Herefordshire Week 139: Tuesday 23 – Monday 29 August 2022

Lining up some work on the house. Bonfiring. iPhone woes. Bank Holiday Breakfast at Gwatkins.

Gwatkin Red Cow, Abbey Dore / Bacton
Gwatkin Red Cow, Abbey Dore / Bacton

Dropped Panda off with RW Williams first thing Tuesday for the rattle and daytime running lights to be investigated. Walked back, weeknotes, then work which continued as usual through Wednesday and Thursday.

Finished work at 6.30pm prompt on Thursday (plus 15 mins as V called)  for an early tea in anticipation of K&N coming round to look through the list of building jobs we’d like N to do – including sprucing up the garage (replace roof, clad the walls, improve the storage options inside), re-rendering the west wall and closing up the doorway between the lounge and the TV room. Having toured the house outside and inside we added a few more things to the list. All good things to Get Done.

As dusk fell, a louder than usual conservatory window “thump” turned out to be a tawny owl. Thankfully it recovered.

I dedicated most of Friday to bonfiring the hedge clippings and shrub loppings in the quarry. Small amounts, very carefully, to start with given how close the 5 piles of dry cuttings were to the fire, and how dry everything is still. We’ve had no rain since last weekend’s Saturday showers.

Bonfire ash pile
Bonfire ash pile

A late lunch, then cut down the berberis behind the garage in anticipation of that being rendered, hooked up some of the liberated wire to the wisteria trellis for the new shoots to wind around, potted up a couple of baby yew trees (currently they’re each just 1  sprig, but they must be hardy stock as they’ve emerged from the gravel around the bottom of the kitchen wall), cut the Boston Fern runners and potted them in compost in the hope of propagating a few more baby ferns.

Selected render and roof colours over tea and the last of the Welsh Cakes in the conservatory (sweltering).

FaceTime with S&S, with beer and crisps.

And then made dinner!

Shenmore Circular with the GVWC on Saturday, featuring a pint of bitter shandy at The Yew Tree in Preston on Wye during the lunchtime stop. Pizza al fresco, with a glass of wine, for dinner.

Bank Holiday Weekend pizza
Bank Holiday Weekend pizza

More walking on Sunday as Phil and I went for breakfast at Gwatkins Red Cow. Full English, meaty and veggie/ vegan versions. Reminded me of Walton on the Naze…

Breakfast is served!
Breakfast is served!

We took the Bacton Square route back – the stream at Bacton that runs down into the Dore is completely dry, and the sheep are sheltering in the large concrete drainage pipes down by Abbey Dore  Court. We spent the afternoon pottering, including bailing out the rainwater from the small pond in anticipation of sealing the crack that’s the cause of the leak, and swopping the picnic bench and Nana Helen’s bench, so that we can sit on the latter when watching the birds.

Bank Holiday Monday was breezy sunny/cloudy day. I shelved my plans for a walk in the Black Mountains and finished Flickring my Ladakh photos instead.

In the afternoon we walked down to the Abbey and back, calling in at T&Js for tea and biscuits, and then I had a go at getting my Apple stuff accessible on my donated Samsung Galaxy phone. Not entirely successful. Why am I bothering? Well, my inherited iPhone SE is kaput – the battery has expanded and forced open the case. I’ve an iStore appointment booked for Friday….

In contrast to last year’s glut, this year’s apple harvest is tiny. We’ve hardly any on the two trees between the ponds. This is about half the likely crop:

Not so many apples this year....
Not so many apples this year….

There are no apples, none at all, on the trees down on the lower path – home to the big Bramley and the Egremont Russett, where we had so many windfalls this time 2 years ago. No greengages there either, and a paltry plum (damson) crop.

Things look a bit better in the orchard: the Worcester Pearmain and the Discovery have a fair crop, but all small. The dwarf Bramley is laden, and the Laxton Superb has about the same amount of apples as last year. The Golden Delicious is having a quiet year though – hardly any apples there, which is a relief…..

