Spring is coming. The sap is rising. My sap is rising. I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, according to Chinese Astrology. There aren’t any rabbits in China, they are hares. Hares stare at the moon and in March, they go mad.
I don’t believe in astrology. It’s true, however, that I like to stare at the moon, that I wake up in spring, get stir crazy for large natural spaces, for mountains.
The Black Mountains is one of the four ranges of hills that make up the Brecon Beacons National Park. The northernmost of the range is accessed via the town of Hay-on-Wye, which straddles the England/Wales border. It’s otherwise famous for its prestigious annual literary festival and is known as the National Book Town of Wales. We lunched at Hay, as it’s called, at Oscar’s Bistro, on huge wedges of quiche and servings of bean, pasta and potato salads that were so vast we couldn’t empty our plates.
Well, there’s woodland and our three and a half hour drive to Herefordshire took us first to Ross-on-Wye, which is to the south of Hereford and is at the northernmost tip of Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean, a huge terrain of ancient mixed woodland.
I picked up these three pink stones that had tumbled onto the road from the wall surrounding the castle. I was reminded of the pink stones of Brittany’s Cote de Granit Rose (Pink Granite Coast). I have a small collection of Breton pink granite from a trip a few years back. The pink is potassium feldspar.
Granite is an igneous rock, however (solidified molten rock). The pink of the Abergavenny stone is sandstone which is a sedimentary rock, formed from the accumulating and settling of mineral and/or organic particles. They call it red sandstone. So the Black Mountains are actually red.
Our trip was a taster. It’s my first visit to the Black Mountains. It will not be the last.
You have to have adventures. Especially in March, when the sap is rising.