Day 191 Mile 191: Woodland Run & Happy Birthday. Today’s run takes me through the woodland surrounding the River Aber. Rhaeadr Fawr (literally Big Waterfall in Welsh) is at the head of the main river, that rises in the peaty moorland which forms the northern edge of the Carneddau mountain range above the deep valley scoured by millennia of flowing water. Lady’s-mantle and Wild Angelica grow on the steeper, rocky parts of the reserve while, closer to the river, you can find Ramsons and the delicate ‘Town Hall Clock’. Being a partly oak woodland, it is also very good for fungi Fly Agaric, Oakbug Milkcap, and Turkeytail although not many of these were visible today. In addition, alder wood from the area was once used to produce clogs, which were then sold from Wales across the world.
Numerous types of birds including Pied Flycatchers, Wood Warblers and Wheatears make their homes here as well as occasional sightings of Crossbills, Kingfisher and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Closer to the waterfall Ring Ouzels (the wonderfully named Turdus torquatus), Choughs and Ravens can sometimes be seen on the steep rock walls. In terms of mammals the most notable creature known to live here is the weasel, a wonderful little character, the observation of whom is not really compatible with running!
There is a wonderful, almost kaleidoscopic sensation to being in an environment where there is so much natural beauty to enjoy. This layers and folds into the awareness of the marvels, which, due to seasons, or the elapse of centuries you can’t see in the immediate; of things hidden away from view, growing in the earth, or simply out of sight. Informing this comes a layer of naming of things. Giving words to what we see, and making it possible to describe that which we cant. Latin taxonomy provides a nomenclature of design and respectability, while the myriad of folk names shed light on our understandings, forgotten memories and mankind’s relationship with what we find around us. It is a real privilege to be able to enjoy a space on so many levels.
Below: Bryan Wright (Dad) with his dog Humphrey in their natural habitat.
My reasons for coming up here today were two fold. Firstly to explore an area which I have not been to for quite some time, as mostly people tend to stay on the well-worn path to the waterfalls next to the river rather than the slightly higher route through the woods. The second reason is that it is my Dad’s birthday. Sadly I won’t get to see him today as we live a good distance apart but we have spoken on the phone. As I child I used to walk for miles with him and my parents dogs through the English countryside and it is largely from him I came to appreciate the natural world around us. I am incredibly lucky to have had such a knowledgeable, kind and unassuming man to be my guide in exploring the woodlands and fields of my youth. Happy Birthday Dad!
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 1662.7 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
Thanks as ever for all the support!