Sunday, 17 April 2011

A Red Kite in the Morning

Another lovely day and I'm homesick so it is back to Wales - this time to Pen y Fal  or to give it its English name - the Sugar Loaf.

The name comes from the distinctive shape and it is very easy to recognise. It is officially a mountain at  1955ft so no doubt there then!

The lower slopes are wooded and there have been discoveries of Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronzetools on a nearby site.

Now the lower slopes are colonised by acres of  wimberry plants ( bilberry). All in full bloom so  I think a return trip may well be on order to take advantage of the fruit. My grandmother used to make the most wonderful wimberry pies and it's been years since I had one.

It is a long but fairly gentle pull up. An excuse to stop and get the breath back was provided by the air show put on by three red kites. Such masters of flying they are, they make it look effortless. Periodically they would stoop down to the ground but we were unable to see if the plunge had been successful in catching some unfortunate small animal or bird.

We stopped for some lunch by the mouth of  a spring and enjoyed the sound of the running water and the company of a glorious black beetle. Quite magical and very welcome by then.Funny though how the only wasp on the entire mountain managed to find us....

The view from the top is breathtaking and made the effort of climbing well worthwhile. It was surprisingly busy up there- we were far from the only ones with the same idea today.

At one end of the sunnit is a outcrop of roacks - one local legend is that they represent  Cadair Arthur (Arthur's chair).  Rather oddly someone had seen fit to wedge a wooden cross into the rocks which seemed very out of place.

Coming down was a lot quicker than going up - even if we did take the scenic route up a couple more ridges and enjoyed several spectacular more views. The last mile or so was through some oak woodland before circling back to the car for a well earned rest.
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