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.