Sunday, 14 December 2008

Didn't do em any good

Its the old Wrexham joke as perpetrated by the misguided Mr Copeland for many years and with the amount of ice about there was a bit of a risk it wasnt going to do us any good either. I'm liking the whole proximity of the Wales thing now. I've discovered that I can hit a bunch of welsh hills in about 40 minutes from home, even with the usual five minutes 'oh all the roads join up anyway' detour. As this is a nostalgic walk off the back of Penycae near Ruabon I think it only appropriate to include some non contemporary Welsh muso links.

I do like the regional accent singing

The nostalgia part comes from the fact that my best man is from Penycae and as a consequence I'd been a couple of times. My only real recollection of the area is standing in the middle of a local river in my underwear building a damn...only to discover at 3 0'clock that it was the route home for a bunch of schoolkids who decided to pelt us with rocks, still nostalgia has good and bad bits.

There is another theme starting within these walks and thats the' starting slightly later than planned' theme. Again Shads a bit delayed and this weeks excuse 'I had to go to a garage in Congleton for 8.30am Sunday morning'......Shad, Congleton doesn't wake up till Tuesday. We'd also arranged to meet head of the chefs partying guild Douglas and his son at the start point, and he is a top chap but absolutely bloody useless at directions even with a TomTom. So half an hour late we set off, I know no one who has been on a wander this year will believe this, BUT these walks are timed to the last minute so any delay at one end risks absolute darkness at the other end.

All kitted and off up Ruabon Mountain and then climb down to Offas' Dyke, back via the Worlds End and hopefully a sandwich and a pint. I'm armed to the teeth today, GPS, Walking World routes, real map, Compass, Country Walking Magazine Map and a local Welshboy and I borrowed top digital SLR camera for even better pics...what could possibly go wrong. The bit where we are trudging across the moors 50 minutes later and Doug says 'this is tough going' was a bit of a clue to our 'offtrackness'. Fortunately we'd spotted old people earlier and with a bit of guesswork we were able to find the nice clear path they had followed up.


Even Shad made it to the top without too much huffing and puffing and as for Callum, son of Doug, he could possibly have sprinted the whole way and done starjumps for fun. Callums 11 and unbelievably didn't moan once all the way round, I particularly like the bit where he took the P out of Dougs fluffy cream coloured fleece and then added 'at least it goes with your pink top dad'! top kid. At this point I should really be able to add a top picture of said fleece, but numpty that I am I'd forgotten to switch of the fancy dan camera when I'd charged it last night. It ran out of juice just before we got to the really good bit...doh.

Two brilliant quotes from Shad on the way up

'This cold weathers not good, it can give you icy shards on your lungs'. What do I know about body temperature and ice? if Shad says so then its fine by me.

And then as we heard the Langollen train from below, Shad 'I'm a shareholder in the Langollen ?railways'.  of course why wouldnt he be?  It turns out this is absolutely true as well. He can get free rides every day except bank holidays and Thomas Tank specials. 

We followed the old folks of the top and then I'm tempted to say we gave them the slip, but the whole slip thing came back to haunt me on the way down. The climb down to Offas' Dyke is spectacular, steep and in the ice pretty lethal. I had a bit of a tumble at the top of a waterfall with a 20ft drop onto rocks, fortunatley I slipped up and not down and but for wet legs- no harm done. I've been very very careful ever since.

Not the waterfall I didnt fall off - phonepic

And then on to the funniest part of the walk, well funny for blokes who like to laugh at their pals trials and tribulations. This is one of the men from Mars, women from Venus things. 

Rule for a bloke, if your mate has an accident that isn't terminal or otherwise makes a pillock of himself then its ok to laugh as much as you like and then take the piss. 

Womens sympathy and then laugh over a coffee 3 years later. 

Shads now at the back as we pass people walking down the track with a couple of dogs each, all very friendly until the last one just went for Shad and bit his leg....what's not funny?

Anyway its his own fault for letting his Thinsulate hat turn into a Blackadder size hat. Or as Sue at work said 'probably smelled the sheep on you'.

Fake indigenous artefact - Dodgerdoo

The valley opened up into the most spectacular vista (sorry about the camera battery) with bright warm sunshine and we had a splendid 20 minutes warm ridgewalking. Back onto the top near Worlds End and the crash site of a German bomber (apologies again no pics) and then a slip slidy icy downhill back to the village.

Well yet again it would have been if only we hadn't lost the path completely, or it hadn't just completely disappeared. Our only option at this point was to clamber down into a dead valley, cross the stream at the bottom and then clamber back up the other side to a road we could just about see at the top. 11 year olds do sometimes say just the right things at the right time, we're a bit off track and Callum comes out with 'this is great, I love adventures'. Me too.....until the tree branch I was holding snapped and I ended up to my knees in the stream, it reminded me of the old days in Penycae but luckily I was wearing more than my underwear this time.

We ended the day by walking down a stream back towards the village having put in a good 12 mile walk, except for Callum who probably covered 15 miles with all the running, sliding and star jumps. Shame the chippa was shut.

and finally a Welsh Mountain joke

An Englishman travelling on a very dark night in the Welsh mountains heard a cry for help from someone who had fallen into a ravine near the road.

"Who is it?" he replied cautiously, fearing a trap.

"Dafydd ap Gwilym ap Rhys AP Gruffydd ap Ifan ap Jenkyn" came the response.

"Well", rejoined the Englishman, "if there's half a dozen of you down there you can jolly well pull eachother out."

STILL TIME TO ENTER TOP TENS - see below (Craig)

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