Walking beneath Mountain’s of cloud

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Left the house 8 45am to be greeted by a brisk wind and the BBC pay deal in my head. I do not watch much television maybe once a week. I listen to the radio. BBC radio 4 and BBC radio 3, sometimes classic FM. During the football season I listen to Radio 5 Life. Used to love listening to Danny Baker but since he has been on reality TV he is not the same.

I believe that male and female members of the BBC. Who are paid through the TV licensers. Are a disgrace, not an ounce of talent among any of them. The amount that they are being paid (not earn they would not know what real work is like) Is immoral and obscene, an insult to the working class.

I noticed as I walk sheep and lambs bleat loudly. To warn others that a human is coming through. Sky Larks scatter as I go past. Crows squawk, Woodpeckers screech, blackbird cries and the soft sensitive wood pigeons flutter and bluster away. Only cows, bulls, wild ponies remain. When the Buzzard and Red kite see me they glide and circle above me.

I stop and sit on a jutting rock and think on the other matter that lies heavy in me. Europe. I was born in Wales and I class myself as European. I voted to remain in Europe. I am tired of the political media saying. Britain voted  to leave Europe. Never mention 48% voted to remain!!!!!

Another WAR film to distract us from BBC wages and UK leaving Europe. The film is called “Dunkirk”. As if we need another film about the man who turned the gun on his own British citizens in Ton Y Pandy. The same man who was responsible for Ireland being torn apart. The man who prevented his dentist from being conscripted into 2nd WW because he was afraid. Yet my grandfather who was a lorry driver, married with four children. Was sent to the black hole of Burma. Coughed up malaria and died of lung cancer way before his time. Winston Churchill was a horrid little man. He was one of the first opportunist MP’s. Used other people’s rhetoric and called the bullshit his own. Who drank too much and when he came off alcohol, he called it the black dog. He was war mongerer. He knew about the concentration camps and looked the other way. Indifference is a cowardly act. He is now on the back of a five-pound note for WHY!!!  A film adapted from Huxley’s book “The Island” now that would be a great film!!!!

The world is not a colour or a religion. We do not own the world we are all passing through. Peace is not a dirty word which should be swept under the carpet. While others sit in offices thousands of miles away. Hand on a joy stick, eyes on the screen to guide the drone.  To destroy lives and homes. Showing that distance can create indifference.

As I walk,  I look up to the mountain of clouds. They appear beautiful to me.

Reading Poetry at my Kitchen Table

 

Dear reader,

For the past four years, on my kitchen table sits a collection of poems by past and present poets called “Poems for the Day”  I read this collection daily. This mornings poem was John Clare’s poem “I Am” John Clare’s poetry describes nature in a truly beautiful way.  Today Thursday 13th July happens to be John Clare’s birth day.

Since January this year. I have branched out to reading other poets as well as “Poems for the day” Some of the poets I have mentioned here, have performed at the open mic that I run for the past 3 years called. “Poetry Open Mic at the Capel”

Mary Oliver’s collection called “A Thousand Mornings” By Penguin books. A wonderful collection of her thoughts in poetry. Her poem “Goodbye Fox” Stayed with me all day. Mary Oliver poetry is so serene, liken to a river on a summer’s day. This collection flowed into my soul.

I bought “Words from the Garden” By Summersdale publishers.  In a second-hand shop in Penarth. It is a flowery collection of words from writers of many genres. Charlotte Bronte,  Henri Frederic Amiel, Edward Thomas, Joyce Kilmer, Christina Rossetti, Victor Hugo and many others. This collection took me from my wild wilderness walks, to cultivation in words.

“The Aspirations of Poverty”  By Poet and playwright Patrick Jones. Published by Red Poets. I have seen Patrick read and perform many times. He is a very passionate writer and performer. His plays are very good too. This collection of  poetry  is full of political compassion for the under dog.  Words of reality explode in your face, that make you sit up and think. To the tender poem “Shoes Beneath the hospital Bed” No matter how many times I have read this poem it still makes me cry.

