Sunday, April 03, 2016

Heading for the hills

Observant readers of this blog may have noticed that, since our flying visit back in January, there has been no mention of Scotland in my posts. Normally at this time of year we would be well ensconced in the far North, celebrating not only Easter but also my birthday and our wedding anniversary during our stay. This year, however, we are tied to Wales by the impending construction of a conservatory, for which we need to be at home, but haven’t yet got a start date.

Of course it was lovely to celebrate Easter at the village church for the first time in a number of years, but the really big bonus was that it meant DS and Grandson#3 were able to spend Easter with us and give the new house their seal of approval. They arrived in glorious sunshine on Good Friday and luckily saw the garden and the river at their best, before the weekend’s rain and wind arrived to keep us trapped indoors for the next two days.

Not that the weather stopped us enjoying ourselves. We ate well, talked a lot and played endless card games, but it made a pleasant change to wake on Easter Monday morning to no rain and a clearing sky. On the spur of the moment DS asked if they could stay for an extra day, so to celebrate this we decided to go for a drive after lunch to show Grandson#3 some of the places his father knew as a child.

DS’s instinct is always to head for the hills and he had an ultimate destination in mind. My instinct is to visit places of interest en route, so DH took us by winding and scenic minor roads to one of these, a fascinating group of remains of a once thriving local industry – lead-mining.



Bryntail is very much the best-preserved lead-mining site in the area and gives a clear idea of what this industry once entailed. It has the added attraction of being situated in a steep-sided river valley directly below the enormous dam which helps to control the water level of a major tributary of the River Severn and mitigate the Severn’s once devastating tendency to flood the small towns downstream.







After a very interesting wander round the ruins, we went back to the car and drove to the viewpoint above the dam. This offers not only wonderful views over the lake and the lead mine remains below the dam, but also one of the stunning panoramas which are such a feature of this glorious corner of Wales.





From here we drove along the lake and through the forest which borders it until we came out onto the main road again at the far end of the lake. Soon after we turned off onto a minor road which leads up over the Cambrian Mountains towards the coast. We drove uphill past Dylife, once the site of a thriving lead-mining village, onto the high plateau and into a different world.
  
Here, at more than 1500 feet, the weekend’s rain had fallen as snow, and though it was beginning to melt in the afternoon sun, there was still enough to transform the landscape and enable DS and his son to have a very enjoyable snowball fight. After that the two of them headed down the track to DS’s ultimate destination, the Glaslyn nature reserve.
   


This is a area DS hiked and visited with his friends as a teenager, and though the going was very wet, they followed the track past the lake and up to the viewpoint, from which they had a panoramic view north-west as far as Snowdonia, more than 40 miles away. When they finally rejoined us at the car nearly two hours later, they were tired, happy and had extremely wet feet, despite wearing stout walking shoes.

Now that Grandson#3 is nearly a teenager, I foresee more visits during which DS will take him out onto the hills, just as our son-in-law does with our other two grandsons when they visit. All of them love hiking and hill-walking and there are plenty of wild, unspoiled places here to explore. Sadly my ageing knees mean that I can only accompany them over rough ground in spirit, but it’s enough to know that our love for the wonderful Mid-Wales countryside is being handed down to the next generation.


42 comments:

  1. Hari OM
    My but that looks grand... and about as close to Scotland as you could get anyway!!! So glad you had such a joyous time - if a chilly one. YAM xx

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    1. It is grand, Yam, one of the many reasons we so love this area of Wales. it has such variety of scenery. But we still miss the thought of heading north before long. We had a great time, if a less strenuous one as far as DH and I were concerned. :)

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  2. I dread to think what it would be like in the Severn Vale if that huge dam had not been built Perpetua.
    Staying at home has its compensations with your son and grandson coming to stay with you over the Easter season. If you have not celebrated your birthday or anniversary yet, then I wish you happiness for them both.

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    1. Absolutely, Rosemary. It was built in the late 60s after truly catastrophic flooding in Montgomeryshire in 1960 and 1964. I've seen the photos. Sadly, in very wet years the reservoir can be full before the worst of the weather begins, hence the continued flooding further downstream on occasion.
      Having them visit was a wonderful compensation and we enjoyed ourselves a great deal. The birthday and anniversary are towards the end of the month, so thanks for the good wishes in advance.

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  3. Enjoy all your celebrations...
    You must be so happy to see your grandchildren discovering the wild places and carrying on the tradition.
    With you as to the knees.....so limiting!

