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In 1995, actor Hugh Grant went up a hill but came down a mountain.
Today, it's the turn of this Welshman to go one better
and go up two hills and come down two mountains.
Are you ready?
DRAMATIC MUSIC PLAYS
In this programme, we have a tale of two mountains
and two great walks at opposite ends of the country
both easy to get to, with stunning views, fresh air
and a healthy dollop of exercise.
Coming up will be a walk in the Welsh capital's backyard,
up Garth Mountain, made famous in the film that tells a tale
of how the locals increased the height of their hill
so that it could be officially called a mountain.
But our first walk is up north on Anglesey
along a cliff-top path overlooking spectacular craggy cliffs
and the wide expanse of the Irish Sea,
and up another hill that is in fact a mountain, Holyhead Mountain.
That big harbour wall over there, the Holyhead Breakwater,
is more than two kilometres in length
making it the longest in Europe.
It was built from rock taken from the side of that mountain over there,
Holyhead Mountain, which is where our walk takes us today.
Up it and around it and I need a guide to help show me the way.
As path officer, Rosie Frankland is in charge
of the 125 miles of Anglesey's coastal trail.
# Oh, Rosie... #
In her spare time, Rosie enjoys a bit of paddling.
Not the sort that involves dipping your toes in shallow water,
but paddling a sea kayak.
And one of her favourite places to do it is right here
around the rocky inlets of Anglesey's north-west coast.
-Good morning, Derek.
'I've arranged to meet Rosie here at the Breakwater Country Park
'which is where our circular walk begins today.'
So here we are, sort of on an island, off an island, off an island,
at the north-west tip of Anglesey's Holy Island.
Our walk starts a short distance from the busy port of Holyhead,
taking the coastal path to North Stack,
then a short, steep climb to the summit of Holyhead Mountain,
and on to South Stack and Ellin's Tower
before returning around the mountain
to our starting point at the Breakwater Country Park,
a five-mile circuit with sea views in every direction.
-So what's this place then?
-Well, Derek, this is the Breakwater Country Park.
Now a very peaceful setting but once a hive of industry.
It's one of many quarries around Holyhead Mountain
that was used to basically excavate rock
to build the Holyhead Breakwater.
Around 1,300 men were employed to build the breakwater.
A massive project which took nearly 30 years to build
by the time it was finished in 1876.
-So this is part of the Anglesey coastal path?
-It is, yeah.
It's part of the 125-mile coastal path.
-And how much are we doing today?
-About four miles.
-I can manage that.
This is a fairly new section of the coastal path.
-When was it built?
-About six or seven years ago.
We had some European funding to improve the coastal path
so all this stone was put down to make a durable surface.
There's North Stack, that's where we're heading.
It's an old foghorn station.
-I used to be frightened of foghorns when I was a boy.
Not any more though.
Everybody's heard of the world-famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path
but this path around Anglesey has equally impressive sea cliff scenery and wildlife
together with beautiful unspoilt rocky coves and sandy beaches.
What's this building ahead of us?
It's an old ammunition store for the quarry. A magazine.
It might be 50 miles shorter than the Pembrokeshire path,
but this would be a great long-distance trail to get started on,
especially in the spring when the wild flowers are out.
So tell me a bit more about your job, Rosie.
What do you like about it the most?
Oh, I guess being outdoors is my favourite part.
Just having this as my office.
-I get to walk the whole 125 miles every year.
-Keeps you busy then?
It does keep me busy, yeah.
We've estimated that there's over 300,000 people using the coastal path every year
and it really helps support the local economy.
-People come and stay and eat on the island.
-Spend a bit of money?
Yeah, which is important.
I think that reinforces why the coastal path is here.
The sea looks a bit rough, doesn't it?
-Wouldn't want to be swimming out there.
Away from the world, you might say on the very edge of the world,
the old foghorn keeper's house at North Stack
has been a home and secluded retreat for artist Philippa Jacobs
for the past 20 years.
You can only get to it by foot or along a rough vehicle track,
so you have to be a very committed and self-sufficient type
to live in a place like this.
-Lovely to meet you.
-Lovely to meet you too, thank you for coming.
-Thanks for inviting us.
-How was the walk?
-Lovely, so far.
-I'm looking forward to the rest of it.
