Usk Reservoir

A gentle walk today around Usk Reservoir.

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Throughout the walk there were good views of the Carmarthen Fans (The Black Mountain) and of course of the reservoir itself.

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Route

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Plenty of sightings of kites, buzzards and a lone cormorant a long way from salty water. We saw a number of anglers who from the posted notices have to abide by a long list of rules, presumably these do not apply to the cormorant. The area also welcomes cyclists and we did see a few mountain bikers.

 

 

Bronwydd

As the “Navigator” had a hospital appointment in Carmarthen to check he was still alive, today’s walk would be fairly local.

Route

We parked in the Bronwydd village hall car park and headed downstream alongside the Afon Gwili and passing the station of the Gwili Railway.

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From here we crossed the main road and walked uphill into the countryside and turning north towards Newchurch along a very overgrown bridleway.

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Dr Livingstone I presume?

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Follow me, this is definitely the way. 

Our route turned east towards Cwmdwyfran and again alongside the Afon Gwili back to the car.

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Afon Gwili a fine grade 2 canoeing river at the right levels.

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Can you spot the “Navigator”?

 

Waterfall Country

With the recent rains it was a good choice to visit Waterfall Country near Neath. We parked up in Pontneddfechan sharing the car park with a mini bus full of wet suited youngsters presumably heading for some gorge walking. Judging by the screams we heard a little later the water must have been cold!

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Craig y Ddinas

Route

The first fall we visited was a there and back walk to the east of Craig y Ddinas but I forget the name of the falls and it is not named on the map – no doubt the “Navigator” will remind me. It looked likely that the falls could be ascended carefully but not today.

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I’ve forgotten its name.

Back at the car park we now followed the signed path leading upwards and on to Sgwd y Eira. On the path we passed two ruined farmsteads which must have had a hard time making a living in this wild area.

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Heading up hill en route to Sgwd y Eira

We heard the fall before seeing it and it was running well.

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This fall has a walkway behind the downpour but must be taken with great care. Before crossing we donned full waterproofs. Probably after a dry spell this may not be necessary but today it was essential.

We all made it through safely.

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Looking down on Sgwd y Eira

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From below

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Gore Tex testing

There was now a steep climb out of the valley and on to our next objective Sgwd y Pannwr a steep descent! Before the obvious improvements to paths in the area clearly with safety in mind you could walk close to the waters edge leading to the waterfall system and we were hoping that it would not be necessary to march up and down the steep valleys to view each fall. Thankfully the old path still exists albeit a narrow one with steep drops down to the river. Again care is needed  especially with young children in tow.

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Sgwd y Pannwr

Following lunch where we watched more gorge walkers/swimmers getting immersed in their sport, Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn was our next venue and then onto Sgwd Clun Gwyn the last of our day.

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Gorge walkers

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Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn

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Sgwd Clun Gwyn

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Sgwd Clun Gwyn from opposite bank

A longer walk will take you west to the Afon Nedd Fechan where there is another series of waterfalls and will lead back to the car park at Pontneddfechan.

 

 

 

Pumpsaint

Today’s walk was based on Pumpsaint better known for its connection to the Dolaucothi gold mines.

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Route

We had bee promised that most of this walk would be new to us despite having walked in the area on a number of occasions. We would see.

Immediately after parking the car we set off in a direction that I had not been before and so the “Navigator’s” pronouncement was proving correct.

In Wales it is frequently the case that farms carry the same name but distinguished by the suffix lower (isel,) middle (ganol) or higher (uchaf). Someone’s knowledge of geography had however gone awry as Penarth Uchaf was at the bottom of the hill and Penarth Isel was at the top! perhaps it was done to confuse the Romans.

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This is not Penarth near Cardiff

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The old fashioned milk churn stand

Although the weather was dry the clouds were low and not the best for photos of the landscape and hence none in this blogg.

Near Froodvale Farm we headed east to cross the A482 and onto the village of Caio. From here the route was north west to overlook the old gold mines and then into the grounds of the Dolaucothi Estate.

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Carmarthenshires Yukon

We did try to follow a signed public footpath across a field but there was no exit and we retraced our steps to head north and uphill to the spot height of 283.

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Well well.

