Sheep

No, this is not a Welsh porn blog entry. Rather, a cautionary tale for all those who are wont to stroll on the hills of a morning regardless of the presence of the ovine community.

We set off from the car and immediately encountered a large and wide spread flock of sheep. Nothing new there; its an occupational hazard of the pastime, and Rufus rarely bothers with them these days. Nevertheless, with such a widespread gathering ahead, I put him back on the lead so that we could pass though them quickly.

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Sheep gathering

No sooner had we passed the ovine event horizon, than a few of the bolder ones started to take in interest in us. We are accustomed to them running away from us or even standing and staring from afar, but for sheep to follow us, that is a different matter and a major rewrite of the rules. Soon a small gang had formed and they started to follow us along the rough path.

Sheep gang

Sheep gang

At this point, it gets a little hazy. Maybe they stalked us all the way to Carn Llechart, splitting up to cover all our possible moves and watching from the long grass.

Sheep watching

Keeping us under surveillance

Sheep watching

We see you

Maybe got in touch with their fellow ovines to keep us under surveillance. Maybe it was all a carefully enacted plan. Maybe it was co-incidence. Who knows? In the pressure of the moment, I felt we were being shepherded along and closely watched at all times.

Sheep running

Running to encircle us

Sheep

“You can’t go this way”

I tried not to show any nerves. I took photos, fed and watered Rufus and finally we made it to the little ring cairn. All the time, sheep peered from reeds, over tufts of grass and from between rocks.

Sheep

Covert sheep

After enough time spent at the cairn to make it clear we weren’t intimidated, we set off back to the car, trying to avoid any sheep. Of course, trying to avoid them when they were deliberately seeking us out was well nigh impossible.

Sheep

“Move along”

But eventually, we managed to find a route that avoided most of the flocks and saw us safely to the sanctuary of the car.

Maybe I was mistaken? After all, sheep are just stupid creatures that eat grass, right?

Sheep and lambs

They are constantly plotting.

4 hours

A day off these days means a day of hard work. This fortnight, I have to get in at least three 4 hour walks but I intend do fit in as many as I can. So, with Rufus comfortable on the back seat, we set off for Llyn y Fan Fach. It’s a long drive and we were bored by the time we reached the lanes leading to the car park. I hate driving along the single track roads but fortunately, we encountered nothing more than a couple of bold finches before we finally bounced and splashed our way down the track to the car park.

It didn’t take long to get set and head off and we weren’t bothered by the sheep, who scattered out of our way long before we reached them. One hid below the path but Rufus found her. She ran and in a display of self control Rufus just trotted back onto the path and ignored her.

By the time we reached the lake, the visibility had dropped and we were walking in the clouds. After a brief stop for stones and paddling, we set off along what looked like the right path up the side of the mountain. Although I was carrying 13kg today, it didn’t feel too bad. I guess the gym and other training I’m doing is paying off. As we climbed, the visibility dropped, but so did the temperature so the humidity we’d started in disappeared and it felt comfortable. There was a strong wind blowing over the lip of the drop down to the lake.

The climb was fairly constant – ideal for training – and continued until we reached the cairn at Picws Du. We stopped there for snacks and a rest before heading back down. Rufus was happy – we were heading back tot he lake and more paddling opportunities. On the way we passed a lone walker who remarked that we were fools to be on a mountain in these conditions and we both laughed. Later, we passed a group of Duke of Edinburgh award candidates, loaded down with all the gear and up for any challenge.

As we dropped down the clouds lifted and there was a hint of blue sky. At the lake, it was warm and clear and we spent 10 minutes or so splashing about. Then, with a promise to Rufus of a visit to the river, we walked down the track and back to the car.

After dropping the pack off, I took Rufus back up to the river and while he paddled and swam after the stones I threw him, I took some photos of the waterfalls. Tired, we called it a day and drove back down the track. At the end, where it becomes a road again, I was stopped by a farmer who asked if I would wait while her sheep were brought down the lane. To have gone on would have meant getting blocked and disturbing the sheep. So I waited, and we chatted. They were moving their sheep from pastures several miles away to the farm near the lake and this flock were new ewes and lambs, so they didn’t know where they were going. Once the sheep had passed, she thanked me and I drove on. Not 10 minutes later, I was stopped by another farmer, this time herding cows across the road. Again we waited a few minutes and then were able to carry on.

We were glad to get home, to eat and to finally be able to put our feet up. Rufus was flat out asleep on my lap as soon as I’d finished dinner and stayed there for a couple of hours, snoring, dreaming and then squirming to make himself more comfy.

Today we did 11km and climbed more than 600m in around 4 hours.

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