Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Let's go back to the 12th of April 2010

After talking about that great visit to Priors Field Primary School in Kenilworth yesterday I should try to get up to date with my travels so I'll cast my mind back.

Cycled to St Davids on the 12th, visited the wonderful cathedral after being told that the boat over the RSPB reserve of Ramsey would be th 10.00am one on the 13th. Can there be a more impressive cathedral view than when you come through the archway from the city [Britain's smallest] and down in the valley there it is? Beautiful!

After deciding upon camping position, went down to watch sun down at St Justinians. Sat on a headland and watched harbour porpoise in Ramsey Sound and yet another lovely sunset.

Heard a grasshopper warbler whilst cycling back to where I was to pitch my tent, on the northern edge of a marshy area aout a mile or so inland of St Justinians. [171]

13th April 2010

Up early to a frosty start with ice on the tent; a feature that would occur in increasing amounts over the coming mornings. Met Andy, a birder from Kent and together we tried to get views of the reeling grasshopper warbler.

The place I had camped in was an artist's creation; a field with various ideas of material use and planting not 'left to nature'. The artist had left a flag flying and a wooden mushroom upon which I sat eating my bowl of musesli. Felt like Kevin Costner in Dances with Wolves and kept humming the theme tune to myself. The frontier of my sanity perhaps.

Boat over to Ramsey, meeting 2 children on the way, Ben and Ella whose father has a farm which he uses to help wildlife. Ben's was on a work experience week with the RSPB from school and they both talked with pride about their Dad's gig racing exploits. Had a brief go sitting at the boat's wheel pretending to steer it.

Was met at the quay by Greg and Lisa, the delightful married couple wardens of Ramsey and 2 volunteers; one named Lyndsay, the other a Deputy Head on a working holiday.

Walked alone around this beautiful island, clockwise, enjoying the amazing views on this clear sky day. Many wheatear seen with some males displaying their territorial rights. Also a few pairs of chough and a beach on the west side with 73 grey Atlantic seals on it. Few other birds but 36 plastic puffins seen. These are decoys to hopefully attract real puffins to land and breed.

Sang whilst walking. Well, there were only 12 people on the island at the time. Made up some silly words to the song Oklahoma, in Bill Oddie's Little Black Bird book style.

Here's the first verse :-

Oh for Fair Isle
Where the birds rain down into the mist
Where the sound of chak
Will set you back
As you lift your bins up by the wrist

It goes on in the same vein - have a go singing it and then add your own bits. Want the chorus? You're going to get it  anyway :-

We know that we spent more than a grand
Just to see a tatty warbler in the hand
But when you find
A first for Britain of that kind
Then you'll cry out
You're really great
I love Fair Isle
I love Fair Isle OK

Maybe I should leave it there but there's lots more. Fun eh?

Red deer and rock pipits at the northern end of the island and then goodbyes at the quay. One of the highlights of my trip so far, Ramsey.

Cycled to beyond Fishguard in the evening with thoughts on when the moderately strong N - NE wind was going to stop.

14th April 2010

A long cycle ride today to get to beyond Lampeter but stopped at Wales' biggest burial chamber, Pentre Ifan. Here's a website giving more details on this impressive monument.

What it must have looked like over 5 thousand years ago.

Lunch at Cenarth after a walk to the river rapids and waterfalls. The local pub was the venue with a large roast beef meal for £3.95. fabulous value.

An attempt to do the blog was foiled by a library only open for a couple of hours in the morning so a look around the town's castle ruins and a short walk along the river had to do instead.

Was getting increasingly disappointed by the amount of plastic rubbish, especially in the streams and rivers. The view from nearly every bridge stopped at wasn't dippers and grey wagtails but plastic bags. One such stop had the view marred by 6 large pieces of plastic and the remains of a dumped 5 bar gate. Sad.

Camped atop the first big hill SE of Lampeter - mistake, it was freezing but the morning brought compensations.

15th April 2010

Compensation was in the way of a cuckoo calling as I lay in my sleeping bag. [172] and the first singing redstart of the year nearby [173].

A beautifully scenic ride to get to the Gwenffridd Dinas RSPB reserve wasn't marred by meeting a Blue nose pub owner. Brummies, they get everywhere. Lovely family from Bournemouth met here too.

Around the reserve in the evening, ostensibly to find Robin Hood's cave; well, the Welsh Robin Hood who actually did exist. One Twm Sion Cati lived in the cave found on the steeply sloping hill that dominates the reserve. I take my hat off to him if he lived in this cave. It was very cramped and damp with a small entrance. Met a smashing bloke here with his son, Paul Blades from Lincoln who's obession is stone circles, standing stones and the like. Brilliant family when I met the girls and paul's wife in the car park later. See you in November!

OK I know I'm still a few days behind but I'm going to nip off and have my breakfast. Today I get the train back to Aberystwyth in order to continue the Biking Birder Experience but I need fuel to warm up. Looking out of the window from my Mum and Dad's here in Warwick, not a cloud to be seen so another very sunny and warm April day ahead. What a contrast to the winter.

See you in a bit

All the best everyone,


1 comment:

  1. Hey Gary, from the family from Bournemouth!
    Following your progress avidly - keep up the faith! Only sorry Spurs beat Villa to 4th - not really!
    Clair, Barney, Eleanor & Wiliam!