So, I can’t see that the apple racks will be overflowing this year. Good job we’ve not yet used up all the frozen apples, and the chutney supplies are still plentiful.

TV: Ted Lasso (finished off season 2 – Oooh NATE!!!), Borgen (Season 3, Netflix reboot).

Audiobook: Alice Roberts reading her book Tamed: Ten Species that Changed Our World (excellent).

Podcasts: History Extra, World Book Club, Books and Authors, The Essay.

Photos: Herefordshire week 139 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-08-28.

Herefordshire Week 130: Tuesday 21 – Monday 27 June 2022

HWF 2022, part 2. Heatwave. Hereford by bus. Thunderstorm.

Herefordshire Trail: Wormelow to Pontrilas: Garway Hill Panorama (West to East)
Herefordshire Trail: Wormelow to Pontrilas: Garway Hill Panorama (West to East)

On Tuesday I did another chunk of the Herefordshire Trail with the Herefordshire Walking Festival: Wormelow to Pontrilas, via Kilpeck, Garway Hill and Kentchurch.

Herefordshire Trail: Wormelow to Pontrilas: Footpath signs
Herefordshire Trail: Wormelow to Pontrilas: Footpath signs

A smashing 13 miles, although the final section through the woods featured a few too many nettles and brambles for my shorts-sporting legs.

Herefordshire Trail: Wormelow to Pontrilas: Strava Map
Herefordshire Trail: Wormelow to Pontrilas: Strava Map

Still, two scoops of ice cream at the GV Community Cafe in Pontrilas took my mind off that, and the timing was perfect to catch the 440 back to Abbey Dore. One more mile, albeit uphill, and I was home to find that Phil had spent the afternoon helping to heft hay bales onto Ray’s trailer.

Hay baling in Kiln Field
Hay baling in Kiln Field

Wednesday was due to be another HWF 2022 day walking more of the Herefordshire Trail, from Peterchurch to Eardisley. But it was 16 miles, and I’ve done the first section up to Merbach Hill with the GVWC, so I decided to opt out (again).

Instead, Phil and I took the 441 from Kerrys Gate into Hereford where we had a lovely couple of hours before it was time to catch the once-a-week bus back again, this time getting dropped off right on the doorstep.

It was another beautiful sunny day and it felt like we were on holiday. Our two hours commenced with coffee at De Koffie Pot with views of the Old Bridge and the River Wye, then meandered through library book return, Trekkit and a Cycle Shop, and The Mousetrap Cheese Shop.

The Old Bridge over the River Wye, Hereford
The Old Bridge over the River Wye, Hereford

The 441 runs every Wednesday from Longtown into Hereford, for what was market day, and, similar to the Tuesday 442 to Abergavenny, it has its regular ladies – including A from KG who introduced us. Lovely!

Before and after I did some admin – sorting out alternative travel insurance for Ladakh (turns out Exodus’s policy requires you to book with a “reputable UK tour operator” if you want to use it for other trips, which stymies me using it for Val’s treks and our Picos trip) – Trailfinders came up trumps – and uploading photos from the HWF walks so far (and doing last week’s weeknotes).

Thursday and Friday featured another two sections of the Herefordshire Trail courtesy of the HWF 2022.

Up early Thursday to drive to Edwyn Ralph, way over there in that East Herefordshire. I mean, it’s practically in The Malverns! … which also means it’s the other side of Hereford and we all know how horrendous rush hour traffic is in the City Without A Bypass. So I opted for the longer route with more reliable timing via Holme Lacy, Dormington and Yarkhill, which got me to ER just after 9.15am after an hour or so’s drive.

Only four on the walk plus the leader. After driving to Leominster we walked through the town then along section 13 of the Herefordshire Trail back to Edwyn Ralph. A bit of rain early afternoon but we soon dried off. No thunderstorms.