 Writer and poet Alun Lewis. “Ha! Ha! Among the Trumpets” By George Allen and Unwin Ltd. This collection was published in 1945.  This collection gave me an insight into my grandfather.  Who was in the same regiment as Alun Lewis and was in Burma the same time. The poem “Embarkation” Gave me an insight of what my grandfather might have seen and how he might have felt. This beautiful collection I can pick up at any time and be transported into  his Aberdare, India and Burma. I really enjoy Alun Lewis’s writing from his book “Morlais” to all his poetry. 

Scottish poet and sailor, Ian Stephen collection called “Maritime” By Saraband. Ian Stephen came to me, from wonderful nature writer Robert MacFarlane. Ian’s poetry gave me back my nautical ancestors. With his raw, broken, sea saw words. I liked most of his poetry but “Scarp Island” stayed with me the longest.

 Claire Williamson “Split Ends” By  Eyewear Aviator. I have heard Claire read many times. “Split Ends” Was so profoundly beautiful, words so tender. I enjoyed all Claire’s poems in “Split Ends” but the poem “The Reading Seat” Made me cry and is still with me a week later.

My old stomping ground Penarth

 

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Dear reader,

My mother’s family were old Penarthians  But I grew up and went to school in Ely, Cardiff. Later I moved to Penarth in the days when I could burn the candle at both ends.

Parked the car in the shade at Cosmeston lakes. The car park was fill with TV crews from the program “Casualty”  I am so glad that I do not watch TV, prefer the radio instead. Weather was proper British summer, some sun shine with a keen wind. Good walking weather. Walked onto the duck boards past the man-made lake that was once a quarry and when I was young and foolish I used to swim in.

 

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Through a small glade found these two delightful squirrels.

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Up the very wide path and cycling track. Where I heard the laughter and giggling voices of school children. They were having  lessons about the natural world.

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Over a grass meadow which led to Cogan woods.

My od stomping ground Penarth 007.jpg My great-grandfather Mowie Cheeseman was a bookies runner in Cogan.

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Cooling shade, so I forest bathed and bird sound floated off the trees.

My od stomping ground Penarth 010.jpg Making my way out of Cosmeston to the dangerous busy, Lavenock road. Up Ford road, along this B road in the field to my left. I saw my first ever Hare in 1991. I have never seen a Hare since. Under the old Cardiff to St Mary’s Well Bay Railway line. Where I spent many a happy time as a child in the 1960’s.

My od stomping ground Penarth 012 Past Lavenock nature reserve toward where Marconi made his first radio signal.

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To Lavenock point. Weather had warmed up a lot but was not as hot as last week, thank goodness. Flat Holm in the distance.

My od stomping ground Penarth 019.jpg I use to cycle this path in the 80’s not allowed now. They now call this walk Vale Trails and Welsh Coastal path.

Sat outside Cosmeston Lake Cafe where I met a bloke who knew my father’s family from Ely.My od stomping ground Penarth 025.jpg Walked just over 4 miles but the beauty of this walk is you can lengthen the walk. But most of all I used to love walking this walk with my dear friend now sister in law Brenda. I remember the time we picked cherries and blackberries.

 

 

9 mile walk on Wednesday June 21st (midsummer’s eve)

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Dear Reader,

For the past 6 days the weather in South East Wales has been hot very hot. Closed all the blinds in my house, so my house was cool like a fridge. But I needed to be out walking, to train for Hadrian’s wall walk.

18 10pm I left my house wearing walking shorts, a light summer top and my new leather boots. Smothered in sun cream carrying water, apple and a man’s handkerchief. I prefer a man size handkerchief to tissues and sometimes a small flannel is good too.

I am a true Celt, Welsh, Cornish and Irish what a mixture. I can cry, laugh, sing in one hour very passionate person. I am also Celt in colour  and I do not like heat!!!!

On to my common. I hear the earth as it cries for water. large empty sky except for a Sparrow hawk. Down onto the Valley floor, to a canopy of light and shade.

