A story, essay, lyric or rhyme with no reason almost every day...
As with many seemingly mundane topics that come under her gaze, Rebecca Solnit transforms walking form the mundane to the marvellous (Wanderlust, 2001, Verso). Living in an often windswept, saturated part of Wales, taking every opportunity the weather affords us to go for a ‘serious’ walk is a key part of our psychological survival strategy for winter. Crisp, clear, snow-on-the-ground winter’s are a joy. But they are not generally what we get, despite what it says on the tin from my childhood. We get the aforementioned gales, incessant rain and overcast gloom. Without managing at least a couple of good winter walks – up a mountain or along a rugged bit of coastline – by February I am seasonally affected, sunshine starved whinge-monster. Earlier this month, we went up Pumlumon (‘five peaks’) It’s known in English as Plynlimon because as every good colonialist knows, if you got the local pronunciation and spelling right, next thing they’ll be wanting their independence back. Confuses the hell out of tourists that Rhaeadr Gwy and Rhayader co-exist in the same space-time, like China Mieville’s The City and The City. Sounding quite Victorian our Ceredigion Walks book cautions that the ‘dangerous’ Pumlumon ‘is not an outing for other than a clear day or settled weather’. That’s probably correct, each time I’ve been up there in Winter there’s been enough clear skies to make it a spectacular life-affirming adventure: the 360 degree view is truly stunning. Anyway, taking advantage of today’s break in the winter gales, we didn’t turn north to Pumlumon but south to a beautiful part of the coastal path around Llangranog. We haven’t done this walk for maybe 10 years, and the last time was with Rasmus and Lyndsay. In sunshine and good visibility, we scaled Pendinaslochdyn (not where I’d have chosen to build a city myself) and explored the Ynys Lochtyn peninsula. Bread, cheese and coffee in the camper van on Llangranog beach afterwards was some of the best food of 2016, the chocolate hobnobs were just the icing on the cake, so to speak. So, I’m psychologically, not to mention calorifically, fuelled up to make it through to February without a single whinge.
Intrepid explorer, Pendinaslochdyn in background
Intrepid explorer and jumping dog
I am he as you are he as you are me, and we are all together