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View Profile Denvish

50, Male

Flashsmith

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Streams

Posted by Denvish - August 6th, 2007


I think I'm addicted to mountain streams.

Previous years whilst in Birmingham, for the sake of my sanity I've had to get out to Wales and drive/wander round a bit to find a completely isolated spot by a stream to set up camp - just once, for a night or two, each summer. This year, I've been three times, twice to the location pictured in News Post #2 (near Llyn Vyrnwy), and once to a new place further north, up around Llyn Brenig - and I still want to go again at least once before the summer's done.

Think it harks back to my drifting days in my twenties/thirties - even though I have commitments now, as in wife & kids, I still have a deep-seated urge to travel, to get away to new places. The peace and tranquility of the kind of spots I search for (massively aided by the new bigger OS maps/aerial photos on Multimap) are just so relaxing after residing in the city.

Generally I set out about 9:30 to avoid the rush hour (more like 3 rush hours). Endure the tail end of the Birmingham traffic up to the M54, pop into a supermarket at Shrewsbury for supplies, then get to drive the Welsh roads for a bit, which is a pleasure in itself. Assuming no major delays, I generally arrive at whichever destination by noon, park the car somewhere, grab the stuff out of the boot (Vango tent, sleeping bag, rucksack, big bottle of water) and fight my way through pine trees/ferns/soggy ditches to whichever stream I've spotted on the map. Half an hour to set the tent up and get organised (usually getting bitten by midges throughout, I'm taking repellent next time), half an hour to sit and relax, then it's time to assault the stream.

Another thing that harks back to my childhood is a love of dam-building. More often than not, I've come back with aching thighs from lugging massive rocks around on a slippery stream-bed. With a can of cider and something to smoke on the streamside, I'll happily spend the entire afternoon and evening building a mini-lake/waterfall. The last place I went, I raised the water level by a good three feet (unfortunately the camera was playing silly buggers, so no pics), and I have plans for improving that record next time I head back there.

The water is cold, these are generally new-born streams, but it's very refreshing and cleansing. I don't light a fire or really stay up after dark, so more often than not crash out by 9ish (as opposed to the normal at-home-2am bedtime). Then it's just hoping that there's no rain overnight so I don't have to pack a damp tent in the morning.

The biggest question is: if I do make it out again (I intend to), should I head for the twice-visited spot near Vyrnwy, the newly found one by Brenig (which has more midges, but a better stream for damming), or should I look out for a completely new spot? The advantage to revisiting spots is that I will have fathomed a way to get there with the least pain, and I know they're good locations for pitching a tent and manipulating streams.

Since my last trip, I've been investigating waterways closer to home, and I have to say that the streams in the Wyre Forest are the most skanky ones I've seen - slow, muddy, wouldn't even bother taking my shoes off.

Edit: Just come back from Brenig, here's my dam.

Streams


Comments (5)

Man that looks and sounds like one of the most peaceful places on earth. Let alone a great vacation spot... dam building eh? haha =P

Just here to pull your stats, take it easy.

OK boss

Wow, i just realized you´re ranked 1st in blams and saves - congrats on that. Must´ve taken you a looong time.

Oh and a quick question. Is NG log still with the 30 level system?

I think Casualty is in the process of sorting it out - it's his baby, I just provide hosting

stream fetish eh? I must say thats a rather unconventional passtime you have there, although all your pictures do look very tranquil. It must be good to get away from the city, especially a big one like birmingham, can't remember the last time I was out in the country let alone somewhere wild like a forest hah! Anyway looks like good stress relief! be sure to enjoy your next excursion

I did :)

That is a mighty impressive dam. Do you preplan any of it, or do you just kind of pile them up?

That one looks very premeditated and rad.

Only real plan is to start wide at the bottom with the big stones, then just try to make them match as well as possible. There are usually holes, but I fill those up with smaller pebbles and gravel scooped from the streambed - doesn't cut out leakage 100% but forces the water level up.

This time I did premeditate a bit, in that I built in up to full height from both sides and left the middle open, rather than building the whole width up as I went. That meant that the water level didn't rise until I started filling the gap towards the end - the 'lake' was about 4 ft deep and bloody freezing after about 5 minutes of standing in it.

I had to knock the top couple of layers off though in the morning, because the tent was just upstream (but behind a ridge) and I'd raised the stream water level by enough to threaten the ground where the tent was.

Still well pleased with this one though, definitely my most impressive so far. If only I could figure a way of stopping the pressure of 4ft of water from forcing through gaps, so ALL the water came over the top, rather than through the wall. That'd be perfection :)

if you look closely it looks like a child in a party hat sticking his arm to the side :)