So where is your 'somewhere'? Where do you go to feel calm and breathe? We all have a place that holds happiness and memories. Postcards from Somewhere is a social media campaign by the charity Mind to help raise awareness of Mental Health and for those of us who suffer to have a way of connecting with others like us. And my somewhere? Here. Twmpa, in the Black Mountains. And why is it #MySomewhere? Read on to find out....
It was May 1987 when I first set eyes on the place that was to become integral to my life. Twmpa, or Lord Hereford's Knob (let's stick with Twmpa shall we!?) is a relatively unknown mountain set within the Black Mountains area of the Brecon Beacons National Park. It is somewhat overshadowed by its neighbour Hay Bluff which is both a shame, but also a blessing. Being the less known of the peaks means it is much quieter and you have a much higher chance of being able to enjoy it on your own.
As I set out from home the weather looked ominous. It was smeary and wet, not really raining but definitely soggy. It was a little breezy as I left but it belied what was to come. Luckily my spirits lifted as I drove towards the Black Mountains as the cloud started to rise and the mizzle moved away eastwards.
The road up to Gospel Pass from Llanvihangel Crucorny is as the sign suggests a little wiggly, but being a quiet Friday morning I pretty much had it to myself. Apart of course from the locals who decided to keep me company for a mile or two. There is nothing quite as amusing as a row of little sheeps' bums wiggling away.
When I arrived at the parking spot it was just me. The sun was starting to break through the clouds and the peace was overwhelming.
It was pretty clear straight away that it was significantly colder and windier than at home. It goes to show that you must never underestimate the weather. But, I was prepared and so excited to have the hill to myself. There was not a soul to be seen. Bliss.
The walk up Twmpa didn't take too long, it would have taken less time had I not stopped to look at the wild foxes playing in the gullies. I have never seen foxes up on the hills. Seen plenty as a child in Bristol growing up, they were everywhere then. But up here, on my mountain (yes I do think of it as mine) was magical. I looked to the skies but with the winds blowing I knew it was unlikely I would see any birds of prey circling.
As I reached the summit the winds were extreme and I could barely stand. My Nordic walking poles were flying all over the place so I dropped down out of the wind to take stock. The views, despite the outlying clouds were still breath taking. This place is my happy place, my somewhere. All I could do was smile, and a proper smile, you know the sort the one that starts at your toes and flows through you like a light. Just bliss.
There is no trig point on Twmpa, but there is a semblance of a summit with the ubiquitous sandstone scattered over a flat platform. I needed to lean in to the wind and managed to take some shots over to Hay Bluff and back over to Rhos Dirion.
And the joy was it was just me. I could really get used to this walking alone lark, as someone who loves talking, walking alone is wonderful as I am able to babble away to myself with no-one talking back. I am therefore always right!
Although I know this mountain well it was important to make sure that I had my trusty Silva Expedition Compass and OL13 Ordnance Survey Map. You can know a hill like the back of your hand but when that mist descends it can quickly become an alien landscape.
After a quick stop for a coffee out of my treasured Stanley flask (the only flask I have found that looks great and manages to keep my hot drink hot all day) I then set off down the front of Twmpa to skirt round the base of the hill and back up to the van.
It made me realise that I really do love hill walking. I enjoy canoeing, climbing and mountain biking but my first love is the hills. It is Twmpa that I have to thank for that. In 1987 I went on my first PGL holiday at Tregoyd House and fell in love with these hills. This passion has never left me. This place is where I have been my happiest and been me. It is where I met my husband for the first time and where I spent my first (of two) honeymoons. It is also where I shall end my days. I am not being morbid don't worry and I am fit as a fiddle (Anxiety Disorder and Depression besides) but my ashes shall be scattered here. My soul shall live here forever. #MySomewhere