-This is a fantastic place to live.
-A little bit remote but lovely.
-It's not that remote, really.
-Not for me anyway.
-What makes you live in a place like this?
Because I'm a painter and I need this kind of atmosphere
and the solitude and I need the isolation, to think.
It's lovely today but what's it like in a force 12?
Well, I'm lucky sometimes not to lose windows.
I do lose windows occasionally
cos the gusts can be about 100mph here.
But this winter I was OK!
This used to be an old foghorn station.
Yes, it did. It went off for the last time in 1986.
It's been here for about 150 years.
-Can we take a close look at the view?
-Yes, do. Yes.
The walk down to the end of the promontory
is what the guidebooks call "airy",
but it's really worth it for the views along the cliffs.
-So we can see South Stack over there? South Stack Lighthouse.
-South Stack Lighthouse.
-And what's this behind us here?
-This is Parliament House Cave.
Why's it called that?
Well, because the foghouse people used to think that with the guillemots
making a racket on those ledges over there,
it sounded like the chattering MPs in Parliament
so they called it Parliament House Cave.
-All talking a load of nonsense?
-All talking a load of nonsense, yes!
Leaving Phillipa and North Stack behind,
the path takes us steeply up towards Holyhead Mountain,
and just as I'm beginning to huff and puff,
we bump into a group of charity walkers
who have many more miles under their belts than we do.
-Derek the weatherman!
-How are you?
-I'm good, how are you?
-You said it was going to rain!
-Yeah, I got it right for once!
-Yay, well done!
-And there's more sunshine to come tomorrow.
Well, I've finished today so that'll be...
-You can enjoy it, have a rest tomorrow.
So what are you guys doing up here?
Right, I'm on my final leg now into Holyhead.
-I've done a 125-mile trek around Anglesey in five days.
-In five days?
Yes, for Help For Heroes
-and also in support of the Royal Irish Regiment from Shropshire.
It's my local regiment. It's just fantastic.
-Thank you very much, thank you.
-Enjoy your walk.
Looking up towards the summit, there's no doubt in my mind
that despite being only 220 metres in height, that's well under 1,000 feet,
this striking lump of heathland
interspersed with jagged lumps of pale rock
fully deserves to be called a mountain,
whether you're going up it or down it.
What's that sign over there? It says, "Caer y Twr."
Fortress of the tower.
This is the site of an Iron Age hill fort
so over 2,500 years old and there's a huge wall encompassing the summit
of Holyhead Mountain which is where we're heading for now.
-So it's quite a size?
-It is, it's pretty impressive.
It would've been used to keep invaders out all that time ago.
-Just a few more feet to go.
-Yeah, we're almost there now, Derek.
-Any chance of a cuppa on the copa?
-I'm sure we can arrange it.
You might have to hold on tight though,
it's going to get blown away.
-Well, we're finally at the top, Rosie.
-Yeah, at last. It's great.
And just look at the view.
-What can we see?
-Well, that's Carmel Head over there.
High point on the island and then you've got
the mountains of Snowdonia going down to the Llyn Peninsula.
-Great view of the Port of Holyhead as well.
-Yeah, it is, isn't it?
You can really appreciate the breakwater from up here.
We've also got some more remains just over to your right.
They're the remains of a Roman watchtower and signal station
that was used in the 4th century to send signals
back down to the Roman fort in Holyhead.
-Well, it is a fantastic coastline, Rosie.
-It sure is.
-We can see Philippa's place over there, North Stack where we were earlier on.
And just look at the cliffs with the huge, sheer drops into the sea
-and the little caves as well.
-You can see just why it's
so popular with rock climbers, the big cliffs.
OK, it might look like a just a bleak heathland to you and me,
but this is, in fact, a Special Area of Conservation
of international importance,
and hidden here are some very rare plants.
Someone who knows where to find them is Dave Bateson, head warden of this RSPB reserve.
-So what have we got here then?
-Just having a quick look at these spotted rock-rose plants.
We do a full count of them every year
and they're quite scarce plants. I'm just checking out
whether they're in flower or not yet.
So what makes them grow here?
They like these exposed places with very shallow, thin soils.
So this is a top spot for them.
In fact, this is probably the biggest colony on Anglesey.
And if it wasn't for Dave, I'd have walked right past them.
