Herefordshire Week 120: Tuesday 12 – Monday 18 April 2022

Picked up the Panda. Easter weekend in Pembs = Everest Trek Get Together No 16 = More puffins. And cake.

Puffin, Skomer Island
Puffin, Skomer Island

Tuesday’s main event was picking up the Panda from Ponthir after its service. Expensive. Let’s hope it’s an investment.

Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday were work, but Thursday to Tuesday were spent in Pembrokeshire with Steffi, Hazel, Dave and Gwyneth for Everest Trek Get Together No 16it’s been a while – and my birthday.

Hazel arrived Wednesday evening, and Phil and I picked her up from Hereford train station after an Aldi/Sainsbury’s shop-a-thon.

Easy drive to Steffi’s on Thursday morning. Lunch, then a walk around Minwear Woods before driving on to Newgale via Lidl (supplies) and Morrisons Petrol (163.9p/l) in H’west.

Friday dawned a grey day, so we scrapped our plans to walk north from St David’s and walked around the Peninsula from Caerfai to Whitesands instead.

Around the St David's Peninsula from Caerfai to Whitesands: View from the path
Around the St David’s Peninsula from Caerfai to Whitesands: View from the path

No dolphins in Ramsey Sound, but good coffee and cake at Porthclais and a solitary seal near St Justinian’s. And sunshine by the end. Dave and Gwyneth arrived in the evening bringing Easter treats and Indian starters and sides for the traditional Friday Night Curry.

Saturday was Skomer day! Puffins and porpoises, rabbits and seals. Smashing. Young Jim was a brilliant host for the boat trip there and back.

Puffins afloat, Skomer Island
Puffins afloat, Skomer Island
Rabbit, Skomer Island
Rabbit, Skomer Island

After a wash and brush up back at the van it was off to Nolton Haven for a delicious dinner at The Haven. Highly recommended.

Easter Sunday was another cool day – unlike the South East which was spending the Easter weekend in record breaking temperatures. Still, good weather for a stroll around the Southwood Estate, taking in some of the new footpaths towards Nolton Haven. A drizzly, damp afternoon did not deter me from heading out to walk Newgale Beach end to end before driving the gang to Mayhem for one of Maurice’s traditional slap up Sunday Dinners. We were not disappointed.

Pembrokeshire Easter Weekend: Carmen's Amazing Birthday Cake
Pembrokeshire Easter Weekend: Carmen’s Amazing Birthday Cake

Another smashing walk along the coast path on Monday: Caerfai to Newgale via Solva. Sunshine all the way, and an ice cream at the end. In the evening, Mexican and Margaritas rounded off a lovely holiday.

St David's to Newgale along the Coast Path: Porth-y-Bwch
St David’s to Newgale along the Coast Path: Porth-y-Bwch
Mexican and Margaritas to round off a lovely day
Mexican and Margaritas to round off a lovely day

Walks Round Up

TV:  Peaky Blinders (series 6), Russian Doll

Audiobook: The Confession – Jessie Burton

Podcasts: You Must Remember This

Photos: Herefordshire week 120 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-04-17.

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.

Where Next: Back to Ladakh!

Being at a loose end on a Wednesday evening proved dangerous….. I booked the last place on Exodus’s Peaks of Ladakh.

Destination: Ladakh, Northern India

When: July 2022

What: A high altitude trek plus a couple of peaks, hopefully including Vatseri Peak (5,640m) and Dzo Jongo East (6,189m)

How: Exodus’s Peaks of Ladakh trip. (You’ll have to go look it up for yourselves – Exodus asked me to remove my links to their website.)

Why: Val Parkinson’s leading it and I’ve wanted to go back to Ladakh ever since our wonderful Autumn in Ladakh in 2016, organised by the other/usual-trek Val (Pitkethly) and Rimo Expeditions.

Day 7 of our Markha Valley Trek took us from Nimaling (4700m), over the Gongmaru La / Kongmaru La (5287m) and out via Chuskyumo (4089m) to Chokdo / Chogdo (3985m) [spelling and altitudes are from my blogpost for that trip] – and I’ve realised that some of my photos from the pass feature Dzo Jongo East (6,189m).

Dzo Jongo is the big lump, sort of in the just-left-of-centre / foreground; Kang Yatse on the right.

Pema arrives at the Gongmaru La
Pema arrives at the Gongmaru La


Out/back via Delhi, acclimatisation in Leh then ten-ish days trekking and climbing.

