Just got back from a walk and now I'm typing this on my Psion while the dinner cooks. Graham invited me to go with him to check rain gauges, but I was in the middle of précising Chapters 2 & 3 of the WIP for the outline. (I'm writing the outline as I go along because I hate doing them and doing it chapter by chapter is less daunting.) Also I had been watching the light and decided that some good photos might be had if I went out later. So at about 4.15 pm I drove up to the Cadair Idris car park and from there walked the bridleway to the hostel and then round and back via the gated road to Cader Road.
The light across the autumn trees was beautiful and Cader looked as magnificent as ever.
The leaves were brown and crisp on the path, the one I used to ride up on my horse when I lived at the hostel. It skirts a farmyard, then drops down to ford a stream. I ignored the "no path" notice and cut through the field where we once gathered mushrooms. There were no mushrooms today, but there were other photogenic fungi in the woods.
There was a camper in the field near the hostel and the hostel looked quite busy. The members' kitchen and common room, glimpsed through the window as I passed, looked much the same, though I think I could see a fridge and freezer, which is an addition since our time. I did look to see whether I could take a picture of that classic view of the hostel with Cader behind it, but all the trees have grown up since the postcard and table mat photo was taken, and even grown since we were there, so it just wasn't possible.
I walked on up the steep tarmac road, but just as far as the first bend because then there's the short cut up through the woods. As I walked over crisp leaves on the narrow stone path between the birch trees, I remembered walking this same path some 25 or so years ago. It was a snowy winter's night and we'd been to visit a neighbour. It was late and fully dark, but coming back the high full moon reflected on the snow lit the woods in a clear stark light. As an inner city kid, I never used to really believe it when characters in books walked at night by the light of the moon, I mean clearly if there were no street lights you wouldn't be able to see where you were going, would you? It was quite a surprise when we moved to North Wales and lived well outside the town and I experienced truly dark night skies, the brilliance of a starry night and the bright light of the room.
Once out of the wood and back on the metalled road, it was an easy walk up the gated lane leading back to Cader Road. At one point I had to gently chase a little mob of calves off the road so I could pass. They're the Welsh Blacks, supposedly a docile breed. Farmers are allowed to run bulls in fields crossed by paths and even public roads, but there wasn't a bull in the group today.
Further on, where the trees almost closed overhead, I was entranced by a couple of bats. One was flying at treetop height, swooping up and down the lane; another was flying much lower, only a missing my head by a few inches. They were so low that I spent a few minutes trying to photograph them. Back at the car, it was just a short drive back home.
Post script: The next day (ie yesterday) I downloaded the photos and chose a few to put on my web page as a new Photo of the Week. To my astonishment, I discovered that I had managed to catch one of the bats in flight, though it's only visible as a dot. The ones of the fungi are nice too. For some reason I find fungi very photogenic.