More hills

As I type, Rufus is lying besides me, snoring quietly. We’re both tired after a stroll on Gareg Lwyd and Foel Fraith in the mist. The fire is on and there is rubbish on the TV. Perfect.

Rufus stayed over last night but we both stayed up late so I wasn’t woken until 6.30. The garden checked, we both went back to bed and it wasn’t until around 7.30 that we both surfaced again. We took our time – the traffic at this time in the morning meant that it was pointless leaving early and so we set off around 9.15.

By 10.15, we were at Gareg Lwyd, setting off from the car park to climb the first hill. It’s part of a quarry complex and limestone was cut from the hills all around here. There are plenty of man made dips, cliff faces and a lot of quarry spoil to be wary of, and the going is quite tough as there is a lot of scree where the limestone has been broken by the action freezing and thawing. Finding a path to the top that avoids the rough ground is always a challenge.

As usual with this hill, mist was lying on the top, making the featureless plateau hard to navigate. I always get disorientated on this hill and today was no exception. But I had come prepared – a map, compass, GPS unit and the mobile phone tracking app. I used the GPS unit as it displays an OS map and was quickly back on track for the two large cairns that mark the true summit.

And there they were, faintly appearing in the mist. Rufus beat me to them and waited patiently as I picked my way through the stones. After a small snack for him, we set off over the hill and down to the shallow valley between Gareg Lwyd and Foel Fraith. The mist lifted only slightly as we got the to lowest part of the valley and thickened again as we climbed back up the other side. A chill wind picked up, too, but thankfully it was nowhere near as bad as yesterday.

The top of Foel Fraith was also shrouded in thick mist. It’s a strange feeling to be out in this kind of weather without any visual references. It’s a little scary, challenging and exciting all at the same time. Of course, I was secure with the GPS, but I’ve been on these hills before and found myself veering way off course, despite electronic aids. Sure enough, on the way back and even though I was checking the route, I noticed I’d missed one of the turns of the path.

Turning back on track, I soon began to hear the sound of traffic on the road by the car park. Moments later, we descended beneath the mist and before us were the quarry workings and beyond that the flatter farmland of Llangadog, with sunshine picking out the fields.

Back home, we settled on the sofa and the snoring started.

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Another day of fun

Another day off today – where does all that leave come from and how does the office get by without me? Answers to these are on my other blog – “101 improbable things”.

First stop, the bank to pay in some change I’d collected, and a cheque for £1.08 being the extra interest I’d earned on a now closed account. I was surprised to see that they had already started to demolish the buildings of St David’s shopping centre. I managed to get a few photos of the area so that i can compare them with photos taken after the demolition. I’ve been snapping around Swansea for years so that i can record the changes.

Then it was off to pick up Rufus for our day of fun. The weather forecast was for heavy showers so immediately after I picked him up, we went to the site of the old Felindre steel works, a local favourite of ours. We had half an hour of chasing sticks and stones before the drizzle started. So off we went to my house for food and to wait out the shower.

Eventually, it cleared enough that we decided to head off to Gower. Cefn Bryn is a ridge running along the peninsular at around 200m. If I remember my ‘O’ level Geology course, it’s made of Old Red Sandstone, which means at some point it was under the sea. It was just as wet as we set off. The rain was blowing into my face, covering my glasses water. Rufus was happy – he always is regardless of the weather.

Not long after we left the car, I had my head down against the wind and I heard Rufus yapping. It’s not like him and I thought something was wrong. I looked up to see him chasing a rabbit. The rabbit was making sharp turns to stay clear and Rufus, being a large dog, couldn’t make the turns. But he was keeping up with the bunny. I managed to reach them just as Rufus chased the rabbit into a clump of gorse. The rabbit got away.

We managed about 3km in total before we were fed up with the weather and headed home in the car. I practiced a bit on the guitar while Rufus slept his chase off. Rufus has a chew that he leaves at my house and rather than chewing it, he carries it around, placing it in important places during his stay. He likes to tease me with it too and every time I try to get it off him, he walks away. This time I walked after him, and a very slow game of chase developed.

I had to take some photos of guitars that I’m selling and I had to fix strap locks to one of the bass guitars. Then I could relax and take it easy for a bit.

Tomorrow we head for the hills, so it’s an early night for both of us. In fact, as I type, one of us is already snoring quietly in front of the TV.

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