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Now retired but busy still living..

Thursday 28 January 2010


Continuing with my April 2007 solo backpacking trip along the Beacons Way- some more of the photographs from that file.
Starting from the bottom picture which is a view taken from the track leading to the gap known as Bwlch ar y Fan between Cribyn and Fan y Big. Pen y Fan can be seen in the distance.
The next picture is a bit further along the track and is looking down on
Upper Neuadd Reservoir.
The next shot is looking up Pen y Fan and shows the erosion that to some extent ruins its appearance.
Then we have a picture of Liwyn-y-celyn Youth Hostel where I met the rudest and most obnoxious Youth Hostel Warden I have ever met in the fifty years that I have stayed at hostels.
My plan was to camp in the grounds of the hostel- (according to the hostel web-site that I had checked two days before I had left home this was possible). When I arrived at the hostel the warden was out so I waited for over an hour until he returned. When I spoke to the Warden he informed me that he didn't do camping anymore and he informed me of this in a very rude and offhand manner. He offered no advice regarding an alternative place to camp and he seemed more interested in families arriving by car and mini coach than a traveller arriving under his own steam. Oh how hostels have changed since my first YHA visit at the age of eleven. After the poor treatment that I had received at Liwyn-y-celyn I vowed that I would not visit a YHA hostel ever again..!!
I set off again -up through a nature reserve and on to the hill side above where I found a good spot for a wild camp. The top picture is of that pitch. As it turned out it was a great spot-really quiet with super views. The grouchy old warden had done me a favour-but I still won't go near a Youth Hostel ...!!

Wednesday 27 January 2010


Even more from April 2007-I should really have posted this picture at the very start of all these postings of the Beacons Way but for some reason it was tucked away in another file.
It is of 'The Holy Mountain' the 'Big Skirrid' or Ysgyryd Fawr which is situated near the start of the walk.
The picture above that is another shot along the Hatterrall Ridge.
The next photo was taken at Pen Rhiw-calch and the top picture was taken at the same viewpoint and is looking down on the Talybont reservoir. (There are sixteen reservoirs in the Brecon Beacons National Park). The Talybont reservoir dates from 1927 and supplies water to Newport and other towns and villages along it's route.

Monday 25 January 2010


Just a few more photographs taken on my April 2007 solo backpacking trip along the Beacons Way.
The first picture is one of my wild pitches-
The next shot was taken when I came off route near Crickhowell in search of a pub for lunch and the final shot follows on from my last posting and is looking down on Llanthony Priory where I camped for the night.
The Priory is in a splendid setting and has some very interesting ruins.
This trip was one of those routes that for me was better for walking it alone. I can remember really enjoying the fact that I was walking solo with the freedom to stop whenever I wanted and even come off route on a few occasions to find a pub without having a discussion about it first.
Some times walking is like a form of meditation-time passes without me even being aware of it and it almost feels that I am totally at one with my surroundings and the further landscape.It is almost like floating along. I have experienced feelings like this on a number of backpacking trips-usually after the first couple of days and always when solo never when I have a companion.

Saturday 23 January 2010


Due to my on-going hospital treatment over the next few months I will not be getting too much in the way of new material for my blog postings.
Because of this I thought that I would use this time to look back over some of my previous trips both backpacking and cycling.
April 2007 saw me walking the Ffordd y Bannau or The Beacons Way as we English folk know it.
This was a week long solo backpacking trip that I enjoyed immensely helped by the superb weather.
I remember setting out from Abergavenny on a Sunday morning with the most glorious weather and thinking to myself how lucky I was with no work for the next seven days.

The pictures I have included in this posting were taken on the Hatterrall Hill before I descended into the Llanthony Valley to camp over night.

Friday 15 January 2010


Although I only live a couple of hundred yards from the beach it's very rare for me to walk along this part of the coast. From Easter through till early September I find it all far too busy.
At this time of year it's very different and if you choose the right day you can have the whole of the beach almost to yourself.
Today was one of those days. I had an hour or two spare so I decided to make one of my very infrequent visits down through the chine to the beach. I then walked along the coast and over the next few hours met very few people walking along the sands or the promenade- just the way I like it.

Friday 8 January 2010


For all you daily travellers out there having to make a daily commute during this prolonged spell of 'Arctic like' weather- this destination board was seen on a train today not far from London.
Obviously a Guard with a sense of humour thought he would give his passengers a smile.
Imagine boarding the train-taking your seat-starting to read your paper and then just taking a glance at the destination board "STOP THE TRAIN- I WANT TO GET OFF!"


I was chatting with a friend recently and as he is a big cycling fan the conversation turned to cycling equipment .(what a surprise) He asked me what were my three favourite items of cycling kit from 2009. I didn't hesitate-
On my Touring bike it has to be my BROOKS TEAM PRO SADDLE. In fact this was my overall favourite item in 2008 as well.
I used the saddle to ride the LEJOG in 2008 and I also used it in 2009 whilst riding the Atlantic Coast Challenge Ride.
It sustained some cosmetic damage in the crash that I had, but that was all sorted with some fine emery paper and black shoe polish. The deep scratches I managed to smooth out with the emery paper and the job was finished off with the black polish. Try doing that with a plastic and gel saddle.!!
The reason I rate it so highly is the total comfort and support it gives particularly on a multi day long distance endurance ride. Yes-I know that it seems a hard saddle- but over time it adopts the shape of your rear end. Put in the miles and it just gets better and better. I find that most gel style saddles just do not offer enough rear end support over the longer distances.
The next two items can be found on my Felt Sportive bike-
The wheels -as well as looking fantastic -are amazingly stiff delivering maximum power to the road. For hill climbing they are great- they don't flatten the hill but they do seem to make the effort easier and accelerating with them can be a totally exhilarating experience.
The tyres- are a perfect match for the wheels. They are good for both wet and dry conditions offering super grip capabilities and they also give a very supple and comfortable ride.
I really can't wait to get out on my bikes and start using these 'favourites' again....!

Thursday 7 January 2010


I have recently made some small changes to this blog site.

It has come about from feedback that I have had from some of my regular readers. You will see that I have now included both my name and my picture in the 'about me' column as well as making some changes to the blog title header and the text colour in various other areas on the site.

As well as the slight alterations made to this site I have also started another blog. It is called 'AURA OF PAST SHADOWS'.

This new site is of a totally diferent nature to 'PURPLETRAVELLER' as it is confined purely to one photo project that is ongoing and has nothing in common with the subjects that 'PURPLETRAVELLER' covers. Because of this it is likely that this new blog will not be of interest to my current and regular readers- however I have placed a link to 'AURA OF PAST SHADOWS' in the link column for you to make up your own mind...!

Friday 1 January 2010


The entry lists for the DUNCTON SPORTIVE opened as soon as we started the New Year.
Before one minute had elapsed in 2010 I had e-mailed my entry for the sportive that takes place on Sunday May 9th.

I wanted to start the new year on a positive and optimistic note after all that has happened during 2009 and as I am currently not allowed alcohol it followed that I would not be celebrating at a party hence the late night e-mail entry.

Last year I finished this event in the bronze banding and this year I am aiming to finish in a silver position.

Before I achieve that though there is a lot of work to be done. I have not been on a (proper) bike for three months and between now and May I have eight weeks of radiotherapy and another eye operation to get through but I am determined to be there on that start line-perhaps I will see you there...!!

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...