Dulas Brook - Wild Hay Waters

Upper/Mid Wye Valley

Salmon Spawn

Aaah what a site the brook was as we looked up to where we had come from and down to where we would drink and refresh ourselves. The water was superb as it burbled, babbled and splashed its way down towards the Dulas Brook below. It was a cool, green and lush all around and just the kind of place that Malcom liked to ‘kiss the water’ as he put it.

Onwards and up a steep incline on the other side of the brook we reached open ground in just a short distance of some 30 meters or so. I inhaled the space that greeted me and turned to see Malcom exit the thick foliage below as if emerging out of some kind of rich natural soup. It’s these transitional moments I thought that make a trip and with Malcom’s joy expressed in turn we headed off North East 300 meters or so to find what we’d honed in on for most the day that being two convenient flat spots along a slightly wooded fence line.

We wasted no time in pitching our tents Malcom with his Vango and me with my new Six Moon Designs tarp tent, which I did a review for in the isolation of the night. As night time unfolded we found ourselves engaged in conversation about the gear, life, stress and relief, family, work, aspirations, wives, knives and our eco systems, which was evident in the diversity of insects that inhabited the trees in our midst. On top of a meal each we were satisfied and later turned in to sleep soundly in the Dulas Brook valley at the foot of Hay Bluff.

Morning was dry and crisp but not cold, which boded well for the short hike back into Hay-On-Wye. Before setting off from the clean camp we once again admired our location surrounded, as we were, by a high plantation clad hill to our front and North and a clear panorama of the Begyns and Mid wales to our West. The wood particularly was an imposing presence stimulating to our senses and as we gathered our gear to head downhill to the Wye valley below we knew it was another special time had worthy of congratulation and celebration.

Onto the quite back Longtown road we had only a short distance to go and a field to cross before getting to Dulas brook, which was hidden in a small gorge it had carved out for itself over millennia. Before the pleasure of that though we sat for well over an hour admiring the view of Cusop Hill and the Dulas valley to our front running East to West. It was a magical sight to savour with Buzzard and Peregrine above to fill the valley with activity akin to this wild yet occupied part of the Welsh - English border.

Climbing into the Dulas Brook the sound of water encouraged us to spend a time immersed in the lush green overhanging grove that accompanied the gorge. Both Malcom and I were once again taken by the running water as with the Esgryn earlier. I photographed whilst Malcom rinsed his head and face in the water siting that he was Aquarius. Of course, being a cold water spring enthusiast I had to drink, which I did from my empty Evian bottle. It was blissful and as the pure life- giving waters tingled throughout my being I closed my eyes briefly at the satisfaction of it dreaming of them lighter days without stress and or fear. This was certainly one of them days.

With a quick stone balance erected as my very own mark of respect and contribution to the ever-present water spirits and whoever else may come along we climbed out of the brook via an opening that bordered the roadside. Again, Malcom looked like he was exiting the jungle, which reminded me of how off-piste our trek had been. Buzzed and buoyed by the brook and the spirit of being off-piste we set off for Hay-On-Wye and the confluence of Dulas Brook with the River Wye via Cusop. Slow and amble like our trek into the ‘Wild Waters of Hay Bluff’ was drawing to a close.

Suddenly we found ourselves once again admiring this somewhat famous mountain town of Hay without too much of a wobble. This was largely due to the long drawn out settlements of Cusop that eventually pitters out the further away from Hay you go. It breaks you into town life gently. As we passed the old stone home and buildings reminiscent of Hay we remarked on where the confluence may appear. We’d not been there before and so relied upon our intuition or rather my intuition having visited the town on many occasions before. I knew where to go and so, with a sense of renewed purpose, I honed in on the confluence, which turned out to be situated beyond the Newport St Car park.

Walking into the car park off the main road I was greeted by the sound of a Kingfisher the presence of which was confirmed by Malc who also heard it. We laughed and then with awe sited simultaneously the Wye in medium spate. It looked majestic, beautiful and wild as did the Dulas Brook that flowed into it some 60-70 meters or so down river as though a preordained continuum were being played out.

Print Screen of Dulas entering the Wye

There was no objection by the Wye as it made room for yet more waters coming off these impressive high tops. We were stoked to see and be a part of an eco-system that has been here for too many years for us to count almost but has delighted and even kept alive generations of people and a diverse array of creatures large and small. With this illuminating thought we made our way toward the carriage or should I say car at Drover Cycles, one more Rwandan coffee and a meander through the Vale of Ewyas via Gospel Pass, which was now relieved of its cloak of cloud revealing, in all its glory, the Western escarpment of the Black Mountains where yet more waters emerge to swell the Wye.

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