Helter Skelter


‘Helter Skelter’ by Nina Sutton

Yesterday I  spent a couple of hours charging around the Garth. Standing stoically to the North of the city (Cardiff) its imposing mass looks down upon the Welsh capital from it’s outer edges, providing epic views over the the Bristol channel  to the sandy shores of North Devon. The pretty little village of Gwaleod-Y-Garth nestles on its lower slopes.  Forestry fans around its sides, leaving the moorland summit exposed like the shaved head above a monk’s tonsure. Sheep orbited around the 5000 year old Celtic burial mounds on its plateaued peak like errant balls of cotton wool.

But yesterday’s ride was not reserved for daydreaming and meditative rolling. I’ve a session I think of as the ‘Helter Skelter’ 3 loops of the mountain, winding down and back up in decreasing circles;  lung bursting ascent giving way to jar jarring descent, all the while lyrics to the Beatles song rattling around my head;

When I get to the bottom I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and I turn and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again.

On a cross bike, this ride’s sole purpose is to blast the cobwebs from underused muscles. Despite masochistic intention, the moody views and wild winds demanded their admiration, contemplation and eventual capture in pixels. Armed only with a Blackberry suffering from a filthy lens (and no capacity to see the output due to the brief, glaring sun), the pictures below were snatched as heavy clouds rolled past at high-speed, peppering the landscape with welcome sunspots. Hopefully they give some sense that in South Wales at least, you’re rarely far from hills that refuse to be domesticated; this hill is less than 5 miles from my city home.

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