Bannau Sir Gar - Black Mountain - the last of the Carmarthen Fans . . . call it what you will. This is where we walked to last week - the lake of Llyn-y-Fan-Fach being at the roots of the sharpest dark ridge you can see. It's worth walking to the top of our steep hill to see this view. . .
Yesterday evening I felt like a little wander along the hedgerows to pick some blackberries. With the rain we've had on and off, the best ones (as ever) were going over quickly, and I had to be careful not to put my hand on a wasp, as plenty were making the most of the berries.
I walked along the old card track towards Lime Kiln Field, reaching under leaves - some browning already at the edges as autumn is truly with us early this year - and disturbing flies and worse, with the tinkling note of the nearby stream in the background, and a few quarrelling sparrows in the hedgerow to my left. I ducked under a strand of barbed wire and crossed the Park field, where walking was difficult due to the heavy clay soil being poached by the dairy herd who had been grazing there recently. The hedgerow yielded little fruit - it had gone over or was fly-sucked. A jet flew overhead, so high I couldn't see him, only hear the whine of his engine. A cabbage white butterfly fluttered from bramble stem to hedgerow leaf.
I climbed our hill, and in the distance a buzzard mewed, its shrill voice sounding peevish and whistle-like. A damsel fly rose from the brambles and the little khaki sh*t flies (followers of Next Door's dairy herd) were on every fruit I wished to pick. A good reason not to eat blackberries straight from the bush! The fields across the valley have been cut and baled for haylage - a few canny souls took advantage of a few dry days last week and cut for hay - but it will be a difficult year for horse-owners looking for small bale hay again. Most of it will be brought in from England, at a premium. Straw too of course, as this is hill-farming country - too steep and too wet for growing any sort of corn.
This morning's first job will be to raid the freezers for the last of the 2008 brambles. I have several bags of sloes too, but I will let those stay a while in case I can't get a decent picking this year. Bramble Jelly it is then . . .