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Roads go ever on, Over rock and under tree, Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,

There has been snow in the hills near me, in the Brecon Beacons. So to avoid the crowds I stayed on the Eastern side and climbed Pen Cerrig-calch, with a walk along the ridge to Pen Allt-mawr and a return via Table Mountain to the place I began.

Tree, at the hills edge. Tree, at the hills edge. Table Mountain in the foreground with Sugarloaf in the distance. Table Mountain in the foreground with Sugarloaf in the distance.

This was a day out on my own, to take in the views. To take some pictures using the new tripod my wife got me for Christmas. And to enjoy the bright, crisp, clear, cold January day that was forecast. Only the bright, clear bit didn’t really stay around too long, such is the way with winter mountains. They have different ideas about the weather. It was cold, the cloud dropped and stayed fairly low, and there was snowfall on and off most of the afternoon. But still a good day on the hills.

The edge of the summit plateau marked by this cairn. The edge of the summit plateau marked by this cairn. The Beacons themselves, with glowering cloud. The Beacons themselves, with glowering cloud. Looking East, towards Offa's Dyke and England. Snow passing through. Looking East, towards Offa’s Dyke and England. Snow passing through.

These pictures not far apart in time show how things progressed during the day. I love the way you can see the changes as they approach move past and away to somewhere else.

Pen Carrig-calch trig point. Pen Carrig-calch trig point. Next stop, over there somewhere for lunch. Next stop, over there somewhere for lunch.

I headed out along the wide ridge to Pen Allt-mawr, where I had planned lunch. I was hoping the weather would clear or I would find some shelter, I’d brought hot food and the pocket rocket to cook on, as well as a filter coffee bag. I do like a good cup of coffee, even on a mountain or in the wilderness. When I arrived, the weather let me settle down comfortably to cook and eat in peace, and take a few snaps of the views.

Pen Allt-mawr trig point. Looking towards Mynydd Troed. Pen Allt-mawr trig point. Looking towards Mynydd Troed. Towards the Beacons. Towards the Beacons. Mynydd Troed Mynydd Troed

This quieter side the Brecons, despite being lower had its fair share of snow, drifting and filling the paths that criss-cross the ridge it makes it an interesting walk, dropping in deep furrows full of snow, or finding half-frozen puddles beneath ready to fill your boots given half a chance. Not a problem, just slower than normal. That and that I was carrying enough to keep me safe walking alone meant a 7 hour trundle rather than 5 for this patch of Wales. As well as stopping to eat and take pictures, these stops always need to be taken into account when planning timings for these winter routes, with shorter days meaning you may finish in the dark. So the torch came in handy at the end.

Pillow of snow on the initial descent, who knows what lurks beneath. Pillow of snow on the initial descent, who knows what lurks beneath.

Family bought me some new maps as well, and Ordnance Survey have also started offering free digital downloads when you buy the paper map. This was my first opportunity to try out the feature, and I can say it was a good little gimmick, in the dark, using my phone to see the mapping clearly did help with route finding. It is easier than unfolding the large paper map, or as I always do anyway using the smaller extract with a torch. If you are so inclined you could also use the GPS on your phone to try to get a clue if you are way out of touch. I like to use old-fashioned methods first, and had a better than average idea of where I was, but confirming a turn point is always a good idea in the dark. Anyway, well done to the people at Ordnance Survey, great idea and good little app.

I’m hoping to get out again soon, who knows, maybe the snow will hang around a while longer, I can live in hope can’t I. Poetry Café this week, I have been writing, just not much. The Lyrical Ballads topic seems hopelessly optimistic, I have the wild ramblings of a madman, and not a very lyrical madman. Thursday night may be filled with polite coughs and people heading to the bar after I read.


What have I been writing?

Fragments

…Each night passing,
each day again. And again.
Waiting with the night,
a dream, a waking dream.


Have a wild time as we pass today, Blue Monday the press here are calling it. Just another day going by, no need to feel sad, just smile at someone and make their day. You may get another smile in return.

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