Sunday, 29 July 2012

Back again!

Remember Grey Hill? Yes back again.

I can't help it - I just like the place. I also wanted to take the new camera out for a trial to see how the view from the top turned out.

I haven't got past the auto settings yet! It is far more complicated then my old manual SLR ever was and much heavier than the little Sony Cybershot I've been using so I expect a decent payoff from dragging all that extra weight around!

So - here is the view from the top. It was a rather hazy day but you can see the Severn Crossing and the coast of England across the other side.

Of course I couldn't resist taking a few pictures of the circle again. It was looking a lot better this time. The vegetation has mostly grown back and the circle and the stones are again part of the landscape.

The hazy effect is NOT my camera- just the flower heads on the grasses but they give an interesting softening contract to the stones.

We planned to take another route down this time, one we hadn't done before. It was a nice walk through the old forest even if part of Coed Gwent looked like it had never before seen human footsteps.

Can you spot the path? The bracken was head height down here. After battling through the undergrowth and some serious work with map and compass ( and GPS)  the navigators got us back to the car and off to....

 ....the Greyhound for a well earned drink. We shared the garden with a couple of Viking invaders in full costume. Most surreal but dozing in the sun I forgot to sneak a quick picture.

Monday, 23 July 2012

People & Pimms

It seemed like a good idea. The first sunny day of summer coincided with the Bristol Harbour Festival and I like boats. I also don't really know Bristol despite living within 20 miles of the city centre for the last 10 years...

So the festival it was.  Amazingly we managed to park in a side street reasonably close to the harbour and it was only a couple of minutes walk. In a city noted for being difficult to park in, this was a minor miracle in itself.

So what is a harbour festival? Well it is a lot of boats ( obviously), a lot of food stalls and a lot of people.  You may have noticed that I really don't "do" people in large crowds but occasionally I forget this and almost always regret it...

The first site to greet us was the pirate boat  giving trips up and down the harbour. Very evocative of Bristol's maritime past. This is a replica of John Cabot's ship "The Matthew" in which he sailed to Newfoundland some 500 years ago

Walking on down the harbour past the Royal Navy ship, HMS Cattistock ( huge queue to go on board)  we spotted the harbour firefighters display team!

The old docks and warehouses of the harbour are being re-developed at a rapid rate but I prefer the older properties higher up the hillside. Love the colours!

There were of course plenty of boats of all sizes to be seen and the buzz of the harbour  was regular punctuated by the unmistakeable sound of steam whistles from both the steam tarin giving rides and the steam launches going up and down the harbour.

Leaving the harbour briefly we wandered up to the historic Queen Square and rapidly out the other side. This was heaving and with one of the several soundstages there as well, extremely noisy.  Hot and bothered we sat for a while outside one of the many pubs and enjoyed a jug of Pimms.

Suitably refreshed  it was a meander back to the harbour past the old almshouses which are quite dwarfed by the modern city buildings.

I'd had more than enough of the crowds now so it was a relief to wander along the banks of the Avon to return to the car. The river is very tidal and was approaching low water when this picture was taken

Sunday, 15 July 2012

From City to Country; Manchester to Bossington

It's been a busy week: Thursday was a day trip to Manchester to attend the graduation ceremony of my daughter.  This is the same university that I attended so it brought back loads of memories, even if I am now just a BSc to her MChem!

So just because it is my blog and I can, one or two pictures of Manchester before a return to the depths of Somerset.

Firstly a bit of fun - as seen in the city centre at lunch time. Might need to go back and take this bus to see where it goes!

How not to treat your mortar board!. The rock behind by the way is glacial and was dug up in excavations near by.

There are 80  more pictures I could post but I'll refrain and move on  ;-)

Today was St Swithun's Day. Legend has it that whatever weather we get today will continue for a further 40 days and after what seems like months of endless rain it was dry. I'm not getting my hopes too far up but it was nice to go out without being swathed in waterproof walking gear, We weren't brave enough to leave it at home though.