Strava Map: HWF 2022 / Herefordshire Trail - Leominster to Edwyn Ralph
Strava Map: HWF 2022 / Herefordshire Trail – Leominster to Edwyn Ralph

13 miles, not too hilly, one Iron Age camp, one restored railway station and one lovely couple who offered us cups of tea!

Bache Camp
Bache Camp

We finished up around 5pm, so I rescheduled ChipsAway and Family Zoom and did a speedy shop on ASDA on the way home. Main purchase: a blaster water gun, for “shooting” squirrels 🐿

Beer and crisps on the patio then two more episodes of For All Mankind.

An even earlier start on Friday – up at 6am to drop P off at Hereford train station for the journey to Witham for a long weekend. The rail strikes meant he was on the 7.50am-ish train rather than the 6.43am he’d booked on (fine by us)! Surprisingly little traffic in Hereford, no queues at all. And an easy drive on to Edwyn Ralph for the next section (section 14) of the Herefordshire Trail: Fromes Hill to Edwyn Ralph via Bishop’s Frome and Bromyard, 10 miles or so (Strava reckons 12 miles).

Strava Map: HWF 2022 / Herefordshire Trail - Fromes Hill to Edwyn Ralph
Strava Map: HWF 2022 / Herefordshire Trail – Fromes Hill to Edwyn Ralph

A cooler and cloudy day, you could feel the moisture in the air… and shortly after setting off from Fromes Hill the heavens opened and we got soaked. Once it stopped we dried off although I did squelch for the rest of the day. But all in all it was a lovely walk led by three ladies from the Bromyard Walking Club. Lots of hop fields, apple orchards and the occasional vineyard.

Old house in the woods
Old house in the woods
Farmhouse and fields
Farmhouse and fields

A late finish again (5.30pm), then home for a shower and a pot of tea and a slice of cake purchased from the Lamings Bakery in Bromyard (highly recommended!).

A bit of Glastonbury on the telly with cheese and biscuits for tea (“supper” sounds too posh for me).

Breezy start to Saturday. Good washing weather (tick). Uninteresting but productive morning: took the MX5 for a spin to pep up the battery, picked some lettuce, did some admin. Similar afternoon, with very slow progress using the Virgin Atlantic website to select seats for my flights to/from Delhi. their website killed Safari, which in turn killed my mac and I had to restart. Managed some progress in Firefox, but their “this website is causing your browser to run slowly” (or some such) message surfaced at each step. Frustrating.

More admin in the afternoon, FaceTime with DF, tea and scone – during a very loud and fierce thunderstorm (featuring hailstones) and Flickred photos from the walks on Thursday and Friday.

Rainbow after the storm
Rainbow after the storm

Pottered around the garden on Sunday morning, made apple crumbles and cleaned the cupboard doors. Go me. Dad and Jean arrived at 4.30pm bearing gorgeous sweet peas and we walked down the lane to P’s party. Plenty of fizz, canapés and chat. And the rain held off – coming down with a vengeance later in the evening.

Monday started slow and rainy. A bit of a bitty day. Flickred photos and checked India’s COVID entry requirements. Read / snoozed. Drs for Diamox (tick). Dinner at T’s then back. They’re burning the brash in Stockley Coppice.

In the greenhouse the runt of the tomato seedlings, which had begun to thrive, did the thing where it wilted in its pot. I think it must be when the roots reach the egg cartons at the bottom of the pot. Lesson learned. At least the one surviving “seedling” is now a thriving plant, with flowers just starting to appear. I’m keeping it in the greenhouse this year to see how that goes.

In the garden the deutzia is in full bloom. And, since I cut the grass etc a couple of weeks ago, we’re seeing the hedge mice more often, scurrying out to snaffle fallen peanuts, and, once the birds have gone to roost, actually climbing up the pear tree to munch directly on peanut bird feeder!!!

