It was less rain and more aerial bombardment. Huge water bomblets peppered the trail. Clay brown watery mud rushed through fresh ravines. I gazed up beneath the peak of my cap, squinting. The bright green of the moor lay beyond the forest canopy.
The mountain had disappeared, hidden beneath a glaze of cloud. The rain was noticeably lighter. A Dog walker frogmarched her terrier to the top. The owner smiled. The dog stared stoically.
Over the cattle grid and up the steep hill. For every 10 metres of ascent, the rain yielded further.
A family of walkers stomped toward the ancient burial mounds that sit peacefully on the mountain top.
‘That’s the way! The hard way!’ Shouted the mother
‘More like the silly way!’ I yelled back.
I stood astride my 29er and surveyed the valley below. It was largely hidden. Glimpses of woodland. The odd fence. The cranellations of Castell Coch (‘The red castle’, a Victorian indulgence). It wasn’t raining here. The cloud was emptying its contents 100m below. After 10 days off the bike through sickness, I felt like Mallory, Hillary, Messner,
Image – fresh wetlands at nearby Forest Farm. That ride was a much needed breath of fresh air.