Moylegrove

“The Navigator” had resumed our normal Monday walking as THE PROJECT was nearing the end of the hard landscaping. Today’s walk was a circular walk based on Moylegrove and would take in part of the Pembrokeshire Coastal Path and some inland walking.

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We had a full house today with the addition of Paul, Chris and his dog Daisy.

Route

From the car park it was an uphill start and then a small error as we followed a lane which used to lead to the coast but has now been diverted. We soon got back on track and a welcome elevenses was had overlooking the “Devils Cauldron” a collapsed cave. We used to canoe into this underneath an archway leading from the sea.

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We shared our break with a number of grey horses some of whom seemed keen to share in our food, they were out of luck.

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The walk continued steeply down to walk close to the water feature and then up. Anyone who may think the coast path is “flat” is in for a surprise. The coast path took us into Ceibwr Bay where we crossed a lovely slate bridge across the stream.

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The path gave fabulous sea views and many rock formations. We were treated to sights of a flock of choughs and a kestrel quartering the cliffs. One of the path signs had us scratching our heads as it mentioned the Appalachian Trail. But here is the answer

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We had lunch before turning inland and heading south back to the car in Moylegrove. Daisy was clearly becoming a little warm and sat for a while in a little stream.

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The Pembrokeshire coast never fails to please

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A Teifi Paddle

From time to time Judy and I meet up for a canoe trip, more often than not on the Mon. & Brec. canal. However Judy thought it was time for a paddle on the Afon Teifi and we agreed a trip from Llechrhyd to St Dogmaels.

In addition we had another passenger, Maureen a friend of Judy. We met at St Dogmaels and then a shuttle up to Llechrhyd for the start.

I used to paddle this stretch regularly but my canoeing trips have been few and far between and it was a pleasant change  to again launch my Alan Bridges canoe on the river close to where the builder lives.

It was very peaceful with the first part of the journey enclosed by trees. We stopped for a coffee below Cilgerran castle and were soon paddling through the small rapid a mile or so downstream. This was the first time I had paddled here with three in the boat but it went smoothly.

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Just around the corner  we stopped for lunch on a convenient bench overlooking the river. There was another small shallow rapid to go through but again no problems  arose.

We were now close to the cardigan Wildlife Park and the  birdlife increased with sightings of the usual mallards, a flock of Canada geese, a little egret, a few cormorants, one of which was drying its wings on an old tree trunk in the river.

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We now approached Cardigan where we could see the recently renovated Cardigan Castle. Once under the bridge the estuary was more noticeable but thankfully today the wind was light as this can be slog.

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Passing the Ferry Inn we were now in St Dogmaels and soon at the slipway and the end of our very pleasant trip.

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Halfway near Llandovery

“The Navigator” suggested a Sunday walk from Alan Richards book Volume 1, Great Walks in Carmarthenshire.

Route

On leaving the forestry car park we had to walk for a short while on the A40 which this being Sunday was busy with motor bikes heading for the West End Cafe in Llandovery before their main ride.

We turned off the road next to a property being renovated and crossed a small bridge which led us onto our path. It was by here we took a small “diversion” which had not been envisaged by Mr Richards but it was “interesting”. Back on track we passed a cottage with some interesting flowers growing in the bank opposite, and my plant knowledge was increased by being told these were Turk Head lilies.

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Looking towards Mynydd Mydfai

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Our route now continued over field paths  and trails and woodlands generally in a north west direction. We arrived in the hamlet of Pentre Ty Gwyn which is near to the home where the famous writer William Williams or Williams Pantycelyn lived. Anyone who has been a spectator at the home of Welsh rugby will have sung his hymn or at least part of it. Another literary figure David Owen also lived in the village

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As we entered an open area a view of the Carmarthen Fans opened up and this was our backdrop for lunch.

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A fine looking black ram

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I think we are here

The old chapel of Cefnarthen was included in our walk but it now appears to have been abandoned. It has an interesting past as described here.