There are still baby birds around – there’s a blue tit that hasn’t yet learned to be wary of humans (or to fly, it seems) that visits the bird feeder and on Tuesday’s walk we came across a tiny, tiny wren hopping across one of the lanes.

Plus – Moles! Yep, mole hills have materialised in the orchard and up near the swing.

TV: The Morning Show (finished off season 2), For All Mankind (season 1), The Outlaws (series 2)

Podcasts: The History of England

Photos: Herefordshire week 130 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-06-26.

Herefordshire Week 129: Tuesday 14 – Monday 20 June 2022

Herefordshire Walking Festival, part 1.

The Olchon Horseshoe - Twmpa Panorama
The Olchon Horseshoe – Twmpa Panorama

Usual work week. Additional highlights: picked up Phil from Hereford train station on Tuesday evening after his sojourn in Scotland, Ray mowed his hay fields on Wednesday and on Thursday Richard from ChipsAway came to look at the MX5 and we arranged he’d come back next Thursday to deal with the paint chips and scuffs. That’ll give me time to give it a wash…

Hay meadow mown
Hay meadow mown

Friday was the PR day before the start of the Herefordshire Walking Festival, and featured the epic “Home to Hay on Wye Hike” with the GVWC (aka just Dave in this instance), with our official route starting from Dore Abbey.  A hot, hot day, blue skies and sunshine. Glorious walking along the length of the Golden Valley. And a very welcome cold drink from the revamped Golden Valley Stores in Peterchurch at lunchtime. 18 miles all told.

Me in a meadow, Turnastone
Me in a meadow, Turnastone
Cusop Hill and the view out over the Wye Valley
Cusop Hill and the view out over the Wye Valley

Phil met us in Hay, with a restorative pint of bitter shandy in the beer garden at The Blue Boar before we headed home for a shower, pitta pockets and The Morning Show.

A very good night’s sleep.

I was booked to do the Herefordshire Trail section 1 Ledbury to Much Marcle on Saturday, but my hip / groin muscle was feeling it a bit after Friday’s 18 miles and the forecast was for rain so I decided to bail. A good decision as the “rain” featured heavy downpours. I spent the day relaxing, doing photos in the morning and on a Bridgerton Binge in the afternoon. Pizza for dinner.

Another easy day Sunday. I washed the car and hoovered inside, then P and I walked to Ewyas Harold for eggs and, because they were there, almond croissants. Back via Dore Abbey and the Abbey Dore Court footpath, finding a headless snake en route. It was quite big, an adder I think.

Dore Abbey from the Deer Farm
Dore Abbey from the Deer Farm

Late lunch then nipped down to Peterchurch to pick up an early finisher from Dave’s GV Walk. Pottered for the rest of the afternoon.

I was booked onto another HWF walk on Monday – The Olchon Horseshoe – but yesterday’s walk to EH hadn’t been good for my groin muscles and sleepless overnight I’d decided I wasn’t going to do any of the week’s walks for fear of putting Ladakh at risk.

However, once I was up and about, I didn’t feel so bad and The Olchon Horseshoe was one of the walks I’d really, really wanted to do – so I decided to give it a go. And I am SO glad I did. It was another glorious day, a bit cooler and breezier up in the Black Mountains and I now know another great route: Little Black Hill Car Park – Road down into the Olchon Valley – Footpaths across the valley & up onto Hatterrall Ridge – Straight across Offa’s Dyke Path at the stone signpost – Down to Capel-y-Ffin – Footpaths to Pen-y-Maes and up onto the ridge – Ridge to Twmpa / Lord Hereford’s Knob – Gospel Pass – Hay Bluff – Hatterrall Ridge & Ridge back towards Black Hill – Back down the Cat’s Back to the car park. 13 miles, 3000 foot ascent.

The Olchon Horseshoe - Me at Hay Bluff
The Olchon Horseshoe – Me at Hay Bluff

The only fly in the ointment was that my back up phone ran out of battery, so my Strava Map only shows the route as far as the return turn off from Offa’s Dyke Path for the Cat’s Back. Still, I know that bit blindfold.

