During my final two days of walking The Ridgeway National Trail (between Watlington and Ivinghoe Beacon), I encountered a number of poems affixed to individual trees, with a multi-coloured textile, almost like a scarf, wrapped around the trunk.
I don’t yet know what the significance of this is or how long they’ve been there. Given the good state of colour in the weaved work, I’d assume it’s relatively new.
An entire month had passed since my previous outing (Days 2 and 3) along this National Trail. August had been a fairly busy month and for a number of reasons (mostly, walking-related). I was also fearful of heading out at a time when the majority of school kids and working parents were likely to be outside… Overpopulating spaces, crying and congesting public transport systems.
In the first week of September, I decided that the time was right for my return to complete my final two days of walking The Ridgeway. Everything had been planned out in advance and it began with a drive to Watlington.
All the way back in December 2017, I led a group walk in the Black Mountains that I soon grew to regret. One weekend after snow had fallen heavily across the region, I found the mountain tops were covered and we were struggling through depths up to our knees for much of our day. That’s without mentioning the rain waiting for us before we had a chance to put our boots on and the gale-force winds arriving from the east.
I’d thought about repeating the same route but have always held reservations over the small car park at Black Hill. So, for this outing, I decided to park elsewhere and lead a longer route along different paths.
As far as the Brecon Beacons are concerned, I’ve explored the main ‘Central’ peaks (Pen Y Fan and co.) several times. I’ve also hiked several times around the eastern end of the National Park, where its boundary laps on to the Black Mountains range.
This walk would be my first experience of hiking in the western Beacons. I was hardly going to turn down an opportunity to climb to the highest point of The Black Mountain(Y Mynydd Du).