By vehicle, we still cannot leave the Ffarm.
However, on foot…? There’s a chance.
Brynn & I are still alone in this snowscape. We need some fresh air.
So the two of us trudge through the snowdrifts, up the drive; & for the first time in too many days breathe in the sweet, fresh-but-freezing air at the top of the hill, whipped by flurries of damp snow. The thaw finally seems to be trying to establish a foothold & the snow through which we wade is wet & heavy. Restless clouds scud the sky; a rainbow briefly graces the fragile blue-grey horizon; a pall of mist slowly but determindely descends over the eastern edge of the cwm (valley).
But Brynn & I are on a mission. For days now, we’ve been treated to tantalising glimpses of the Wild Road: appearing for a mysterious, shimmering hour or two with the thaw; then disappearing again beneath the embrace of another fresh blanket of pristine snow.
Down in the bottom of the cwm where the little, crenellated stone bridge marks the eastern corner of the Ffarm’s boundary, there’s the start of a drover’s road. It must lead on to the Wild Road, somehow….& today, we’re going to find out….
Creaking open the fragile gate we find ourselves standing at the start of the road. Somehow it is even more magical, in the snow; not a footstep marks its silent surface. It is eerily quiet; the only sound the heavy drip-drip-drip of water from the branches of the trees; & the soft rush of snowmelt in the stream.
I pause, fascinated, to observe the ancient, crumbling walls of Tý Rhyd, or the ‘House at the River Bend’; a typical crogloft cottage which has long since tumbled into disrepair. The road used to lead more directly past this little old house & we believe there was a ford, rather than a bridge here, before the track was diverted & metalled; it seems so damp & inhospitable it’s hard to imagine living in such a place although I dare say in days of yore it was a different environment altogether. Sadly the ruins are equipped with all ‘mod cons’, a TV & even a fridge – thanks to dastardly flytippers.
We make our way up the track, overhung with heavy tendrils of ivy drooping spookily from the gnarled, twisted trees. Occasionally a pheasant or woodcock rises abruptly from the undergrowth in a whirring of startled wings; it make me jump but Brynn loves the excitement & tears through the undegrowth in fruitless pursuit.
Suddenly, abruptly, at the top of a steep hill there is a gap in the trees & we find ourselves at the edge of a field. It’s a huge disappointment for me, not to mention a puzzle; I was convinced that the road would lead right the way through the woods, not into farmland. On further investigation however I realise that there must have been another trackway running along the bottom of the valley & then leading upwards; it cannot however be seen from the ffarm. So for now, it will have to remain an elusive mystery….
However, at least it’s given me a fresh perspective on things. There’s a great vista across the easternmost end of the valley; & more exciting still, a view of our own ffarm, as I’ve never seen it before. It’s only when you see the ffarm from this angle that you realise just how steep the hill into which it is tucked, actually is.
So although it was disappointing not to walk the Wild Road at last, it certainly wasn’t a wasted journey. And one day, we will get there….albeit we’ll have to explore from another angle.
So with a sigh I turn back down the track, & into the tranquil shadows of the silent wood; Brynn capering merrily at my heels, tongue lolling in mirthful enjoyment. On the way back down the hill we pause at the edge of a beautiful little lake, complete with island. Although it’s very close to our own boundary the trees & undergrowth are so thick here, that I’ve never seen it before. A lone mallard bobs across the surface & disappears behind the island. The trees’ ever-dripping water weeps fat tears into the steel-grey surface of the lake as the mist descends deeper into the valley.
Time to go home….