Herefordshire Week 107: Tuesday 11 – Monday 17 January 2022

Frosty!

Two big walks: Symonds Yat Circular on Saturday was topped by a gloriously sunny Monday out walking in the Black Mountains. Life doesn’t get much better.

Stand by for superlatives.

Frosty Morning Sunrise, Thistly Field Oak
Frosty Morning Sunrise, Thistly Field Oak

We were treated to a gorgeous frosty morning on Wednesday. Pink and orange hued clouds as the sun rose into a blue sky. White front lawn, grass sparkling. Not a breath of air. The blue skies and sunshine stayed all day. And I was stuck inside working.

Beautiful morning
Beautiful morning

Thursday and Friday mornings provided repeat performances. Just magical, and on Friday morning I nipped out to Thistly Field for some photos.

Frosty Morning, Thistly Field Panorama
Frosty Morning, Thistly Field Panorama

After Friday’s beautiful start and a good catch up with VP the rest of the day got hit for six. I ticked off various tasks: topped up my MX-5 antifreeze (eBay delivered), planted some of CH’s lemon grass seeds, pruned the gooseberry bush and followed Monty Don‘s directions on propagating the cuttings, raked up leaves on the mower path and made holes in the frozen pond for the fish.

We needed calm telly come the evening. This Farming Life delivered.


Out with Hereford Excalibur / GVWC on Saturday for a winter’s day walk on Saturday – Symonds Yat Circular. Smashing!

6 hours, 12-ish miles on forest trails, two short sections of road, field footpaths, Offa’s Dyke Path, Wysis Way and the Peregrine Path. Route: Symonds Yat Car Park & Cafe (above Symonds Yat East) – Christchurch to Symonds Yat Trail – Bracelands – Staunton – Birchen Wood – Kymin – Suck Stone – Peregrine Path – Symonds Yat East riverside – Car Park.

GVWC: Symonds Yat Circular - Bronze Leaves
GVWC: Symonds Yat Circular – Bronze Leaves

And at the end, a lovely mug of tea at The Saracen’s Head, Symonds Yat East watching the Wye flow by.

Back home for another cup of tea, and a mince pie. Those Sainsbury’s bargain boxes are still going!


Plans to take the MX-5 for a spin to Skirrid for a walk on Sunday were stymied by a flat battery. Thank heavens for the ancient charger and good neighbours.

An anxious day. Even a lovely morning walk around the Bacton Square and clearing some of the ivy from the Solarium Shrub didn’t help.

Grey Valley from the lane to Kerrys Gate
Grey Valley from the lane to Kerrys Gate

Monday’s weather forecast was amazing; perfect walking weather. So I took the MX-5 out for a spin into the Vale of Ewyas for a fabulous walk in the Black Mountains – a lovely 11 mile loop from Llanthony Priory: up Cwm Bwchel to Bal-Bach, north along the Ffawyddog* ridge, down to Capel-y-ffin, contouring along an old track for a bit then up to Hatterrall Ridge and back south along the Offa’s Dyke Path to Llanthony.

All under glorious blue skies and sunshine. Hot up high but still frosty and frozen in the shade, woodsmoke and mountain ponies, it made me feel like I was trekking in Nepal…..

Llanthony Loop: Up Cwm Bwchel to the ridge - Looking back at Llanthony Priory
Llanthony Loop: Up Cwm Bwchel to the ridge – Looking back at Llanthony Priory
Llanthony Loop: Ffawyddog Ridge
Llanthony Loop: Ffawyddog Ridge – looking south
Llanthony Loop: Me on Ffawyddog Ridge
Llanthony Loop: Me on Ffawyddog Ridge
Llanthony Loop: Capel-y-ffin
Llanthony Loop: Capel-y-ffin
Llanthony Loop: Climb up to Hatterrall Ridge - Capel-y-ffin waymark stone
Llanthony Loop: Climb up to Hatterrall Ridge – Capel-y-ffin waymark stone
Llanthony Loop: Along Hatterrall Ridge - HELLO HEREFORDSHIRE!
Llanthony Loop: Along Hatterrall Ridge – HELLO HEREFORDSHIRE!
Llanthony Loop: Along Hatterrall Ridge
Llanthony Loop: Along Hatterrall Ridge
Llanthony Loop: down to Llanthony Priory - the Vale of Ewyas
Llanthony Loop: down to Llanthony Priory – the Vale of Ewyas
Llanthony Loop: down to Llanthony Priory
Llanthony Loop: down to Llanthony Priory

* (You would not believe how many tries it’s taken me to spell Ffawyddog correctly. And, well I never, it means Beech Grove)

Walk 4 in Kittiwake’s excellent Walking in the Black Mountains. Plenty of signposts and waymarks and clear trails made for a straightforward route.

Returned to find the hedges had been cut – we’ve been wondering when that’d happen – news from London and a massive moon.

Hello Moon
Hello Moon

WHAT A DAY.


Talking of Nepal, on Tuesday I received an email from Günter Seyfferth who runs the wonderful Mountains of Himalaya website (www.himalaya-info.org) asking if he could use some of my photos of the Jangla Bhanjyang and views from Seri to Dhaulagiri Himal taken on 2017’s Dolpo Trek as he is updating his page on the Dhaulagiri Himal.

OMG, YES!!!! If you’ve read any of my Nepal trek blogposts, you’ll know how much I rely on Günter’s website to identify mountains etc in my photos. What an honour.

Looking at the annotated copies he’s sent in return reminded me we crossed the Jangla Bhanjyang on my birthday….

Three Nepal-y things in one week – Val chat, Günter’s emails and Monday’s walk. Now I really want to go back to Nepal. Let’s hope….


Aconites are coming up / out, snowdrops are surfacing in all the usual spots and there are daffodil shoots down by the old garden railway.

Aconites
Aconites

And on the bird feeder, a long tailed tit or two put in an appearance, as did a starling, joining the usual array of blue tits, great tits and greater spotted woodpeckers on the peanuts and chaffinches, dunnocks, blackbirds and robins foraying beneath.


TV: Succession (finished season 3), This Farming Life, Toast of Tinseltown, Mare of Easttown.

Podcasts: History Extra, SheDunnit, and a lot of The Essay.


Photos: Herefordshire week 107 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-01-16.