Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Mountains, Monitaly and Me... By Saul Wilks

I remember when Sinister Delicious was my main creative outlet, something I looked forward to writing and doing. Something I was really passionate about. Going out and taking photographs of my travels, clothing, music and everything in between made up the basis of what was done here and lately I thought how much I had missed doing that.

Having founded Ardour Brand from these very pages, producing blog posts took a back seat and pretty much died a death for both Shaun and I. I recently logged back on here and had a good read, it stirred some memories and made me realise we should always take time out to do the things that make us happiest and seeing as this was one thing that always made me feel like that, I decided I'd write another post - and who know's, perhaps it will become a regular thing again.

I'm something of a deep thinker, a trait I have always had, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. Either way, I sometimes like some tranquil time to think clearly and let the stresses of life melt away. I've often found that the outdoors supplements this process perfectly, maybe the fresh air, maybe the serenity of the surroundings, so I set out early yesterday morning armed with a rucksack, two pairs of shoes I thought would be apt for walking up steep gradients (how wrong I was) a bottle of water and my camera.

About 12 miles from Newport, near to where I spent my time in secondary school stands a mountain called Twmbarlwm, it's distinctive due to the fact that on the very peak there's a man made mound affectionately known as the 'pimple'. It's the remnants of an iron age hill fort, complete with earth works and probably the best vantage point to look over the Severn estuary in the area.

I've climbed it once before, getting lost on the mountain paths and getting caught out by the weather which is generally cold, wet and misty. The clouds form around you as you get higher and it holds quite a mystic aura about it.

After 2 hours of navigating muddy tails, obstacles and gradients of various angles It dawned on me that my heels felt like they were going to fall apart, so my quick morning thinking of taking two pairs of footwear had paid off and I was able to carry on. God only knows what would have happened if I hadn't. because it's a long walk back down with your heels in shreds.

Twmbarlwm is pretty misleading in the fact that you think you're going to reach the top, can see it on the horizon and then when you get to where you think the top is, it carries on another slog by which point you wonder how people ever have a pop at K2 and the like. Your legs go to jelly, your heart feels like it's pushing out of your chest and you feel exhausted.

Having reached the top, or 'summit' (went to watch Everest recently) it was extremely gratifying to marvel at the views, breathe in some good clean air and allow myself to think clearly. The view is quite spectacular, nothing a camera can really do justice for. What struck me as well was the fact that there were no other people around, in fact the only other person I seen during my climb was one bloke who worked for the forestry services.

Having drunk in the scenery and feeling a lot more loose and relaxed than I did, I disembarked the cloud formations circling around my head and headed for the sanctuary of lower ground - getting mercilessly caught in a storm of heavy rain as I did so. Turns out Ikat isn't waterproof.

All in all, this was something that was free to do, both healthy for the body and the mind and was less than 20 minutes drive away from an other wise industrial and concrete landscape.

The treasures that lay on our own doorsteps.