Welsh weekend

Friday 29th June

Managed to leave at a sensible time and avoid the worst of the traffic. Stopped at the Welsh food centre farm shop, lovely place, quiet. Had coffee and ice cream in the steamy heat. Arrived Craflwyn Hall at 2.30.

Room in the stables very comfortable with bath robe, slippers and tin of Kendal mint cake. Cut finger on door bolt. Tea and scones at 4, then local walk at 5 to Llyn Dinas. Got chatting to nice family from Canada and USA.

Lager. Listened to walks talk then dinner. More lager. I had roast beef with roast potatoes, veg and Yorkshire pudding. The spuds needed more roasting. Caramel cheesecake pudding was a bit odd but ice cream helped.

Early to bed.

Snowdon horseshoe
Llyn Dinas
At Craflwyn Hall

At Craflwyn Hall
Above the stables

Saturday 30th June

Woke early. I can’t sleep past 5.30 at the moment. Heat and light. Granola, yoghurt and berries, mini croissants, hash brown, beans and poached egg and toast.

Arrived Siabod cafe in Capel Curig to meet Paul, Chris and Rich. Basically out all day practicing navigation skills and Paul said I was fine which is good. He was my ML assessor. Lots of contours.

Near the end of the day I slipped while crossing a very small bit of stream only inches wider than me,  in addition to getting muddy and wet which was ok because so hot, I banged and cut my elbow which is very sore and needs sorting out a bit. Lucky that Rich was an A&E doctor. He and Paul were properly equipped with first aid. I need to update my kit a bit to cater for things of this nature requiring a large dressing.

After we finished I went to Betws y Coed and got ibuprofen from the Spar shop and various dressings from a nice woman in Cotswold Outdoor who raided their first aid kit. I drove straight back to Craflwyn and assembled my supplies including my quite big car first aid box.

Showered and tried to clean the cut which was still dropping blood on the floor fairly copiously but not done well with the cleaning so will need to see a nurse. It hurts and I was a bit in shock when it happened. It doesn’t look much but very sore.

Lager. Sea bass and veg, then ice cream. More lager. Watched people playing games. Elbow still leaking. Have nasty bruise on my hip. And no arnica.

This clumsiness and injury very unlike me. I am rattled by the compulsory redundancies announced by my employer on Thursday less than a year since I was last restructured. Angry too that they have allowed this to happen. Maybe my eye is off the ball.

 

Llynau Mymbyr
Craflwyn Hall

At Craflwyn Hall

Sunday 1st July

Not a great sleep, too hot and all one sided, no thrashing around. Went for a wee in the night and found no water in the taps. Same on waking, it turns out the whole village has no water. I got every bottle I had and it came to 2 litres. Staff managed breakfast and produced tea and coffee from bottled water. No tooth brushing this morning for anyone! Breakfast of granola, berries and yogurt, mini croissant and then haddock with a poached egg on toast.

I drove to Croesor, passed the man mending the water pump at Beddgelert. Set off up Cnicht. Stopped at about 540m as it was getting more scrambly, I was too hot and had lost a bit of confidence after yesterday, I also banged the elbow again and it was very sore . Happy with getting to where I did. Headed back down. Went to cafe in Croesor for ice cream and coffee. Drove off vaguely thinking of ibuprofen gel and arnica and passed a sign saying Minor Injuries Unit. There were about 6 cars in the car park and only 2 people waiting ahead of me. I got seen and puncture wound dressed in under an hour. Got told off for not going yesterday but hard to do that if you don’t know it’s there. Surely I must be too old now to be told off?!

Back to Craflwyn. All water back in action. Shower with cling film over new dressing. Lager x 2. Dinner of lamb kebab, a bit dry, then chicken with mashed spud and veg, ice cream. We had a music quiz in the garden and the team I was in won. We had to identify instruments, then song intros, then film themes and composers. Quite hard. Thunderflies attack. Talked to Henry and Damian about leading for HF over a glass of Penderyn.

Cnicht

View to the sea from Cnicht
Ow!

Monday 2nd July

After a light breakfast I said farewell to my new Canadian/American friends. Stopped a few times to take some photos and then again at Bodnant to pick up some goodies. Very slow journey back home. Straight to the GP which Carol had sorted for me. Got a new waterproof dressing and some strong antibiotics within half an hour. 4 days later I haven’t dared to inspect it….

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map and use a compass with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

MAPandCOMPASS

CCP Aberystwyth to Borth

26th August 2017

Early breakfast in Coffee 1. Drove to and parked up in Borth. Bus back to Aber. Whilst waiting for the bus, a young lad started talking to me and I am still wondering about him, I thought he was getting on the bus but when I looked back he had disappeared. I think he wanted something but he didn’t get it whatever it was.

In Aber, I went on the Cliff Railway because the last time I went on it was with Chris about 30 years ago, it was just the same, the newer cafe looked just as rubbish as the old one did.

