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.