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Politics being discussed

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Paul trying to sneak into the “Navigator’s” rucksack

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Our high spot

This would have been a good viewpoint of the surrounding countryside but the misty weather thought otherwise.

Our route back to the car was through a woodland. The “Navigator” had been correct as the only part of this walk I had done before was that part within the estate.

Merlin’s Hill

Some weeks ago Paul and I were walking in our local area near Carmarthen and looked across the Tywi Valley to Merlin’s Hill. This was one I had not visited but the “Navigator” was about to change this.

We parked near Carmarthen Museum and began our walk heading through Abergwili village. The footpath sign showed our proposed route but because a of large flood prevention scheme the path was clearly not available. There were no diversion signs and so we crossed a number of fields in the general direction the “Navigator” had planned.

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Abergwili and Carmarthen beyond

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An old stone stile

Route

Since the last ascent by the “Navigator” a local landowner had opened a Merlins Hill Centre and the public footpath sign was somewhat overgrown as compared to the paid for visit path sign. A little further along the public path was the remains of a stile now blocked by a wire fence and a lot of baler twine.

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Compare and contrast to the stile in previous picture.

We were not put off and adjusted this obstruction to carry on to the summit of Merlins Hill. there were some good views of the surrounding countryside.

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Carved stones protecting a spring

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Views from Merlin’s Hill

 

We retraced our steps down the hill and carried on towards our turning point at Llanfihangel Uwch Gwili and followed quiet lanes back to the cars.

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Chapel at Llanfiangel Uwch gwili

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Plain and fancy gates

An email has since been sent to Carmarthen Council concerning the path blocked by the flood defence and the uninviting obstructions on Merlin’s Hill.

 

April 2017 Boys Week

As my wife was attending our niece’s wedding in Majorca, Andy thought he would visit and keep me company with a possible chance of some outdoor activity.

Whilst he was travelling down from Chester I took out two dogs from Many Tears Animal rescue for a walk on Llansteffan Beach.

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Sark

The plan for the rest of the week was alternate days cycling and walking.

Monday.

I chose a ride, “Cliffs and Castles”, from Jack Thurstons book “Lost Lanes of Wales”. We started and finished in Pembroke.

 

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Route

The routes in the above book are graded, easy, moderate and challenging. This ride was described as moderate and this will be my benchmark as there were two small stretches of bike pushing and clearly at my age challenging will go unridden!

Part of the ride was along the coast at Castlemartin where the coast is frequently closed for tank amd live firing practice. Use this link.

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Elegug Stacks

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Holiday home for guillemots

Tuesday

A boots on day and we headed for Carmarthen Fans. Thankfully we had been there before as we saw very little!

Route

The lanes leading down to Llyn Y Fan Fach is full of potholes and  and attempt at sleeping policemen. However since my last visit there is a new parking area.

We realised that there would be little or no views as  we left the car park but the weather forecast did indicate the mist would lift. Unfortunately this happened as we returned to the car!

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New parking area

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Afon Sawdde

The walk to the lake was in clear weather but it soon clamped in and our coffee break we assumed was next to the lake. Ever optimistic we struck up for the top and had a scenic lacking lunch at the cairn. In view of the weather we did not go on to the next top but descended by the path in the bwlch which led under the hill.

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The mist was now clearing at the lower levels as we headed for the leat and across the top of the small waterfall to rejoin our outgoing path.

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Wednesday

Back on the bikes. Today we parked by the Lougher Bridge the dividing line between those who support the Scarlets or the Ospreys!

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In the heart of Osprey land!

Our destination was the beach front at Aberavon. The route is mainly traffic free and like the Cheshire area where Andy lives it is flat.

Route

The first part of the ride down to Swansea Bay I have ridden several times but the section to Aberavon was new. We were following NCN 4 most of the way and apart from the area near the marina it is well signposted.

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Swansea Marina

The Bay area and the promenade at Aberavon was busy with walkers, runners and cyclists on this fine but chilly day.

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The new sign for the Brexit tangle!

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The old pumping station at the disused Swansea south and north dock.

The legs were starting to ache a little after this 40 mile cycle and we had another walking day on Thursday! Our luck was in though as a close friend had invited us to tea and the pasta meal followed by bread and butter pudding was a great restorative.

