Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

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A long steep climb in Owl Service country

As part of the reconnoitring for the geology book, G decided that he wanted to do a walk that he hadn't done for at least 30 years and I hadn't done at all. We drove over the pass to Dinas Mawddwy and turned off the main road and made our way to Cwm Cywarch where there is a car park. And then we started to climb...

The track was a good one and once must have been a well-used route from the community in Cwm Cywarch over the mountains to the larger town where we live.

Fleeting patch of sunlight

Fleeting patch of sunlight

The weather forecast had promised sunshine, or at least sunny intervals. This was it and it lasted for all of 5 seconds. But at least it didn't rain and the valley was remarkably sheltered from the wind -- as we discovered when we reached the top of the pass!

Cwm Cywarch. Owl Service territory. This is actually the next valley to the one where Alan Garner's book is set, but no doubt very similar. The weather was pretty gloomy, but it didn't actually rain.

Cwm Cywarch

I really would like to come here again with decent light and the DSLR. It was much more spectacular than I expected.

The valley bottom once was a lake. Now it's just a peat bog, but the floor of this valley was a lake at the end of the last ice age. Lakes are always transitory.They either break through the natural dam that formed them or they slowly fill up with vegetation.

Former lake

Almost at the top! Looking back at the village where we started our walk. You can see the sharp curve of the steep path we have just climbed up.

Almost at the top!

Top of the pass. Finally we reached the top and the wind hit us. I just took a quick shot of the view looking the other way and then we started back down the way we had come.

Top of the pass

The whole walk was only 3.5 miles, but it felt like more than twice that due to being so steep. My legs got a really good workout today.

And finally... I can't resist including this quote from The Owl Service about sheep.

Welsh sheep grazing

'It's the sheep are the problem,' said Gwyn. 'Mostyn Lewis-Jones breeds them with short left legs and Gareth Pugh breeds them with short right legs. There's the boundary fence between the two farms, see, right down the mountain. Mostyn's sheep eat from right to left, and Gareth's from left to right across the slope. When they reach the fence they have to walk backwards and then start again.'

'Isn't it cruel to the sheep?' said Alison.


'When they're on level ground.'

'No. They have special stilts for the short legs,' said Gwyn: 'called wether-go-nimbles. It's an old Welsh craft. They used to carve them in the long winter evenings, but now they're mostly made of fibre-glass.'

'Gosh,' said Alison.

And at this point Gwyn can't control himself any longer and collapses in fits of laughter. :)
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