Friday, 19 February 2010
Flight of fancy
It's been a long week. But now it's Friday and the weekend lies ahead - cue torrential rain more than likely ( you must be really mystified why people call me a "half empty" kind of guy - I've spent half the week trying to convince people we're heading for a double dip recession -professionally I hasten to add - not just anyone I met on the street). Tuesday involved a return trip to Leeds - the red eye flight from Plymouth and a six hour train journey back. having been up at 4:20 to drive to Plymouth's tiny airport I slept for most of the flight. I awoke at one point to find the sun had risen and we were flying over the Brecon Beacons. I could see the snow on Pen Y Fan, and as always at such a sight, I get a little tingle of regret that I'm heading to a meeting to talk about Yorkshire's economic development, when some bastard is probably down there with the hills to themselves. On one flight up to Manchester a year or so ago, as I gazed westward into the early morning as we flew over the north wales border I could distinctly make out the snow capped summit of Snowdon in the far distance catching the light of the rising sun - almost brought tears to my eyes!
Snowdon is also known as Yr Wyddfa. On a weekend in its shadow a few years ago when we were helping celebrate our pal Neil's 40th, we were imbibing the local ale in a pub in Old Llanberis (near a campsite the facilities of which wouldn't find it winning any awards) when, after sampling a number of pints we asked a local what Yr Wyddfa meant. After some consideration, and prolonged discussion amongst his friends he knowledgably informed us that Yr Wyddfa actually meant.... "the snowdon". Taken aback by our incredulity, and this sums up the north welsh for you, one of the locals took it upon himself to go home, fetch a book, and bring it back to the pub. This told us that actually Yr Wyddfa, far from meaning "the snowdon" actually means the burial place of a giant called Rhita (I'm sure I knew her) who made a cloak out of the beards of all the men s/he killed. Slightly more interesting than "the snowdon", I'm sure you'll agree.
I love welsh mountains, it has long been one of my "things to do before you die" to climb every one over 2000 feet. There's 180 or so of them but it means you get to see more of Wales than the traditional 15 3000'ers. I've gratuitously included a couple of pics of me and the Clerk of Works (pre arrival of the assistant), on fairly indistinguishable welsh tops (the top one could be the fairly unimpressive summit of Pen Y Fan itself - a bit rubbish for the highest peak in south wales). I restrained myself from including a shot of her on Lord Hereford's Knob, as Twympa in the Black Mountains is otherwise (and hilariously known). Twympa is probably welsh for "lord hereford's knob" (and I'm not making this up - check out the ordnance survey). I have nothing but sympathy for any teacher taking a school trip anywhere in the vicinity.