BeenThere-DoneThat Blog

Life and Travel in Great Britain

How many moles does it take

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to produce this many molehills?

Seen on Offa’s Dyke Path in Knighton.

As today was dry I decided to try part of a walk that Amanda and I have done before. I say ‘try’ because although soon after we first moved to Knighton we walked from the town, up Panpunton Hill (which is VERY steep) then along the ridge and up to the top of Cwm Sanaham Hill I’m not sure that I could do all that with my current state of health.

So I decided to cheat by driving to the top of Kinsley Wood and start the walk from there which cuts out the ‘climbing Panpunton Hill’ bit. That left me with a 4 mile return walk with plenty of ups and downs. Amanda is not joining me on this one as she wants to get some gardening done.

Having parked the car I set off. I had been walking for a while when I arrived at this point and looked back.

If you look carefully you will see the path (bright green) curving round to the right and eventually disappearing over the brow of a hill in the distance. This is part of Offa’s Dyke Path.

I pressed on and eventually reached the junction where the path from Five Turnings, a very small hamlet, crosses Offa’s Dyke Path. The next picture, again looking back towards my starting point, shows the footpath sign. The yellow pointers indicate the Offa’s Dyke Path and the plain white ones indicate the path from Five Turnings.

I walked on further to the point shown below which gives me a good view of Cwm Sanaham Hill. Um, err, oh! I’m supposed to be going to the top of that one. The path can be seen curving right out of the picture because it follows the side of that valley in front until we meet the valley floor coming up which saves me a very steep climb down followed by a very steep climb up. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any slopes it just means that they aren’t as steep as they might have been.

After much grunting, heavy breathing and sighing I do finally make it to the top and to prove it here is a picture of the trigonometry point on the summit. I stopped for a breather and telephoned Amanda to let her know I’d reached my objective (she worries a little y’ know).

The only snag with this is that I now have to do it all again in reverse. On the way back I stopped to take this photograph just because I liked the lighting effect.

Not long after the above I stopped to take a photograph of Offa’s Dyke itself. There is quite a long run of it here akthough it isn’t as high as it is in some places.

At this point there is a gap in the dyke and the end of the dyke in front is shown by the shadow. The rough ground on my left is the continuation of the dyke behind me. You may notice the inevitable sheep.

I short while later I saw two large black birds fly across my route, at some height, and from the calls they made I would guess that they were Ravens but I’m no bird expert so don’t quote me on that one.

I finally made back to the car after a walk of 4 miles, which took me 2 hours and 20 minutes with an elevation gain of 832 feet. Cwm Sanaham Hill is 1342 feet high ( and feels it).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the local leg shop to buy a new pair – my current ones have had it.

It’s all too much.

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Rain that is!

We, like some other areas, have had a lot of rain recently and I discovered the results of that recently when I went for a walk.

I went down to the River Teme as I often do but when I got to the riverside meadow I found this:

That is a body of water, next to the river, about the size of a small lake which shouldn’t be there and my normal route goes through that water. I didn’t really want cold, wet feet so I detoured inland slightly to here:

This is the stream which is feeding that lake and that stream shouldn’t be there either. The shallowest part of the stream was a couple of inches deep (and about 4-6 feet wide) so it wouldn’t get into my boots if I walked through it which I did. Having done that I didn’t expect to have to walk through any more water.

WRONG!

That water was running along and across Kinsley Road. Again it was only a couple of inches deep so I could walk through it in my walking boots without getting my feet wet but I’ve not seen it like this before. I need to practice my ‘walking on water’ skills a bit more.

Would someone please turn the tap off before leaving?

Judge for yourself.

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Yesterday we went to Presteigne a small market town about 10 miles from us. We also went there back in the summer and photographed this ochre coloured building which is known as “The Judges Lodging”.

It is open as a tourist attraction and entry is by payment of a small fee. However this Saturday was an open day (free entry) and there was also coffee and cake available at a very modest cost and if there is anything that will pique my interest it’s the availability of cake.

This building consisted of a police station, cells, court room and judges apartment all rolled into one and was built in 1829. It was once called ‘the most commodious and elegant apartments for a judge in all England and Wales’ by Lord Chief Justice Campbell in 1855).

We first visited the Dining Room because of its opulence and splendour (or was it because that’s where we were given coffee and cake?)

After finishing our refreshments we went through to the Parlour (literal meaning – talking place) where there was a large christmas tree. There were no christmas tree lights because they did not exist in Victorian times. In both these rooms there were proper wood fires burning in the fireplaces; vey cosy. All lighting was either by oil lamps or gas and this building has both.

After seeing these rooms we went upstairs and the decor in the stairwell was typical of the times.

Needless to say the bedroom was furnished as befits a judge.

This was, after all, a place of work and this shows the court room with the public stalls right at the back. The judge, naturally, had his own entrance direct from his lodgings.

After dark the court room was lit by gas and the next picture shows the ‘Gasolier’; rather like a chandelier but with gas instead of candles. At this time incandescent gas mantles hadn’t been invented so the light came solely from the flames and I can tell you that that makes it very uncomfortable because the flickering flames act almost like a stroboscope.

