21 January 2021

New terrain only 3 miles from home

 It was a Sunday and the weather forecast was good. Additionally, the weather forecast for the days following were basically one big fat weather warning for rain. So I figured I needed to take advantage of this opportunity! And when I looked out of the window in the morning I got the distinct impression that the weather forecast had been a bit optimistic, but I wanted to go for a walk anyway. And I had picked my goal: a small side valley of one of the big valleys directly above the village. And it is the easternmost one, while I live quite far to the west, so I decided to do the first bit by bicycle. I could park at the start of the public footpath. And that's what I did!

Already when I left the house I was quite looking forward to a coffee break. I had done some chores before I left, so it was that kind of time. After only some 20 minutes I sat down. That also allowed two young lads to pass me; they were clearly quicker than me. And so they should be! We chatted for a bit and they had much more ambitious plans than me. They needed to be fast in order to squeeze that all in within daylight hours! I didn't see the point of being ambitious; I could see that even the bottom of the valley in its highest reaches will be in the clouds. No point going all the way to the top if you can't see a thing! But they didn't see it that way.

I just trundled on into the valley, until I would peel off the main path. I was only 3 miles from home, but every step I would now take before coming to the ridge would be new terrain from me! And it was beautiful.

After some strenuous gaining of altitude I came into the side valley. By that time I had my head firmly in the clouds. But I could still see it was beautiful there! I decided to just wonder around a bit. I will surely have to come back; it felt like I only saw a fraction of the place. And that can't have been true; I know from the map it wasn't big at all. But if you can only see a small part of it at the time it feels like an entire world.

After having wandered around a bit on the eastern side I headed west; that was the way I knew I wanted to come out again. And when I realised I was fairly close to the ridge I said down for lunch. I wanted to have my food in the new terrain, and especially this new terrain as it was amazingly beautiful. And I also figured that on the ridge there would be no shelter whatsoever. Here it was peaceful!

After lunch I was indeed at the ridge in minutes. And it was windy there! I immediately put on quite a lot more clothes. And then just scampered back down. I was back at my bike in an hour! And that included another break for drinking something. So an ambitious outing this had not been, but that was on purpose, as I don't think ambitions have much of a place during a lockdown (not of the outdoor kind, anyway) and the weather wasn't good for that either, but I still had seen new ground! And I am absolutely determined to come back on a day with better visibility. This is one of the advantages of these unusual times; if you can only hike from home, you discover a little gems like this. It is so easy to get blinded by the big attractions like Snowdon, Tryfan, the Glyders and the actual Carneddau horseshoe, and then completely overlook the little nooks and crannies of the area. I would like to come out of this knowing the area really well!

The main valley

Pretty waterfalls along the way

This way a small valley can look big

The ridge is coming into view

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