Sunday, 5 August 2012

Olympics Week One

Saturday 12.30: depart East London
Saturday 18.00: arrive Llangattock, dinner at the Red Lion Llangynidr.

Sunday: lazy stroll along the bank of the River Usk, followed by evening Mass in Abergavenny. Don't do mornings on holiday. Below is the bridge across the Usk at Crickhowell, taken mid-afternoon. Please note my artistic catching of the sunlight on the small water fall just below the bridge.

Monday: Walk from Llangenny up Sugar Loaf Mountain and back. NOT a lazy walk! Lunch at the top, caught in a shower, but otherwise a good walk. Brilliant views. Top of Sugar Loaf Mountain before the shower:

Tuesday: Table Mountain. Easy after Sugar Loaf. Evening: dinner at Red Lion, as above, and watch first half of the womens Team GB football at Wembley - drive back to our "home" in time for second half. [PS: brother-in-law and three nephews/niece at Wembley for this game, on first tier above what was the Brazilian goal in the first half! They had a wonderful time.] Some photographs from Table Mountain, the first looking across to Sugar Loaf Mountain ... see the difference! The second was a picturesque spot on the (longer) way back down.

Wednesday: pilgrimage to Hay-on-Wye. Very restrained, only £38 spent. A history of the Trades Union Congress and a collection of articles on the unity of Christians by Cardinal Bea, published on the eve of the Second Vatican Council. As in reading some books on matters liturgical published at about the same time, it is interesting to see what was taken for granted before "the changes".

Thursday: A superb walk from the Brecon Beacons visitor centre. Brilliant views and very varied terrain. It wasn't quite as gentle as the blurb suggested, with a couple of sustained sections of steep-ish uphill. And about a mile out from the finish we were treated to a red kite sweeping across before us on the hunt for a late lunch or an early dinner. Rather less in keeping was the RAF helicopter which flew just 20 m or so above us about 10 minutes later!

Friday: Llangattock and the Craig y Cilau nature reserve. The walk we did took us on a downward loop into Llangattock village, a short stretch along the Brecon and Monmouth Canal .... and then a steep climb up to about half way up the escarpment. Part of our route was the path of the former tram way (ie single track horse drawn railway) used to bring limestone down from the cliffs to the canal. Lovely views from the top of this climb while we had our lunch. We got a bit confused at one point on the way along the escarpment and down into the valley again:

Saturday morning: a visit to the Big Pit at nearby Blaenavon. This is Wales' National Coal Mining museum. We found the undergound tour disappointing compared to that at the English National Coal Mining museum, but some of what is demonstrated undergound in the latter is shown in above ground exhibitions at the Big Pit. The exhibition in the pit head baths and the Mining Galleries are an important part of a visit to the Big Pit. The buildings have been preserved much as they were when the mine ceased operating, so the offices and lamp room have a dated feel! The canaries - used by mines rescue teams to detect poisonous gases - are still kept, too. The slag heaps, now to a large extent covered by vegetation, are visible on the hillside opposite the pit. The interest in mining arises from the fact that my father was Bevin Boy towards the end of the Second World War. He was able to march past the Cenotaph with the Bevin Boys Association on the first occasion that the Association was allowed to join the Remembrance Day parade.

[PS: two nephews at the morning session in the Olympic Stadium to see Jessica Ennis doing the javelin and 100 m heats with Usain Bolt et al, plus others. They were part of a group of competitors who had represented their borough in the 'mini'-marathon race that precedes the London Marathon each year.]

Saturday evening: back home.

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