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.

IMG_20170505_102501

Abergwili and Carmarthen beyond

IMG_20170505_103859

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.

IMG_20170505_110443

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.

IMG_20170505_112837

Carved stones protecting a spring

IMG_20170505_114039

IMG_20170505_114046

IMG_20170505_114116

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.

IMG_20170505_141803

Chapel at Llanfiangel Uwch gwili

IMG_20170505_153110

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.

IMG_20170402_131008

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.

 

180

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.

181

Elegug Stacks

182

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!

183

New parking area

184

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.

185

186

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.

187

Wednesday

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

IMG_20170405_131203

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.

IMG_20170405_113203

Swansea Marina

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

IMG_20170405_130402

The new sign for the Brexit tangle!

IMG_20170405_121220

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.

Thursday

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.

 

188

190

191

Carmarthen Fans and some old guy.

192

Corn Ddu and Pen y Fan

193

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.

kidwelly-001

kidwelly-002

kidwelly-003

Estuary of Afon Gwendraeth Fach

kidwelly-004

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.

kidwelly-005

One of the attractive green lanes

kidwelly-006

Caldey island in the distance

kidwelly-015

The Gower

kidwelly-007

Near Mynydd Y Garreg Village Hall

kidwelly-008

kidwelly-009

Carmarthen Fans in the distance

kidwelly-011

Bacon!!

kidwelly-012

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.

kidwelly-013

kidwelly-014

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.

myddfai-008

myddfai-001

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.

myddfai-004

myddfai-006

Looking towards Carmarthen Fans

myddfai-007

Looking east from the trig point

myddfai-009

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.

llandybie-001

llandybie-002

Looks like an old toad

llandybie-003

.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.

llandybie-004

llandybie-005

llandybie-006

llandybie-007

llandybie-008

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.

llandybie-011

llandybie-010

llandybie-015

llandybie-018

llandybie-013

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

llandybie-020

llandybie-019

An exiting turlough

llandybie-016

Enter a caption

llandybie-014

Nearly there.

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

 

Brechfa

Our walk today was centred on Brechfa.

Route

There was no steady walk in but first  through a ford and then a steep climb alongside Banc y Darren. Did we stay up high, of course not we descended down to the Afon Cothi.

101_2068

Looking down the steep lane

101_2069

Road?

101_2070

Did we stay down, of course not we climbed again before a final long and windy descent again to the Afon Cothi.

101_2071

101_2072

101_2073

101_2074

Bracket fungi of some kind

101_2075

101_2076

Brechfa in the distance

101_2077

We did have a bit of an adventure towards the end when the path we chose (i.e. The so called Navigator) led to a slash and burn episode, but we made it onto the correct path.

101_2078

Trust me…..

101_2080

This is the way…

The views all day were lovely and topped by seeing a kingfisher land on a piling as we re-crossed the ford near to base.

101_2081

101_2082

He does walk on water!

 

Dolaucothi

Today’s walk was chosen by Paul and taken from Cicerone Guide to walks in Carmarthenshire. The other members of our little band were missing today.

Route

101_2056

101_2057

101_2049

We parked in the Goldmine car park (National Trust) and headed up hill to Caio, a small village which at least still has a pub.

101_2050

This is not a post code!

From the village we walked into the woodlands and continued uphill until we reached the top with fine views of the countryside opening out. It was a little hazy and not the best for photos.

101_2051

101_2052

The route now took us down hill to the Cothi Valley and walk downstream back to the Gold Mines. What did the Romans ever do for us?

101_2053

101_2054

101_2055

Oh and it stayed dry.

Mynydd Myddfai

It was just Paul and I today and we chose a walk from the Cicerone publication, “Walking in Carmarthenshire”, which was to lead us onto Mynydd Myddfai.

101_1957

Route

We parked at the Myddfai Village Community Hall and Visitor centre. We were too early for a coffee but we should be back well before 1700 when it closes.

The first part of the walk follows the Physicians Trail – a leaflet can be obtained from the centre, although a reprint was awaited – leading to the Physicians Well. From here the walk climbed steadily to the trig point on the summit of Mynydd Myddfai.

101_1958

Climbing out of Myddfai

101_1959

Pretty

There were some good views of the surrounding countryside including  the Carmarthen Fans, Pen y Fan and Corn Ddu in the Brecon Beacons. The former had some cloud cover but those in the Beacons were clear.

101_1960

101_1963

101_1962

This way to the Physicians Well

101_1961

Carmarthen Fans

We had lunch at the trig point and could see the forecast rain rapidly approaching and so fully kitted out we continued our walk.

101_1964

Over tousers? Yes

We thought we could take a short cut down the hill but it led us astray for a short while but we were soon back on track without the necessity of calling out mountain rescue.

The way back to Myddfai was by way of a quiet lane where we celebrated our day with coffee and bara brith.

101_1965

Odd sculpture, perils of war?

101_1966

101_1967

Reward

Cilycwm

Another cracking weather day to look forward to and we were off to Cilycwm in the upper Afon Tywi area. Daisy was disappointed as Paul was slumming it in Crickhowell celebrating a birthday.

Route

The “Navigator” did inform us that the chosen route although on the map may not be there on the ground but it was. In addition Carmarthen Council who I frequently grumble about had clearly been investing money installing new gates and waymarks, hooray!

We headed north to climb the unnamed hill near Penfedw Fawr where we had our first coffee break. from there we entered the woodlands of Cwm Rhaeadr and could see in the distance the waterfall which gives its name to the cwm.

101_1911

101_1912

101_1913

101_1914

101_1915

You can just make out the waterfall

101_1916

Route 66?

We went a little off piste, talking you see, which meant a climb but well worth it with the views which enfolded.

101_1917

101_1918

101_1919

Daisy cooling off

101_1920

Wood pile porn

We descended down to the Afon Tywi and walked through the campsite in Rhandirmwyn – recommended and then stayed close to the river as walked downstream to Dolachddu. My gadget stopped working here but the route continued along the quiet lane back to the car.

101_1921

101_1922

101_1923

101_1924

101_1925