Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Sunset and meteorites

Saturday 6 pm

Flimsy dome tent secured with boulders to keep pegs in the ground. For added protection pitched in a deserted quarrymens’ barracks 600 metres up Moelwyn Bach, sharp stones removed then floor softened with a mattress of reeds and sphagnum. We cut in to an underground stream for water, next to what must have been their wash house. Nearby a stone enclosure, maybe where they kept a goat for milking. Our kitchen the next door room with 3 flat slabs in a corner, one each for the primus, Haydn and myself. Handy gaps in the walls to store cutlery and bottles. Sizzling, thumb-size, chipolatas browning in the frying pan with cubes of pancetta. Fat drained off, beans poured in till all steaming and served on tin plates with a crusty baguette – blazing saddles.

Saturday 8 pm

Wind from the north east perched below the summit watching the sun drop behind an isolated cloud. Beams of light shone down and before the shadowed side of Moel Hebog into the flatlands below. A fast moving wispy cloud floats just overhead, shaped like a dragon with outstretched claw, then melts to nothing like a sprite. After a long wait a slice of orange sun peeps beneath the cloud and warms us as it sinks gracefully behind the rugged horizon. Sheep still munching away – they’ve seen it all before. Back to base camp before sunset meets nightfall.

Saturday 10 pm

Sheltered by an amphitheatre of rock lying on a cushion of grass gazing up as star after star lights up in our personal planetarium. So many satellites rush past – some spying, some broadcasting soaps. A streak of light and we’ve both seen our first of the meteorites. A few minutes later another – not so bright and a different direction. Then another, just a short stab of light. A few days past the peak of the Perseids but this was good .... nearer to the heavenly skies. Time for bed. I’m exhausted by all the talking and questions I can’t answer!

Sunday 6 am

The down of my posh sleeping bag had rearranged itself leaving bare patches with none. Sleep came easy and often but broken by the cold. Haydn’s sleep victim of a snoring Dad. Tired but inspired I unzipped the flap to witness the sunrise ... a bit of a pink blur through the mountain mist. Mug of tea and all packed up we walked down to the blue skies and shining sun, back beside the Aga for breakfast. A perfect father and son adventure.

Huw (Dad)

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