-So this is South Stack lighthouse?
-Yeah, dramatic, isn't it? What a fantastic archetypal lighthouse.
If you were a little kid and were told to draw a lighthouse, it'd be like that.
-Big lump of rock, white lighthouse on the top.
-When was it built?
-1874, the current buildings you see there.
The light tower.
These days it's fully automated, and operated remotely,
would you believe, from Harwich in Essex.
Next stop for us is the RSPB look-out at Ellin's Tower
for a spot of birdwatching.
And you don't need binoculars for a close-up view.
This is amazing. You've got live images of puffins in the centre.
-It's quite unusual to see such fantastic images.
This is coming from our live camera.
It's happening right now as we stand here.
This is the first time I've seen a puffin. I've been to Pembrokeshire, never seen a puffin
probably cos I've gone at the wrong time of year.
It's all about when you visit these colonies
cos the birds are only here to lay the egg and raise the chick.
They're seabirds, they live on the open water all year round
so there's no reason for them to be on land.
When they're here on the land, they're at risk of predation
so they spend as little time here as possible and then get back out to sea again.
And what's the best time of year to see puffins?
-Is it around now, May time?
-May/June is a good time.
These little nestlings in here are young chough, around two-weeks-old.
The heathland at South Stack is a special area for chough
and we kind of have to manage it for them so we look after them quite well.
Well, it's a great place to come to watch the birds.
And hopping around outside is the parent bird.
It might look like an ordinary crow,
but that red beak is the giveaway.
This is a chough, a rare birdwatching treat.
There must be hundreds if not thousands of birds down there.
Yeah. Fantastic, isn't it? There's about 4,500.
What have we got apart from seagulls?
We have guillemots and razorbills, kittiwakes and fulmars.
And why do the birds decide to nest here, what's special about it?
It's about geology. The guillemots and razorbills
are laying a single egg directly onto the rock, not building a nest
so they need a decent platform upon which to build it.
Obviously they need to be away from predators as well because that egg's
very vulnerable to being eaten by rats and stoats and weasels, etc.
And also, madly enough,
the chicks from the guillemots jump off the cliff before they can fly
so it's very important there's water below the ledges.
It's not just seabirds we have here. We've got some maritime specialists in the plants as well
so we have thrift and spring squill here in front of us.
The yellow flower, you can see, it's over the edge of the cliff so don't fall off.
We have spatulate fleawort which grows nowhere else on earth,
just on Holy Island.
-Just here, yeah.
-That is really special.
It is, we're very privileged to looking after these.
We've got to get back to the Breakwater Country Park.
-Thanks for sharing your knowledge.
-You're welcome. Nice to see you.
-A very special place.
So there we are. I think we've proved today that where
hills and mountains are concerned, size really doesn't matter,
as long as you've got great views, variety and interesting company.
If you fancy trying one of the walks from the series,
go to bbc.co.uk/weathermanwalking
and take a look at our interactive website.
It has everything you need, from detailed route information
for each walk as well as photographs we took along the way,
and walking maps for you to print off and follow.
For the next walk in this programme we head to the outskirts of Cardiff,
for an inspirational day out on another little mountain.
The good thing about walking is that it offers something for everyone.
Some days, you might want to get away from it all,
enjoy some peace and quiet and at other times...
You might fancy a livelier day out.
-# Here come the girls. #
Just what I needed. Right, are we ready to go?
'And these ladies leading me astray today
'are members of a group called Welsh Women Walking.'
Our walk starts just north of Cardiff, in the village of Pentyrch.
Leaving the village,
we drop down through Coed y Bedw Woodland Reserve,
to reach the village of Gwaelod y Garth
before climbing steeply up and along to the summit of Garth Mountain
and back to the start.
A 4.5 mile loop up a hill and down a mountain,
in the company of some lively ladies, led by Jacquie Williams.
I started a group called Welsh Women Walking
and we go out on the first Sunday of every month and raise money
for Ty Hafan whilst we're walking and talking so it's a networking group.
I bet you do a lot of talking, don't you?
We are called Welsh Women Talking, that's our nickname
and we sometimes invite guys along as well, you know,
and families so we do all types of walking.
How many members have you got now?
-We've got about 300 on our database.