The servants quarters were in the rather dingy basement together with some cells for the prisoners.

I have not included all that we saw here but more will make its way onto the web site at some stage. It was a very interesting visit.

We have been loafing about.

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For those of you who may not have seen this expression ‘to loaf about’ it means to be idle but we haven’t been loafing about in the accepted sense.

If one goes out for the day and ends up absolutely and totally knackered how can that be ‘leisure’?

It all started so well. We parked our car, got out and looked around. Lovely!

Then we started to walk along the footpath which sloped gently upward and, as you can see, although it was a sunny day visability looking towards the sun wasn’t all that good but looking away from the sun was better.

Our destination at the moment is off to our left so we are walking parallel to it but it is hidden from us by a slight rise in the ground. Still going up gently we were walking along chatting away and then we reached a point were we could see byond the slight rise which had been blocking our view and saw this.

YIKES! No, wait, lots of yikes! The top of that is our destination and it looks a long way away and a long way up. Those clouds are brushing the top of what is known as the Sugarloaf. Before the advent of granular sugar, sugar was sold as ‘loaves’ which were roughly the shape of that mountain; hence the name.

It didn’t look all that impressive when we were looking at the map and planning this trip. We are, by the way, near Abergavenny which is about an hour and a half by car from home. We seriously thought that, perhaps, we had bitten off more than we could chew.

After seeing this view we changed our plans slightly inasmuchas we had planned to go up the right-hand end but after seeing that it was steeper at that end we decided to head for the left-hand end which looked like a shallower (easier) slope. Even then we are still travelling parallel to the Sugarloaf and we were probably going to have to walk further to reach the left-hand ridge.

So we pressed on with the intention of going as far as we could. We reached the start of the path which we had originally planned to take and there were some other walkers heading up that way but we could see that avoiding that route was the right decision. From here the mountain looked slightly nearer. Progress! You may also notice the top is being slightly covered in cloud.

We continued along our chosen path and took a photograph back the way we came which was along the path on the left from the horizon to here which looks quite a long way. Needless to say the lady with the dog soon overtook us oldies.

We walked on and from here the slope increased and we could feel our energy slowly but surely fading away. We are now, at least, level with the left-hand edge of the summit ridge and heading towards it. Where the path in front seems to stop suddenly it actually turns towards the right heading for the centre of the summit ridge.

I’m walking fairly slowly now although Amanda can do better than me but is keeping down to my speed. We have now reached a point where the slope steepens again and I suppose we are about two thirds of the way there and I am not looking forward to the last third. Compared with the previous view of the path we have come a long way.

On this section of the path, which is significantly steeper than it looks in the pictures, I find that I am taking about 10 steps and then having to stop for a short rest. I can see that this is going to take a long time. Although it still looks a long way to the summit ridge there is no doubt that it looks nearer although there are some people on the ridge who still look very small indeed.

Later on the steepness of the path increased even more to the point that one was stepping up a level at a time rather like stairs which slowed me even more. This is the last part of the ‘path’ which led up to the summit ridge and it was steeper than it looked.

My main problem is that medication I am having to take now has the side-effect of reducing muscle mass which is a nuisance as I didn’t have that much before. I was now seriously thinking that I may have to give up but I just took it a step at a time and we actually did finally reach the summit ridge. I may be slowly falling apart but at least I have 83 excuses for it.

It was certainly worth it with those tremendous views.

Now comes the part I’ve been dreading – going back. We started off back down on that same rough path.

Then Amanda though she would make the descent easy by flying back but couldn’t flap her arms fast enough. It was a good try though.

Going down the steeper parts was rather trying on the leg muscles, especially since I didn’t have any, but stopping to rest and look at the surrounding scenery was good.

The town down there is Abergavenny where we are hoping to go after reaching the car for much needed sustenance.

Abergavenny seems to be getting nearer and that can’t be too soon.

We finally staggered, literally, back to the car and drove the 3 miles to Abergavenny where we visited the Fig Tree Espresso which we hadn’t been to before but had read plenty of nice things about it. As it turned out it was a nice little place where we had a light but late (3 o’clock) lunch. We finished off with a slice of Rose and Chocolate cake which was unusual but very nice indeed.

It was an hour and 30 minutes to get back home after dark. Whew!

Here today, gone tomorrow.

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I went for a walk down by the River Teme in Knighton yesterday and used the path I usually use and came upon this.

You should be able to see the path coming towards the camera except that a lot of it isn’t there anymore. The river has been in flood recently and washed away a large part of the bank not to mention the tree in the top left corner which used not to be there.

It’s surprising what these rivers can do when they get a bit stroppy.

Somebody was hungry.

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This is a log that has been split to go on our fire. The dried log is very light which probably means that it is Willow and we do have willow trees in our garden.

The creature that chomped its way through that burrow was probably a beetle larva and possibly a member of the Longhorn group. Amanda suggested that it may have been a Cardinal beetle (Pyrochroidae coccinea).

Rather attractive beetles don’t ya think? However there is no evidence to show exactly what beetle it actually was so it’s all guesswork.