(Partial) Strava Map: The Olchon Horseshoe
(Partial) Strava Map: The Olchon Horseshoe

Home for a pot of tea and a scone,  and a spot of bird watching sat out on the patio with Phil.

In the garden, the lilies are out on the large pond.


We have apples and pears growing on the fruit trees and cherries and blackcurrants in the orchard. No gooseberries though. In the herb bed, veg plot and coffin planter, we have lettuce galore and broad bean pods have appeared.

Green galore: Herb bed, veg plot and coffin planter
Green galore: Herb bed, veg plot and coffin planter

TV: The Morning Show, Bridgerton (season 2)

Podcasts: History Extra, The History of England.

Photos: Herefordshire week 129 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-06-19.

Herefordshire Week 119: Tuesday 05 – Monday 11 April 2022

Social events in Stow on the Wold and Kerrys Gate, back to the Brecon Beacons to walk Corn Du, Pen y Fan and Cribyn, and iPhone upgrade.

Plus the spring flowers are OUT!


New joiner onboarding this week meant I was working Mon, Tues and Weds am. Rather nice to finish at lunchtime mid-week, although it did throw out the rest of the week – I kept thinking we were a day later than we really were.

Wednesday afternoon didn’t go well. I stuffed up my Indian Visa application (managed to submit without a photo, so I’m waiting to hear back from the email helpdesk as to what I should do…), and Facebook emailed to say that they’re deleting grey accounts – which the LED one is, and it’s the only account set up to run the LED Facebook page. Timely that I caught up with Val on Wednesday evening, although it did mean I was late to VWW.

It took far too much of Thursday morning to work out how to keep the LED Facebook page alive. I think I’ve managed it but we’ll know on 06 May. The help pages they’d linked to in the email tell you to do the wrong thing and it took me 4 hours just to add a new account as a page admin.  I hate having to use Facebook – it’s so unintuitive but, worse, it freaks me out, showing me people I’ve not been in contact with for years as friend suggestions. How?

Thursday had turned out to be a day of sunshine and showers, so, FB sorted, I put off my plan to walk around the lanes and tackled some admin:

  • Bought tickets for the Herefordshire Walking Festival to balance things out. And – stop press – RG is coming along for some of them too.
  • Bought train tickets for the St Andrews Ladies Weekend, at least for Crewe to Leuchars and back. I am now waiting for Transport for Wales to release their timetable/advance fares. The London ladies bought theirs weeks ago.
  • Did some Pembs Prep, including soliciting requests for chutney / jam / marmalade / sage.
  • Set up Phil’s old iPhone SE, replacing his old iPhone 4 (Tech Support from PG) (aka iPhone upgrade)
  • Caught up with Tom in lieu of Family Zoom.

Williams Water were with us all day, moling a new water pipe from the mains to the house. We’re hoping that’ll provide better water pressure inside the house.

Had a lovely day in Stow on the Wold with C and SL on Friday. Sunny weather made for a fab drive there/back in the MX5, a long lunch in the rear courtyard of The Queen’s Head and then a stroll around the town. It’s bigger than the High Street we drive along on our way to/from Essex. The clouds and raindrops held off until I was home.

Saturday brought two highlights.

I spent most of the day walking in the Brecon Beacons with the GVWC, doing the Corn Du – Pen y Fan – Cribyn Horseshoe from Neuadd Reservoir Car Park. Once up on the ridge, we could see the Bristol Channel shining in the distance.

Brecon Beacons Horseshoe: Corn Du, Pen y Fan & Cribyn panorama
Brecon Beacons Horseshoe: Corn Du, Pen y Fan & Cribyn panorama

Another sunny day and not as cold as the forecast (which had promised wind chill at -10C). Walk done, we stopped off for medical rehydration (aka a pint) at The Stag Inn, Talybont.