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    1. Thanks, Helen. They aren't for a few weeks yet, but we certainly plan to enjoy them.
      Yes, I'm very happy to see the grandsons getting to know this lovely area where their respective parents grew up. DS and DD also relish coming back to their childhood haunts and felt a real pang when we left the old house.
      The knees, in particular the right one, are a real pain in every sense. It's the ligaments, rather than the joint, but still such a nuisance. :(

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  4. Best wishes for both anniversaries. That all looks wonderful - a tinge (well more than a tinge) of homesickness here looking at those wonderful photos.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. I'll save up the good wishes for later in the month. Yes, it must evoke a lot of memories when you see photos from the region where you grew up and which is now half a world away. You have the most wonderful landscapes where you now live, but there's something about our childhood home which never leaves us. For me it's Lancashire.

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  5. Very interesting and quite spectacular photos Perpetua. Though I have to say that dam would give me nightmares (I have a 'thing' about massive constructions).
    Congratulations and best wishes for both of your celebrations.
    I hope your conservatory plans go well.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed them all, Ray, though sorry to give you collywobbles with my photos of the dam. Standing downstream and looking up at it is somewhat disconcerting, but the reservoir lake it has created is a huge asset in the landscape and we love to visit it.
      Thanks for the good wishes. The days themselves are a few weeks away yet. As for the conservatory, we have our fingers crossed that the groundworks will be started before too long.

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  6. A conservatory! How wonderful! And your scenic pics are great also. Thanks for sharing them... and your time with son and grandson.

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    1. Thanks, Rian. We're very excited about it as we had one at the old house and do miss it. Glad you enjoyed our trip to the Welsh hills. I love sharing photos of our beloved Mid-Wales. :)

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  7. Beautiful, beautiful Wales. Such scenery. There is just something about the old remains of buildings and homes and such in the UK. It must have been so hard to actually build them. I remain amazed and in awe. The dam is huge. Thank you for taking me along on your afternoon jaunt.

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it and could see that Nova Scotia isn't the only place getting snow in April. :) Yes, Wales is very beautiful and has an incredible variety of scenery for a small country. The lead mine buildings aren't actually very old by UK standards, but building them in what was then a remote place must have been difficult as you say. The dam is huge by anyone's standards. :)

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  8. It sounds like the enforced stay-at-home was a blessing. Such a pleasure to have one's children and their children come to visit - and then ask to stay another day.
    The scenery was beautiful. The enormous dam is really something. I can only imagine the destruction in earlier days.
    I look forward to seeing some photos of the conservatory.

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    1. It really was, Pondside, and the extra day was a lovely bonus. DS is so busy with work that visits are rare and to be relished. Mostly we visit him.
      As you know from your own visit, Mid-Wales and the Welsh borders are very beautiful and thankfully unspoiled. The dam is a magnificent structure and has made a very marked difference to the severity of the flooding caused by the River Severn.
      As for the conservatory, after waiting a long time for planning permission to be granted, we're now waiting for work to begin.We'll get there and photos will certainly follow...

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  9. Oh, I love the sound of that conservatory, a great addition to your home. We will enjoy seeing what you do in there! It does sound like an enjoyable Easter, with the boys visiting you and enjoying the hills about. The lead mine is really interesting, something I have never seen, and what beautiful old stone building work. Wales does have spectacular scenery.

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    1. We had and enormously enjoyed a conservatory at the old house, Patricia, so decided to go for one here, to make room for SH's snooker table and give somewhere for us to sit in the sun. It should be fun when it's finally finished.
      It was a lovely weekend and we were so glad the weather cleared in time for us to have a trip out on Easter Monday. Lead mining was a common, if small-scale, industry in much of Wales in the C19th and early C20th, though the lead was smelted in England. Long gone now, like almost all the heavy industry in Britain, I'm afraid..

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  10. The lead mine is fascinating and the Welsh scenery is similar to my old home area in NZ, something I hadn't realised until I watched a series of DVD's given by my daughter as a Christmas present [Escape to the Country].
    It never fails to surprise me how the younger generation love to show their youthful haunts to their children ... and thus ensuring family times continue throughout generations. Easter at home certainly provided lots of blessings Perpetua.:)

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    1. I'm glad you found it interesting, Shirley, and that the scenery reminded you of your NZ roots. I gather from something I read recently than Welsh and Scottish immigrants to New Zealand felt very much at home among the scenery they found there.
      Our offspring certainly enjoy showing their children where they grew up, one of the many advantages of having lived here since they were very young. It can be very hard to move away from one's roots completely. Yes, Easter at home was an unqualified success. :)

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  11. So you missed the snow in Scotland and found some in Wales. I'll send some pictures from the North when I get there in May, in case you are missing The Highlands

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    1. We did indeed, though finding the Welsh snow was unexpected since the forecast never mentioned it. I'd love to see pictures of where you stay in the Highlands. That would make a splendid blog post.

