Sunday, 18 September 2011
Black mountains - final recce
There's a special feeling that comes with doing stuff you enjoy when by rights you should be at work. A special timeframe, therefore, and what better way to fill it than by putting a keen edge on my - ahem - 'navigational skills'.
The plan for the day was to drive to the problem points and suss them out rather than do the whole circuit of 17m or so.
Moving up to a cloudy Pen twyn Glas the air was still, condensed droplets balanced on each blade of grass. A raven sat on the gravestones over to the right and croaked at my to-ing and fro-ing. Indistinguishable clumps of rushes were memorised as landmarks to lead the way down to the trod that turns into a path...
Then back down the lovely valley, spotting some good overnight camp spots by the stream along the way.
Drove down tunnel-like roads clogging up with encroaching vegetation. Finches flew infront of the car, fluttering and then gliding along in streamlined dips. A farmer raised a hand and grinned teeth so widely spaced they could be flossed with bailer twine.
Pulling into the car park at Pont Cadwgan I was cut up by four mountain bikers who came flying out of the woods to the left. It was quite satisfying therefore to overtake two of them ten minutes later as they pedalled at slow speed and high cadence up the extraction track that leads to the route to Bal Mawr. Luckily I was able to sneak into the cut through the woods and start walking again.
The route that works for me off Bal Mawr leaves the main path and follows the smaller path/trod that descends around the side of the slope. Again, I memorised unidentifiable landmarks - a dead sapling, a tiny hawthorn and a splatter of horse shit - to lead me down through the bracken to the forest...
Heading back to the car I harvested some Sparassis crispa or Cauliflower Fungus.
I'd never eaten any before and it went down well having been dipped in egg and fried in butter. Mushroomy with a tripey texture...
So all I got to do now is enjoy the race next Saturday. They say 3:30 is a respectable time so I'll be aiming for that - can't wait.