Mosquitoes are out and the midges and I am easy prey. Man size handkerchief is now my protection. As I whip myself back and fore. Dog walkers look puzzled as I sail past. Like an over zealous, religious fanatic, who is using flagellation for punishment. But I am a Celtic pagan who wants to witness the sunset on the longest day. Instead I am a gourmet meal for these blinking flies.

I can not stand still for to long to take photos. I can just about unscrew my water bottle, quickly take sip and carry on moving and waving my white hankie. Up the side of Deri mountain and I hear the Curlew this calms my nerves.  I am at the top pf my wild wilderness. Look towards Bedlinog. I have recently found out that a Welsh Bard named Edward Richard Ingram lived in Bedlinog. This Bard had won the Bardic chair 4 times.

I am now hot and worn out, from waving my arms about and my legs are covered in red prickly  heat and bites. Hair stuck up I look like a woman possessed but the hazy sky and sun gave me hope to carry on.

Halfway round, I now know it was stupid of me to go out walking in this heat but it is 8 48pm in the evening and it is like midday.

 

Past St Gwladys cross and where Bards and sages once walked. I think on religion I was raised and schooled a Catholic. Today I am of no faith. I really think religion should not be taught in school. Religion should be replaced by debate and philosophy. To me religion is a personal thing and should remain at home.

Back to the here and now I sigh to the noise of off-road bikes and think on peace. I am a humanist I believe in peace instead of war. What is wrong with sitting round a table with your enemy discussing peace not just deserts.  I do not like the word anti either I like pro more. So much religious rhetoric and hate has been used as a weapon for war for century’s and ask myself how come no one waged a war of peace. I would like to join a pro peace army. Spreading love, showing empathy and compassion, instilling fairness and reminders of.  It is everyone’s world no one owns it we are all passing through.

 

Neither fire nor wind, birth nor death. Can erase our good deeds.

 

We are all passing through

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Dear Reader,

I awoke to the sound of a splendid dawn chorus. looked out my bedroom window,  saw Venus, a finger nail moon and a golden horizon. 5 09am I quickly dressed, grabbed an apple and opened the door to nature. Walked to my open space beauty and found a new calf with its Mam.

The scent of the fresh morning dew filled my senses and the liquid sound of the sky lark filled my soul.

Sky was baby blue not a cloud to be seen. Sun warmed my back and cast my shadow before me. Walked onto the old Roman road and where the wild ponies and horses were and this beauty came to greeted me.

 

In the distance the cuckoo cuckoos, rabbits were scurrying about and the midges were out and I was their breakfast. Dear reader, in this glorious weather I cannot venture out after 11am because of my Celtic skin and the midges. Yet at 5 50am the midges were up before me and the sun was very warm.

Onto the old Deri road, I leave the song of the skylark behind. To  be greeted by the song of the blackbird, robin and thrush and cooing from nervous wood-pigeons. Spied a long-tail tit, watched a buzzard swoop to a nose of something below.

Reeds glinting in a golden halo and silver threads of grasses.

In the field opposite I saw an old railway carriage gone to rack and ruin. It reminded me of the wonderful writer on nature Roger Deakin. In his book “Wildwood A Journey through Trees” He wrote a lovely piece on a railway carriage that he owned and restored, at Walnut Tree Farm. Sadly Roger Deakin past away in 2006.

 

Looked back to where I walked earlier.

Into a dappled lane where I lane bathed, it was so refreshing. Breathed in the scent of the dog rose and the beautiful colour of the foxglove made me smile.

  

Down past the dam and the echo call of the cuckoo. I do like reflections.

   

To my secret mystical, misty with cobwebs meadow. On my walk this morning I walked through many cobwebs but this was something else.

I stopped to watch cream and lilac butterflies fly by. The colour and the perfume of this beautiful place never ceases to amaze me and always takes my breath away. Especially the mash orchid and the red grasses.

  

I think on death and how I would like my ashes scattered in this glorious meadow. When I am out with nature I am more aware that we are only passing through, we are not rooted like trees, we are passing through. With this in mind you become more compassionate towards others and empathy shines from your soul. Try and make your intentions good ones, never judge others until you are willing to look at yourself first and with deluded people keep your own council.