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  12. My first visit to Wales was to mid-Wales -- and it was very beautiful. Now we have a future daughter-in-law from near Conwy -- I am looking forward to more exploration of that very beautiful area. Envy you greatly a new conservatory -- way to go! And Happy Easter to you and DH!

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    1. I remember you telling me that, Broad, and also that you know the Lancashire village where I grew up. :) I'm delighted you're about to acquire a Welsh daughter-in-law and agree that you will love exploring the glorious scenery around Conwy. You could always drop south into Mid-Wales one time and let us show you our bit. By then the conservatory should have been started and may be even finished. DH will have his snooker table in there, but there will be my corner for conversation. :)

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  13. What a wonderful post, Perpetua! The photos very much remind me of the visits I used to make to the Mid-Wales hills from Lampeter in the mid 1970s, when I was the rarity of being a student who owned a car! I look forward to similar views during my visit later this month.

    Any news regarding the conservatory?

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    1. Thanks, Ricky. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much and I hope the weather is good when you visit, so that you can renew your acquaintance with the landscapes of Mid-Wales in ideal conditions.

      I'm afraid we're still waiting to hear about the next stage of the conservatory. The long wait for planning permission really slowed things down.

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  14. Eventually arrived here, Perpetua! I haven't forgotten you or your lovely blog but I'm far behind in reading all my favourites. Your afternoon out looks wonderful - and I must congratulate you on some stunning photography!
    There's something very enjoyable in taking children to places you knew well in your own youth. I miss that sometimes but on my occasional returns to the UK with my own children, I do try to look up my favourite places. Glad you're seeing Wales in different seasons.
    Axxx

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    1. No need to apologise, Annie. I'm just as bad at getting behind with reading and commenting. It's lovely to read your comment and know you enjoyed the post. We had a wonderful afternoon and I was pleased with how the photos turned out given the varying light conditions.
      I do agree that it's very special to have the chance to introduce (grand)children to one's childhood haunts. Sadly I no longer have any real links to my childhood home in Lancashire, so it's lovely to see our two bringing their children to the place where they grew up and which I know they are both still very fond of.

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  15. Goodmorning!
    How I enjoyed this post of yours! I started my blogging career just a few weeks ago, being forced to change my ways by a hip-surgery. It's nice to read the thoughts and events of an older colleague , I will definitely be back to read more!
    Since I am a swedish priest, I am anxious to know about the church you serve.
    By the way, the pictures added to your posts are glorious! I find myself addicted to old abandoned houses and desolate meddows, pondering on life once being something very different years before my arrival. And the beauty of creation. Do you take the pictures yourself? I guess so.
    Wishing you a blessed springtime in the light of easter./ Solveig

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    1. Welcome to my blog, Solveig, and my sincere apologies for the delay in publishing and replying to your comment. I'm not usually so slow.
      How lovely to meet a priest from a different church. I belong to the Church in Wales, as the Anglican church is called here, and was ordained deacon in 1988 and priest in 1997. You might be interested in the post I wrote to mark the 15th anniversary of my priesting:
      http://perpetually-in-transit.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/making-history.html

      I'm glad you enjoyed the photos. I'm very much an amateur as far as photography goes, but I do love the landscape and history of the places where I live or visit and enjoy sharing them in my posts to the best of my ability.
      Thank you for the Easter and springtime wishes which are returned very gladly.

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    2. Dear Perpetua!
      I will gladly take part of that post! There will be an equally jolly post the 9th of june, when I celebrate my 20th anniversary. I too was ordained deacon in 1989 and priest in 1996. In the swedish church the ordained deacons have their own vocation and place in the congregation. They take care of the social work mostly. Or rather, organize it. I didn't know that the Anglican church had another name in Wales. The swedish church is lutheranevangelical and the first ordination of women was 1958. And yes, I enjoy the photos, they are right up my alley, I love them. Thanks to you, I've found several more nice bloggers both in Yorkshire, Wales and Ireland. My life's had a change, it was needed.
      Today we celebrate our kings 70th birtday and something called Valborgseve. We light big fires, sing springsongs from olden days and try not to set fire to the gardens around. Our churchchoir has been singing by the fires for ages. There are speaches as well, celebrating spring, the community or something else the speaker fancies. In the old days, the fires were always lit by the waters to keep evil darkness away and signal the awakening of light.
      I'll run down to pick up my wintercoat, no temperature to speak of tonight!!
      If I'm technically able, I'll try to record the choir and add it to my next post.

