Well after yesterdays solitary walk without the bog monster I was really looking forward to the days adventure, but before I speak of this days deeds a few words upon the events (or lack of them) of the day before. If you read my ramblings at fairly frequent intervals you’ll be aware that Lucy is never far from my side on my excursions ‘out there’. Her unceasing antics a constant source of pleasure to me. But with old smelly not quite in the first flush of youth anymore, Lucy that is, not me, well ok so I’m aging slightly and yes sometimes the air around me may not be as sweet as it could be at times! But anyway the point was to give the old gal a rest before the planned run up the coast, and also give me a chance to get a little closer to the fauna and bring back some spectacular photographs. Mmm yes the weather was excellent; barely a cloud in the sky and the first hints of smells and sights of spring assaulted my senses. Wildlife? as I left the fun cruiser behind I hear call the mewing of buzzards in the distance and the scolding of more than two dozen blue tit marshes’ as I disturb their spring courting rituals. Spectacular pictures? Bah the buzzards kept to limits of my field of vision for the whole walk, just skimming the far flung tree lines ahead (what few tree lines that are left that is!).
The newly opened expanses of er nothingness after the recent tree felling have already stared to encourage other creatures to venture onto the hillsides including a couple of kestrels hovering over the scared earth, probably looking for the now exposed shrews which I know are abundant up here. But these pesky critters too are camera shy, although to be honest I think that after the constant walking with Lucy I may well have lost any vestige of stealth in stalking and this I hope will improve with more lone trips in the future. One last word on this lone walking is the attitude of folk towards me on the lower trails where city types come to conquer the great, ahem, untamed wilderness. When accompanied by my unhinged companion, people acknowledge me with a smile, a nod, a quick hello or even a brief chat but hells bells and call me Mr.’ Hyde, take away old stinky and I suddenly become a leper whom most people shun, could it be that a man and his dog are perfectly acceptable upon the trails but a lone man is someone to be avoided by most? Or maybe they realise that the smell isn’t the dog anymore? I dunno but it’s true what they say; there’s nowt stranger than folk.
Enough of yesterday’s photographic non-entity, onward with today’s rather splendid seaside adventure. With the fun cruiser loaded up with sufficient supplies consisting of all my usual, ready for anything, paraphernalia with the addition of Lucy’s collapsible drinking bowl, 2 litres of water for her highness, two rather large scotch eggs for moi, and the Foo Fighters “skin and bones” acoustic album making the car speakers hum we set forth in cold but really bright and sunny conditions. Ninety minutes later, £3 pounds lighter for the car park (bloody rip off merchants) and with the last dull aches caused by a tad much cider (again) a distant memory the dynamic duo had arrived. Two minutes later due to Lucy’s over enthusiastic behaviour it was very nearly time to set off home, minus one dog!
We threaded our way through the steep sided sand dunes that shelter the forest from all but the worst of the sea’s winter waves, the vista that opened up before me was absolutely breath taking and spellbinding and I knew straight away that this is where I’m meant to be, a tall, dark, forest behind me, the sea gleaming in all its majestic strength before me, and on the horizon the snow capped welsh mountains beckoned, their feet bathed in the morning haze, yes I was truly home. I lack the words to truly described the emotions that surged through me and to be honest if anyone had been close enough to see they may well have seen the odd salty trickle of a tear or two escape from my eyes (damn it, so much for the rugged adventurer).
But there’s something missing here, mmm lets see now, sea? check, forest? check, dream like mountains floating in the distance? check, Lucy? Bloody hell fire like a bat out of hell the Muppet is tear arsing towards the, not inconsiderable, breakers at a fair old rate of knots, ears pinned back with the vision of the biggest stretch of bog water her bug eyes have ever clapped sight on. Oblivious to my panicked yelling she plunges in at full pelt, only to have the first wave bowl her over and the second commence to drag the floundering, spluttering and shocked fool under and outwards to the deepening water. With my heart pumping I raced into the breakers, yes I know all the arguments about putting yourself in danger for the sake of just a dog, but Lucy, for all my complaining is not a dog, she’s family, companion, confidant and down right nuisance and I’d be buggered if I was leaving her without doing my all for her. When I say raced into the breakers actually I only got as far as the first layers of spume on the water’s edge when a rather sheepish and bedraggled hound emerged from the swell and started swimming strongly back to shore, I’d forgotten how strong a swimmer she is, after all she’s usually only in slime up to her belly where swimming is not an option. With a wary eye I watch her gain the beach and then took her back to the fun cruiser for fresh water and a check over. All being well we set forth once more, this time with a little more care in Lucy’s approach to the sea.
The walk along the beach was invigorating to say the least, with sand dunes several meters high on one side and the sea just beginning to retreat leaving only a meter to walk between water and sand cliff, there was no lea from the fresh onshore breeze that swept across our path. We must have travelled for about four miles along this narrow, exposed course the sun and wind combining to make the flesh of my face tingle in a most satisfactory way. We rounded the headland and I was stopped dead in my tracks by snow capped mountains ahead now in clear view over the Menai straights, the earlier haze now burnt away by the strengthening sun high in the sky. As always they call to me and this year I’ll not disappoint them, with no excuse about fitness or time to hinder me I’m already planning my first tentative routes for early May, but that’s the future, no need to look too far ahead, I’ve plenty to occupy myself with for the time being. We retraced our footprints in the sand and paused at the fun cruiser for a bite and a drink (water not cider – honest).
Then it was time for a turn in the forest, though not as invigorating as the beach the tall pine trees whispering to each other in the breeze held us in their own type of magic and awe. Lucy, more at home now, stretched her legs fully and put up a pair of red squirrels, a pleasant change from the grey vermin that I usually encounter in the woods on the mainland. With an angry chattering they paused out of her range and continued to scold us both until we’d passed. And this is how the remainder of the afternoon was spent just wandering aimlessly through this magical forest catching glimpses of the Nutkin family members, being followed for some way by a brace of over curious rooks and listening the calming sound of the breakers which were never too far away. With both of us starting to feel our muscles tighten up we found our bearings and bee lined back to the fun cruiser.
I unloaded my pockets of the assortment of shells, cones and drift wood collected on a whim, finished off the scotch eggs, helped by you know who, and headed eastwards back home with just a tinge of regret that I didn’t actually live here, one day perhaps in my dotage maybe…. but lets not linger to long on regret for already the imagined smell of fish n chips is filling my senses, I’ve had the foresight to put some cider in the fridge, Clare will be home tomorrow and all is well. A simple, but happy life that’s all I can ask for and on days like today I’m answered back threefold.