Hills in the Cloud

I’ve just got back from a walk up to Moel Feity, near Fan Brecheiniog. Almost as soon as Rufus and I had left the car behind, it began to rain and the wind started to blow a gale. I was very quickly soaked through and although it wasn’t particularly cold, it was uncomfortable. Rufus enjoyed every second. He was running up and then down the hill, jumping around like a little lamb when he came to tufts of grass. There was enough running water to satisfy his paddling requirements (a perfect walk includes paddling, dredging for stones and a swim).

I had chosen this hill partly because it was an easy, short walk and partly because on the Southern slope was the site of a WW2 plane crash. In 1944, a USAAF Liberator crashed here while on a training exercise. The crew were all killed. Mots of the remains of the plane have been salvaged (or removed by ‘collectors’) and I was unable to find any of the small pieces reported to be left behind. The visibility was poor, though, and I didn’t linger too long to search for them.

There are a number of crash sites all over the Black Mountain. Many occurred during training flights or navigation exercises when aircraft flew too low in visibility. This was before radar and it would be too easy to get lost as winds picked up and blew the aircraft off course. The area is desolate and remote and it’s sad to think of the fate of these airmen. I try to visit several of the sites now and again just to pay my respects and I always find it moving.

Heading back down the hill, Rufus went into overdrive mode and bounced and sprinted all over the place. He managed to find a pool big enough to paddle in and I threw some stones for him to dredge out. Back at the car, he should only a token reluctance to get in out of the wind and rain and he was soon flat out on the back seat. I was glad to be in the warm again as the wind and rain had made me quite cold. It was a relief to get home.

Moel Feity Hill

Moel Feity, looking North. The plane crash site should be near the horizon, slightly left of centre.



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