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Capel Cefnarthen

The way was now uphill into Halfway Forest part of the Crychan Forest which has numerous paths for walkers, horses and cyclistsOnce at the top the rest of the walk was down hill following the Afon Nant y Gresglen. back to the car.

Gower Bike Pack

One benefit of being retired is that I can now choose the weather for any trip and at the beginning of this week Tuesday and Wednesday looked good.

For the last two years I have bike packed from home to Clyne Farm which is near to the Mumbles on the Gower and it was time for a change.Wild camping on the Gower with a bike is not  really a viable proposition and a camp site is the only option.

Ones that are reasonable in price and are prepared to take single travellers are a rarity but via the Cool Camping web site I found a little gem in the hamlet of Slade. This is just one step up from wild camping in that there is a cold water tap and some porta loos and thats it. It does however have a well mown slightly sloping field with lovely sea views from your tent door. Another bonus, although not used by me is that open fires may be used.

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Room with a view

Route day 1

Route day 2

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Ready for the off

I cycled from home in Llanddarog to Carreg Hollt  where I joined the traffic free route NCN47.

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This follows the old mineral rail line downhill to Llanelli. At Sandy Water Park I stopped for a bacon buttie and coffee (total cost £2.10!). I now joined the Millennium Trail to its end near Lougher Bridge.

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Looking across to the Gower

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Lougher Estuary from the bridge

As yet no passport needed to cross from Carmarthenshire to Swansea but you must be careful not to mention you are a Scarlets supporter.

Near Gowerton I turned to cycle the north part of Gower and onto the North Gower Trail another traffic free route which ends at Penclawdd. The on road from now was however very light in the way of traffic and I turned right at Crofty to cycle the Llanrhidian marshes road into Llanrhidian village. Here I stopped for a lunch break.

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Hard hat time?

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Lunch at Llanrhidian Church

Up to now the route was familiar but I was now on new  ground. I continued on through Oldwalls to Stembridge and then uphill south east to Reynoldston.

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Near Reynoldston

I had planned to continue to Little Reynoldston but my legs refused to climb further and so I turned south to join the main road, A4118 and then south again to cycle to Oxwich for a welcome coffee (twice the price of Sandy Water Park).

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Gate House at Penrice Castle

It was only a short distance from here to Slade but with a very steep hill which I admit I walked.

I had the camping field to myself which was a bonus as I imagine it fills up at weekends and holiday periods. I soon erected my tent/tarp and contemplated my navel for a period of time and following my evening meal I walked down to the coast path overlooking The Sands beach.

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Looking toward Port Eynon Point

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Slade beach

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Slade beach

By 2100 I was safely cocooned in my sleeping bag and soon out for the count. Sometime during the night I had to visit the gents and the display of stars on this clear night was something to behold.

At 0600 I was awake and on my way by 0745. My return route included one dismount to push the bike up from the nature reserve lane up to the main road, where I turned off through Little Reynoldston and cycled up the road I turned back from yesterday. This afforded extensive views once at the top. The map shows burial chambers here known as Arthurs Stone an area my friend Paul and I visited earlier in the year on a walking day.

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Near Arthurs Stone

It was now a nice descent passing Broad Pool and then turning left towards Llanrhidian, but with fresh legs I headed uphill to Welsh Moor, Gelli Groes and Three Crosses.

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Broad Pool

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Near Welsh Moor

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Here I treated myself to a Snicker Bar which I eked out until almost home. It was now another lovely descent coming out near Gowerton and then back onto the Millennium Coast Path. By now I was fantasising about another bacon roll and coffee which I consumed with joy.

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Fancy bridge on Millennium Trail

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Looking back to the North Gower

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Yum Yum

I was now on the last third of the trip but from Llanelli to Tumble it is uphill all the way albeit  just a slow pedal until the steep descent to Drefach and the last few miles to home with yet again an uphill finish.

My next bike pack is with my brother in law, Andy, when we travel to the isle of Man.

