Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

  • Mood:

Cold but cheerful

A very restful morning, in which I slept till eight, had a leisurely breakfast while watching an episode of Sapphire and Steel, put a loaf to make in the breadmaker, did a load of washing in the new machine, played with the rats and updated my Books Read database.

At lunchtime, G asked if I wanted to go out to check some rain gauges. As it was a fine day, I'd already planned to go out for a walk, just one of my 1 hour circuits around the town, but fieldwork offered more exciting prospects, so I agreed.

First to change the batteries in the river depth guage in the Coed y Brenin. We drove up the forest track, passing a couple of cyclists and a man walking a labrador and a beautiful New Foundland. Parking by the new footbridge that replaces the bridge swept away in the great storm of 2001, we scrambled down the steep valley side to the waterfall plunge pool where the depth gauge is situated. Here we discovered that although the recording equipment is well above the water level, it hadn't been high enough to escape the flood. Water must have been pouring over the rock it was fastened to in a torrent and the rubber seal on the box couldn't cope. Everything was wet inside and the batteries and all the electronic bits and pieces were shorted out and dead. The metal box housing the gauge is bolted to the rock, but the flood have been so strong that it had almost pulled the bolt out. The actual gauge itself, the bit that sits on the riverbed, which is also metal, had had all it's corners rounded off by the beating it had received as it was pounded amongst the boulders. G retrieved the dead equipment and we scrambled back up to where we'd parked the Daihatsu and then went to look at the rain gauge perched on the top of the Rhinogs. By blithely ignoring the "No access to motor vehicles" sign, we saved quite a bit of walking. Finally we did abandon the vehicle and took to the footpath.

The woods had been battered by the storm as well and many trees had fallen. One was right across the path. Once out on the open mountain, it was very wet underfoot and the wind was cold, but it was an enjoyable climb up the ancient track to the top of the pass.

This is the view looking back the way we came.

This is the view from the top, looking towards the coast.

Back down again there were just a couple of rain gauges to check. The first was at the farm where they apparently don't speak English, the final one was at the ex-stately home, now a field study centre, Plas Tan y Bwlch. Here we can normally drive up to the house before climbing up to the rain gauge via a flight of stone steps and a path through the woods. But today, the road was blocked with cones, tape and "Road ahead closed signs". These G did take seriously, so we parked and had to walk up the driveway, expecting at least a fallen tree. But despite other ominous "Road ahead closed" signs, there was nothing to block the road or to indicate that it had become in any way dangerous. In the end, we decided that it was because they appeared to be doing conservation work on what had been an old stonewalled garden. A sort of hanging garden on the valley side. One of the buttresses looked decidedly dogdy.

Standing at the rain gauge, waiting for G to download his readings, the sun briefly shone through the cloud making the little village of Maentwrog look like an enchanted valley.

By now I was cold and glad to be heading home to be revived by food and large mugs of hot tea.

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