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Diaries from my wonderful walks in Wales

January 16, 2012

January Diary

 

 

For the last five days the winds have lashed the West coast and the rain has been relentless. Today, water pours from every surface, the roads become rivers and the fields lagoons.

We have watched the rivers rise alarmingly, each little stream has become a raging torrent and theDoveyRiveris as deep as I have seen it.  I have often walked along its beautiful banks, stopping to let Oscar paddle in the shallow water . It is so different now in all its awesome power.  At the bridging point in Machynlleth, the old beautiful bridge almost disappears beneath its huge swift swirls. The water battering the parapets , the arches not even visible. The river banks completely lost , the whole of the flood plain just a mass of thundering water.  The lovely new footbridge is just visible as a graceful arch rising from the water like the neck of a silver Loch Ness Monster.

I give up the hope of crossing the bridge, seeing the trail of abandoned cars and vans that have attempted to challenge the might of the river.

 

We drive back alongside the river towards Aberdovey, the water ominously lapping the roadside, and I wonder if this will soon be impassable too. Rising up towards Pennal , the extent of the flooding is clearer. The water stretches for miles, with trees and fenceposts surfacing now and then. The poor sheep huddled on any small rises, and the farmers busy taking them to higher ground.

 

We decide a quick walk up the mountain is the safest option, and follow the steep sided valley up to Glygyrog.

The once tiny stream is now roaring below us, crashing over the rocks, and carrying branches and debris. The moss covered path is awash with water, the moss like a huge sponge squelching as we walk. It smells wonderful, earthy and fresh.

 

The clouds hang like billowing grey sails over the hills, the grass and trees look vivid green in the strange thundery light.

Despite the rain, it is not cold, especially considering the time of year, and it is surprisingly pleasant for walking.  Oscar of course loves to splash in the puddles and paddle in the river, for him it is perfection!

 

We return home for tea, but notice that the clouds are rising and the skies clearing.

As the darkness falls the moon rises. It is a full moon tonight and the weather has changed so dramatically over the past few hours.

 

So Oscar and I cannot resist venturing out again. What a magical night it is!

The air is completely still.

The sky completely clear.

A huge full moon shines just as bright as day, and the stars hang in the sky like a diamond bracelet on black velvet.

We walk up the hill, no need of a torch, the trees casting black moon shadows on the silver shimmering field. The Dovey Estuary clearly visible below us, with the sea glinting in the moonlight. We sit on a rock and soak in the eerie beauty, when a nightjar suddenly begins his wonderful song- just to complete the picture!

 

We reluctantly make our way home to bed.

The next day dawns still clear. The sky glowing pale pink and the hills deep indigo.

The countryside washed and new from all the rain looks fantastically clean and fresh.

We drive down towards the Dovey and amazingly the river has dropped almost 10 feet overnight, and is now back within the confines of its banks.

The streams and rivers still gushing with excess water, but now spectacular rather than frightening.

The sun shines and I notice the first daffodils pushing up beside the road.

Perhaps spring will come soon!

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