Heol Senni and Surrounding Hills

“Where are we going tomorrow?” Well the answer was Heol Senni, a small hamlet in the Senni Valley south of Sennybridge.

We parked in the car park of the village hall, hopefully with no irate committee member meeting us on our return.

Route

We walked up the minor road slowly gaining height as the road increased in steepness.

An artistic wheelie bin

Three chaps on cycles came past in what I assume was granny gear as we were having a coffee break.

Looking back down the Senni Valley
We met up again shortly after the zig zag where they were having a well deserved break. We left the road here and struck off below Fan Nedd following a wall to Bwlch y Duwynt where a lunch stop was taken.

Fan Nedd

The route continued following the wall climbing steadily to the trig point at 603 metres – this ridge is not named. This handy wall was followed back downhill to another minor road to Heol Senni.

We had views through the day of Fan Frynych,Fan Nedd, Fan Llia, Fan Gihirych, and in the distance Pen Y Fan and Corn Ddu.

Fan Girhirych

And again

Pen Y Fan and Corn Ddu in the distance

The summit known as 603 with Pen Y Fan and Corn Ddu in the distance

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Llangain Circular

Although Paul and I had been enthused by the previous night’s showing of various extreme outdoor films presented  at the Banff Mountain Film Festival we decided on a country walk with little hope of danger.

The walk was another by Alan Richards and based on the village of Llangain.

Route

I woke to rain but the web site forecasts insisted it would be a dry day and in fact the rain stopped and the waterproofs remained in the bags.

I will let the photos tell the story.

The following 5 were taken within Green castle Woods one of those owned by the Woodland Trust.

Unusual waymarks

Is this to clean up fallen leaves?

Wood carvings

Sulphur Tufts?

Looking upstream of the Afon Tywi

 We now start to head out to the countryside.

Misty view back to Carmarthen

Not much left of the cromlech

Afon Lydan

We are now about to pass Fernhill the property where Dylan Thomas spent his youthful holidays and the subject of his famous poem.  The house is clearly unoccupied and in need of some care. This seems an odd situation bearing in mind the connection.(c/o Wikipedia –A manor house dating back to 1723 and listed as a grade II building for its architectural and historic connection. Famous as a frequent childhood holiday retreat of the world renowned poet Dylan Thomas (1914–1953), it became immortalised in one of his best-known poems, Fernhill. Fernhill is also known for its association with the notorious county hangman, Robert Rickets Evans who lived there at the turn of the 20th century. His daughter was heiress to a fortune. He imprisoned her in a cell in the courtyard (which can still be seen today) to gain her fortune, but her lover helped her to escape, according to folklore. The story has been confirmed in more recent research, which has also described Thomas’ stays at Fernhill and the extent of his family connections in the Llangain area.[1])

 We head on towards Llangain

Neat hedge laying

Why the moorings, no where near the sea.

Llangain Church

Llyn Brianne

Back from sunnier climes “The Navigator” was once again back in charge.  The Sunday evening chat left things up in the air as the forecast was not looking good. However at 0800 on Monday morning the game was afoot.

The decision was to head to the hills in the Llyn Brianne area near Rhandirmwyn.  Although I had walked in this part on numerous occasions, today would see me for the first time,walking across the reservoir dam and visiting the the hideaway of our own local Robin Hood, Twm Sion Cati.

Route

Just after we set off we came across a small runaway herd of Welsh Black cattle strolling down the road. Thankfully they ran up into the trees when a van came down the road.

You looking at me?

We crossed  the dam and looked down  the spillway on which brave (stupid?) kayakers have been known to slide and which runs into the Afon Tywi. It has been said one of the contractors employees was the first to carry out this manoeuvre by sliding down sitting on his shovel!

The spillway

After walking along the track we cut up into the wood where we came across a pair of shoes in perfectly good condition.  I must admit to looking up but thankfully no hanging bodies.

A mystery

As we exited the trees there was a strong and cold wind which blew off and on throughout the walk. The route took us down to the Doethie valley and back towards the road leading up to the reservoir.

Heading down to the Doethie

 We had lunch overlooking where the Afon Doethie meets the Afon Tywi.

Confluence of Afon Doethie and Tywi

 Along the Doethie river there are 5 homes but a large civil contract was underway laying down a new bridge. Apparently the current one is unstable.

Looking upstream of Afon Tywi

Afon Doethie

We turned off the road into the RSPB reserve of Dinas and walked around the hill, but also taking in the cave where Twm Sion Cati was said to have hidden.

The two rivers from Dinas Reserve

Desirable residence?

What I saw showed it to be a most uncomfortable place.The route around the hill is very picturesque and we were soon back at the car.

St Paulinus Church

The board walk from this car park leading into the reserve is currently closed.

Board walk closed

Llangadog to Llandovery

With The Navigator sunning himself in Mallorca I had to guide myself.

Thankfully I was in the capable hands of Mr Alan Richards and his excellent book, Great Walks in Carmarthenshire Vol 1 and the linear walk from Llangadog to Llandovery via Myddai.

Route

I parked in Llandovery, £1.50 all day and caught the bus to Llangadog and then followed the guide book. His directions are always spot on and an OS map could be left at home, but you won’t!

I met a number of farmers who were happy to chat despite this being a hectic time for them seeing to the lambing.

The walk included footpaths, bridal ways, green and sunken lanes and paths through woods, nice and varied.

Pictures follow.

Looking back to Llangadog

Busy time

Remains of Sardis Chapel

Bannau Sir Gar in the distance

Closed Mondays!