But generally we get up to 30 on a walk.
And we've raised over £100,000 for Ty Hafan and Breast Cancer Care
over the last two years.
-And we have lots of fun doing it.
So why do you like walking then?
I find it's really good for mind, body and soul.
I say, you lose more weight off your brain
when you're walking than off your body because you feel so great
when you get back from a decent walk and so for overall well-being,
it's the best thing. You have scenery, you've got great company,
you've got the actual fitness of walking up hills.
Absolutely beats any trip to the gym that I've ever done.
Couldn't agree more.
Just coming to a really busy road here so be careful when you cross.
-Is this a route you've taken before? Is it a regular route of your?
I live in St Fagans so I do this either walking it with my dog,
we walk it as a group.
Sometimes I even try and run it and you can see there,
that's the way we're going so we're going through the woodland,
up the side of the Garth, across the ridge at the top
and then back down so that's our day.
-How long is it?
-It takes about two hours to do the walk.
Come on, let's get going.
# Why does it always rain on me?
# Is it because I lied when I was 17? #
Despite the rain tipping down, nothing stops these girls
having a good, old natter and Jan tells me
how much of a change there's been to her life
since she joined the group,
a change that took her to the summit of Kilimanjaro.
It's a bit of a joke within the group that I was the one
that used to park closest in Tesco to the store and not walk.
I started joining in the first walk and that was in Pen y Fan.
I'd never been to the Brecon Beacons to walk
and I thought that was quite a challenge at the time.
-So from Pen y Fan to Kilimanjaro?
But, you know, when I did Pen y Fan, that was a huge accomplishment
but what I enjoyed then about the walking was seeing countryside
I would never have seen before
and such a social aspect for us as well
so it's walking, keeping fit, also having a good time.
-Has it really changed your life?
-It's been a huge impact in my life.
'Our route now leads us into Coed y Bedw reserve.
'Besides giving us some shelter from the rain,
'the woodland has a mix of plants and flowers
'that almost gives it a lush, tropical feel.
'Well, if you forget the air temperature!'
The sun's coming out a bit now. Thankfully!
'Almost hidden amongst the trees and ferns
'is a ruined cottage where the local colliery owner once lived.
'And the information board also tells us
'of a spooky story of suicide in 1930.'
"And the ghost haunts the old cottage."
They'll put people off coming here!
Be very afraid!
Ghost or no ghost,
it really is surprising that less than a century ago
this beautiful woodland was the site of a coal mine.
Remarkably, the rare plants that have now taken root here
make it a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
This woodland is beautiful, and yet it's so close to a busy main road.
It's a reminder of how close we are to built-up areas and a city.
-Nice little stream.
-I know, there's lots of them, actually.
The Woodland Trust have kindly provided a convenient boardwalk
that helps us keep our feet dry in the muddiest parts,
and there's plenty of information boards about the wildlife.
Amazing in spring, you get all the bluebells through the woods.
-It's like a complete purple blanket, it's beautiful.
-I bet autumn is nice, as well.
Stunning, especially once we go up. Really gorgeous.
-Right, shall we carry on?
-Yeah. Why not?
Girls, look out for the woodland... Speckled Wood butterfly.
# Shine, shine, shine on... #
-Ooh, a nice bit of sun, here.
-Yeah, I arranged it for us.
Oh, thanks, Derek! Did you arrange the rain earlier, as well?
No, that was nothing to do with me, honest!
# Shine, shine, shine on. #
As we leave the reserve and enter the atmospheric pine forest,
Karen tells me how she got involved
in climbing the highest summit in Africa, all 19,340 feet of it!
It was my 40th coming up and I wanted to do something for charity,
I wanted to do something memorable to mark the occasion.
And you managed to climb Kilimanjaro?
Yeah, I got up to Stella Point and I did get quite unwell on summit day,
-as a few of us did.
-Is that because of the altitude?
It is, yeah. I was feeling fine, to be honest, until then.
But I just realised I was losing my sight,
and I just thought my sunglasses had got dusty,
because there's very light scree once you get off the glacier.
Very odd. And...
In the end, the guide came up and took them off
and I realised it wasn't my sunglasses,
it was my eyes that were the problem.
They suggested I went down, but I was really close to Stella Point then.
You didn't want to turn back?