     

Up above Caradoc bridge and where I found a lamb woken my me.

    

I say to the lamb.Please do not be alarmed I am only passing through.

The walk I did this morning I will be leading on.

Saturday 1st July.

Meet 10am

at Bargoed community centre,

CF81 8QD

The walk is called Landscape walk for poets and artists. There is a small charge of £3 but this will include a drink, cake and memorable day.

Remember we are only passing through and all that we own are our thoughts and good intentions.

 

 

Four days training for my walk on Hadrian’s wall walk.

Friday June 9th 2pm

Dear Reader,

Friday after work new leather boots dubbin. I walked from Valley floor to valley high. The weather was good, light sunshine and a good breeze. Over Gelligaer common through the secret meadow onto Cwm Darran Trail. Edge of Cwm Darran Parc I took a right and saw the ancient stately as a galleon Heron waiting for its catch and found this stunning waterfall.

Training for Hadrians wall walk 003.jpg I carried on through a right of way and thought I heard a peacock, rubbed my ears and heard the sound again. As I drew near Troedyrhiw-Iestyn farm. There among the chickens, cockerel and hens was a white peacock. Up through open moorland and to a  stile that was fenced over. No doubt fenced over by the owner of the white peacock. A steep diagonal walk I looked back and caught this stunning view.

Towards an ancient wood dappled in light and shade and where I forest bathed, so refreshing I tingled all over.

 

Steep walk but glimpses of the Darran Valley, through the trees was a pleasant distraction. Onto the spine of the Darran and Rhymney valley where I sat and ate my apple. Dear readers, apple is far better than chocolate. I learnt this lesson when I walked up the second hardest route to Snowden( the rangers pass) A friend who was walking with me was drained of energy I told her to eat her apple. She did and was soon revived and we carried on.

Followed the stone wall and soothed some restless cows with my dulcet tones

   

I came across Colin on his quad bike. Colin is a farmer and owner of Cefn Bach farm. We spoke about the white peacock at the farm below. Colin told me the peacock was a guard dog and the postie was terrified of him. We spoke on green energy and the wind farm roaring away above my head. He said it helps financially towards the farm, I nodded. He also heard of me. I thought as the mad walking poet. No. He heard of me because I saved farmer Dai Powell’s bull calf 2 years previous. I told him I was training for Hadrian’s wall he laughed. I liked his laugh it stayed with me for a mile or two. We shook hands, Colin as hands like shovels and gave a good honest handshake.Through a meadow where lilac butterflies fluttered and a pair of pied wagtails were courting.

The wind, black bird, thrushes and a robin song kept me company but the bump, bump, wosh, wosh sound of this annoyed me.

 

Walked 12 miles and felt good and my new boots were happy too.

Saturday June 10th 8 25am

Wearing walking shorts, waterproof and new dubbin boots I set off to the  call of the wild and my wilderness walk. No two days are the same. Rain played a tune on my hood, drizzle licked my left leg and mist surrounded me but still I carried on.

On to the road bare of cars only sound was the skylark, bleating sheep and the cuckoo. When I came across this mushroom which a slug was eating. I thought of my walking friend and mushroom expert Amanda Birch.

On to the top of Gelligaer common and the roman road and where druids spoke words of wisdom and not hate. I had walked up a steep path for 3 miles in the pouring rain.

 

I was dripping wet but carried on because when I walk Hadrian’s wall it might rain and I will not allow rain to stop play. 2014 I walked the Caerphilly Boar walk with my old walking friend sadly deceased and still missed Keith Fairhall. We walked 22 miles through the rain and in the distant and out of reach was a cruel sinister sun. 2014 walked part of the Camino and on the second day, walked 18 miles through Spanish rain. Being Welsh and living in sometimes sunny Wales I should be used to walking in the rain.

On the top of Deri graig I lost my path but I surveyed the view. It was like being on a plane when you fly through clouds and inbetween you saw patches of land. It was like that today. Through the mist I caught glimpses of Parc Cwm Darran lake. I knew I had walked to far right and needed to be more left. I saw two walkers in the distant they were walking towards Nut Wood. Wiped my face in my soaking wet hankie. Walked down the steep path that brought me opposite Parc Cwm Darran bus stop. I stopped at the bus stop and ate an apple and a delicious peach. Cut the walk short and walked the rain licked path of the Cwm Darran trail.

