Waterworld II, October 2000
Well, plan B then, since our groups was slightly dispersed through excessive amount of fallen water. Of the eight who planned going, only 4 managed to turn up at 8.15h when the most luxurious Mercedes bus we ever had was driven in front of the nurses home. And we had to leave it behind for a smaller private car to save on petrol costs. Life can be cruel.
Oh well, we left for the dark clouds gathering over Wales. Our destination this time was the western most tip of the Arans, Aran Fawddwy (907m). We missed the turn off to our starting point because a 500 yard long bypass was build directly over the top of it. It was clearly build with European money and it is a perfect example why we don't want to be part of Europe. It is so confusing.
We took a little road up to Esgeiriau farm, which was near enough to our original starting point. Autumn had arrived, and the first part of the walk was through beautiful forest. It was a bit of a struggle to get uphill since there was so little space left in between the waterfalls running down to put your feet anywhere dryish.
Once out of the forest things did not exactly improve. As most experienced Welsh ramblers know the wettest bit of a mountain is the top. The local Welsh tourist board must have know this as well, since most of our path was paved by planks. Long wet, slippery planks across large patches of over saturated Welsh bog due to 3 weeks of constant rain. Well, it was a new experience. Crampons would have helped. Special sound effects could be created by jumping on the far end of a plank while another (preferably female) member of our group was halfway cross an particularly wet bit of bog.
We just managed to get to the top, when the sleet hit us. Not much time was spend to enjoy our lunch. Even more frustrating was the discovery during a short break in the clouds that we were not at all siting on the top. Please don't tell anyone. The rain never stopped on our way down, but is was relatively pleasant walking through the forest with plenty of time to chat.
To get back to Oswestry in the dark was a bit of a challenge since the tourist board had used up all of its planks and the road could have done with a few. Worse, in our first attempt to cross the Tannat valley we saw a car stopping in front of us and one coming from the other side. When its headlights disappeared under water we all were inspired to look for a different route. The next turn to cross the valley was blocked too, and I envisaged a bed and breakfast life style for the next few weeks until the rains decided to stop. The next crossing at Meiford was still negotiable for a Ford Corsa and therefore there was a happy ending possible after all.
Authors footnote: While our life was depending on the Cosrsa I got a vision. That happens in time of despair, even to a heathen. You see, my little Fiat is like Jesus: any pool deeper than its wheels and it will float. On the other hand of the spectrum you've got Moses cars. Our heavy Mercedes bus would have opened up the river to let us go through. So what is a Corsa ?