Misty Black Mountain Hop

Weekends round here seem to oscillate between fun adventures outside of town and homebody sessions. This weekend is very much homebody, catching up with errands and geek activities such as installing new computer operating systems, watching the entire extended edition of Lord of the Rings (classic being ill recovery movie) and finding out that Crucial seem to have run out of MacBook Pro memory right now – what with that? Guess my ageing laptop will have to wait for its final upgrade. All this is in stark contract to last weekend, where a group of us headed off to celebrate M’s birthday at the lovely Castle Farm in Capel-y-Ffin right in the Black Mountains.

Castle Farm is a lovely location, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, although as we arrived on a windy, almost moon-less night it seemed less than idyllic – no small thanks to Tom suggesting a recently escaped psycho from a local prison and the wind trying to throw everything at our windscreen as we crawled up pitch black, windy country lanes avoiding fallen branches. All this city-folk fear subsided once we were inside the large, but cost house and had a roaring fire lit. Oh, and after a few drinks. A few hours later, everyone else arrived and the weekend’s party began in earnest with many more logs being burnt.

The next morning was still overcast and windy, but we could now see the epic view out the windows. Nestled in a valley between two spurs of the Black Mountains, the farm has a stunning outlook, green fields dotted with windswept trees and sheep. Although it was less than perfect walking conditions we took a ‘brief’ (four hour) constitutional up to Lord Hereford’s Knob where the wind tried its best to blow us off. The hill that is. Mountain scaled we pushed through the wind, back down in the rapidly fading afternoon gloom to the warmth of the fire, where everyone else was enjoying Britain’s Got Talent, pretty much in the same place we’d left them four hours earlier. For some reason they all seemed pretty sure this was the better choice… The evening passed in a haze of good food, cake, board games, possibly some vino and enjoying a roaring fire as the wind howled outside the window. Perfect.

Weekend’s away, whether in Britain or abroad, are always so much fun – and though I’m sitting here somewhat wishing we had a roaring fire to enjoy, or a new place to explore, it’s the contrast of the two states that really make things pop in my mind. Every weekend enjoying the comforts of home can become deathy dull, conversely spending every weekend somewhere new is rapidly over-whelming so it becomes hard to fully appreciate the new wonders in front of you. Creating your own perfect preferred blend of experience and reflection is arguably part of what life’s all about. Or maybe just having an open fire everywhere you go. Mmmm… burny.