Loads of fungi on waste sawdust

Disappointed sheep as I was not carrying feed

Looking down to LLandovery

Racial harmony

Llewelyn ap Grufudd ap Fychan

Yet again a good day.

Bosherton/Castle Martin Circular

I have a Sustrans leaflet describing a route alongside the Pembrokeshire Coast and it was an itch which needed to be scratched.

Route

As the route crosses MOD land where tanks etc practice their art you have to check that they are not active on your chosen day.  Usually it is OK at weekends and holiday periods but check the website.

I parked the car in the National Trust car park in Bosherton and set off south on the lane which leads directly to the coast and the shared path west.

Bosherton Church

Who said mint sauce?

The track is stony and not suitable for road bikes but hybrids and mountain bikes are fine. Walkers of course can of course walk alongside the cliff edges.

There was a strong headwind and I hoped this would not change on the way back.  There were a number of cyclists on the route as well as walkers and a number of climbers heading for the cliffs.

I stopped to look at St Govans Chapel a small building built into the cliffs and also stopped to look at Huntsmans Leap and the Elegug Stacks.

Stackpole Head

Elegug Stacks

Elegug Stacks

At the end of the path near Flimston I headed inland and road the lanes to overlook Freshwater West Bay.

Church with flock

Freshwater West

It was here a long time ago I experienced a rip tide.  I had capsized my kayak and instead of being pushed ashore in the surf I found myself heading out to sea. Thankfully I was seen and towed back to safety. I soon learned what to look for and to swim horizontally to the current if it happened again.

Following lunch I headed east along quiet lanes back through Castle Martin, Warren, St Twynnels and back to Bosherton.

St Twynnels

Mon and Brec Canal

This blog has been hijacked to tell of a canoe trip.

Judy had requested a pootle on the canal and with at long last a weather window opening we agreed to meet on Friday at the slipway at Pencelli and paddle east.

An attractive route map

The lane leading to Pencelli gives excellent views of Pen Y Fan and Corn Ddu which with clear tops was probably crawling with walkers.

We set off leaving a mechanic ponder over why a motor boat just would not start. Feeling smug we dipped our paddles in the water and set off.

Notice on canal bridge

 

Pencelli

We stopped not far from Talybont for coffee where Judy grabbed a bunch of young nettles which led to some cursing.

Judy has a key for the various bridges and the one at Talybont also has road gates to close to avoid sudden emerges by unwary motorists!

Talybont

We paddled as far as the Ashness Tunnel and as neither of us had the required torches we turned here and headed back stopping for lunch and finally back to Pencelli.

Ashness Tunnel

The council cuts are hitting home as the public toilets by the White Hart in Talybont are now closed, but a notice indicates an alternative should be open later this year. What to do in the meantime?

A nice day was had and plans loosely made for another paddle in due course.

A fine Alan Bridges design and build

 

Taff Trail and Cardiff Bay

As pay back for my away days, my wife and close friend flew off to Tenerife, not a walking boot or bike between them.

It was my job to transport them to the impressively named Cardiff International Airport and so as not to waste the day, I took my bike with the plan to cycle part of the Taff Trail and around Cardiff Bay

Route

Parking was on my mind but there was free parking in a large car park adjacent to the International Swimming Pool and the Whitewater Centre in the Sports Village.

The Taff Trail was signposted but because of various street works it was not that obvious to start with but I was soon cycling alongside the Taff passing the Millennium Stadium (no Six Nations Cup this year), into Bute Park, Pontcanna Fields and past the The Swalec Cricket Stadium.

Millennium Stadium

 

 

 

 

 

Melingriffith Water Pump

My goal was Castell Coch and after a flat ride it was a struggle up the steep hill to view the castle.

Castell Coch

 

 

Photos taken I retraced my steps to the Bay but then went clockwise to circumnavigate the Bay passing the Millennium Concert Centre, impressive sculptures, the Norwegian Church and  crossing the Barrage back to the car via Pont Y Werin.

More modern accommodation

 

Penarth Head in the distance

 

Millennium Centre

 

 

Norwegian Church

 

Commemorating Scott

 

 

Pilot Boat exiting the barrage

The whole of the Taff Trail is on my tick list and hopefully I can delete this later on this year.

Dryslwyn Circular

With Mrs Navigator needing to be back home in time to doll up for the monthly W.I. meeting, The Navigator decided on a walk close to Carmarthen and chose a walk from Mr Alan Richards book Great Walks in Carmarthenshire Volume 1 .Mr Richards has two such volumes and come highly recommended from us.

We met up in the picnic area by Dryslwyn Castle overlooking the flooded fields adjacent to the Afon Tywi. From the road the castle may just seem a small ruin but if you climb up to the castle you can see the extent of this fortification and the extensive views of the Tywi Valley.

The reason why the castle is in ruins

The walk took us along a minor road and then up to the woodland below Grongar Hill (click the link for a related poem) and down to Aberglasney Gardens and on to the village of Llangathen where we had a coffee break in the church yard.

Any idea what this is for?

Aberglasney

View back to Grongar Hill

We deviated from the guide book here and took the footpath down to Berllan Dywyll Wood  and rejoined the route at Cilsan bridge and then across the field into the agricultural college grounds.

Afon Tywi from Cilsan Bridge

Frogs have been at it

This led to the main road which we crossed and then into the grounds of Gelli Aur, our lunch stop. The path through the outskirts of the grounds showed the extent of the recent storms with many trees uprooted.

Once back on the road we headed west on a mixture of lanes and off road paths, a muddy experience, and back to Dryslwyn Castle.

Good old Dr Beecham