Far Western Black Mountain (28/11/12)

Little yellow suns all over the weather forecast and Wednesday looked good for a walk in the hills.

My neighbour, Paul was in agreement and we set off for a walk new to him.

Route

We travelled through Llangadog on the road to Upper Brynamman and parked at the middle carpark.  We had been beaten by a number of army vehicles, whose passengers we were to see layer that day.

The weather was cold with a brisk breeze but we were suitably attired. We set off on the Beacons Way for a short while onto the cairn on Foel Fawr with extensive views.

The next target was the unnamed  peak just east of south shown on the map as “cairn” and a height of 616 metres. We stopped here in a small shelter for elevenses before setting off for a down and up to Foel Fraith. There were good views over the valley of Cwm Sawdde Fechan onto the Carmarthen Fans.

In the distance the peaks of Pen Y fan and Corn Ddu could be seen.

After leaving Fan Foel we headed north towards Cefn y Cylchau passing some huge shake holes. Near the top we had a fairly quick lunch and then headed south westish taking in Cefn y Truman and then down to Afan Clydach.  We were able to easily cross this river someway above the waterfalls, despite all the recent rainfall.

A quick look was made of the waterfalls and then uphill to the abandoned quarries.  Just before setting off  the troop of young army men marched very quickly passed us each with a huge rucksack – over nighting the night before?

These quarries must have been a huge concern when they were in full flow. The old lime kilns are large and still contain the furnaces.  I understand that these may in due course be renovated as an attraction.

History

Caving

There are no information panels at the site but at the first car park there is a snippett. In this car park we were met by a small but heavily coated pony who clearly had no fear of humans and was happy to be smoothed.  Unfortunately for him/her we had no food for it.  Another pony was doing the same thing by another car.  Hope springs eternal.

I think this could be described as the first walk of the winter season.  Lets hope for more bright cold days ahead.

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Mynydd Llanllwni

The scourge of the wind turbines has it sights on Mynydd Llanllwni in Carmarthenshire despite strong local opposition.
It was time to walk there again before the whirlygigs appear. The Navigator fresh from two weeks in Tenerife thought this was a good idea.
The recent weather had been grim but today was a 50/50 chance of rain and we gambled.

Route

We parked on the minor road which leads off from the A485 and then walked to the viewpoint / picnic area and headed south west across the moorland to join another minor road not far from Clynia. 
At the dog leg shown on the map we had elevenses and then set off north eastish hoping that we would be able to cross the ford..  Thankfully this was managed with dry feet. 
The route then went eastwards to overlook the valley and then north to Nant Y Feinen where we had lunch. We seemed to be walking in a bubble of dryness as the elsewhere the weather looked very damp, we even saw some blue sky.
Following lunch we walked south east to the sheepfold and it was here we noticed the sheep with anti wind farm markings; that raised a smile. 
We then headed for the minor road which we followed back to the car.  It was thought that our good luck with the weather would run out if we struck out across country and the boggy areas.
It will be a great shame if the planners allow any turbines in the area of Mynydd Llanllwni.  To the non walker it does look a bleak area but then we know different.

Llangollen

 

Last weekend we travelled to Chester to visit my son and my brother in law (Andy) and family.
The plan was to have a walk or cycle ride with Andy on the Saturday depending on the weather.  Both sets of kit were taken with the bike fitting in the car.
My son lives in a terraced house in Hoole where cars were non existent when the homes were built. In 2012 parking is a nightmare!  We found a place two streets away and carried our clothes etc to our son’s.
Later on that evening I did manage to move the car nearer.  The following morning I reloaded the car with my walking kit but found to my horror there was only one boot in the car!  Now I knew I had packed them both, could it be I knocked one on the floor when we carried our other stuff the previous night.  I ran around to the street where we had originally parked and there it was lying in the street, soaking wet but safe!
I met up with Andy and we decided to head for Llangollen and walk the limestone escarpment north of the town.
We parked up in Trefor and set off firstly on the Offa Dyke’s Path, through woodlands and then headed up onto the escarpment.  With fine weather the views into the Dee Valley were impressive. I left without my camera so the pictures were taken on my mobile phone with lesser quality.
We walked as far as we thought would allow for a return before dark.
A good day.

Tumble to Sandy Water Park & Back

I had arranged with Paul, my neighbour to cycle the Tumble Bike Trail and today was it.  Apparently Angela his wife, preferred to stay home and carry out some domestics!

We took the car to Tumble and set off on the trail (bike route 47) heading for Llanelli.

Route

This was Paul’s first ride on the trail. I have mentioned this route before but it’s always worth doing as it is a first class trail, tarmac and traffic free. having said that weekends will see plenty of walkers with or without dogs, runners and cyclists so care is needed.

Today, Tuesday was less busy but we saw a selection of all those mentioned above.

We met one couple on a tandem and had a long chat with them about the advantages of tandem biking. the only down side seemed to be getting it onto a car.  They had even transported it to the USA some years ago.  (now thinking of trying one with Mrs Bob perched on the back).

A coffee break was had near Cynheidre and then on.