Dog walkers I am unaware that your dog you named Trixie or Oscar is as gentle as a lamb. When your dog that you cannot control and you treat like a spoilt child is charging at me bearing its teeth. He or she to me is a wild beast and wants to bite my leg off. Owners of uncontrollable and spoilt dogs please keep them on leads!!!

To my secret meadow full of buttercups and mash orchids. I am soaking but I feel an inner peace and sigh with relief.

Head down walked up old Deri lane saw Farmer John on his quad bike. We waved to each other too wet to talk. Walked 12 miles.

Sunday 11th June.

Left the house 8 05am the weather was dry with a keen wind but I could still smell rain in the air. New leather boots left at home still damp from yesterdays walk. Wearing my old faithful boots. Through what was once Bargoed colliery now a woodland park. When I was a town councillor I helped to plant trees along the river path. Today the river Rhymney was full, toffee and cream colour furiously  snaking its way to Mor Hafon.

 

Came out at Factory Road bottom of Aberbargoed hill. Walked toward Groesfaen woods. Up through the forest which was cold. I did not forest bath today more like an ice bath and the wind whipped at my back and the trees sounded like the sea. Bird song kept my heart warm. Up the top where the wind farm was whirring away, found this delightful view.

 

Wearing linen shorts, fleece top, good socks and boots I was freezing. Liken to a beach in winter. Farmer Colin’s cows want to follow me I shout “Cow up” They stand and stare as I with goose bumps stumble along to the ancient wood with beautiful British indigenous trees.

Still cold  the sun shone rays but they do not reach me. Down to Troedyrhiw Iestyn Farm and the white peacock. I saw the top of its head and try to entice it out for a photo. The peacock was not playing.To the water fall where I stopped and watched dippers and ate a peach and a oatie biscuit.

  

I am now in Parc Cwm Darran and where families and cyclist are wrapped up against the cold wind. I picked up my pace and pulled my fleece hood over my head. Walked the length of the park out the other end and up the side of Deri Graig. Where I got lost briefly in rain yesterday. The steep climb warmed my bones and I looked back to where I walked.

 

Onto the wilderness and my legs screamed for my walking trousers. Reach for my apple and orange. Both are gone taken by nature. In the distance haunting sound of the curlew. I heard them before I saw them,  off-road bikes!!!! Birds scatter, cows run, I stand and counted 12 off-road bikes. Please you off-road bikers who hate nature find a field you can churn up all day and stay away from true nature,  where you are not allowed!!!!

My wilderness was spoilt by the noise and the smell of 2 stroke. I walked another way towards Nut Wood and walked through a knee-high meadow.

 

Onto the old Deri road and I am still cold, the sun seems to be one step ahead of me. Near Meredith farm I found this beautiful foal. This foal made up for the haters of nature off-road bikers.

 

As I neared home I spied two red kites hunting for brunch and a flock of redwings that followed me by flying from tree to tree. Coming towards me was Farmer John he had just finished rounding his sheep. Riding on his quad bike with his two sheep dogs on his lap. He laughed and said.

“You haven’t walked far since I saw you yesterday” I laughed and told him I walked 12 miles.

“Aye” he said “But you are keen walker”

I replied “Aye or a mad one”

He smiled and drove off.

Walked 12 miles

Monday 12th June

Left the house at 8 25am, weather cold but dry. Walked through the council estate where I live and onto where miners once walked to work, Bargoed Colliery now a  Woodland Park.

Water cascading from Gilfach into the river Rhymney.

 

Beautiful bird song followed me and the river Rhymney sang a lament. 2 miles in and I still had not warmed up and I felt very cold. Wearing walking shorts was not good. I walked over the twisted bridge to Britannia end and under the bypass. Still not warmed up.

 

 

Walked up to the top of the park towards the bypass  such pleasant surroundings.