No. Not having got that far, and the whole journey we'd been on.
Leaving the forest, our route takes us through Gwaelod y Garth,
that's Welsh for bottom of the Garth.
The village grew around the nearby iron and coal industries.
Today, the old workers' cottages are convenient homes for commuters to Cardiff.
We've done the easy bit of the walk, downhill and on the flat.
Now I'm about to find out whether the Garth is a hill or a mountain.
One thing's for sure, it feels steep enough to be a mountain,
whatever those English map-makers decided in the film.
Some of the women find the group helps them deal with a crisis
in their lives, like Angie, who suffered a dreadful personal loss.
I got involved after the death of my son, six-and-a-half years ago.
I'd gained a lot of weight, wasn't doing any exercise,
lost all focus in life, really.
This group came along and they were, at that point,
looking to climb Kilimanjaro.
I decided, after being nearly three stone overweight, I could do that.
At that point, I couldn't even walk to the shops.
Walking is clearly more than just exercise for the girls.
It's as much about the support and encouragement
they gain from each other as it is about keeping trim.
-I bet you have a good few laughs with the girls?
-I call it my giggle bank.
-Your giggle bank?
-Yeah, giggle bank.
When you're out and about and having a laugh and joke
you actually remember these days, and when you're having a bad time,
you draw one of those memories of the giggle bank.
# Don't need the sun to shine to make me smile
# Don't care if it's dark outside because I've got you... #
-I did say it would brighten up.
-You were right, you see.
Didn't I, girls, I said it would brighten up.
-Very good, well done.
-Thank you. I rarely get praise.
# Don't need the sun to shine to make me smile
# Don't care if it's dark outside... #
It's a bit of a pull up here, isn't it?
You haven't seen the best bit, yet.
-How far to the top, now?
-Yeah, just round the corner.
I've heard that said before!
I suppose all this hard work does have its rewards,
the views are really starting to open out.
Are we nearly there yet?
Come on, Derek, we're nearly there.
Nice view of Taffs Well down there.
# Don't need to hitch a ride
# When I could run a million miles. #
Thankfully, at last the path flattens out
at a shoulder of the Garth, to reveal stunning views
from the Brecon Beacons down the valley of the River Taff,
all the way to Cardiff and beyond.
Do you ever tire of this view?
Why would you ever tire of it?
You can't believe that this is on your doorstep.
I think every time you come up,
you take a little bit more in and see something
you didn't the last time, so you can't tire of it easily.
It also changes with the seasons.
It looks completely different, nearly every time you come up here.
Beyond the Cardiff City Stadium and Penarth,
that's Somerset we can see over there,
and upstream, the Severn Bridge.
The Millennium Stadium, in the centre of town, really stands out,
And below our feet, toy-town streets and houses
in Trefforest and Taffs Well.
But this is not the summit. This is a kind of false summit,
because the real summit is over there.
-Just over there.
-Come on, then.
-Come on, let's go.
That's where we're heading, known locally as the pimple -
a mound that makes the hill a mountain at just over 1,000 feet.
Tell me how you got involved with Welsh Women Walking, then, Jane.
I got involved because I had breast cancer,
and I had to have surgery, followed by chemotherapy,
and I was very poorly after that.
I decided I wanted to get fit again,
and strong, and I wanted to get back to a fitness level
which would prove that I'd beaten cancer, it hadn't beaten me.
So I decided to set myself a challenge, to climb Kilimanjaro.
So I trained up for that and got to the top of Kilimanjaro,
-and shouted from the top, "I beat cancer, it didn't beat me!"
That was my story, and my training involved
joining Welsh Women Walking, getting ready for Kili.
I was determined that I wasn't going to be a victim.
-There is light at the end of the tunnel.
-Absolutely, oh, yeah.
The pimple might have been built by the locals
but it was 4,000 years ago.
It's one of four Bronze Age burial mounds on top of the hill.
And as we near the summit,
just to test these girls' fitness, let's have a bit of a sprint finish.
Come on, you lot, last one to the top of the pimple makes the tea!
Well, I've had a great day out with the girls
and it's been a real privilege
to be an honorary Welsh Woman Walking, just for a day.
We made it! Derek and his babes have conquered Garth Mountain!
# Sisters are doing it for themselves... #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
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