My total of unbagged Nutalls increased by one during the year with the relocation of a top to Foel Cedig in the Berwyns – meaning that I now had 9 to do (up 1 from 8 – pay attention at the back) This alteration also meant that my completion of the Hewitts list was not now complete. Clearly, I’ll have to have a trip to the Berwyns next year..
And so, me and Mrs Pieman, along with LTD, turned up at Cynghordhy, a railway halt and diminutive village just a bit North of Llandovery for a desultory campaign on four remaining unbagged Nuttalls in the Brecon Beacons and, if successful, a small number of Marilyns could be bagged along with a generous local supply of Tumps and Humps.
It was just me and the dog involved in the bagging by the way, the only bagging Mrs Pieman does is in a bagging area in a supermarket.
So, as a start, we went off to an obscure car park at a farm/settlement called Blaenau (which, apprently means “near” – an ironic name as it didn’t appear to be near anywhere, really. The idea was the bagging of Bannau Sir Gaer, which sits nicely at the start of a lovely ridge which also has Picws Du and Fan Bycheniog on it. Two rather shapely but easy hills to climb. We lunched in the sun in a shelter in the company of some Midlanders who, after some debate went off to bag the niext hill on the ridge – whatever that was. Me and LTD bagged the County top of Carmathenshire and then retreated over the moors back to the start.
A few days later, on a day of temperature inversion and bright sunshine, and in the company of hundreds of others, we went off to Pen y Fan. Two unbagged Nuttalls were the targets for the day – Craig Gwaun Taf and Y Gyrn and, in between we could visit the summits of Pen y Fan and Corn Du. Pen y Fan is one of those really popular honey-pot, being, I suppose the highest top in Southern Britain, and the easiest to get to from South Wales, Bristol and That London. It’s also a military training area, so on the top as well as dozens of civiians, there were people on army preparation – carrying what appeared to be half a telegraph pole, and a coterie of Ghurkas, who, spotting me in my hiking kilt, rook lots of pictures and addressed me as “Sir” Which was nice.
I’m not going to get all precious about the crowds on Pen y Fan. I fact, it doesn’t bother me at all – I quite like to people-watch as it happens and most poeple are quite interesting, specially the ones who climb hills (koff) There’s a few hills on which you should expect to meet lots and lots of people and their dogs and many of these will be having their first, probably, only walk up a hill. It’s a Good Thing. LTD enjoys the attention too. I did get asked by one chap what was that thing in the plastic case – it was my map. “Where do you get those from then?” I gave Dash4it a plug. Three down, one to go…
Three down, one to go…
The final Nuttall foray was delayed by an Atlantic storm, which took down trees and flooded roads and lasted for three days. Walking was quite dangerous since the area is well-covered by woodland, including many veteran oak trees, from which huge lumps of timber litterred the roads and whioch would have ended a bagging career should one such lump land on one’s head.
So, eventually, we went off for Fan Fraith. This is a boggy, soggy lump hidden in thick mist, but lying adjacent to a really fablious area of karst with potholes, caves and limestone pavements – so we had to go there first.
After Fan Fraith – located by GPS, we bagged Fan Gyhrych and met just the one walker out for the day – in fact, the only person met the whole day. We had a chat.
It had been foggy with driving drizzle all day.
Having finished the Nuttall campaign, the Marilyns of Crugiau Merched and Trichrug were bagged days apart. Crugiau Merched lies on a huge area of moorland with easy walking on bridleways and has standing stones and two large and ancient cairns at it’s summit (presumably , these are the “Crugiau”) Fab walking and a round of some 13 miles including two subsidiary tops, one of which was well hidden in some forestry on which the closely planted conifers, boggy holes and brambles scratched me to bits, reduced my speed to an hour for 250 metres and filled my ears, shirt and rucksack with pine needles. I still have the scars. LTD thinks I’m a nutjob.
In between all this, and on tourist trips to wool shops, castles and supermarkets and pubs at lunchtimes (very nice!) , I managed to bag 21 tops altogether, which, although not up to “Mad-Bagger” standards, was enough to make me feel ever-so-slightly smug.