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Lost in the hills: The walk that turned into a wilderness...


It was a Sunday afternoon at the end of an unpredictable weekend in both weather and mood. After returning home from away around a week ago, we’ve both been settling back into our regular routines and familiarity, and we’ve not yet told the stories of Scotland. Sometimes, it’s knowing where to start. A lot of people have asked how the holiday went, my polite answer is ‘lovely, it was beautiful thank you’, for those I’m on less formal terms with, ‘you couldn’t write it’. That’s the truth. But we’re making a start and I promise, it’s not bad, just a bit weird in places.


So, on this Sunday, at the end of a long week of neighbouring wind chime battles (best not to ask, now resolved thankfully) and adjusting back into the every day, we, like many of us were feeling cooped up and frustrated after a week of rain, mud and blowing in the wind. Earlier in the weekend, we’d attempted a walk in our local hills, our wondrous Preselis. A place where both me and J spend a lot of time both hiking and on two wheels. Yet, when we’d attempted our hike on the Saturday morning, within not more than a minute of arriving the rain came down heavy and the mist descended. As you’ll see shortly, getting lost in the hills is something that can very easily happen, even on a beaut of a day in Pembrokeshire, so these conditions were not favourable. Fast forward to the next day and Sunday brought some promise. In place of the hazy grey, was a bright blue sky and sunshine. Today was the one.







Living with social anxiety, Sundays are often the most challenging day of the week. The reason being, is simply that when a large proportion of the community is at leisure it can be so difficult to find quiet places. Especially so when the weather has been trash and the Sunday ends up being ‘The One’ fair weather day. So, it’s understandable that in such conditions we humans will end up clustering in the wild, we all need a little outdoor time after all. It’s no one's fault. It just means that you have to be even more creative to find places that are a little less busy (Tip - here in Wales the rugby helps to plan, a lot!).


So, as we arrived at the same point as we’d planned to head off from the day before, this time we could see everything that lay in front of us. A large steep climb awaited.





We walked up mostly in silence. I needed to get some cardio burn on the go so I took a bit of a pace to get my heart rate up and work into a sweat. Around halfway up I heard a distinctive man’s voice calling out, ‘Urgh’. Thinking that my sweaty puffed-out state had disgusted someone I quickly looked around to see where he was. Moments like this can be quite stressful when you come across someone suddenly once you’ve been in the zone. As I turned around I saw movement and a flash of white. Instant relief came over me. FFs it was just a herd of sheep wandering off around the other side of the hill. Honestly, when you meet sheep in the wild they don’t always ‘Baaa’ like in nursery rhymes, they can often sound like people.






As we reached the top of the climb, we emerged among the Preseli standing stones. Then came the calm. I wrote about this in our recent cycling story, being amongst these stones is otherworldly. There is just nothing but silence and nothing but nature for miles around you. It’s truly immersive and brings a deep sense of calm. This is one of a few places in this wild world where me and J feel that we truly belong.





We walked a little further along the track until we reached a stream. It was around this point that I asked J about the Arthur place. Bedd Arthur (Arthur’s Grave) is a standing stone circle that has a lot of mystery about it. Local legend links this to King Arthur but like many of the ancient stones that grace the Preselis, not a lot is known about it and for that reason it’s truly beautiful. We’ve only found it once before, back in 2021 and as we were on this walk my bearings felt like we were in its vicinity once again. J checked his ordnance survey app and according to that, we were right on track. It was at this point that we realised we’d well and truly left the track and were now wandering through the wilderness of moorland.





At this point, there was little option but to continue on and find our way to the stone circle somehow. Walking off the beaten track is often romanticised on social media and the like, but I will be honest about this. It can be a pain in the arse. I’m sure any fellow hikers know what I mean when I say that walking wild requires a lot of focus, decent hiking boots or similar, and often sheer hope for the best. Without a flattened path to follow, it means you have to stomp one step, see how deep your foot goes and then take your next step. Moorland like this is often overgrown so it’s potluck whether you end your footing on a nice soft bed of moss or ankle-deep in a bog. With the continuous wet weather we’ve had of late, bog is increasingly likely in these parts. So, all in all, this section of our walk was us lost, and moving very slowly toward what we thought was a path. The maps aren’t always right. According to J’s app, we should have been right on track. I can only assume that it had now overgrown and been reclaimed by Mother Nature.


After falling over several times and managing to not break our ankles, we were both relieved to eventually find the beaten track again. Still lost, but at this point it was just great to be in a firmer part of the wilderness. It was then that we saw what we had been searching for, Bedd Arthur lay just a few hundred feet away.





As we reached the stone circle, we looked around and realised that we were completely alone up here. Bedd Arthur sits on a hill that overlooks the vastness of the Preselis. You can see for miles. We found a place to sit and look out at the landscape close to the stones. There was nothing but us in this wilderness and its traces of the past. For miles around there were the familiar hills that we had hiked before, the standing stones we had seen and taken photos of and many places that are still to be visited. You can spend hours in this place and only see one or two people. It’s beautiful, it’s quiet and spending a few hours getting lost here is a perfect antidote to everyday life. The very essence of wilderness.








 

As we navigate this wild world away from the crowds, we will be posting more adventures on our YouTube channel. You can watch our latest stories here.





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