Posts Tagged outdoors

The Wye Valley

I am aware of the fact that it is New Years Day for anyone wondering why I am popping this post on today. Thing is, I am back to work tomorrow then away for the weekend so it’s now or never really!

As mentioned before, this post is moving on through the holiday where I took a jaunt into the Wye Valley. It was a lovely drive in as you can see below with some autumnal colour in the trees and this drive is famous for being the only place I have seen that has a warning sign making me aware of the fact that the trees are so close to the road that the canopy changes in height during wet weather. If it wasn’t on the main road and I wasn’t in traffic, I would have stopped and taken a snap…can’t think there are many of those about.

The drive into the valley...mind that mad canopy everyone!

The drive into the valley…mind that mad canopy everyone!

Anyway, nerdiness sign spotting aside, it was a fine view both sides as you can see, just such a shame I had to concentrate on the road and traffic! This area as a whole is actually designated as an AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty); apparently this extends to the village, but I couldn’t quite see that myself.

The Wye River

The Wye River

The aim of my journey was to get to Tintern Abbey (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintern) on the banks of the Wye River. If you have clicked the link and looked through the Wikipedia entry, you can skip this next bit, but for those who haven’t, it’s a lovely ruin of an Abbey dating from the 12th century.

My first task was to find where the heck the path was to hike up to “The Devils Pulpit” (jarring chord). I found it eventually and realised that most of the other visitors had as well as it was well worn and I nearly broke my ankles in some of the ruts and climbing over the worn rocks near the top. I’ve climbed a volcano and a couple of mountains and this was the hardest climb I’ve done for a while…I was panting good and proper by the end! Anyway, here it is, the view from “The Devil’s Pulpit” (jarring chord). Come to think of it, I did take the right track didn’t I?!

I never did find The Devil up here

I never did find The Devil up here but I could see my bright red car (you might be able to as well, it’s just right of the third house on the river bend, in a long lay-by)

Legend has is that the Devil himself sat here overlooking the Abbey and tried to coax the monks from there. He must have given up on the village some time back, as it was very quiet when I got there. That is until a group of nigh-on a dozen walkers desecended on the look-out for their lunch break, quite rudely breaking the silence! I asked a passing dog walker if there were any other viewpoints to which he replied yes and directed me to, so I could at least get my breath back in peace!

Once I had recovered and the breeze had cooled me sufficiently, I headed back down the hill which was arguably more awkward than the climb up, thanks to gravity. I got there in one piece, had a quick lunch stop in the cafe next door and then paid my few pounds to tour the Abbey.

A view from inside the Abbey

A view from inside the Abbey

Don’t ask where the pictures are of, I just snapped away at the most attractive bits in between the visiting school parties. I did like that when you paid, you could walk all over the grounds though, so I got some good shots I thought all in all.

A further view inside; a hall of some kind?

A further view inside; a hall of some kind?

This was my parting picture as the sun started to disappear behind the side of the valley and fully illuminated the entire ruin. I then wandered back to my car and stopped in at Lidls near Hereford for my evening meal 🙂

It struck me as very thoughtful of the cows to arrange themselves so nicely!

It struck me as very thoughtful of the cows to arrange themselves so nicely!

Overall a lovely day, if a little exhausting in the first instance. However, little did I know that more pain was to come when I decided to go to the Black Mountains and didn’t quite envisage the length of the route all that well because I kind of took the wrong map…but that’ll be the next post.

See you soon! Oh, and Happy New Year.

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More holiday pictures

Hello All!

Yes, yes, yes, I know. It’s been a long while since I have posted anything and I apologise for that but in between madness at work, overnight stays in Bridgend for work and then delivering the course I learnt on the overnight stays to people with very little IT knowledge, it’s been a bit busy! Mind you, good things come to those who wait, I have a lot of time off over Christmas so I am spending time in the local area and will be staying at home as my Dad is cooking an awful lot of super meals over the festive period. I suspect help may be required.

I shall continue with the theme I started of late, being my break near Abergavenny. I had a whole load of castle pictures on the camera card, but I figured seeing I put one in already, I should do something a little different. In this load, there a bit more history, but of a more recent nature, as the pictures are from the Blaenavon World Heritage Site (www.visitblaenavon.co.uk) near Monmouth. This is the seat of coal mining in South Wales and was actually very interesting, both from the structures around and the information given. The latter I could have had more of, but it appears that off-season no-one was really encouraged to go…in fact, as I sat sheltering from the rain having a coffee in a cafe up from the closed visitor centre, I texted a friend saying that it all looked a little like a third world town, but pebble-dashed. Oooh, how I hate pebble dash.

Anyway, moving on, the first picture of a smelting area; at the right you can see the original workers cottages too…the oven (I think) is a pretty imposing structure when you figure out the scale isn’t it?

Blaenavon World Heritage site

Blaenavon World Heritage site

Secondly, much to the annoyance of my Dad who wanted to visit it too, I went the short distance up the road to Big Pit which is exactly what is says it is…a big pit. Well, a coal mine to be precise. I undertook a tour which involved going underground just as the miners did, but to do a lot less I assure you, although there was a good mile of walking I am told.

Interestingly and unexpectedly, we had to take off everything that would potentially create a spark down there, even down to my automatic watch! Fascinating stuff with all the original braces and the constant sound of running water (those with a weak bladder beware) but no pictures I’m afraid, as the flash could have set off gases when I was down there…maybe. It all seemed a bit “belt and braces” to me. When I emerged, the rain had stopped, so I could get a good shot of the lifting/winding gear with a clearish sky….

Winding gear at Big Pit

Winding gear at Big Pit

Lastly, I left slowly over the hill back towards my cottage. However, as has been proved by many a holiday in the past, I find it very difficult to go past a view such as the one following, this is the Heads of the Valley road towards the Black Mountains, without taking a few snaps. This one turned out just right with no filters or anything, just the dusk sunlight. Nice.

The view from Big Pit across to The Black Mountains

The view from Big Pit across to The Black Mountains

Anyway, that’s me out of posting breath for now. I suspect that it’ll either be close to or past Christmas next time I upload a post..I haven’t decided what of yet. In this case, I will take the opportunity to send a Happy Christmas greeting to you all, speak soon!

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