After packing and re packing my kit we finally left London for the first part of the trip, we were to stop off in Cardiff (the capital of Wales) to spend the night with old friends. Cardiff is an amazing city that's still in the grips of a massive regeneration program where the bay has been reinvented as a leisure destination, sadly that means the usual chain restaurants, but the setting is nice.
Somehow on the way home from the pizza and beers I acquired a Sombrero.
The next morning we set off proper, driving up into the hills of Brecon. The countryside offered it's usual delights, roadkill, people who thought leaving the car's hand (aka parking) brake on would be prudent, people who thought if they got there quick enough they'd be up for a prize, and farmers who just like to shower the road with shit because they can.
For our first night we camped in the garden of Pen Pont a very nice country house that has evolved over the last 350 odd years with each generation adding wings, annexes, and remodelling to suit their needs. You can stay in the house which looks lovely, we were on a more restricted budget so it was camping for us. For those of you with an interest in traditional architecture you can find a very good history of the house and the family HERE
How's that for Bushcraft?
Unable to find the other old approach shoe that I'd earmarked as a temporary 'wading boots' I'd chosen a pair of Neoprene stalking wellies as my footwear, if I'd set out to provide The Lighthouse Keeper with a high comedy moment as I slipped from rock to rock before plunging into the depths they would have been the perfect choice. Not my intention, but he seemed well-pleased with the outcome.
Now shivering slightly in the dying light I wasn't going to let a soaking dampen my spirits or dull my enthusiasm so I paused to tie on a new fly and watch TLK casting, I was just admiring the fluid motion of his back cast when I was stung on the back of the head, as my hand instinctively rose to the afflicted area, a sudden searing pain was accompanied by the amusing sight of TLK suddenly stumbling forward into water deeper than the height of his 'waist waders'. The forward motion of his cast had been suddenly interrupted by the line snagging and then snapping causing him to lose his balance. By this time my hand had reached the back of my head, where I found his fly neatly embedded, its broken tippet hanging down my back.
With the score for the afternoon at:
Fly strikes on other anglers: 1 [direct hit]
Fish hooked 1
Fish brought to the net 0
We called it a day, heading for the relative safety of the campfire.