Back on Top

I’m on holiday. Not your run of the mill Bank holiday plus one day stuff. This is real holiday material. Two whole weeks (yes, two). This means several things:

  1. The weather will get worse and we will have the worst May 8th to May 18th on record, followed by the warmest, sunniest June known to man.
  2. I have no excuses not to do the jobs around the house and in the garden that need doing but can be effectively put off by chanting ‘I’m tired from work’ or ‘I need daylight to do that’.

So, in order to deal with 1 and put off 2, I spent the day on the hills (to take advantages of the sunny and warm morning). Rufus and I set off from the car at about 10.30, heading first to the River Tawe (more like a stream with dreams  at this point, so close to its source) and we followed it up to Llyn y Fan Fawr. As mentioned in several other posts, this is out favourite body of water and Rufus knows when we’re getting close. He disappears at that point, and several minutes later I arrive to find him ankle deep in the cooling water waiting for me to throw him a stone. Ahh, if only it was just the one!

No difference today. He was grateful for the chance to cool off as the sun was warmer than I expected. There was enough of a breeze to keep my temperature down to a comfortable level, but Rufus does twice the distance I do with his running around and coming back to check on me/see if I’ll give him a treat (I like to think the former but the truth is probably the latter). So he needs more cooling down.

After a snack break, we trudged up the slope on the side of Fan Brecheiniog, scattering sheep before us as we went. Rufus was great and didn’t chase them Probably because he was wisely saving his energy for the rest of the hike. As we climbed, the breeze died away and for a few minutes it was a lovely summer’s day. The views east to Fan Gyhyrich, Fan Nedd, Corn Du and Pen y Fan were splendid, with the peaks all in sunshine. We’ve done all of those several times and one of the things I like about Fan Brecheiniog is that once at the top, I can look east and west to see mountains and hills I’ve walked. It gives a sense of scale and place that can’t be experienced from looking at a map.

On top of the mountain, the wind picked up and despite the sun I had to put my gloves on as my fingers were getting very cold. We walked along the ridge line, fabulous views either side, until we got to the cairn at the pointy bit of Fan Brecheiniog. We took another water and snack break and Rufus and I indulged in some play fighting. I couldn’t believe that after the climb, he was still able to race off and then charge at me at full pelt, jinking at the last minute and turning to ‘attack’. I love watching him play like this as it’s obvious he’s really enjoying himself. Of course, so am I!

We went on a bit further as I wanted to take some photos of the Neolithic cairn on the top of Fan Foel. If your read my Nant Tarw blog (and if you didn’t, leave your apology and excuse in the comments box below) you’ll know that this is part of a complex set of monuments that make up a ritual landscape. But this cairn, at over 2,500 feet, is by far the most magnificent. It overlooks the whole valley and from here you could spot every other monument when they were complete. It must have been a fantastic experience to see this valley. Whoever was buried in this cairn must have had status.

We headed south from the cairn and instead of going back down to the lake (despite all the protests Rufus could muster) we went on to Fan Hir. A short detour but I was enjoying being on the mountain so much I wanted to make the most of the weather. I sat on a rock and drank in the views of hills and woods and ridges and streams while Rufus had a good look around.

Finally, we went back down to the lake. Rufus was there before me as usual and I spent ages throwing stones for him. Today, he wanted to catch them so he was leaping up out of the water, soaking me every time he kicked his front paws out to gain height. Suddenly it was time to go back tot he car. Darker clouds were coming in from the south west. Last time we were here, we got drenched, so I decided to to make for the car. By the time we climbed in, we were both tired but happy. It’s good to be back on top again. I’ve missed it.

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