Monday, 22 September 2014

Wild camping & Muppet onesies at Llyn y Fan Fawr part 1

Just over a month ago, my good friend & fellow artist Andrew Evans joined me on an overnight camping trip into the Brecon Beacons. Our destination was the wild & desolate but hauntingly beautiful shores of Llyn y Fan Fawr. Here is my account of that trip.

Yes Andy, we are going up there.

Half a mile in & already we had to stop for a breather.
Leaving the car & struggling with our fully laden backpacks we headed up the stony track. Many times I have been here & every time I wonder why I don't come here to paint. The stream which runs at the side of the track is achingly beautiful, almost impossibly beautiful with boulders strewn about the place encrusted in every colour & shade of lichen & moss. With clear pure water squeezing it way  past rocks, tumbling & cascading into fairy pools which dazzle & dance with light even on a dull day such as it was. Maybe this is why I don't paint here, after all how could I possibly do it justice.

Andy maybe laughing now but just around the corner the hard climb begins.
Onward, Wheatears, white rumped, fly ahead from rock to rock, marking our way & left behind along the bouldered stream, the stony chatter of Dippers are already a memory. As we ascend, Ravens glide on black fingered wings, croaking & cronking. The grass whispers its quiet mountain song, Heather & Harebells grow amongst the crevices & we laugh & chat & climb & laugh again. 

Lovely Heather.

Harebells & ferns.

Halfway up & we are still alive.
This is a wild place. Grass like shredded wheat, & silence, the kind you only get from a high wild place. The distant verdant valleys quiet now, a patchwork of sage, ochres, sienna, deep dark forest greens, pale grasslands & sap green woods like a plate of Broccoli.
Stopping now & then to take in the stunning vistas & to catch our breath. We are not as fit as we should be & our packs heavy.
Looking down into the cleft of a moorland valley, pale dots of sheep are rounded up, the whirr & buzz of quad bikes zig zag over the harsh terrain & the sheep patterned hillside ever changing with panicked specks of wool.

Me at the top of the world, well it feels like it.

Andy in reflective mood.

The intrepid explorers have a rest.
From high above we reach a point where, looking down, we can see the lake of Llyn y Fan Fawr. A tiny patch draws our eye, bright green & shaped like a bunting flag. Our spot for the night.

Our bunting flag shaped camp for the night, a triangle of bright green paradise.

We are so lucky to have this landscape on our doorstep.
Descending over slabs of pink dusty rock we reach the lake, gently lapping against the rocky jagged edge, water so crystal clear it is almost invisible. Meadow Pipits flit about pipetting away, a kite, dark, silhouetted scans the shore on angled wings.
Tents erected, a kettle boiled & tea is brewed. Its good to be beside this desolate but beautiful sheet of water, reflecting perfectly the shades of the sky & its ever changing moods. A gentle breeze, then one more forceful sending wavelets rolling across the surface & slap, clap, lick & splosh against the stones at our feet. Now & then stronger gusts let us know that we are in natures hands now, texturing the surface like Elephant hide.
A small, very local explore , no more than a 100 yards or so & then its time for supper. As i prepare to cook, & i love to cook outdoors, as everything always tastes better when you are surrounded by beauty, Andy retreats to his tent.
For our dinner this evening i have bought along all the fresh ingredients for a beef casserole with red wine & mushrooms. This is campsite gourmet cooking & we are both starving.
Andy is a great friend, always amusing to have around but i wasn't expecting what happened next. Out of the corner of my eye i noticed Andy emerging from his tent, i looked & had to look again, a proper double take just like you see in the cartoons. He was wearing his Animal Muppet onesie. Some things can never be unseen.

Snug as a bug in a rug in his onesie.
Tomorrow part 2:- Return of the onesie


Andrew Evans said...

Great to be part of a wonderful adventure, written and described so elequently

Mike Woodcock said...

Lovely start David. I love to read about other peoples' love for the countryside, especially fellow artists. I've added you to my 'blogroll' so I can stay up to date.