The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

WCP: Rhiw to Porth Colman


Tuesday 23 September (0715-1615)

Distance: 21.9 miles

Ascent: 4000’

Weather: Before lunch: overcast but warm summer day; last 2 hours: horrible wind and rain

Only about a mile through today’s walk, I had my most incredible wildlife encounter since the stoat and rabbit incident five or so years ago. There I was, walking up a lane, when an owl flew across the road just ahead of me, and landed in a bush on the left. Nothing massively remarkable about that, but as I drew level with that bush it got spooked by my presence, flew back out and very nearly flew straight into my face. We were both wide eyed in our expressions as I ducked and it flew just over my head. Never in my life before have I had a near collision with an owl.

Alas, the day didn’t continue quite as well. A conversation with a herd of very young cows saw me drift off course, and having got back on course, I found that the path disappeared into a patch of nettles. In my experience, there are two common types of nettles: the very green, very leafy variety, past which it is possible to brush lightly without getting stung; and the tough-leaved, sparsely-leafed variety which sting you nastily if you so much as glance at them. This patch of nettles was (of course) the latter.

A while later I was forced into a detour, trespass and the negotiation of a couple of barbed-wire fences in order to avoid three dogs who wanted to tear me limb from limb. Even with the owl incident, it wasn’t going down as the most successful start to a day…

Things did then improve, and remained improved until I got to Aberdaron, where I expected to find Mick. What I found was Colin, but no Mick (and no phone reception on Mick’s network).

After half an hour of wondering what to do (and having no idea where he was and how long he would be), I borrowed a pen and begged a scrap of paper, left a note under the windscreen wiper suggesting two other places he could meet me later, and continued on my way.

Half an hour later, I realised that I hadn’t put the time on the note and thus when Mick found it, he wouldn’t be able to work out how far I might have progressed to decide where to head for. I discounted my brief thought of going back; if I got back there and found Colin gone, then we could be in an even bigger mess, so onwards I went, fretting about when and where we would meet. (Rationally, if all else had failed, we would have met at the planned end of the day, but as I hadn’t taken lunch or enough water with me, that wasn’t an ideal scenario).

Thus fretting, I didn’t pay anywhere near enough attention to the spectacular scenery through which I was walking.

Mick wasn’t at the first grid reference I had suggested, so I only broke stride to re-arrange some pebbles into the shape of my initials (in the hope that if Mick arrived after me, he would see them and realise I had already been through – oh, I really should carry a pen and paper with me!).

The scenery then got even better, but by then I was busy fretting about whether Mick would be at the next parking area, as I was getting rather hungry (I was putting off eating the rest of my snacks for as long as possible) and a cup of tea wouldn’t have gone amiss. Striding along as fast as my little legs would carry me, by and by I came over a lump and there was the road ahead of me. There were two vehicles in the parking area below … and neither was Colin. Nooooooo!

It didn’t take me too long to realise that wasn’t the car park and, whilst I’m always pleased to see Mick, it was with immense joy and relief to enter the car park five minutes later and find him waiting there. I celebrated with two egg baps and a mug of coffee :-)

Alas, whilst I was having lunch, summer suddenly got replaced with mid-autumn. The morning had seen me in shorts and t-shirt, but by half an hour after lunch I was in full waterproofs and was battling with a vicious wind.

With no choice but to carry on, that’s what I did, but with all my electronics hidden away, there are no photos to illustrate the scenery on this bit of coast. So spectacular, that I really would like to see it in more hospitable weather.

By way of a bonus to end the day, the campsite turned out to be half a mile nearer the coast than I had expected and I was more than ready to stop.

(So, where was Mick and how did we miss each other? It turns out that Mick arrived in Aberdaron just after 7.30 and decided to walk back towards me. Thinking that I was still miles away, instead of following the coast path all the way, he short cut it along some lanes. I was much further on that he though, and thus was on the bit he short-cut at the time he short-cut it. Then, getting to the farm-of-the-killer-dogs, he realised (quite correctly) that I wouldn’t make it through the farmyard by myself, so he waited there for an hour for me to come along, before deciding that he must have missed me. At the time he arrived at the farm, I was just arriving in Aberdaron. At the time I was arriving at the first grid-reference I had left on Colin’s windscreen, he was just arriving back in Aberdaron. Fortunately, he realised that he would have missed me at the first location, so headed straight for the second and decided to give it until 2pm for me to arrive there before heading on to our night-stop. I arrived there at 1315.)

(Conrad: I thought of you as I passed through the area shown in today’s photo.)

1 comment:

  1. See, that's why I love reading about your adventures! There's always something exciting, a nail-biter, a bit of a thriller, a knife edge, a life-threatening moment. Fab!