Saturday, 15 November 2014

Over the hills and a great way off.....

Yesterday was a fabulous bright and glowing day.  How easy it is to spend every hour of every day working and worrying, looking after people, driving up and down the country, baking, gardening, shortening curtains, making jam, working through the endless to do list.  Sometimes you just need to walk away from it all.  Yesterday was the anniversary of my mother's death.  It was a good day to look up, to breathe, to pull on our boots, lock the door and to set off over the hills and far away.


Up the hill from our house, the Clwydians were bright in the sun.  It takes half an hour to get to the top, walking first a lane and then a rough track, gaining height with every step.


On a clear day you can see forever, across to Snowdonia and right down the Vale of Clwyd to the sea.  Yesterday was as clear as could be, with tiny puffs of riding cloud.


See what the wind does up here.  It was still and calm as we came out onto the top but the hawthorn tree is always windblown, sculpted by the wind so that it leans away from the imagined gale even on the stillest day.


We walked out along the Clwydian Way, hugging the side of hill below the ridge, looking out across the Vale.


Up here you need to be hardy, although these cattle looked rather teddy bear-like close up.


Can you get any hardier than this little holly, growing determinedly in the top of a gate post?  One day the post will rot away and there will be a tree in its place, even after the metal gate has fallen.


There are sheep up here too although I don't think they should be on our side of the fence.  As Ian approached them they skittered away, their little black ears held upright and their black tails swinging.


And all the way along the track, this view spreading out and away under the sun.  Black crows flew and sparrows fluttered in the hawthorns.


The walk changes.  We left the Clwydian Way and headed off up into Llangwyfan Forest, walking between towering pines which cling to the hillside.


At the top of the track you look across to Moel Arthur, one of a string of Iron Age hillforts along the ridge.  I love the moment when you leave the trees behind and see the bare hills spreading away along southwards towards Llangollen.


You can just see the dome of Moel Arthur, the dark heathery smudge on the summit of the hill across the valley.

Reach the little car park below Moel Arthur and then start to climb, following the Offa's Dyke Path. This path runs the length of Wales from Chepstow in the South to Prestatyn in the North.  I walked it all a few years ago and loved it all but the section which tramps across our hills is one of the best bits.  Call me biased if you like.  It is very near home!


And now we had turned back North and we were walking home, up high on Penycloddiau, with the springy turf under our feet and the views spreading out on either side: west to Snowdonia and east to the Dee Estuary and, on a day as clear and diamond bright as this, all the way to Liverpool.

Mum would have been glad to know we were out together in the sun, watching the buzzards soar, looking to this day.

29 comments:

  1. What a stunning landscape - especially on such a 'kind' day. There are vistas here, which when they open up at the turn of a road, have the power to make one gulp and take breathe such is their beauty.

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  2. What a wonderful walk filled with glorious views. We've enjoyed our visits to Wales and would love to return again. My mother died a year ago September and I made a special trip on that anniversary to be with my dear old pop...

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  3. A year already? A wonderful walk on a beautifully sunny day. It really does do the spirit good. Take care Elizabeth, I feel for you. I lost my mother just last month.

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  4. Yes indeed. I'm quite certain your dear mother would have been very glad indeed. What a stunning set of pictures you have taken to share with us, Elizabeth, and no doubt to hold onto as a keepsake of a very important day in your family's life.

    And that autumn light ...

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  5. What a glorious adventure! The ruggedness of the place adds to it's charm.

    The title of your post made me think of Richard Sharpe — "Over the hills and far away." We might call this "Sharpe's Land." I'm sure Richard would have felt perfectly at home around your pace.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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  6. What a wonderful walk - thank you for sharing - reminded me of much shorter walks we used to do on the Old Oswestry Racecourse.

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  7. What a beautiful day, and what a grand way to handle what must have been a very challenging anniversary. You live in a stunning area, no wonder you think your patch of Offa's Dyke is the best. Sometimes only escape in to the wilds will do. Love the wind-sculpted hawthorn, they are a favourite of mine, loads round here too? I thought of you yesterday as I started to battle back the weeds that were taking over my front garden and discovered a brand new nest of bindweed to deal with. Looking at your photos, part of me wishes I had gone for a cliff walk instead! Hope you get more chances to escape life's pressures by walking in the hills with Ian. Or by snuggling up in your Shepherds hut.

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  8. Wow! What a stunning walk. I am sure your mother was with you on every stap of the way and what a great way to honour the anniversary.

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  9. Beautiful weather and beautiful scenery -- days like yours can't be beat.

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  10. What beautiful walking country and so good to hear you followed your instincts and went out to enjoy the day together. Hope it put all the chasing around stuff back in perspective and recharged the batteries xx

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  11. I'm so glad you and Ian stole some time for yourselves, especially on such an anniversary and such a grand day to be out and about. It seems to have restored your batteries, perhaps your mother's gifts continues...

    It was lovely to be reminded of the walk we took together when I stayed with you - I remember that hawthorn!

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  12. Wow, what stunning scenery! And a wonderful day to recharge and remember. Such days are absolutely necessary.

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  13. Beautiful - this could rival the Charles Hawes walking blog :)

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  14. I've been reading Robert MacDonald's The Old Ways and wanting to get out and walk, walk, walk. Your gorgeous photos stir up that urge even more -- have to visit your parts one of these days.

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  15. What beauty on your doorstep Elizabeth. I'm glad that you were blessed with such glorious weather to be able to walk in such countryside with your memories and thoughts.

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  16. A poignant day for you, Elizabeth. You summed it all in your last sentence - yes, your Mum would have been so happy for you. Your pictures are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your virtual walk with each one of us as well.

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  17. You made the perfect choice for this fine day. All the everyday chores can wait. As I look at your pictures, I feel as if I am in the land of fairy tales.. Such a beautiful history filled landscape.

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  18. Lovely. You took me with you. I was thrilled to see the hill fort.

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  19. A spectacular walk, and of course bits of it I know. How many miles was your loop Elizabeth?

    I always feel the same way ... difficult days require brisk steps under a big sky x

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  20. Hmm... a competing walking blog here now...

    It's really a year ago? Anniversaries can be hard. Xxxx

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  21. This is as perfect a place as I can imagine. Rural, pathways, views. Heaven, really.

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  22. I'm sure your mum had a hand in such a glorious day with such clarity of view and was with you all the way.

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  23. It is a very special world you live in, perhaps you should remind yourself more often.

    Having just read this post and studied the beautiful photographs I must have a serious word with myself. To be copied. Soonest. Round here, of course, and with Millie rather than Beloved who can’t do this anymore. It’s high time. No excuses now!

    (see, I am doing the talking, now there’s only the doing left.)

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  24. Loved to follow you on the stunning picturestic walk on this special day.

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  25. Elizabeth, thank you so much for your comment on my blog. I am so glad for it, because it led me here. What absolutely wonderful photographs! Thank you. I look forward to browsing more here.

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  26. Beauteous. Bountiful. Thanks for the trip, it was breathtaking.

    Out here on the edge has been beautiful too, lovely sparkling weather with no snow yet.

    XO
    WWW

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  27. we too, were out together in the sun, enjoying a peaceful day at Kirstenbosch

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