This is a personal blog mainly to do with hillwalking things but with other stuff as well.....maybe the odd rant..
Sunday, 17 March 2013
Mixed Results from South Wales backpack
The idea behind this little jaunt to Abergavenny was to have a reasonably gentle early start to the backpacking season, partly for Dawn’s post-surgeried feet which would need some coaxing into full performance and for the sake of both her post-winter fitness and mine (in my case, more fatness than fitness, it has to be said). The idea was not to go mad on the hills, but to have short and enjoyable days with little pressure to make progress - a bit in the style of Mr Sloman’s annual daunder in many ways. Another objective was for the bagging of a loose Hewitt/Nuttall which had escaped from previous Hewitt/Nuttall hunts by some devious strategy of being a bit away from the rest of the Brecon beacons 2000 foot tops up a scary road inhabited by strange beasts and dark and evil lurking things… either that or I just ran out of time the last occasion I was down this end of the country. And so, me a dawn duly turned up at Abergavenny train station and we batterred our way by the superstore and the underpass and up a big hill to a canal then even further up the big hill to Middle Ninfa, a bijoux bunkhouse with a proper gas fire and a kettle and with a purchase up the first couple of hundred feet of Blorenge, the only hill in Wales named after a vitamin tablet. I had a restful night due to the fact that I’d cleverly packed a small nip or two of malt into a hip flask for the purpose. Dawn didn’t. She’s been suffering since Whernside, all those blog posts ago and her lack of appetite and tendency to dehydrate meant a difficult lurch up the hill in the morning turned into an abandonment. And so we parted (temporarily, we hope) – Dawn back towards the comforts of Middle Ninfa and a train to That London, and me to the airy delights of Blorenge (the only hill etc etc….) A shame,really, but not to be helped, at least not to be helped by me since I was helpless to do anything about it, or make any sensible suggestions other than to agree that it would be best if she went home. Dawn talks about it heredawn's pages And so, I blundered on, Dawnless. The path up Blorenge (the only hill etc etc…) was a delight, even if the evil , perishing wind blowing from That England wasn’t. In fact, it was uncomfortable even if the views weren’t. I passed over the summit and joined a road heading West for a while – passing into an area of “tips”, which contained, at some highest point, Pen-Rhiw Ifor, though how the highest point in the piles of stuff can be identified is a mystery. I think I found it, though. The place is a tip (!) It seems to consist of a lot of shale, some lumps of ironstone and a lot of little bits of coal. if this was in Co Durham, somebody would be up there with a sack, gathering it all up. As it is, the hill’s main function seems to be a playground for off-road bikes and, frankly, as there’s nothing to spoil up here, it seems an ideal spot. There’s no water, though, at least none that wasn’t frozen, so no place to camp and I plodded Westwards, descending to join a cyclepath which traverses the side of a deep gorge which might have been beautiful once and on into the little town of Brynmawr where I proceeded to get a bit lost. This area is just like West Yorkshire and if you transposed pictures of Brynmawr and it’s environs with pictures of the outskirts of Bradford or Halifax, you’d be hard put to mark a difference. They even have obscure lanes on the hilltops where you can find burned out cars and everything. Brynmawr itself seems pleasant and appears to have kept important stuff such as small pubs and independent shops and, neat and well- kept cemetaries…. I found the cemetery. This was the key to my potential camping spot. I blundered on, passing the burned out cars and crossing the road to the upper reaches of the River Clydach, just by the reservoir wall – a small and green and hidden patch occupied by a friendly black pony who came to watch me put up the akto but lost interest after a while. It went dark by half six and a long, cold and frosty night followed, entertained only by the distant clanking of a sheet of corrugated iron which was about to become detached from it’s bit of fencing post. It was very windy. The river provided good, clean water which tasted a bit of iron, but which was otherwise OK. This would have been no place for Dawn, though. The night was too cold for a troublesome and delicate constitution and the curious attentions of a friendly black pony in the middle of the night’s necessaries might not have been so much fun – and , perhaps the water might have been of a poorer quality than might be required for a delicate constitution, so Dawn’s tough decision to bail out was definitely the right one.. I’d done about eleven miles. End of Part One. More soon…….
I am a retired NHS Personnel person. All I do nowadays is walk about.
I used to have my pet dog Bruno with me (in the front page pic). he was Superdawg but he died. Now I have Lucky the pup. He's a bit like Bruno, only smaller and more suspicious.