Thursday, 25 September 2014

Alex Cameron – Y Pedwarau video log

Visiting the Land of Y Pedwarau video log, conception and creation

“What was the name Myrddyn had for this hill?” Barbara Jones asked Rob.  Rob was not sure, and I too was none the wiser.  It was just a brief moment before Myrddyn, video camera in hand, caught us up on the top of the hill.  He did a short piece of filming just before we could ask him the burning question.  What was that name? “This hill is a Pedwar” he proudly announced.  My Welsh isn’t brilliant but I knew straight away what Myrddyn was talking about.  The hill we were gathered on was Mynydd Tan-y-coed standing at a height of 491 metres above sea level ... It was the four.  That’s what we had come here for!  I smiled inwardly knowing all too well that pedwar is of course the Welsh word for four.

(L-R) Alex, Barbara and Rob at the summit of Mynydd Tan-y-coed
This was certainly food for thought as we continued our walk to the summit of Tarrenhendre.  I knew that the Hewitts and Dewey’s are two relatively achievable lists that hill baggers go after but I’d never really heard of anyone setting out to climb all the 400m hills as well.  That is with the exception of one unique character who I knew had already climbed every such hill in England and Wales.  This person also happened to be the fourth member of our small group atop Mynydd Tan-y-coed today.  One Rob Woodall.

After such a memorable day out with list keeper and conqueror it would only be right and proper that I begin my own journey to get to know these particular hills more intimately.  A few weeks later the list went live on the net, formally titled as ‘Y Pedwarau’ (The Fours) and housed on Mark Trengove’s Europeaklist site and Haroldstreet as well soon after.  I was lucky because Myrddyn had given me a preview of the e-booklet enabling me to get a little head start.  I needed it too because apart from some 400m hills with trigs on that I’d bagged, and a handful more in the Clwydians and Carneddau, I was almost starting from scratch.

The view from Crimpiau (SH 733 595), the first Pedwar Alex visited
I’m one who takes just as much pleasure in pouring over maps and planning out my routes as actually being out in the hills themselves.  Not having a driving license certainly complicates things, but with careful study of bus timetables and realism about how much ground I’m able to cover in a 5-6 hour window it’s pleasantly surprising how many tops I’ve managed to tick off as day trips.  Sometimes the hills are just too remote though and I’ve had to resort to using my bike to access them.  On a couple of occasions I’ve gone for the lightweight backpacking option instead, giving me the freedom to just bivvy out wherever I stumble to a stop at the day’s end.

So, where did the idea for my ‘Y Pedwarau’ video log come from?  To keep me motivated through the course of a year I like to have some sort of a goal to work towards.  Last summer it was to visit every trig pillar in North Wales, which I duly achieved on Moel Fammau in late August.  For a personal record of the day I took a video camera along with me and as I got some nice footage I decided to share it with the trigpointing community on Youtube.  My channel is now developing slowly and it’s always great fun seeing projects go from the ideas stage through to the final product.  My North Wales episode of Y Pedwarau has certainly been the most ambitious yet, with the footage taking the best part of spring and summer to gather together.

From the outset I already had in mind what I was going to do with the visual presentation but what I was going to need to finish it off was some extra special music.  It was either by fate or some wild chance then that I managed to rescue an old Sain Records LP bound for our local charity shop.  I placed the needle down on Side A and instantly knew that I’d found what I was looking for without even trying.  Marwnad yr Ehedydd - The Lark’s Elegy.  If anything could summon up the spirit of still-wild corners of our land then this piece of wonderfully evocative music would be top of the list for sure.

As the ever busy summer of 2014 now fades slowly away into blissful memories I can take a little more time to reflect on my Pedwar journey so far.  ‘Where shall it take me to next?’ was the question I posed at the end of my vlog and in all honesty I rarely know myself from one week to another.  That is the charm and magic of nationwide hill listings.  The hills themselves decide the agenda and you can but only enjoy the ride from one to the next.  There are still plenty wide open spaces to lose yourself in in this overcrowded isle of ours.  And I know without a shadow of doubt that they are here to discover in the Land of Y Pedwarau.  You just need to know where to look.

Thanks to Alex for sharing his Y Pedwarau video log and supplying the accompanying text.

To access Alex’s YouTube channel please click {here}

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