Monday, 8 October 2012

The long goodbyes

We're coming into the last few weeks before we go and its time to have our last meetings with people for a year. There's lots to talk about and I'm being told constantly to 'keep it brief', so I'll write very quickly!

This last weekend was at our Solihull Mountaineering Club hut, Bryn Golau, in Dinas Mawddwy in Wales for 'Jackie and Brian's farewell bash' organised by Alex and Rob. It's a great, but basic hut, set up on the hillside about a quarter of a mile from the village. It has running water from a mountain stream, no electricity, but battery powered lights from a wind turbine and solar panel and bottled gas, giving excellent hot water and superb shower. The village of Dinas has the Red Lion pub with great beer and food

Bryn Golau on a hillside by Dinas Mawddwy
We arrived on Friday night in time for a pint in the Red and dinner in the hut with the others. On Saturday morning we went into a disused slate mine halfway up the hill opposite the hut. Sam and Helen, our SMC hut warden and cottage booking people had done this before so acted as our guides. We left Alex in the hut to catch up on some work while Jackie and I, Rob, Jo, Sam and Helen headed off up the hill. The mine is a popular venue for outdoor clubs and there was a group there doing abseiling and caving so we were not alone! We changed into old clothes and wellies at the horizontal entrance, leaving Sam and Helen to go to the normal exit to enter via an abseil rope down a 45 degree hole of about 50m in length.
Sam, Rob, Helen, Jackie and Jo getting ready
We went into the first tunnel and out to a second tunnel, but found the water level too deep. An outdoor instructor told us the water level was waist deep and I didn't fancy getting cold and wet, so persuaded the others to exit at this point and enter via the abseil rope after Sam and Helen.
Jackie in the first tunnel
Looking into the second tunnel










There was a small stream running down the 'entrance' tunnel making the descent down the rope without harness or abseil device 'interesting'.
Jo descending using the rope
Safely down we met up with Sam and Helen and went exploring the many tunnels and abandoned mine machinery.
Jackie descending
Jackie and Jo 'in the dark'










Sam explaining the next stage
Some old mine machinery










Jo and Helen
Safely belayed out by Sam, we joined Alex at the Mill cafe for afternoon tea and, in my case scones, jam and cream (what a great day)! In the evening we were joined by Steve Jonas, Roger Fanner and Mike Reynolds (well done for solving the clue on the keysafe code to get into the hut after your run over the Arrans!) and said goodbye to Sam and Helen who were off to a Sunday wedding. Alex had bought a cake and some very relevant presents that made the evening a great success.
Alex's cake


Sunday was another sunny day and 4 of us (me, Jackie, Steve and Jo) went for a walk over a hill somewhere nearby. Without maps we headed back on the A458, through Foel and onto a minor road, where we found some footpaths through a wood where a 'fun ride' for horses was organised. They were all very friendly people and were quite happy for us to walk the route and join them for a BBQ afterwards. We did a 6 mile walk through rolling tree covered hillsides with occasional great views over the surrounding hillside, and were only nearly mown down by one stampeding horse!
Jo, Steve and Jackie
The BBQ looked nice, but I opted for the scones and cream (what a surprise), but even more of a surprise was the price - only 25p each! Unbelievable.

A great weekend, thoughtfully organised by Alex and Rob - well done and thank you very much. Also, many thanks to Jo, Sam, Helen, Roger, Steve, Mike for making the effort to 'see us off'.

We were back by mid afternoon in time for a curry with Pauline at our local Indian restaurant in Alvechurch.

Right, very quickly (I'm still writing fast!), we had a great weekend the previous weekend at Ian and Helen's in Moseley. Drinks in the Old Moseley Arms, home made Pizza and lots of drinks at their house on Saturday night and walks over their local parks of Cannon Hill and Highbury in bright sunshine on Sunday morning were fabulous! A bit of a late night on Saturday through (3:30am again!).

Our other goodbye was to Phil and Paula Minal, owners of Redpoint climbing wall in Birmingham who are off to Kalymnos again for another climbing holiday, meaning we won't see them before we go. We are now 'friends' with them on Facebook so will keep in touch while we are away.

A couple of 'hello's' we did were to Mike 'Spider' an Aussie guy we met at Redpoint, over here for the summer, but normally living about 50km south of Brisbane. We exchanged email addresses and he gave us a good run down of climbing and skiing in Australia, setting us up for our 3 months trip there starting in May next year.

We also met up with Clair and Martin Andrews, locals to us, who have started a ski business in Le Praz, part of the huge 'Three Valleys' ski resort in France. They got us really excited in doing a ski season there by giving us the run down on life in a ski resort. It sounds fabulous and is definitely on our 'wish list'. At the time of writing we are thinking of going straight off to the area at the end of our years trip. We are back at the end of October 2013, when it'll be grey and miserable and the ski season starts at the end of November.... Unless we really hate being away from home we'll be back for only a month before heading off for 5 months skiing! It all sounds great, but lets see how we get on on our first year away.... I promise we'll try and write more regularly, so the posts get shorter so please keep reading!

1 comment:

  1. Because you were writing fast.... I was reading fast!!!! made me laugh. We love you both. xxxxx

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