Brecon Beacons Horseshoe: Pen y Fan panorama
Brecon Beacons Horseshoe: Pen y Fan panorama

And in the evening, Phil and I headed up the lane for dinner with friends in Kerrys Gate. Really fab.

Took things easy on Sunday – slow start then Cockyard with Phil before a late lunch.

Cockyard Circuit: Longwood Cherry Tree Blossom
Cockyard Circuit: Longwood Cherry Tree Blossom

A pair of blue tits have taken a shine to the gap in our soffits on the corner of my office, evidenced by frequent tapping I can hear when I’m working. And on Saturday we’d spotted some moss hanging from the gaffer tape we’d used to patch up the gaps last summer, so we reckoned nesting was probably in progress. So Sunday afternoon’s main task was trying to close the gap by pushing chickenwire into the hole(s). Partially successful, but it did make us realise the whole section could do with replacing.

After all that excitement I was ready for a lazy afternoon in the conservatory, listening to Hayley Atwell reading Jessie Burton’s The Confession – thoroughly enjoying it.

I did manage one more job –  potted up the lemongrass. Doing well!

Spent Monday morning in the garden – cleared up windfall sticks, hauled some weed out of the pond, sowed the meadow flower seed, then did a Honda mow and a big mow. The ride on mower is sounding much better.

Honda mower
Honda mower

I did manage to put a trio of rips into my trousers though.

Cloudy and breezy afternoon, with smatterings on rain, so I adjourned to the computer.

Lots of blossom out on the fruit trees, and the Christmas Present tulips are about to flower – including the ones we’d planted out on the verge. More alliums are surfacing in the pots. Primroses looking lovely, cowslips are popping up everywhere. and the bluebells are out too. Beautiful.

Orchard primroses
Orchard primroses

(This morning, I spotted the first flowers on the clematis.)

TV: Friday Night Lights (finished season 5, farewell all you lovely people in Dillon, Texas), The Split (series 3, farewell Hannah Defoe & Co), This Farming LifeRussian Doll (not what I was expecting, but ep1 was OK) and back to Brum for the last series of Peaky Blinders….

Audiobook: The Confession – Jessie Burton (No Podcasts)

Photos: Herefordshire week 119 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-04-10.

Herefordshire Week 114: Tuesday 01 – Monday 07 March 2022

A couple of short and sweet week notes coming up. It’s been a busy fortnight with week 114 featuring three fab walks courtesy of the Crickhowell Walking Festival.

15 March 2022: Updated with some CWF photos

CWF 2022 Walk 01 - Black Mountains N-S from Gospel Pass: Pen y Fan and Cribyn - from the Rhos Dirion-Waun Fach ridge
CWF 2022 Walk 01 – Black Mountains N-S from Gospel Pass: Pen y Fan and Cribyn – from the Rhos Dirion-Waun Fach ridge
CWF 2022 Walk 01 - Black Mountains N-S from Gospel Pass: Toppled Trig Point, Pen Allt-Mawr
CWF 2022 Walk 01 – Black Mountains N-S from Gospel Pass: Toppled Trig Point, Pen Allt-Mawr
CWF 2022 Walk 01 - Black Mountains N-S from Gospel Pass: Pen Cerrig-calch descent, Skirrid (left) and Sugar Loaf (right)
CWF 2022 Walk 01 – Black Mountains N-S from Gospel Pass: Pen Cerrig-calch descent, Skirrid (left) and Sugar Loaf (right)
CWF Walk 13 Llanbedr Horseshoe: me and Steffi, at the Pen Cerrig-calch Trig Point
CWF Walk 13 Llanbedr Horseshoe: me and Steffi, at the Pen Cerrig-calch Trig Point
CWF Walk 13 Llanbedr Horseshoe: Catkins
CWF Walk 13 Llanbedr Horseshoe: Catkins
CWF Walk 13 Llanbedr Horseshoe: Last light on Sugar Loaf
CWF Walk 13 Llanbedr Horseshoe: Last light on Sugar Loaf

Admin on Tuesday morning included buying the custom cut splashback for the utility room and leaving messages with Williams Water about replacing the supply pipe from the road to the house, then a walk with Phil down to Abbey Dore and back via Thistly Field bumping into P from Kerrys Gate on our return. But the morning’s main achievement was my Bird seed feeder hack: I wired the side half of a 6pt plastic milk bottle to the base of the bird seed feeder in an attempt to catch the seed before it falls to the ground, where it attracts rattus rattus and squirrellus squirrellus.

