A few days ago Euan and I agreed a walk on the Brecon Beacons tomorrow given a forecast of some snow and sun. This gave me a slight problem in that I had not really tested the new contact lens and I was meant to have done some small walks before committing. I had put it off over Christmas but now was my last chance so I decided to seize the day, or at least the morning. I knew the walk could not be long as we have a family trip booked for the evening to the first of the RSC adaptations of Mantel's novels about Cromwell (the Henry VIII one); more on that after the second on Monday. So I resolved to walk the Pewsey Downs starting before dawn at Clench Common. My idea was to get to the first summit in time for rosy fingered dawn to touch the horizon. Unfortunately I had assumed the insertion of the contact lens would be easy; instead it took half an hour and three lens to make it.
The net result was that dawn was past when I parked the car, but the net result was good in terms of photography. I've picked one to head this post, but the full set are here, all taken with the Sony which allowed for a light weight walk. I keep forgetting how lucky I am to love so close to this beautiful country that is tolerant of walks in all seasons. I strode along the ridge with fascinating light effects to my left revelling in not wearing glasses. A little odd in the right eye which is now working without augmentation, but overall a great experience compared with glasses that mist up, slip off or generally accumulate rain drops! The late start meant I had to take an early exit option and follow the true start of the Ridgeway back to the Kennet Valley and home.
I need to live in the country not a city. Yes, I love London and Cardiff and would never not want to be within a short commute of both for opera, theatre and rugby. But at my heart I am a country boy. I can put on the boots and within minutes be in country that others drive hours to visit. There is a sense of belonging when you walk through woodland that has been there since megalithic times and in this country you have sarsen stones, grave mounds and neolithic field systems a plenty. This is a land that has co-existed with many generations of men over the years and retained its character. We are a part of it, not an imposition on it.