Hat Trick

My third day on the mountains and Rufus’ second. It was important for me psychologically to get this one done as it would give me confidence in my knee and it would be a test of my trek preparation so far.

Yesterday, I managed to squirt a blob of shower gel into my right eye. I struggled to see for most of the afternoon and evening. An early night beckoned and was welcomed by both Rufus and I. Nevertheless (or perhaps because of the early night), Rufus was awake early for his first visit to the garden. I tried delaying the inevitable, by a single whimper from him told me it was serious and we went out. We then enjoyed another half hour lie-in before finally getting up at 7am.

At 8.45, we were in the car park of the Tafarn y Garreg, setting off for the steep climb up to the start of Fan Hir. We passed a small sheepdog in the field who was happy to see us and he and Rufus exchanged sniffs before we carried on. The climb here is steep; we climb around 220m in a little over 1km. But then the slope eases and the walking becomes more pleasant. Add to that the steep drop to the east and it’s a very pleasant and picturesque route. It’s the first time Rufus has done this with me and he took the slope with ease, showing my slow and plodding progress up yet again. He even had to stop and wait for me several times, which he made sure I was aware of.

There was mist all around us but we were walking in the clear, with blue sky above and a gentle breeze blowing. As we made our way along the ridge, the sun came out and when I turned around to face it, I could see a long line of thick mist cutting across the route we’d just followed. It looked gorgeous and I took lots of photos. Moments like this are one of the reasons I go hill walking. We kept going along the ridge. It’s an odd route in that even after passing the summit – barely discernible along the ridge – it seems as if you are continuing to climb. Ahead always looks higher.

We turned around just before the drop to Bwlch y Giedd. Last week we walked this route from the other side. I can see that before the trek I’m going to have to do the full circle. But for now, Fan Hir was enough.

We turned around to go back and were confronted by a beautiful sight. The combination of low winter sun, mist and the golden heather and grass made the ridge a pleasure to walk through. We took our time going back but inevitably it was quicker going down hill. The rocks and mud of the steepest part of the hill were slippery underfoot. I had to put Rufus on the lead to start with as there were sheep around, but as usual he wasn’t interested. I took him off again after we’d passed below the main sheep  level and instead I relied on him listening to me if there was a stray ovine about. He did, of course, and it was much easier for me to negotiate the slope without him pulling me faster.

A river runs alongside the path at the bottom of the hill and Rufus took the opportunity to cool his paws off as I threw some stones in for him. We were both tired, though, so we didn’t linger.

I’m pleased with my three hill days – I’ve done a total of  23km and just under 1300m of ascent.

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