Bird seed feeder hack
Bird seed feeder hack

Busy week at work (seems to be a common theme this spring), with VWW and Family Zoom.

Drove the MX5 down to Abergavenny on Friday morning, picking up toolstation order, groceries at Aldi and dropping off the loft collection of albums from the 1950s and 1960s – Girl, School Friend, Girl’s Crystal & Eagle for Broadleaf Books. Glad to see them given to a good home.

Annuals Montage - Girl, School Friend, Girl's Crystal & Eagle
Annuals Montage – Girl, School Friend, Girl’s Crystal & Eagle

Then to the station for the main event – collecting Steffi. Our al fresco lunch at Bean & Bread was cut short by hail, so home for an afternoon with the last of Lupin.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday were dedicated to the Crickhowell Walking Festival, with Steffi joining me for the weekend’s walks. Magic.

Here are the blurbs plus maps. Photos to follow (sometime….) now on Flickr.

Saturday: Black Mountains North to South – Gospel Pass to Crickhowell (15 ½ miles; 2,120 ft ascent; 6 hours walking)

Walk 01 Black Mountains N-S from Gospel Pass - Map
Walk 01 Black Mountains N-S from Gospel Pass – Map

A walk taking in the entire length of the Black Mountains, from Gospel Pass in the far north back to Crickhowell in the south. The walk starts with an ascent of Twmpa and continues over Rhos Dirion to Waun Fach (the highest point in the Black Mountains at 811m), then on to Pen Allt-mawr and Pen Cerrig-calch before descending into Crickhowell via Table Mountain.

Sunday: Llanbedr Horseshoe (18 ½ miles; 3,426 ft ascent; 7 ½ hours walking)

Walk 13 Llanbedr Horseshoe - round the clock - Map
Walk 13 Llanbedr Horseshoe – round the clock – Map

The Llanbedr Horseshoe is one of the great challenge walks in the Black Mountains. From the village of Llanbedr it starts with a stiff climb up to Crug Hywel (Table Mountain) and then on up to Pen Cerrig-calch. A respite from climbing for a while as the route takes us to Pen Allt-Mawr and a drop down to level moorland to Mynydd Llysiau, where we start to climb to the highest point, Waun Fach (811m). Now we head south to Pen y Gadair Fawr and eventually Crug Mawr, before descending to Llanbedr across the Grwyne Fechan river.

(It was very windy and very cold: -10C windchill).

Monday: Yomp the Three Pens (12 miles; 2,470ft ascent; 4 ¾ hours walking)

Walk 24 Yomp the Three Pens - Map
Walk 24 Yomp the Three Pens – Map

Take paths less trodden – the Three Pens with a difference! After a gentle start along the River Usk, we ascend into Cwm Mawr and then take a direct line up the Bryniog ridge, which climbs in a series of sculpted steps left by the last Ice Age to reach Pen Gloch-y-pibwr; sometimes on paths, sometimes not, but nothing extreme. Main trails to Pen Allt-mawr and Pen Cerrig-calch, then down by lovely grass sheep tracks to Table Mountain and Cwm Cumbeth. Great views and quiet trails throughout.

TV:  Lupin with Steffi (finishing off season 2),  Friday Night Lights (season 2) with Phil and This Farming Life with Steffi and Phil.

Podcasts: I’ve forgotten…

Photos: Herefordshire week 114 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-03-06.