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Hooray Andy goes back tonight!

We were meeting up with Mr and Mrs “Navigator” today for a walk on Mynydd Myddfai.

Route

The weather was clear and sunny and this walk gave fine views first of the Carmarthen Fans then central Brecon Beacons and finally to hills further east.

 

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Carmarthen Fans and some old guy.

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Corn Ddu and Pen y Fan

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Frightened tree

Andy and I walked part of this route earlier in the year but the “Navigator” extended to the walk to the area where the Roman camps used to be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cydweli (Kidwelly)

The navigator had suggested a walk which was not far from our respective homes as they could not meet me until 1000 and Mrs Navigator had an important engagement with the W.I. that evening  and needed to be home early.

Route

I had been promised that at least part of the walk would be new to me and in fact the early part was indeed new. We parked in Cydweli and walked to the renovated quay area which overlooked the estuary of the Afon Gwendraeth Fach. There were a number of keen bird watchers here with some expensive binoculars and cameras. We saw curlew, egrets and various gulls and a a little further inland a kingfisher.

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Estuary of Afon Gwendraeth Fach

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Cydweli Quay

We followed the  canal until we met the road into Cydweli and then followed a bridleway/cycle trail crossing the main road and up onto Mynydd y Garreg. We had lunch near the school which provided excellent views over to Caldey Island and to the south the Gower Peninsula. At the summit of Mynydd Y Garreg the views again were extensive to include the Carmarthen Fans to the north east.

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One of the attractive green lanes

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Caldey island in the distance

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The Gower

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Near Mynydd Y Garreg Village Hall

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Carmarthen Fans in the distance

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Bacon!!

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Trumps view outside of USA

The walk now took us downhill  to the main Carmarthen Llanelli road where we climbed the other side of the valley heading for Llwyn y Barcud and the farms of Penlan.

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Any idea?

We had planned to take the byway from Penlan Uchaf down to Cydwel but that path was not obvious despite us all walking it some years ago. We may have been thrown by the building  of a huge barn close to where we thought the path was.

We decided to follow another footpath taking us in a more westerly direction and eventually back tot he car. Hey ho!!

Mynydd Myddfai

Paul telephoned on Saturday evening proposing a walk on Mynydd Myddfai. We had walked this route back in the summer but had made a navigation error and the weather had been a bit grim and here was a chance to put things right!

Route

It was a good autumnal day and we parked at the village hall in Myddfai village. The route takes in the first part of the Physicians Well walk and then a gradual climb to the trig point on Mynydd Myddfai.

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A frosty start

On the lane on our way out we were passed by a number of 4 x 4’s and we saw them again on our way back. Some had two way radios and we also saw a number of people coming off the hill with dogs. I’m sure it was all legal.

Our ascent was watched by a group of mountain ponies. From the trig there were good views all around.

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Looking towards Carmarthen Fans

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Looking east from the trig point

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Our previous walk went a little awry  from here when we walked down the wrong side of the valley but being more observant this time all went well and it was a steady walk downhill and along lanes back to the village hall. It seemed rude not to have a coffee and a slice of bara brith.

LLandybie Circular

The Navigator’s choice today was for a fairly local walk based on Llandybie and Carmel Woods National Nature Reserve

We would also be seeing a particular site which was the only one in Britain and it was a turlough – click on link for further information.

Route

We parked  by one of the entrances to the Nature Reserve and set off heading for Llandybie.

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Looks like an old toad

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.Through the wonder of Wikipedia I find that it was in Llandybie the mineral Brammallite was found, I still do not know what it is!

At spot height 204 was a viewing point with a rustic shelter which even gave its grid reference. A lovely woodland path took us into the village of Llandybie passing an old public house.

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We then followed a small tributary of the Afon Lougher where we found a spot for a coffee break and then headed south and west passing an old tip which was being reworked. Near Blaenau the route took us north up a steep lane towards Garn where we entered Carmel Nature Reserve and then to view the huge disused quarry  and of course the turlough which of course looks like a small lake,before returning to our car.

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The blue sign soon to be a sign of the past.

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An exiting turlough

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Nearly there.

The walk took place on 5th October but we were in warm sunshine all  day.