A DARK KNIGHT RISES

After spending 14 days in the Algarve with wall to wall sunshine it was back to normality, with stories of floods and other aspects of doom and gloom.
Anxious to put the boots back on I telephoned “The Navigator” to seek permission to join him and his good wife on their Thursday walk.  Permission granted.
The plan was to travel towards Ystradgynlais and walk the hills towards the south and take in Henrhyd Falls on the way back.
Route (click)
We parked the car in Caehopkin and headed south to the minor road which also forms part of the cycle route 43. This path gave some excellent views including to the east Fan Gyrhirych and Varteg to the west.
We stayed on this path until the turning after Hendre Ladis. Just after the latter  was a waterfall.
The way upwards towards Bryn Llechwen was through waist high grass and unseen holes and a real struggle.  To recover, we stopped for lunch with views over the Nant Helen opencast mine where huge lorries could be seen carrying out the coal and into the Dulas valley and the town of Seven Sisters.
After lunch we followed the the path to Cwm Mawr and onto Coelbren.
Our next target was the waterfall Sgwd Henrhyd the tallest one in South Wales. Click for info including the filming of the latest Batman movie. We met up with a local and he and “The Navigator” exchanged stories about the great freeze of 1986 when the falls froze. The local chap went indoors to bring out a photo of the event which was impressive.  Apparently it was way back in 1940 when it last froze to that extent.
The walk continued downstream back to Cae Hopkin. 
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OUTDOORS MAGIC MEET DAY 2 WATERFALLS

During the night the weather had changed and on waking, the rain was once more falling . It was clearly not a day for the tops and it was decided to have a shorter walk and look at the Waterfalls of the Afon Mellte and Afon Hepste. 
Route (click)
We started from the Ystradfellte end and visited a number of the falls with the jewel being Sgwd Yr Eira (The Snow Falls).  We were able to walk behind the fall and look out through the falling water.
This is a stunning area one which I have visited on a number of occasions.  Care is needed as the ground is steep, muddy and the stones wet.  We did see an accident waiting to happen when one lad had decided to look closer at a fall and was clearly not wearing appropriate shoes and did slip.  Fortunately he recovered and walked away.
One of our members is a member of the local Mountain Rescue group and told us that at least once a month they have to rescue people who have fallen and had lower limb problems.
We did come across a group of people clearly (and safely) enjoying gorge walking, which looked good fun.
An enjoyable weekend and hopefully  there will be more.


OUTDOORS MAGIC MEET BRECON 31st to 2nd Sept

For some time now I have been reading the forum on Outdoors Magic (OM) and thought it would be an idea to join one of the meets. Since Easter I have been crocked with a knee problem but following an operation good progress was being made and I made the decision to join the Brecon meet which was to be based at the Dan Yr Ogof  campsite
I was looking forward to this year’s first spot of camping and I can recommend the site.  Good pitches and facilities and a restaurant on site.  Not far away a pub with real ale and food.
The tent was erected and after some introductions the early birds set off for the pub, where near to closing time some more from OM joined us.
Saturday started misty with the clouds below the tops and after a leisurely start – some had made the decision to start the day with a Welsh fry up in the restaurant, we set off to walk the ridge taking in Fan Hir all the way to the end above Llyn Y Fan Fach.  The route back was south to join the bridleway which led all the way back to Dan Yr Ogof.

 route (click)

My pace is basically a steady plod and regular stops on the way for photos and food.  I was not sure how this would fit in with those I had not met before, but there was no forced route march.  We even had time for a short snooze in the sun.

We had been warned that with all the rain we had had in recent days there could be a problem crossing the Afon Twrch but feet were kept dry. At grid reference 807191we came across a swallow hole which was too tempting for some to have a an explore.  A little further on we came across a number of cavers who were exploring in more depth and were excavating inside a hole hoping to find a way through.  This is one pursuit I have no interest in!

We then followed the path and arrived back at the site to find a few more arrivals.
Following a shower the BBQ was lit and a feast of meat was devoured. The night ended with a spectacular firework display as the site was celebrating 100 years of the caves being discovered.