Monday, 9 August 2010

Day five. Dylife to Machynlleth. 15.25 miles.

I was very lucky today. I stayed dry apart from two showers, but not far to the north I could that it was raining for almost the entire day. The only downside was that one of the showers arrived as I reached the highest and most remote part of the entire walk, so it was hard going for ten minutes or so. This shower also arrived two minutes after I had met three people actually out walking, next to a large lake, Glaslyn. A woman (who sounded Polish) was some distance ahead of the other two, and when met we met our conversation went something like:
Woman: "Is it good?"
Me: "Pardon?"
"Is it good? The lake, is it good?"
"Er, yes, it's a nice lake?"
"Are there birds?"
"No, I'm afraid not. The water is very acidic so the birds don't like it." (I'd been reading up on it)
"So why have I walked all this way to see birds when there are no birds? This is ridiculous."
"There are some birds. I saw a buzzard a few minutes ago."
Then she turned round to walk back to her friends who were struggling to get past a large puddle. At this point the rain started. I was already fogged up but they weren't. So basically they ran for it. As they disappeared into the distance I realised that this was the only conversation I'd had with a fellow walker since I began in Knighton, but was typical of the type of conversations I'd had with other people I had met (as was the red kite 'conversation'). Another example:
Me: "Do you live here?"
Man: "Yes."
"It's a lovely village."
"It's a dump."
All of these conversations come to an abrupt halt at these points, as I try to decide whether to maintain my positive attitude, agree for the sake of it or give up and read my book.

I actually managed to set off at 9 today as there was very little to detain me in Dylife. I was very soon on top of the moors again, where I spent a brilliant, wild morning in the wilderness singing too loudly than is good for a sane person (though five days was the tipping point last year!). I mainly had the songs from Patti Smith's 'Radio Ethiopia' in my head today, before moving onto Graham Parker's 'Don't get excited' and finally, from out of nowhere 'In the air tonight' by Phil Collins', which ruined everything.

Following the meeting with the woman and the shower I took a detour to walk up to the summit of Foel Fadian for some wonderful views, including the sea for the first (and possibly only) time. This is looking back towards Glaslyn with the Pumlumon mountains in the background.

The afternoon was much more undulating with some long, steep ascents, but on excellent paths and I wandered into Machynlleth at 5pm, which seemed immense compared to the places I've been to so far.

The centre of Machynlleth, not at 5pm.

Because of the early finish I could get showered before Jen and Liz turned up, the only decent thing to do I thought, and it was lovely to see them both. We went to an Indian restaurant in town where I had a chicken jalfrezi, meal rating 8/10. Two points docked for forgetting to bring us water on two separate occasions.

The beer was of course also rubbish as it was lager. I have been a bit disappointed with the beer situation so far (though I did know what I was going to get tonight!), especially compared to last year's walk which was high quality throughout. However this has been offset by the b&b standards, which have so far been better. Tonight's (and thus toomorrow's) is another goody, Maenllwyd Guest House.

So a day off tomorrow, which will seem quite strange.

-- Posted from my iPhone

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