As much as I love Norfolk it suffers from a serious lack of elevation. Gentle undulations are about as extreme as the landscape gets which for this resident of Wales is a genuine shock to the system. So it was that our first morning back home we headed straight for the Brecon Beacons; Penwyllt to be exact. Its combination of disused railway, huge quarries and industrial remnants appeal to me on several levels, not to mention the chance of a Ring Ouzel or two popping up.

P1070505 - Penwyllt
P1070503 - Penwyllt

The site was much as I remembered it from our last visit a couple of years ago. That is to say dilapidated with nature beginning to reclaim and soften its scars. Straight away we picked up the calls of a distant Raven, remarkably one of the few species which we didn’t manage to record during our time out east. It was quickly followed by the first of what would turn out to be at least ten Wheatears, all showing well yet always just out of reach for my camera. The same could be said of a stunning male Redstart, our first of the year and a species which begs to be admired and photographed, even if the result can only best be described as a record shot.

P1070506 -Redstart, Penwyllt

Heading up onto the hillside proper there were yet more Wheatears accompanied by a multitude of Meadow Pipits and singing Skylarks but alas, no amount of scouring likely looking spots could turn up any Ring Ouzel. Not to worry as the views were reward enough for me. Look one way and Carmarthen Fan dominated proceedings whilst the other was a mass of Limestone pavement.

P1070510 - Penwyllt
P1070516 - Penwyllt

Shortly after the above photos were taken a weather front swept in obscuring Carmarthen Fan and the valley between us at a fairly rapid pace. It didn’t take long for the first drops of rain to reach us though we were able to avoid the worst by sheltering on the leeward side of a large outcrop. Gazing out across the moorland reminded me a great deal of our time on Mull, somewhere I can’t wait to get back to over the summer.

P1070514 - Penwyllt
P1070520 - Penwyllt

Fortunately the downpour was relatively short lived and with the valley clear once more we made our descent along one of the numerous inclines which cross this area. The shot above shows an interesting junction where a later construction cuts through an older, stone sleepered operation. I’d have loved to have been up here in the early 1980’s before most of the village and old buildings were bulldozed.

1 Comment

Sharon Whitley · May 1, 2017 at 12:52 am

I also prefer hill walking to walking on the flat and am lucky to live in North Wales close to the Clwydians and only an hour or so from Snowdonia. Shame you didn't see the Ring Ouzel this time but lovely to see the Redstart and other birds. Enjoy Mull this summer, I'll be there at the end of June and I can't wait!

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