From the archives: Rope Bridges

Imagine Snowdonia with rope bridges!

Long-term followers of The Walker’s Wife may recall it started life on the free blogging platform Blogger.

Over the years, I’ve migrated various posts to WordPress.com (the free hosted version of WordPress) and then to WordPress.org (where you pay for the hosting yourself).

For several years, my website was called The Walker’s Wife, until last summer I changed the site’s name to my own, the thinking being that I could use it to promote projects which were unrelated to hiking (and are yet to be completed). Throughout all these technical changes, my blog’s name has endured, perhaps because I’ve yet to come up with a better one.

Anyway, I stumbled upon the original Blogger site yesterday and, following a short trip down memory lane, I thought I might add some of my older (and shorter!) blogs here. It will amuse me during lockdown if nothing else.

The blog below is definitely one of my favourites. It’s particularly apt at the moment as we have to traverse a steep valley to go anywhere (well, maybe not anywhere, but definitely to head in our favourite direction).

Rope Bridges

(first posted on June 26, 2012)

We writers like to think of ourselves as versatile, so when I heard about Caerleon Arts Festival’s comic poetry competition, I decided I should have a go.

My entry was very hush-hush (I know one of the judges) and – I thought – not a bad effort for someone who hasn’t attempted to write poetry of any kind since university.

Harri liked my poem very much, but wondered if it was maybe a little elitist, i.e. he thought  few, if any, of the panel of judges would understand the feeling of absolute exhaustion (mental as well as physical) when faced with yet another peak to climb. In essence, he doubted whether these literary types (our friend is himself a poet) would necessarily grasp the exciting concept of a system of rope bridges across Wales!

Alas, he was right – I wasn’t even short-listed. I am, however, determined to publish my first-ever comic poem so, for all you hikers who wish there was some way to make the mountains a little easier, here it is:

Rope Bridges

If there’s one thing we hikers hate – yes, even more than stiles/– it’s conquering the highest peak for miles and miles and miles

Then spotting just across the vale, another bloody cairn/And knowing that the only route is down then up again.

But wait, I think there is a way to salve those weary feet/ A nifty little rope bridge ‘twixt where the high points meet.

Starting with the Beacons, Snowdonia, Pen y Fan/Rope bridges are Wales’ future – our all-inclusive plan.

The Rhinogs, Cambrian Mountains, Carneddau, Cadair Idris/Just sway your way from A to B and hike above the abyss.

You’ll need a head for heights it’s true; perhaps Glyndŵr’s nerve/When faced with sheep or goats, a bull, it’s wiser not to swerve.

The all-Wales coast path beckons, those heathered trails drop deep/Rope the gaps between the cliffs ‘cause tourists don’t do ‘steep’.

From Rhyl to Aberdovey, Mwnt to Pembroke Dock/Transform the landscape, add the ropes, keep hikers off the rock.

The plan solves unemployment. No job? Then plait a bridge/What skills are more transferable than linking ridge to ridge?

Think of it, one climb a day, the tough bits done and dusted/Yet a question still remains, can suspended ropes be trusted?

 

Back to April 2020: there were apparently plans to resurrect the All Wales Comic Verse Competition this year, but alas Covid-19 put an end to that (the shortlisted poets are usually invited to read their entries at Caerleon Festival in Newport before the winners are announced).

With the aim of introducing a little more culture into our lives (and distracting me from endless live news streams about the pandemic), Harri suggested we take it in turns to choose a poem which we could then discuss together. His first choice was The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry, which begins with the line ‘When despair for the world grows in me …’  The theme feels very topical despite the poem being written two decades ago. I’m not sure which poem I’ll choose – I’m not generally a big poetry reader – however, I did enjoy exchanging views with Harri about Berry’s interesting use of the compound adjective ‘sun-blind’ to describe the stars.

More archives to follow … I just need to find the original images that accompanied them!

 

 

 

2 Responses

  1. Emma Brett

    Hi Tracy,
    I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs and have similar interests to you , am I able to ask you some questions on recommend walks ? I live in the Swansea Valley!
    Many thanks
    Emma Brett

    • TheWalkersWife

      Hi Emma, thank you for your kind comments. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. Yes, of course. Harri lived in Swansea for several years before we met so he knows the area reasonably well. He also knows Gower very well (and has written an ebook of walks based all over the peninsula. Just email me at thewalkerswife@gmail.com and we’ll do our best to help. Kind regards, Tracy

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