Our next stop was to chat with a couple of Sustrans workers who were clearing a drainway.  This week I had applied to be a Sustrans volunteer and it seems the “gaffer” of these two would be the chap I may be helping in due course.

Autumn colours were still in evidence but judging by the covering of leaves on the trail it won’t last for long!

The Swiss Valley reservoirs were spotted with the overflow working well. We also met with a couple of spotted pigs who seemed keen for a chat or probably free food.  They were out of luck.

 

We left the trail at Sandy Water Park and had another coffee/cake break.  The swans soon gave up begging when it became clear there was nothing on offer.

 

Refreshed we returned to the trail and cycled back the way we came. The route is now uphill but nothing too arduous.

Another good day out .

Cwmtawe Trail (Route 43)

As I had to be in Llwynhendy first thing to take my grandson to school I thought it would be an idea to take the bike and as well as visiting Tredz, Halfords and Go Outdoors on the Llansamlet Trading Estate, go for a bike ride on Route 43 also shown as the Cwm Tawe Cycleway

 

Route

The ride took me to Ystalyfera alongside the Afon Tywi and the Swansea Canal.  I can wholly recommend this route as it is all off road with excellent surfaces on which to ride.  There is plenty of interest including industrial history along the route.  The autumn colours were still on show.

 

 

 

 

Not far from Llansamlet I came across Garth Farm Wood which was advertising for volunteers.

Garth Farm Wood

Along the Swansea Canal were a number of old locks and an appeal from the Swansea Canal Society.

 

 

At Clydach there is a Heritage Centre, but it is only open on Saturdays, but there were some interesting things to photograph.

 

 

 

One of the history panels tells the story of a mine disaster in the 1800’s which claimed many lives including one boy of 14! Sad as this was it was a long time ago and hard to feel part of it.

 

However just a short way on is a memorial to the Gleision disaster of 2011.  This memorial was clearly erected by the close friends of those who died and it made for some sad reading and brings home to you the danger of this occupation which continues in these modern times.

 

As I approached Ystalyfera the mountains came into view and the route takes you between Mynydd Allt Y Grug and Darren Fach leading to Varteg Hill.  Beyond are the Brecon Beacons.

 

I had lunch here and then turned back to Llansamlet. An excellent day of cycling.

Preseli Hills Area

“The Navigator” suggested a walk in the Preseli Hills Area, not the main hills but the target would be Foel Dyrch.
This is a revised blog as I had lost my camera on Foel Dyrch, but luckily we went back the next day and there it was, thankfully in a dry bag and working and now I can add the pictures.

On the main walk day the weather was good and we had excellent views across to the main Preseli ridge.  At one point we could see the distant Carmarthen Fans in the east.

We parked at 167332 at the place marked “P” on the OS map.  We did not take the green line but headed uphill towards Crug Yr Hwch and then followed just inside the open access area to the minor road near spot height 304. From here we headed directly south on the green line and had elevenses just near the spot marked as “cairn” on the map.

Our route continued south past the television mast and just outside the woods.

Until now the going was good if not a little damp underfoot.  Dramatic changes now took place!  We turned west along the narrow neck of open access. No wonder this spot is open access as tractors would get swallowed up here! We all fell in the boondoo (that’s our word for hellish ground, usually well overgrown and frequently wet).  Mrs Navigator came off worst soaking most areas up to her nether regions.

We eventually made it the the lower slopes of Foel Dyrch and took the green line around the base where part way along we stopped for lunch and for Mrs Navigator to empty her boots and  change socks (apparently no change of underwear was carried).  Carrying on to beyond Tyrch Quarry we struck upwards to the top of Foel Dyrch.  It was here at the shelter I last took a photo.

More boondoo bashing although a little easier than before saw us meet up with the green line on the map.  The way marking is no longer the diagonal shown but north west along the fence line and then north east towards Pen Y Ddafad.  Just beyond the farm I realised my camera was missing.

A decision was made that I would carry on to the car and Mr and Mrs Navigator would retrace our steps a little way to see if the camera had been dropped.
On my way back along the green path which leads from spot height 304 directly back to “P” I disturbed a fox who was about to have lunch on a recently deceased ewe.
I drove back to Pen Y Ddafad but my searchers had failed to find the camera.  Mr Navigator suggested we come back on Tuesday and get as far as when I last took a picture and hopefully we will be lucky.  We were!!

Amazingly on our way back down we met a National Park Ranger checking paths and placing way marks.

Tumble to Cross Hands and back

Out of the blue Mrs Bob suggested a short bike ride on the Tumble trail.

Didn’t take me long to load the bikes up and then wait as Mrs Bob layered up!

We met quite a few dog walkers and other bike riders, some of whom I expect had travelled up from Llanelli.

Route

The trees were still in their autumn colours although judging by the path there cannot be a lot more leaves to fall.

 

Nearing Cefneithin rugby ground I could see the lights on and we saw two young teams under training.  Good to see some parents and voluntary coaches taking an interest in the young ones.

At the Cross Hands end of the trail we turned around and headed back to the car, just in time to beat the rain which for the rest of the day hammered down.