Then I walked to Borth. After the Llanrhystud to Aberystwyth stretch being devoid of people, this was like being on a motorway. It’s a short walk but with a lot of up and downs per kilometre. It took me a bit over 2 hours.

I just walked as far as my car. I decided to finish my CCP at Borth. Drove to Ynyslas to eat my lunch because Chris loved it there, it was pretty busy in the bank holiday weekend sun.

Had a coffee at the community cafe, started for home and then called in at the Dyfi Osprey Project that Chris also loved. I never managed to make it there with her and wanted to see it, what a brilliant place, and I saw Monty the osprey who will shortly be setting off on his travels.

I’m raising money for amyloidosis research which is vitally needed, to help with early diagnoses, joined up care, more than one amyloidosis centre in the whole of the UK, and treatment that works. It’s a vile disease and it would be great if we can do something to relieve people’s suffering. Please visit my JustGiving page.

Some of the ups and downs
Possibly another lime kiln, near a huge house
What a location
Sunny Borth
Accidental photo

Llanerchaeron

25th August 2017

A day off from the CCP.

Met up with Hilary and Gerry and Bobby the dog. We went to Llanerchaeron because Chris, Gerry and I had a very happy day here just over a year ago. Chris did everything she wanted to do, ice cream, shopping, raffle tickets, sitting in the sun, wheeling around the lake and the walled garden. She was very happy that day. I’d also been here with her in slightly better days the previous year.

July 2016
July 2015

This day, Bobby wasn’t allowed to go around the lake or walled gardens so we went along an old railway track including old station remnants. Lovely walk and Bobby just about managed the stiles.

Lunch beset by wasps. What is the point of a wasp?

Back to Mwnt to say goodbye to Andy and Kaye and Charlie the dog. Then to Aber, staying in the Premier Inn. Medina for more excellent calming food and another good lager.

Bobby, Hilary and Gerry
Ye olde shed
Old station at Llanerchaeron

Ceredigion Coast Path Aberaeron to Llanrhystud

23rd August 2017

Andy and I both drove to Llanrhystud and then he taxied me back to Aberaeron. We had some lunch and then I finally dragged myself onto the path away from Kaye’s temptation of ice cream!

It took me just over 3 hours to walk back to my car, a little longer than I thought because I stopped and chatted to some very pleasant folk along the way. First a man with a huge beard who was clearing the path with a brush cutter. He plans to reach Cwm Tyddu by Friday, it looked hot heavy work. Next a woman walking the path in memory of someone who had died from sarcoma, then a young woman who was great and asked if I minded dogs, she had a very well behaved youthful husky.

It was gorgeous walking weather. I didn’t like the last bit where there was about a kilometre along the road. I managed to skip under fences where a great many cows were coming, I decided not to be scared of cows. That said, once I got on the road, there was a bull behind a little fence who gave me some very leery looks.

Checked into Penybont B&B in Clarach, clean, comfortable and welcoming. Into Aber for saucy meatballs at Little Italy on North Parade. Bottle of Peroni.

I’m finishing off my CCP which is from Cardigan to Borth. It does continue to Machynlleth but I’m stopping at Borth, don’t want to do the flat bit along the bog, and then drop in at Ynyslas because Chris liked it there.

I’m raising money for amyloidosis research which is vitally needed, to help with early diagnoses, joined up care, more than one amyloidosis centre in the whole of the UK, and treatment that works. It’s a vile disease and it would be great if we can do something to relieve people’s suffering. Please visit my JustGiving page.

Back to Aberaeron
Forward
One of 4 lime kilns
A dingly dell

Goodbye, darling Chris 

22nd August, what would have been her 64th birthday.

We gathered at Mwnt, some travelling across the world. There were people from all parts of Chris’s big shining life. It was good to reconnect after 30 years, with Roselle. The first place that Chris and I lived together was with Roselle and Pascale in Hinton Road in Bristol and I haven’t seen her since then. Beginnings and endings.

Marc Treanor rocked up with sticks, rope and rakes. Those who wanted to, joined in with creating the sand circle. It was Chris’s tattoo with her name at the top. It was amazing watching it take shape from above.

When it was done, we formed a human circle around the circumference with Chris’s family, friends and complete strangers from the beach. I had Andy in one hand and a very small sandy hand belonging to a skinny little boy in the other. We sang happy birthday to Chris.

As the tide came in those of us left gathered around Chris’s name. Andy scattered her ashes in the lettering. The tide came in and Chris took her last swim.

A beautiful day for my beautiful soulmate. Champagne as the sun went down. Let your love lift me up.

In Antwerp for a Bruce gig

Video of the sand creation, by Marc Treanor

Music: Lift me up by Bruce Springsteen

CCP Llanrhystud to Aberystwyth 

24th August 2017

I stayed in Penybont B&B in Clarach. John kindly drove me in to Aber. I had a coffee in Coffee #1. Hopped on the T5 I think. Anyway it took me to Llanrhystud. Carol rang just as I got off the bus, great relief as had been having no response to messages for 2 days. It turned out she had been sleeping a lot.

