27 April 2006: We were due at the Railwayman’s Arms later, but we would try to make the most of the fine evening with a visit to the hill fort at Nordy Bank, on the south-western flanks of Brown Clee. The sunset was interesting, with high clouds like great birds (the beer at the station was, as always, excellent)
A dry day – bright, plenty of sunshine, just a light breeze. It’s been a long time since we were up in the hills. There hasn’t been quite so much rain in the last few days, and if we stick to the forest tracks where possible… We’re back on Brown Clee, and it’s wonderful up here. Yes, there are one or two muddy places, but we can get around them. Yes, it could be clearer – but the views, especially to the west, are truly arcadian. What an enjoyable afternoon!
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Monday 30th December: like Christmas Day, the sky is blue. Unlike Christmas Day, there’s a stiff breeze – and patches of mist blowing around, not enough to be a nuisance, but adding to the enjoyment of this wonderful day on the hills. Remarkably, above the mist, the views are (at times) extensive – there are the Black Mountains – and that’s Pen y Fan, the highest point of the Brecon Beacons, some 55 miles distant. It’s unusually busy up here – we must have seen more than 20 other people. Mostly, they confine their activites to the small area between the summit and the old railway incline – elsewhere, Brown Clee is ours.
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The Met Office’s autumn starts on 1 September – summer’s over! It certainly feels like it today – there’s warm sunshine in-between the clouds, and the lightest of breezes, which is just as well, as the air’s cold. Perfect walking weather, of course, and once we’ve left behind the dog-walkers, there’s hardly anyone else up here. The views to the east are extensive, but unexciting, as we ascend gently. The views to the west, once we’re on the summit ridge, are also extensive – and much more interesting. Line after line of hills stretching out to the limit of visibility, perhaps 40-50 miles – yes, it could be clearer, but we’re not complaining…
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We stood above everyone else in the county at about 2.45 this afternoon, when we gazed out from Abdon Burf on Brown Clee, Shropshire’s highest point (1772 feet, or 540m). It’s a good place to be on an afternoon like this – positively springlike, it would be a crime to stay indoors. It’s quiet too – despite being school half-term week, we saw just four other people while we walked. Wonderful!
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Carpe diem: this kind of midwinter weather is great – dry, bright, mild (with a cool breeze, it has to be said) – a day that must be seized. It’s quiet on the eastern side, as we ascend slowly towards Boyne Water; the breeze is stiffer to the west, but the views are much better and we’re well warmed-up. From time to time the sun shines strongly through gaps in the cloud – these are truly “photoflood days”. It’s too good to come down again, but the cloud’s building and the day is fading – we’d better head back.
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It didn’t seem to be especially clear (the Met Office had said “excellent” visibility), but we could make out Pen y Fan in the Brecon Beacons – and, faintly, the mountains to its west – that’s about 60 miles. It’s good up here when the air is cool and clear. There are interesting things close at hand too – fungi in profusion!
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