Monday, 5 March 2012
Following the successful trek in Cumbria I revisited the northern Pennines en route to Sheffield and then Coventry and made the decision to retrace my steps at leisure en route to Scotland in late March.
An enjoyable weekend in Bristol included a walk through the Avon valley spotting a pair of deer and admiring a substantial heronry with a dozen or more pairs of the large birds roosting high in the bankside oaks. A pedal in to Bristol gave me a chance to enjoy the old docks and wharves which have been substantially improved and redeveloped over the 22 years since I left for a new life in Wales. A whizz round the mountain bike trail at Ashton Court was my first proper foray on a mountain bike since December which I found exhilarating and reassuring. We also found time to diagnose a broken rear spring as the cause of much rattling beneath the van - as the fridge had also expired I returned to Coventry to pick up a new fridge and an underslung waste tank from the excellent CAK tanks and a spare spring from home.
Raglan Castle provided an interesting diversion en route to Brecon although the flat light didn't show off the spectacular ruins to their best.
Whilst hanging out in the Beacons the second spring also gave up the ghost - considering the terrain and mileage covered fully laden in Oz this was not unexpected and the last renewal had been 4 years and 75,000 miles ago. Thus I decided to entrust their replacement with the main dealer in Swansea before heading north to mid Wales for a very productive scaffold training session at Nant Rhys bothy. A mix of Spring like weather prevailed and the two dozen of us learnt a lot which should hold us in good stead for the planned re roofing in October.
Our Spring meeting went well but a planned motor rally on the Sunday required most people to make an early start to avoid the race so the traditional Saturday night celebrations were curtailed somewhat.
With a departure planned for Monday I decided to wander down to enjoy the spectacle before returning to the now deserted building for a tidy up before dozing in front of the stove as a blizzard and thunderstorm disturbed the otherwise silent location. Surprisingly given the remote location a phone signal was available so a few arrangements for the imminent fortnight in Devon were made before I retreated to the van for the night. The presence of a nearby wind farm and the mobile signal caused me to reflect on how different life at this old farm would have been when it was a family home and how important the work of the MBA is in ensuring that these abandoned properties do at least remain as welcome refuges for lovers of the few remaining relatively wild places of Britain.
Pictures at this link and a slideshow looking back to South Australia a year ago (just to convince me it wasn't all a dream!).