Tuesday, 18 February 2014

February in Wales

I've moved and settled in Preston.  I miss being able to walk out of the door into the fresh green of the Berwyn Hills, but we have some lovely walks within easy reach, for example the Trough of Bowland and the Howgill Fells.  And we have a local Nature Reserve just across the road!

Great limbs were torn off by the gales
Last week I returned for a few days to my former village, to do a reccy for the Merioneth Nats programme. I managed to gate-crash my old Yoga class, but the next night's event, the local Book Club, was cancelled because of the weather.  Just as well - I was stranded by the gales high on a hill farm, cut off by fallen trees and with no electricity - I was given a bed and a bread-and-cheese supper, sitting by a roaring wood burner, and in great company with a  bottle of good wine!.  We had phone contact with the outside world, just enough to let people know what had happened.  And I had only gone there for a couple of hours programme planning with Andrew Graham!!

Sunset over Ynys Hir RSPB reserve
By Thursday morning the massive trees which had completely blocked the road the previous night had been cleared and I returned gratefully to civilisation - especially my toothbrush and clean clothes! With these adventures behind me, I next went to Theatr Clwyd to see a staging of Under Milk Wood.  Disappointing, I thought - neither a radio play, as it was intended, nor a successful staging  - I found the action simply distracting from the words.

So many root plates like this one -
yet another mature tree killed by the gales
On Friday I was able at last to get to some of the sites planned for 2014 and got permission to visit Llyn Oror near Corwen,  and then made tracks to Ynys Hir in Ceredigion.  It was lovely to be able to walk out onto the reserve in relative calm.  Damaged and fallen trees were everywhere and Penny Condry has lost a large Scots Pine [Pinus sylvestris] and a lovely  Balsam Poplar, Populus x gileadensis

Our first Merioneth Nats meeting of the season will be on 27th March at Llangelynin.  The suggested parking place is near Cae Du at SH569060. Full details of this year's programme, at least until the autumn are now on the BSBI website. There you will also find details of our search for an assistant Vice-county Recorder, someone to work with me for the foreseeable future. Help will be very welcome, especially as my knees now make it difficult to access some of the more remote parts of the county.

Scots Pines at Ynys Hir,
 the southern hills of Merioneth in the background

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