This was the most recent walk I’ve led for Brunel Walking Group. It may even be the last one I lead for 2018. I reckon I’ve now done six or seven this year.
For me personally, this was a return to the coastal side of northern Exmoor that I’d not seen for a couple of years. I didn’t fancy driving down and having to fare the expense of fuel alone. So, I decided to take the group and without having recently pre-walked the route!
This walk began near the edge of the Mendip escarpment and barely a mile south of the village of Priddy. I set off from the parking area above Deerleap and Cook’s Field Nature Reserve, with the intention of walking west-north-west to Draycott and back.
In the six-years that I’ve been heading outdoors on a regular basis, I’ve yet to experience what’s known as a true cloud inversion, where you find yourself (often situated on a high point) stationed above the level of cloud; masking the landscape beneath it.
I imagine this is easier to experience in mountain environments, given the greater elevation above sea level. But, where I live in North Somerset, there aren’t many mountains and so, without being a meteorologist, I wouldn’t known when or where to search for this experience while staying close to home.
Pen Y Fan, as you may well know, is the highest mountain in the southern half of the UK. It resides within the central Brecon Beacons of South Wales and is a popular place for all sorts of people, with a car park situated around 400m beneath the summit in terms of elevation.
I don’t often venture here, for the likely possibility that it is going to be bust. Perhaps not ‘Snowdon busy’ but, still. In fact, I’d not been to this particular mountain top for almost two whole years.
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.
Forty-eight hours earlier, we’d conquered Tryfan and the Glyderau. A day of scrambling and hiking across less-familiar terrain. It’s almost as if that was in preparation for our final adventure in North Wales.
This was our last full day, ahead of our final night and then, heading home on the Wednesday. We drove in to Snowdonia for the second time in three days. We were destined to climb Snowdon. Not only that, we would journey there along the perilous knife-edge ridge of Crib Goch!