We did risk a trip to Exmoor - or at least the edges of it. Bossington is an achingly pretty village, all thatched cottages, narrow lanes and towering hollyhocks. That it was ( mostly) sunny helped to. Although not actually that far away it is a slow tedious trip and we got there just in time for lunch at the tearooms ( recommended by the way!).

After that it was a trip up Bossington Hill. This was a killer hill indeed, especially after the lack of exercise over the last couple of weeks. The views however were worth it.

This is Porlock Bay - we had hardly started at this point so I had the energy to take pictures.

This one is from further up and across the bay to the Welsh coast around Llantwit Major and Tresillian. You can see where Colyn Dolphin is reputed to have met his end and Dwynwen's cave.

 Unfortunately my camera is not great at this type of shot. I think a new one is on the cards.

Carrying on ever upwards we reached the high point at Selworthy beacon and down to Bury Castle, helpfully labelled as an "Iron Age Ancient Monument"

The ditch and earthworks are well preserved and it was nice to take a rest out of the rather bracing breeze.

In fact there seemed to be two walls and defensive ditches on the flatter upward side; the other approaches being very steep. Presumably this was to enhance the defences in that direction as it was a very easy approach.

After this it was downhill through some mixed woodland back towards Bossington and an eagerly anticipated cream tea.

Firstly though we had to find St Agnes's Fountain. which proved to be rather easier than expected and not where we though it might be.

This is a pretty little water trickle down the rocks but doesn't seem to be later than Victorian. The diary of the rector of Selworthy in 1824, suggests the fountain was named after the youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Acland who owned the Estate and I haven't found anything to contradict this.

Still a nice place to sit and admire the view on a thoughtfully placed seat before the final leg down into Bossington and the aforementioned cream tea ( also recommended!).

Sunday, 8 July 2012

In the shadow of Cader Idris

After Shetland we thought we'd stay a bit closer to home. Well sort off. To take advantage of the additional public holiday graciously granted to us by virtue of her Maj having been queen for 60 years we thought we'd escape the endless sycophantic TV coverage and diappear to the wild s of Mid Wales and one of our favourite places in the shadow of Cader Idris - Dolgellau.

In the the time honoured tradition of British public holidays and Wales in particular it was a bit wet. OK very very wet but a lot warmer than Shetland.  We were only able to stay for a day or two so our first port of call was a circle just past Barmouth on the way to Harlech

This is a big circle and I couldn't photograph it in its entirity but this shot gives a good idea of the sheer bleakness of the scene.

 Llecheiddor stone circle is not terribly accessible. It is a steep pull up the hillside and the weather was pretty appalling. The days of rain had left it  even wetter underfoot than is usual for Welsh moorland and the circle is in the middle of some pretty boggy ground which would have been wet even in better weather. As it was we were hopping from tussock to tussock and trying not to step in the worst of it. Hard work and tiring with a strong wind and a smattering of rain  doing its best to try and blow you back down again. Very much a case of 3 steps forward and 2 back at times. 

Just above the circle is a long abandoned farmhouse and we joined the long suffering sheep in enjoying the shelter of a drystone wall for a few minutes before pushing on up the hill and circling back to the welcome warmth and dryness of the car.

The next day the weather looked a bit brighter so we headed back to Barmouth and up to a site we had previously visited. This time though rather than visit the circle  we were headed for the woodland - Cae Gwian and the standing stone  which is all that is now readily visible of the complex of circles and stones that once stood there.

This was a much more pleasant expedition and reminded us why we keep returning to this part of the country over and over again.

Our final find of this trip  was this rather nice little burial tomb. It was well hidden behind a barn and snuggled up against the wall and easily overlooked, Worth the search though to find Gwern Einion.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Murder in the Library - or the "Death of a Book"

Bit different this week, I've been doing the unthinkable and destroying a perfectly good book! I just  hope the author never finds out....

.....anyway for those interested the full story is on my craft blog and the more usual fare of  stone circles ( this time in Mid Wales) will  appear  here shortly.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...