It feels like every time I attempt to write about anything that's happened in 2020 the first words are "Plan A couldn't happen because of the pandemic, so here's Plan B".
On this occasion, Plan A would have been another #GetOutsideDay activity challenge weekend with Zoe and Sarah. (See 2018, we also did 2019 but I suck at blogging so no write up of that one (yet?))
Plan B turned out to be a rather rainy walk in the Wye Valley, along the Angidy River in Tintern.
The Angidy Trail is a circular footpath exploring the hidden industry of the valley, which was used for making wire. The information claims that the walk is 5 miles, but when I plotted it out in OS maps it came up much shorter!
The trail starts from the Lower Wireworks car park (free), where there are some information boards about the history of wiremaking. The trail isn't specifically waymarked, and I'm not sure where the "5 Miles" claim comes from because it's definitely shorter - I'd plotted a route which included the trail and some extra hill and the whole lot came out at 7km (4.3 miles)
We took a wrong turning almost straight away - walking up the road rather than forking slightly left. With the help of a friendly local we eventually found the correct path though. The same man appeared again a little while later as we were admiring the remains of a dam and mill pool, and we had a good chat about the river, local history, and which famous people used to live nearby.
what's left of Abbey Tintern Furnace
I'm sure I've already mentioned that it was a particularly rainy day. The Angidy is only a small river, so it doesn't take much extra water to turn it into a bit of a raging torrent. Shortly after the furnace buildings, pictured above, we had to turn back on the flooded footpath and walk up the road instead.
Once we reached the top ponds at Pont y Saison we detoured from the Angidy Trail and headed up the hill to Fairoak. From here, it was back down through the sheltered woods until we got to Tintern. Another detour along the Wye Valley Walk took us to the limekilns.
And of course, you can't really go for a walk in Tintern without having a quick look at the Abbey. Mostly because it's massive and very obvious, hah.
The Wireworks bridge (frequently featured on Netflix's 'Sex Education') was our final point of interest, and very slippery.
Wireworks bridge selfie (pic by Zoe)
Soggy smiles all round! Rain aside, this was a lovely little walk. Some might argue that it would be even better on a dry day, followed by tea/cake/ice cream at the Abbey.
Our beautiful Bonniedog died at the end of July. She'd been a bit ill for a month or two, but in the end it was all very sudden and a huge shock
This is so difficult to write. I've been coming back to it for a month now, going through all the photos we took of her and maybe adding a few more words before having to stop and cry some more. No amount of words or pictures will provide a fitting eulogy, but here we go:
Bonnie was rescued in Ireland, and made her way over here via the Dogs Trust. She had a couple of failed rehomings before eventually moving in with Jon about 8 years ago, and then I came on the scene a couple of years later.
I'd never lived with a dog before, and it did take some getting used to! Not going to lie, there was a bit of a power struggle at first as she was perhaps reluctant to share Jon's affections, but we soon figured it out.
impromptu modelling session
We don't know a lot about her early years, but can guess from her behaviour and reactions that she was most likely used for hunting - probably deer. Prey drive good, recall bad... And, unfortunately, she was a certified cat killer - so almost always wore a lovely pink muzzle when out and about, to keep both her and the local wildlife safe.
Pencilled in my calendar for the first weekend of June was a camping and walking weekend with Abi. Obviously 2020 has been busy ruining everyone's plans over the last few months, but the easing of lockdown guidelines meant we were able to go for a small group walk.
Bredon Hill is about half an hour away from Gloucester, and though I've cycled up it a couple of times I've never walked there.
Our route was taken from the Cicerone 'Walking in the Cotswolds' book, and clocked in at about 15km.
We all met up outside the church in Overbury (can go walking - can't share lifts. Sorry environment...) From here we walked to Kemerton, then ascended to the tower/viewpoint via well used footpaths. The weather was a little all over the place and we had a short soaking about half way up, but it seems the worst of the day's rain occurred when I was driving there so perhaps it was a good thing we went for afternoon walk instead of one with a lunch stop.
Malverns through barbed wire. A comment on lockdown, or me trying to be arty?
From the tower we walked along the ridge, following the Wychavon Way all the way down to Ashton. Interestingly this is marked differently on my paper OS map, as the route was modified in 2012.
As we walked back uphill from Ashton we spotted these two deer chilling out a couple of fields away. They wandered off as we got closer. We think we also may have seen a hare, and I'm reliably informed that the birds of prey we'd seen on the initial ascent were Red Kites.
Our last bit of uphill was through a field with a lot of sheep in it. I was a bit worried about how Tilly might react as obviously I didn't want her barking or trying to chase anything. She was on the lead at that point, of course, and I think actually she was a bit overwhelmed by the number of sheep so behaved herself very well.
Overall, a really nice walk - and a very welcome change of scenery and company.