My nose, sticking out from under the duvet, told me that it had been a cold night. Sure enough, when we peeped through a window it was to a hoary white world. With heavy rain forecast for mid-afternoon onwards, we tried our hardest to make haste and this time with a modicum of success.
Frosty fields, with mist hanging in the dips, and a hint of sun trying to break through (it never did make it)
I’d been a bit tardy in coming up with any sort of a plan for the day, but whatever we did we knew that we needed to pop into Llangollen for some essential supplies (mainly pies from the butcher!). I also quite fancied having a poke around the nearby Abbey, having previously seen it from a distance, so working those requirements together I came up with a route that would see us first heading north, going via the Abbey to pick up Offa’s Dyke Path, at which point we would start heading south to fulfil the ‘pies from the butcher’ bit of the plan.
It wasn’t far to the Abbey, and we got there to find that it isn’t open at this time of year. Or, to be more precise, the ticket office isn’t open, but the gate was. So, we helped ourselves:
Our verdict was that it would have been well worth the £2.80 entrance fee, if the ticket office had been open. It’s far more impressive than it looks from a distance.
By the time we’d made our way up to Offa’s Dyke Path, which at this point is running along an escarpment which is a bit of a geological feature, the day was warming up quite noticeably. That would be the warm, wet front coming in, but we refused to be rushed and happily made time to stop for tea.
A while later and Dinas Bran was the only obstacle between us and Llangollen. “Around or over?” I asked. Mick posed the same question back to me. My vote was to go over, even though my aching limbs raised an eyebrow at the decision. Those aching limbs were soon to question my sanity further when Mick challenged me to run up the one section and I obliged.
Admittedly, the views from the top weren’t stunning on this day. We definitely got better weather for it back in January.
Even after all these years, I’m still wearing the clashing orange jacket/purple mitts combo. At least I didn’t go for a red hat today.
Then all we had to do was pop into town where we quickly came to the conclusion that either the townsfolk are a bit odd (there were some outfits to be seen that aren’t common in most towns on a Saturday afternoon), or that there was something going on. It turned out to be the latter (or maybe a bit of both, but who am I to judge?).
With pies in our pockets and chips in our bellies, I was paying so little attention to our surroundings that, until Mick pointed it out, I’d not noticed that people were lining the whole length of the street.
Yep, definitely something going on!
Even though the light had gone to that dull level that suggests that rain is imminent, we decided to hang around a while and see what everyone was waiting for, and we didn’t have to wait too long. I videoed the whole thing (all 3 minutes of it), but I’m too impatient to wait for it to upload to You Tube, so here are some stills to illustrate the parade that came by:
First the town crier and a marching band
Then a chap who I assumed was the mayor, but shouldn’t he have more chains than that?
A group of army cadets…
… followed by a lion – obviously! Then there were the morris dancers
A hoola-hopping red-head preceded the dancing Christmas tree and somehow Mick didn’t get a snap of Santa in his finest green robes which came after that
This one made me laugh! I thought it was a camel at first.
Finally, bringing up the rear, was this jolly salsa band who danced their way past
Somehow, it seems even more surreal, now that I’ve typed all that, than it did at the time.
Anyway, waylaid by only ten minutes or so, off we went (past a miniature pony dressed as Father Christmas), to wander along the canal back to our starting point.
We’d been back indoors for all of ten minutes when the rain started and once started it took it quite a considerable number of hours to stop again. With our legs having been suitably stretched we were happy to spend a third consecutive afternoon working through the historic TGOC data. Alan will be pleased to hear that we finished the first cut of re-formatting it during that session. Indeed, as I type the first graphs have already been produced. But I digress …
… the stats for the day were 8.25 miles walked with somewhere approaching 1800 feet of up. Where as the previous (sunny) day had passed by without us seeing a single person out and about, on this dull Saturday it had seemed that most of the world out on the same paths as us.