We always seem to walk over hill and moor country on cold days. Even back in the Autumn we found ourselves choosing a cold day to journey down to the Brecon Beacons in Carmthenshire for a moorland amble. The Brecons are an upland area of Wales that we tend to drive through but rarely visit so this was our chance to discover its landscape and wildlife.
As we set out on our walk the sky looked threatening.
With each step we took up the gently slopes the temperature dropped and the wind got stronger. Around us the bracken had been cut, perhaps to reduce its dominance on the landscape and let other species come through. It seems that wherever there are too many sheep grazing such areas as this the bracken takes over as sheep do not eat it. An excess of bracken reduces biodiversity. Half way across this trimmed area of bracken we came across a flock of waders nervously feeding on the soft soil in the green grassed areas between the rust-coloured stripes. We moved slowly forward, binoculars in hands, desperately trying to work out what they were. Our first thought was Curlews but as we got closer we realised they were too small. Next idea that sprang to mind was Grey Plover which proved correct. they were obviously on the move to somewhere on the coast and had dropped in for shelter from the wind as it got stronger, for a rest and for nutrition. The soft soil would give easy access to creatures below the surface, for which they were probing with their long, strong bills.
The slow walk up the slope took us through wet areas and gave us varied views.
When we reached the highest point we stopped for a coffee break and froze! The biting wind stung our eyes and made them run, making tears run down our cheeks, and blew my hat away.
We were hoping the dry-stone wall would afford some shelter, but most of it had long fallen exposing a rough old fence of pig-wire and gnarled posts. After replenishing our spirits we followed the fence-line along the ridge. It is amazing how photogenic a tumbledown, weather-beaten fence can prove to be.
While having our break we watched Red Kite gracefully soaring overhead in search of carrion.
As we dropped back down the slope at the end of the old wall we were sheltered slightly and the wind was on our backs – much better!
On the lower slopes just above the car park we came across two interesting fungi, very different in habit but both deep yellow in colour.
So an exhilarating walk in exhilarating weather! We must return in more clement weather!