bad and I was supposed to be at work. I had to be content with a lunchtime walk around the village, again following the same route



It was magnificent. Snow dusted trees and fields of pristine snow



I took loads of photos. It’s the first time I’ve seen snow like this (other than mountains) for a long while




There were lots of people out enjoying the snow. Many businesses were closed as were the schools




The church looked different with its caps of snow on the roof



The trees were beginning to shed their snow in the warming sun, a couple of times on my head!




I’ve repeated the walk a couple of times since and now it’s becoming familiar. You start to notice the finer things and enjoy seeing them again as you return


The sheep in the field are like old friends (insert your own smutty jokes as required)



A final view of the church from the meadow behind the house


And a sunset from the front garden


Hope you enjoyed the tour and the snow 🙂

Posted December 15, 2017 by surfnslide in Local Walks, Walking

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“Now what did I do that weekend?”   8 comments

Playing catch up with my blog posts I found some photos on my camera I’d completely forgotten about. This kind of thing is happening more as I get older. Lack of memory for important things due to space taken up by a head full of pointless trivia. I reckon I could survive without the knowledge of which little known British actor did the Schweppes drinks adverts in the 70’s (it was William Franklyn if you’re interested – I know, unbelievably sad) and use that space to remember, let’s say, what I was doing 4 months ago. Or more importantly by way of example, remember to do my tax return on time and not get fined. I’d pay a kings ransom (well at least £10) to get my hands on technology that would allow access to my brain and delete all this useless information and make room for the important things. A brain defragmentation tool.

Anyway I digress. I discovered photos of a weekend at my parents caravan in Wales that I’d forgotten ever took place. Apart from having a beach fire to toast some marshmallows with the kids on the Saturday afternoon I can remember nothing else about the weekend. Judging by the photos we had quite a nice time and the sun shone.

Before we get to that here are some other photos I’d taken and forgotten, of a rather superb sunset taken from my back garden. You would think such a fiery sky would evoke some powerful memories but alas I have no recollection. Well, that’s the joy of photos I suppose!

Madley, Sunset

Madley, Sunset

Looking at the date and time of these photos it would appear that we took a walk on the seafront in Aberystwyth on the Saturday afternoon. No idea what we did in the morning. Without photos it seems I’m a little lost these days.





Later in the afternoon I do remember the beach fire, mainly for the reason of how difficult it is to light a fire on an open beach in the wind. Good fun though and Clarach beach has a huge supply of tinder dry driftwood so once you get it going you’re in the game. The kids enjoyed it and being a bloke of course I had a whale of a time as well – we love playing with fire do us middle aged chaps.

Clarach Bay

Clarach Bay

Clarach Bay

Sunday morning has gone into the recycle bin as well, but Sunday afternoon we must have gone back to Aberystwyth to watch the waves bashing the promenade – well that’s what the photos say.




What a great weekend that probably was or must have been…..

Posted January 3, 2014 by surfnslide in Clarach Bay, Family Trips, Mid Wales, Wales

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