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    3. Just wanted to tell you, I've read that very interesting and joyful post on your anniversary. Thank you!! I made a comment, a bit late but ...can't be helped!!

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    4. Thanks again for your comments. I look forward to reading and enjoying your post on the anniversary of your ordination. I hadn't realised the Swedish church was so far ahead of the Anglican in ordaining women.We too have what are called permanent deacons, but not many of them, though the number is growing.
      Your celebrations for Valborgseve sound great fun and I've just been reading a bit about them. I studied German at university and of course read about Walpurgisnacht, but I'm ashamed to say I hadn't realised how widespread the traditions are. The emphasis on singing sounds like something I would really enjoy.
      I'm glad you've been exploring the blogs on my blogroll. Finding new bloggers to follow is all part of the pleasure of blogging.

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  16. What a joy it was to read this post. I love when you write about Wales and add your wonderful photos. It would be wonderful to go exploring over these hills. I doubt my hip could take it.

    I smiled when I read the altitude. I live at 6,661 feet above sea level.

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    1. If I may: I feel the same way. Her pictures are wonderful and make you feel an urge and desire to jump on the next plane and train to go backpacking on the trails. My hip wouldn't allow it either, at least not now so fresh out of surgery.
      The altitude however need to be translated, it doesn't reveal anything to a swedish reader......

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    2. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much, Sally. The weather has been so poor that I haven't been out and about much, so it was good to go somewhere different, armed with my camera. I'm afraid I can't do rough cross-country walking any more either, because of my weak knee, not my hip.
      I'm always amazed to be reminded of the altitude at which you live. That is half as high again as Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis (4,414 feet / 1,346 metres)

      Fairtrader, Sally lives in Colorado, high in the Rocky Mountains. 6661 feet is 2030 metres above sea-level, far higher than anywhere in our islands.

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    3. Ooooh, forget that I ever asked!! When I climbed up the stairs of the small lighthouse on Ă–land (248 steps) I immediately hit the floor and stayed there when the others enjoyed the view, in the London Eye I sat with my eyes covered 75% of the ride. But I did go all the way up to the roof of church's belltower when being renovated and stood at the cross (37,5 metres) facing the churchyard. I couldn't really enjoy Scotland, could I??? By the way, my name is Solveig! Matches yours in pronounciationterms, I gather!

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    4. By the way, Perpetua!
      I added a small filmclip of the actual singing, not our churchchoir this time but a very famous ( in Sweden that is) choir of malestudents at the university of Lund. Some of them passed their masters some 40 years ago, but they sing ever so nicely the traditional springsongs and choruses we enjoy. You'll find it in my monthofmayingpost!

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    5. Solveig, I'm so sorry to have taken so long to respond to your extra comments. When I finally publish the post I'm working on, you'll understated the reason for the delay.
      I too have no head for heights, but somehow being high in the mountains isn't the same as being on top of a high building. Perhaps it's something to do with having one's feet on the solid earth. In Colorado, the whole area is high above sea level, so there is no impression of height.
      Thanks for letting me know about the film clip. I'll go across right away to see it.

      P.S. Perpetua is my blog pseudonym, but if you're ever in touch with me by email, you'll see my real name is quite different.

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    6. Oh, I did suspect something with the blogname, but names can be ever so foreign to me!!! I like the way people play with words, I often do it myself but is out of practise when it comes to english!!!! The mountain close to us might rise some 200 metres perhaps, quite enough for me!!!

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  17. I'm catching up with your news after so many weeks away from the internet. I hope you and your husband are well. I imagine you're busy with home improvements at the moment and community life. I've enjoyed reading your post and seeing the landscape, especially those of the lead mine, the views of the reservoir and that impressive dam wall. It was also good to hear that your son and grandson no 3 had the opportunity to stay and go walking in areas that DS hiked as a teenager. It reminded me of the pleasure of having our son and grandson no. 5 come out to Italy (our son after many years and our grandson for the first time). Those times are precious. I'm sure you look forward to many more such family occasions in a most beautiful
    area.

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    1. Linda, I'm SO sorry to have taken so long to reply to your comment. Life has been so busy recently that blogging has completely dropped off the radar, about which more in my next post.
      I'm glad you enjoyed the post and photos. DH and I don't have the habit of going out for this kind of trip very often, unless we have visitors, hence the rarity of this kind of post. It was fin to revisit these places with our son and show to our youngest grandson for the first time. I can imagine that your family must love visiting you in Italy, one of my very favourite countries for all sorts of reasons. Now to catch up with your posts...

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