Monday, June 23, 2008

Wet, windy, wonderful Wales

We spent this last weekend camping in Wales near Builth Wells, Powys. P and I last ventured to Wales years back, way before kiddies were in our lives, so it was lovely to be back. This time we ventured futher into Wales and witnessed the fabulous scenery all around us (and the never ending "baaing" of sheep). Anyway, our reason for visiting Wales? Katie went to stay with her friend who moved to the area around Christmas time. The family live in a lovely, peaceful part of the world, back to nature and (more-or-less) away from civilisation as most of us know it.

After dropping Katie off, we headed for the campsite through a never ending stream of twisty turning, high, low roads to the campsite (it was only about 16 miles "down" the road but it felt much further). We're pretty novice at the camping lark and were pretty stunned (as we've been on the last two occasions) by how much stuff we needed to take. The weather was fabulous when we arrived, allowing us to leisurely set up our two small tents (one for P and one for Ben with me) and our newly acquired gazebo to give us some protection when sitting and cooking. I chose Fforest Fields over another local site because it mentioned the lovely walks, streams and views around it for members to wander through and enjoy. Ben is absolutely mad on wading through water so I thought it would be right up his street.
View close to our pitch.

Our first wanderings were not a disappointment. We found streams hidden in the hillsides to explore, mini waterfalls and, a bonus for Ben, remains of an animal skull to explore and ponder over. The views from (almost) the top of the hill were breathtaking. Once back down to earth P and I studied the clouds over a cuppa. Very interesting as we had been learning about clouds and weather this last week. The clouds hanging over us were typical "fair weather clouds that also mean a change in weather within 24 hours". How right they were!
Climbing over fallen trees and following the stream up the hill.

We didn't mind the rain overnight. It has a lovely sound that kind of lulls you to sleep (although at the back of your mind you can't help thinking "this had better clear up by tomorrow"). The rain continued in the morning and as the day moved on the wind began to pick up too. We headed for the Dan-yr-Ogof showcaves and had a brilliant day exploring the three caves and the various other attractions at the site. Reading about the dinosaurs and seeing an Iron Age camp took away the pain of climbing the steep hill to the different caves. Well worth a visit.

It took an age to get back to camp along the roads, but such beautiful scenery made up for it. When we returned we were relieved to see our gazebo was still standing after the strong winds of the day! We were even able to cook on the bbq, under cover of course. Overnight the wind picked up big time. Ben and I were woken about midnight and endured the roar of the wind as it blew through the tree covered hills closer and closer towards us. The huge gusts seems to last an age, with, strangely, a lull of about 15 mins before it would continue. It was pretty creepy; the tent was being battered, but stood its ground! Poor P was on his own in his tent which took the full brunt of each gust near-on collapsing it each time. I knew the gazebo wasn't going to survive and at 2 ish I peeped out during a lull to see the damage. It was still tightly held down but one of the posts had completely buckled. P and I decided to dismantle it before anymore damage was done. It's amazing how quickly one can disassemble something when you really want to get it over and done with and get back to bed!

The wind continued into the Sunday and we moved P's tent so that it didn't get so much abuse! We went for a delicious Sunday lunch at a local pub and then discovered a fabulous waterfall called "Break-its-Neck" fall. We all had lots of fun splashing through the water to the fall, climbing up some of the rocks and having a really great time. Back to camp for another bbq with the wind at a reasonable speed and the weather much improved. We went for our final walk through all the pine trees on the hillside to witness another view point of the campsite.
More water play
"Break-its-neck" waterfall
Pine covered hills

Needless to say, the weather was superb on the Monday. We picked Katie up about lunch time and had a sticky 7 1/2 hour journey home (thanks to two accidents on the M6 and a three hour drive through Birmingham). Katie had a brilliant time with her friend and even managed to go hacking on the Saturday between rain showers.

A big thank you to D, A, Ch, J and A.


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At 1:48 am, Blogger stefndawniy said...

that sounds just idyllic
nice to find somebody else who doesn't mind camping in the rain :-)

At 1:49 am, Blogger stefndawniy said...

that sounds just idyllic
nice to find somebody else who doesn't mind camping in the rain :-)

At 5:30 pm, Blogger Elaine, Ellies Treasures said...

It really was idyllic. Didn't mind the rain, but I didn't like the wind too much, it can be so destructive. Elle

At 11:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I feel old :-(

I remember visiting the caves when a bunch of us stayed somewhere round there after Uni finals, too many years ago (21 to be precise).

don't mind rain, nor wind too much in a suitable tent. Did the same to a Gazebo a couple of years ago in Devon. So well guyed down that all the four poles just buckled and it sort of sat down on it's knees. Managed to straighten them though.


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