Porthclais Circular (near St Davids Pembs)

It appears that summer may have arrived. It was certainly a glorious day today. With “The Navigator” back in charge of routes, a walk in Pembrokeshire was chosen.

He was still on the look out for suitable plants for his project and the walk would be partly inland near wet areas and then back to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path to close the circle.

Route

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We parked in the National Trust car park in Porthclais and headed east on a footpath through Porthclais Farm and onto the entrance of the Warpool Hotel. Here we turned towards St Davids and then on the footpath leading to a converted mill (shown roughly as Water Mill on the map).

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We walked along a quiet lane before turning north on a footpath to Ffynnon Llygad, a path which warns of wet ground, but following a dry spell it was not too bad. We did see lots of yellow flag iris, orhids and ragged robin.

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Another lane was joined and we turned west and then onto a path which led to the coast at Porthselau. Here we saw some brave children, albeit in wetsuits enjoying the waves.

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The coast path was alive with spring flowers including thrift, squill, foxgloves and a low lying flower similar to gorse.

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Whilst on the path we spotted a kestrel hovering very close to the cliff and whilst “Mrs Navigator” was taking a photograph a young blue tit landed on her camera! We also saw gannets out to sea looking magnificent as they folded their wings and dived into the sea, and there was one seal. My camera didn’t capture any of these, but perhaps “Mrs Navigator” will email hers to me and I can then edit this post.

A lunch stop was taken near Point St John and we continued around the coast with views of Ramsey Island across the sound.

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At St Justinians the scenery suddenly appeared somewhat industrial with a huge crane and a floating rig. These are temporary until the new Lifeboat station is built. There is also an experiment taking place using the currents of Ramsey Sound and an underwater turbine. In contrast there is the ruin of the medieval chapel where it is said the remains of St Justinian is buried.

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The route took us past some sea arches and other rock formations until we turned inland through Treginnis where there is a city farm.

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The coast path was rejoined at Porth Henllys and the views were just stunning. “The Navigator” continued a recent precedence and he bought us ice creams as a fitting end to an excellent day out.

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Cake Trip (circular bike ride)

Since rediscovering cycling I of course re -read the Highway Code in relation to cyclists and found, buried in the small print,that it is quite legal to visit tea rooms and boost sagging energy levels by ordering scrummy cakes and a decent coffee.

As a law abiding citizen I decided to visit Torcefn Tea Rooms which is not far from where I live but does involve some steep hills.

Here is the route

The graph shows the hilly bits. At the first the bike refused to change down to great granny gear on the front mech. which almost brought the trip to an end, but with some jiggling I resolved the problem but was then stuck in that gear.

Ever onwards ever upwards and  with one stop to don rain wear I was soon a sweating mass at the highest point on the common near Crwbin. At a cattle grid a small herd of young bullocks was stopped in the middle of the road with cars starting to back up. Using my country talents I crossed the grid and waved the cows aside keeping an eye on the leader whose horns could quickly damage my bike or even me!

The beasts

The beasts

Nosy Horses

Nosy Horses

A rare Ganol

A rare Ganol

It was now I discovered that the £10 note I had tucked into the leg of my lycra shorts (yes I know) was missing and any dream of refreshments disappeared. However I cycled on to find the tea rooms for another trip. One last search and with no one around I dropped my shorts and luckily the note fell to the ground. Cake back on.

highly recommended

Highly recommended

What a find, with lots of cake on sale and more substantial meals if required. I decided on coffee and a scone. Now not being a well refined lad I was taken aback by a cafeteria of coffee and a proper cake dish with TWO scones with jam and cream – result! The whole lot came to £3.20! Luckily the waitress had no idea where the £10 note had been for most of the trip!

Fill your boots

Fill your boots

With so many calories now resting in my stomach I decided to extend my journey to at least stay weight neutral and cycled on to Meinciau, Pontantwn, Llangynderyn, Cwmisfael and back to Llanddarog.

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In Llangynderyn I was reminded of the fight that took place to stop the valley from being submerged by a reservoir to water the good folk of Swansea. The fight was won. Here is the story

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