  1. Train to London / Overnight flight to Delhi
  2. Day in Delhi
  3. Fly to Leh (3500m) / Orientation tour of Leh
  4. Sightseeing in and around Leh (3500m) – Shey & Tikse
  5. Acclimatisation in and around Leh (3500m) – Optional Jeep Ride to Khardung La (5,602m) & Acclimatisation walk Leh Valley
  6. Drive to Stok; Trek to Mankarmo (4,350m)
  7. Cross the Matho La (4,960m) to Gangpoche (4,440m)
  8. Cross the Shang La (4,950m) to Shang Phu (4,373m)
  9. Cross the Gyuncho La (4,718m) & second col (4,693m) to Chokdo village (on Markha Valley Trek), Chuskurmo (4,150m)
  10. Cross the Gongmaru La (5,236m) to Nimaling (4,854m)
  11. Trek to Dzo Jongo Base Camp; Ascend Vatseri Peak (5,640m) – optional
  12. Rest & Acclimatisation Day
  13. Climb Dzo Jongo East (6,189m)
  14. Cross the Lalung La (5,320m) to Riyul Sumdo (4,500m)
  15. Trek to Lato; Drive to Leh
  16. Fly to Delhi.
  17. Fly to London

Very Excited.

But I have just mucked up my Tourist Visa Application. Let’s hope 4 months is enough time to sort it out.

The To Do List

  • Tourist Visa – see above….
  • COVID – Proof of vaccination for entry into India – NHS COVID Pass
  • Travel Insurance – I’ll probably go with the Campbell Irvine policy offered via Exodus as that will definitely cover this trip (winter sports / climbing + altitude) plus Picos and Nepal (hopefully) later in the year.
  • Travel money – I decide how much and in what form nearer the time.
  • Travel to/from London – keeping an eye out for Advance train fares….
  • Pay the trip balance – in the diary for May.
  • Maps?
  • Remind my self how to use an ice axe.

The Done! List

Herefordshire Week 118: Tuesday 29 March – Monday 04 April 2022

Birthday Celebrations (not mine or Phil’s) and I’ve booked a trek….

Thikse Gompa
Thikse Gompa

Very cold overnights. Payback for the past couple of weeks of “summer”.

Dad called round on Tuesday morning with the first batch of surplus bricks, now neatly stacked in the quarry. Phil and I then did a three stop dash to spend the last of the free (COVID recovery) money on our Herefordshire Shop Local card – drawing blanks at our two stops in Ewyas Harold we ended up returning to Lock’s Garage for more Rowlestone Ice Cream.

No time to go out for my planned Bacton Square walk to check on the wild garlic, so planted sunflower seeds instead. So far, no sign of any seedlings.

Usual working week. No VWW – IPWWs began this week. We are alternating 🙂

Being at a loose end on a Wednesday evening proved dangerous…..

I booked the last place on Exodus’s Peaks of Ladakh Trek.

(You’ll have to go look it up for yourselves – Exodus asked me to remove my links to their website.)

Val Parkinson’s leading it and I’ve wanted to go back to Ladakh ever since our wonderful Autumn in Ladakh back in 2016, organised by the other/usual-trek Val (Pitkethly) and Rimo Expeditions.

Very excited.

Busy day Friday. The highlight was hosting the Kerrys Gate Ladies for an evening of Prosecco and nibbles to celebrate A Birthday. A lot of fun.

We’d been up early to take the Panda in for an official 8 year service, and for a less official “we bought this from a trader and we didn’t really know what to look for” health check.

Phil and I drove in convoy to Ponthir, deposited the car and log book with the very efficient front of house team, then headed in to Hereford in the MX5 for a whizz around M&S (party purchases) and to return a book to the library.

K came over mid morning with party supplies, narrowly missing dad and the second delivery from Dinedor – “concrete sets”.

After lunch I did the Bacton Square, then put up banners, blew up balloons and generally got into the party spirit.

Six bottled of prosecco / cava between 8 (including 2 non-drinkers) made for a quiet start to Saturday. Not a hangover – just that tiredness that comes from missing out on a deep sleep.

The Cockyard Circuit with K&K followed by a late lunchtime fry up from Phil sorted that out.

Sometimes you just need a fry up.....
Sometimes you just need a fry up…..

Phil and I did a new route for a Sunday morning walk: Abbey Dore – Deer Field – Ewyas Harold Common – Cott Farm – Dulas Court – Old Trout Inn – Mill Lane – Cwm Hill – Abbey Dore.

Plenty of blackthorn blossom out:

Blackthorn in bloom
Blackthorn in bloom

Lunch, then an afternoon of Ladakh Trek Prep. I spent a happy few hours sorting out kit hire from Expedition Kit Hire (who were the highly recommended source of hired kit for my Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta Pass – Island Peak trip in 2019) and prepping my Trek Prep Spreadsheet – and a less happy few hours getting to grips with my application for an Indian Visa. The e-Tourist Visa we’d got last time isn’t available.

Monday, unusually, was a work day. New joiner onboarding. But we did get the ride on mower back, bearings repaired under warranty. Top job, Ron Smith!

TV: My Brilliant Friend (finished season 3), Friday Night Lights (started season 5), The Levelling (film) Mysteries of the Bayeux Tapestry (minus headache) and The Normans.

Podcasts: History Extra, The Essay, The History of England.

Photos: Herefordshire week 118 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-04-03.