Day 8 – Black Mountain Adventure!

The upside of doing a long day yesterday was that today was a short one – between 8 and 9 miles – so I was in more confident mood as we returned to the craft centre car park for the start of day photo;

Ready for a shorter day!

Also I was re-joining Offa’s Dyke for at least the first part of the walk, so could head off safe in the knowledge that I would be on good, well signed paths.  And I had just enjoyed the most amazing breakfast, courtesy of Jo at Breese Barn, delivered to the room no less.  All was well with my world! 

Walked across field initially and, while I’ve passed through many kissing gates in my time, I’d never before crossed a kissing bridge…..

A kissing bridge – who knew?

Came to a road, tiny bit of road walking and then back to the fields and so the gradient started to head up and up and then up some more.  But even half way up a mountain, you can still find a lovely cottage garden…

Mountain garden

Kept going up, up and then some more up, and was overtaken by a much fitter and sprightlier lady, but then turned round and saw the glorious view back to Hay;

View back to Hay in the valley below

Came out from this meadow onto a track, which led me through a farmstead with two very friendly but vociferous dogs, then through fields until suddenly I was out onto moorland and mountain;

Mountain landscape

Just as I was doubting which way to go a fellow walker approached from the other direction and reassured me I was on the right track, and then three strapping young men passed me with a cheery hello, so I could follow in their wake all the way to the road.

Took my break sitting on a stone in a packed car park – Stone Circle on the map and I could understand why you would put a place of worship here – the mountain behind you and views across half the world in front of you – sublime.

Sublime views

I continued along the road, and as I drew closer to a mountain ahead was aware that there appeared to be people with big rucksacks on actually running down the mountain.  As anyone born and brought up in these parts would have done, my immediate thought was – squaddies.  And then I rounded the bend and saw this;

Army manoeuvres!

and as I passed by one of the young men was coming down the mountain and, from a distance I thought – he looks like he’s carrying a gun – and so he was…..So I passed swiftly along, only to encounter this amusing juxtaposition shortly afterwards….

Wild horses and army trucks

Continued on my merry way, only to hear a driver toot his horn at me – turned to find Mike heading on to our next stop at the monastery at Capel-y-Ffin.  Pausing only to re-fold my map for me, he headed on and I kept on toward the cattle grid and bridleway which were my next destination, pausing only to marvel at this road sign;

Black Mountain road sign

I found the bridleway and headed off along it, heading through long stretches of bracken, fording muddy patches of stream and worrying as to how I was going to find the way down again.  But find it I did, and, on my way down, got lovely photos of the Church;

St Mary’s, Capel-y-Ffin

and the monastery;

Capel-y-Ffin monastery

Mike was waiting for me at the end of the path and so we walked the last little bit of road to the church together.  Pausing only to have the end of walk photo taken;

Made it to Capel-y-Ffin!

we went on into the Church and I’ve taken a few photos to try to show what makes it such a very special place;

Attentive congregation……

Teddies take up the whole front pew – clearly not Anglicans!

Then there is the beautiful artwork;

Our lady of Capel-y-Ffin icon

The icon refers to the fact that this place became a place of worship after a Norman lady had a vision of the Virgin Mary in the field in which the Church now sits.

David Jones’ Christ of Capel-y-Ffin

David Jones often stayed with Eric Gill up at the monastery and painted this image of a crucified Christ with the Black Mountains, the Church and a wild mountain pony in the background.

Excerpt from psalm 121 inscribed on window

In the window behind the altar, the opening lines of psalm 121 are etched on the glass to commemorate the restoration of the Church in 1991.

Font with a difference…

Finally the font, which looks fairly standard until you take a closer look at the wooden cover;

There’s a mouse in this house!

For such a tiny place of worship, it fits a lot in and has an atmosphere and a peace all of its own.  A remarkable and sacred space – and one which is of special significance to me as its where Great Uncle Clarence is buried.  I think he might well have thought this walk a load of old squitter as my grandad might have said – but I think he’d have been glad I’ve maybe re-captured some of that kindred spirit of adventure he saw in me as a child.  Thanks for bringing me back to this beautiful place Uncle Clarence.  And thanks to Shepherd’s in Hay for magnificent ice cream and the wifi to make this post!




























One thought on “Day 8 – Black Mountain Adventure!”

  1. Great to see your early post – and what a wonderful church. Love the teddies! Sx

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