 

Other side of Bargoed Woodland park where I found a meadow and my old chimney sweep John Thompson we chatted for a short while.

 

Made my way towards Cwm Darran trail and which was once the Rhymney Valley Brecon railway route and Ogilvy colliery. Now wild strawberries wait to be picked . A chorus of bird song was above this beautiful canopy of trees and the river Bargoed twinkled beneath the tress.

 

Hood up all the time I was walking and I am very quick walker but I still had not warmed up and I was very cold. To cheer me up I walked through my secret meadow where butterflies and bees were in abundance. What a beauty I sighed with delight.

Walked 9 miles.

Dear reader,

I  chose to walk in the surrounding area of where I live because I did not want to take the car. You can see by my photos I live in a beautiful unspoilt area. However, where I live was once heavy industry of coal and steel. All replaced by leisure and nature will always take back what she owned.

What I have learnt from my 4 days. Make sure you wear proper clothing it might be June but the weather was very autumnal. I walked at a set time this was wrong should have paced myself but when it was raining and cold I did not want to stop stare for long periods. When I walk Hadrian’s wall I will be walking 15 miles over a whole day not  over 5 hours. I know that Northumbria is a lot colder than South East Wales. I Will make sure I have all necessary gear.

Walked 45 miles

Mynydd Y Garth

 

Garth Mountain O/S explorer map 151 map OS grid ST 103835

Need to buy a new pair of walking boots and have decided to go back to wearing leather walking boots. My nearest walking shop is Mountain Wear house Morganstown. I thought if I leave early I can walk up Garth. Parked the car outside Taffs Well pub CF15 7PR, Ffynnon Taf. Weather was good and dry, sun breathed in between clouds and a nice breeze, good walking weather. Old boots on and I set off, walked over Afon Taf.

Up the steep winding path that leads to Gwaelod Y Garth. Garth Mountain is between Pentrych and Gwaelod Y Garth. Both villages are pretty. Scent of dog rose was everywhere as I walked in the middle of the road, yes middle of the road. There are no pavements in this village and cars have taken over spaces where humans are supposed to walk. Past the Gwealod Y Garth pub up a steep hill, past the brewery with a fab view. On to the proper path. I knew from the cobwebs I had walked into I was the first that morning to walk the path. The roar of A470 below and where I found fox gloves entwined in wild honeysuckle.

 

The walk I am walking is a circular and is very steep for about 2 miles but the views are a good distraction. At Llan farm where I leave the noise of the A470 behind. I stop and talk with the owner who has stables. My friend Jay Kynch has her horse here but I am to early for Jay. We carrying on with our chat, while above us swallows swirl and sway in the wind. We talk about owls and bats both of us see these creatures often from where we live. Her on top Garth Mountain me on top of Bargoed mountain. I take my leave and walk through a well used field with rusty farm machinery. Over a stile and walk diagonally west, past Welsh black cows and a pair of gold finches with their bands of bright colours. Through a sunken lane where I stop and looked behind and see Pontypridd and the Rhondda Valley. Onto open moorland the breeze has changed to  a strong wind but this is good because it keeps me cool.

 

I reach the trig point.

On top of Garth where you are greeted on a clear day like today with wonderful panoramic views.

 

Whole of Cardiff, Penarth head, Breen down Western, Flat and Steep Holm. M4 snakes its way. Vale of Glamorgan, Black Mountains, Brecon Beacons, Caerphilly Mountain range and Graig Yr Alt. Mor Hafon shone, twinkled and glinted. I sat next to the trig point and eat my apple. Could see a family out walking, couples courting and dog walker, I like to see this. On my way back I walked down the steep path from Garth. This path you can see when you drive down Nantgarw hill.

 

 

  

Leave the soft turf of Garth and reach a rocky path I must keep mind to feet.  On to a dappled shaded path which leads to where I began the proper walk to Garth.

 

As I reach the Gwaelod Y Garth pub I see Juventus supporters. I say good morning and wish their team a good game but I do not confess that I want Real Madrid to win. They thank me in Italian.