Back on the path. I felt like an old donkey all day and did it very slowly. There were a lot of ups, seemingly more than downs! Used my poles most of the day because the grass was slippery after the early heavy shower. No rain on me, sunny and windy. I only saw 2 people on the path all the way to Aber so it felt oddly remote. It took me about 5 and a half hours to get to Aber but then I felt pretty tired so had an ice cream in Pizza 25. John came and retrieved me.

There were signs where they weren’t really needed, e.g. Straight on or in the sea and also a lack of signage when it was. The path went through a field of cows but I coped.

I ate in Medina. Good food, good service. I had 3 salads and a Hell lager. Felt calmer.

I’m raising money for amyloidosis research which is vitally needed, to help with early diagnoses, joined up care, more than one amyloidosis centre in the whole of the UK, and treatment that works. It’s a vile disease and it would be great if we can do something to relieve people’s suffering. Please visit my JustGiving page.

Just loved this tunnel
These were massive, dinner plate size
I think it’s a chaffinch but please correct me if I’m wrong
Gateway to the sea

In Memoriam Chris Howarth November 2016

Weds 16th

How long has it been? The first time was maybe 28 or 29 years ago. The last time maybe 15 or more. The Royal Oak in Rhandirmwyn seems exactly the same. Even the furniture is in the same places. The village shop is now part of the pub and no longer part of the house next door. Same smells of woodsmoke, same dark darkness.

Beer was excellent, a very welcome surprise was that Sue and Rachel had left me the price of a pint behind the bar! I was sorry to miss seeing them. The food was ok, it was a veggie bake with salad and a bread roll. It didn’t have much in it and was mainly tomato and goat’s cheese. Tasted fine just not what I was thinking it would be. I followed it with a choc mousse which arrived with loads of cream on it. I don’t like cream. But the choc was good and dark and not too sweet. The room is ok, cold at first so I left the electric heater on. Still not madly hot so have wrapped myself in the car blankets.
Thurs 17th
I didn’t sleep very well. Lumpy bed although nowhere near as lumpy as the bed for visitors at Tregaron hospital which was worse than camping. At least not sleeping meant I read a lot of The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. I like her books but this one is boring me to sleep. Perfect.

Breakfast was horrible instant coffee pretending to be ground coffee. Laverbread mash with a poached egg and a grilled tomato. This was fine. Last time I ate laverbread was with Chris before we moved up north so fitting for this trip. This time it was edible because hidden in mashed potato.
I parked up in Pen-y-rhiw-Rhaiadr near the gate to the forestry track. It was raining heavily at this point so I put all the gear on. Up the track and onto a footpath through the forest eventually coming out onto a swathe of moorland. Across this then up the side of more forestry before reaching a long stretch of featureless moorland (Carol’s favourite – not, but have talked to Kate who does like it).

30 or so years ago Chris and I were looking for a standing stone which we failed to find. We reached the moorland, Chris was surprised that there were bogs on tops of mountains. The rain drove at us horizontally and we decided to retreat. Chris opined that the mountain didn’t want us there! We took a different path back down through the forest that day by the side of water dashing over cliffs of slate. I fell over and ripped the palm of my hand open. So a memorable walk.

When Chris and I started hill walking, she was always the one in front, huge amounts of stamina. She was a strong walker and swimmer, it’s entirely thanks to her that I can swim at all. Becks reminded me that she and I both learnt to swim in the pool at Bristol Royal Infirmary where Chris got us in. Chris was a life saver when I first met her.

On our last hill walk in the UK in November 2013, Chris was struggling. It’s so easy with hindsight to see things you just didn’t really take in at the time, other than I thought she was tired and perhaps a bit out of shape.
Today I’d worked out that we simply didn’t walk anything like far enough to see the stone. It was a good 40 minutes from the edge of the forest. We gave up after about 10 minutes if that! So I plodded on, the big wind kept the rain off. Plod plod plod. You don’t see the stone until the last possible moment. But it’s there, it does exist! On the top of Mynydd Mallaen.

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At long last
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Seriously in the middle of nowhere

I tucked my flower for Chris in between the rocks at the base of the stone and as out of the wind as possible. If today’s tornado in Aberystwyth comes up here it won’t be there for long.

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It took 1hr and 50 minutes to reach the stone. I retraced my steps and 1 hr and 20 minutes to get back down with the wind behind me.
On reaching the gate there was a blown down tree branch, fortunately a few metres away from my car.

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I drove to Pontrhydfendigaid via Llyn Brianne and the mountain road to Tregaron. Dining there was high quality. Quorn and veg in rich tomatoey sauce with baked potato followed by a profiterole. Thank you, Kate.

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