As an enthusiastic 18 year old I cycled with a ludicrously heavy (96lb) bike from Church Stretton in Shropshire via Radnor, Hay-on-Wye, Talgarth, Llangorse, Brecon and Abergavenny to Blandford. It POURED for nearly all of those 6 strenuous days.
I have just spent 3 days walking in this beautiful area in awe of the sunshine as well as ambling down memory lane. Offa’s Dyke with 2 very small children, singing silly sheep trail songs to keep us motivated. Offa’s Dyke again, but in the freezing rain of Holy nights early in 2008. Walking on Pen-y-fan in the snow. Bouncing from one deep heather cushion to the next as a school girl on a biology field trip in Llanbedr, discovering different species of oak and bracken and heather and getting wet through…. I don’t think we had heard of waterproofs then.
With Miki as my companion it dawned on me that this is an area that has been a big part of my life for ….an incredible ….. 40 years.
I am now plotting to whizz down Gospel Pass (the long steep downhill thrill from Hay-on-Wye to Abergavenny beneath Offa’s Dyke ) as soon as humanly possible with Ollie, to cement the love of Wales still deeper!
Here are some lovely photos of our gorgeous time away. Miki returns home to Japan soon, so we have been making the most of our precious time together.
We managed to see Tom and Beckie in Bristol on the way home, as well as relax with a meal in Exeter…. and the sun continued to shine.
Bee, somewhere near Capel-y-fin
Shetland Pony at Llangattock, Wern Bunkhouse.
1000 year old Chestnut near Crickhowell.
Sheep above Llanfoist, Abergavenny.
Clouds nearing Monmouth.
Everything has been tinged with beauty, poignance, the passing of time. The people we have met along the way have been warm and delightful.
A young woman came with 9 girl friends for a hen party to the bunkhouse. She will be marrying on my birthday. Her lovely friends wore home made pink T-shirts with ‘Bride Security’ in bold print ….. they were courteous, considerate and teetotal. Quite a few in habibs. Some were going to try out mountain biking while the rest sketched. They came from far and wide and made a gorgeous meal in which I was invited to share simply because I couldn’t resist asking them about the event and each other. I declined, but I had already been welcomed which really touched me.
The cloud formations were in spectacular array on the way home….such a variety it was hard to keep my eyes on the road and we had to stop several times to be able to look up safely.
I think I have mentioned that it has been a bit of a bumpy landing, inwardly, to return from being on the road. It is now nearly 2 years since I disembarked at Plymouth with food poisoning, a nasty Achilles strain and a tendency to be impossibly worried for no apparent reason.
I will probably have that anxious habit to deal with for as long as I continue my earthly journey, but I am pretty confident that I will also have some magnificent memories. This weekend will join the throng. I really hope my brain will manage to hold up in the storage department. …. and if it doesn’t, please send kind people to tell me about things like clouds and bees and bicycles and Beethoven and so on.