Escape to the Black Mountains

Black Mountains from Hay on Wye 28 February 2015Spring 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.

Black Mountains at Hay on WyeSo we decided last Friday night to have an adventure. We got up at 4.30 Saturday morning and headed off to The Black Mountains: Y Mynyddoedd Duon in Welsh.

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.

A town full of bookshops and giving access to a range of mountains. What more could one ask for in life?

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.

Tretower Castle, AbergavennyWe did a whistlestop on the way back home at Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, known as the Gateway to Wales. We visited the ruins of the town’s Norman castle, now a museum.

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.






About AnnIsikArts

Artist/Writer/Chess Enthusiast/Musician (Singer)/Gardener
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4 Responses to Escape to the Black Mountains

  1. You d have to have adventures! And I loved yours. You get me into a creative mood, which I haven’t been in for some time. I really enjoyed your adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. mjlstories says:

    Mountains, books, plates of quiche and the wind in your hair…
    Sounds lovely. (Not great at 4:30 am though.)
    I’ve been staring out the window a lot this week, looking at the signs of spring, and wishing we lived in an age when you could just pack a bag and head off, like Laurie Lee with his fiddle. Travelling Maths teacher – I don’t think so!

    Liked by 1 person

    • AnnIsikArts says:

      It was great fun, getting up at the crack to have an adventure on terra incognito. Used to do it a lot ‘back then’. I always want to run away from home in spring. ๐Ÿ™‚


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