18 June 2021

First night away since the cat came

 I intend to go do a multi-day hike later this summer. But I have a cat now! And then going away can be an issue. I figured the best thing to do would be to just leave her at home. That's a familiar environment! And I'm not supposed to stay away for too long. And we intend to visit my house halfway the hike when we pass it anyway. But I haven't been away much since I got her! I decided I needed to get her used to it. And it would be nice anyway to pack my bag and just head into the hills once in a while. I live in an amazing area after all!

One sunny weekend I decided it or time to start this process. I would just leave a bit later in the day on the Saturday. That meant I wouldn't be gone for all too long, but I should probably start mild anyway. I was in two minds about going before or after dinner, but in the end I decided on after dinner. I threw my bag into the car and set off. I had decided on some track I had crossed on a run some months ago. And I figured that as it was already about 6 PM, it should be possible to park, even on a sunny Saturday like this. And it was correct! I parked on a layby effortlessly. And then I was off, into the sunshine.

I started on a public footpath. I had previously been there with Kate, walking Moel Siabod. But now I turned left at some point. The first thing I did was cross an old incline. And that set the scene; really soon the mining relics came thick and fast. A row of houses, spoil heaps, a mill; and, of course, a pit. I was having a blast!

The old incline; I suppose you only see it in full screen mode. Moel Siabod in the background.

 The houses

overview of houses, spoil heaps and an aquaduct

the pit

looking back at the spoil heaps from the road

The road was comfortable to walk on and very beautiful. Along the way I gained a view over the valley; in the depths I could see the camping there. I was glad I was up here! On my own.

At some point I came to the crossing with the road I had run on. I had decided to go right there. There was a lake a bit uphill from that road. I thought it would be worth checking that out. I might get a swim in! And I had never seen it. I was only some 10 miles from home, and then seeing a new lake would be cool. So I just headed up the hill. And after a while it came into view! It didn't necessarily look promising; it might be a bit swampy! But I wanted to check it out. I had to cross two streams, one of which indeed was in a bit of a swamp, but after that the ground was firm. I saw possibilities! And I figured I could pitch on a bump; firm ground, long sun, good views. And neither the stream (for drinking water) nor the lake (for swimming) were far away. I went for it! I pitched my tent. And when it stood I realised the disadvantage of this location; there were ticks everywhere. I don't like ticks!

The lake (or reservoir, rather) looked like an infinity pool!

I decided to keep a very close eye out, get my swim in soon, and then wear lots of clothing to keep the ticks out. There were midges as well! So I grabbed what I needed and headed for the lake. The water was lovely! In my experience is that midges don't actually come looking for prey above water. I've even experienced that in Scotland. So I had a nice time!

When I was done swimming I changed into long trousers, and stuffed my trousers into my socks. I also zipped up my jumper. But back at the tent things had improved. There was a bit of a breeze and there was no midge to be seen! This was lovely. I had a cup of tea and read the bit in my book. I also just sat back and stared at the beautiful clouds and the beautiful hills. This was the life!

Lovely swim

The evening views. I was pretty much looking into Dyffryn Mymbyr.

Then from one moment to the next the midges were back, with a vengeance. I had already brushed my teeth, so I went to the loo like the clappers and then dived into my tent. I was safe now! I just read a bit more until it was bed time. And I slept well.

When I woke up the next morning I got out of the tent, I realised the midges had beaten me to it. I had hoped they were an evening thing! Clearly not. I took down the tent in no time, threw my stuff into the bag, and legged it. After a while I tried a scenic hilltop possible breakfast spot, but after a few minutes the midges found me there too. So I moved on!

I went back to the spoil heaps. Would that be a good spot? It was a bit on the edge. I decided to move on. But when I got to the incline I decided it was good enough. I sat down and got the stove out. It would be really nice to do the last small bit of the walk back to the car with breakfast in my stomach! And I can't say the midges left me alone entirely, but they were quite bearable. It was nice! And I noticed a tick; I removed it there and then.

From there I was back at the car in no time, and it wasn't much of a drive. And when I got home the cat was greeting me. It looked like she had missed me but she was fine! And that was exactly the intention. 
Now the only things I needed to do was unpack my bag, and do another tick check! I found two more. Next time I should not pitch my tent until I have roamed around a bit in bare legs to check for ticks, I suppose. And if I see some swampy ground nearby, maybe I should move on, as that might have been where all these midges came from! Although experience tells me they can strike pretty much anywhere. Anyway; stuff to keep in mind when I leave the lovely cat for two nights!

My "I don't like midges" face

It was a scenic spot, though!

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