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.

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.

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Port Talbot

A new year and more walks with the “Navigator”. As he was recovering from a minor rumbling tummy the walk would be flat and short but hopefully something new.

The plan was to drive to Briton Ferry,  ( some interesting facts on this link) use the bus pass and ride to the bus station in Port Talbot and walk back to the car.

Route

After parking the car we found a bus stop which showed some three regular buses but the one that came was not mentioned! However it did take us to the bus station in Port  Talbot.

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A one stop family hairdressers!

We started to follow a cycle route towards the beach but there were on going road works which had closed that route but we wended our way through Sandfields and down to the beach at Aberavon.

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Looking towards Swansea bay

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Looking towards the steel works

Despite a stiff breeze blowing there were lots of people taking the air and walking dogs. We walked the length of the promenade and then down to the beach to continue walking towards the Avon Nedd. We had lunch in the dunes before turning to walk upstream through some Dr Who pipework and re joining the river to view an old dock network designed by Brunel (refer to the above Briton Ferry link).

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No clue given about this construction

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Looking towards the M4 bridge

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From here we headed back to the car in Britton Ferry

Afan Argoed

We were heading east today, to Afan Argoed Forest. This is a well known mountain bike centre but there are lots of good walking trails here as  well.

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Route

The weather was not playing fair and full wet weather gear was climbed into and we set off just before the arrival of two buses full of children. i have no idea what happened to te children but the rain disappeared.

There are a number of interesting things to see at the centre all connected to mining and worth a look..

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Old Blacksmiths

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The Navigator giving us instructions

Our route took us down a a made up tar mac track which once carried a mineral railway. You need to be aware in this area as some paths are for bikes only.

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Never a bungee when required

On the north side of the valley we headed north to Cwm Pelenna

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Just after the mountain centre and the ruined “refuge for weary travellers” and Gyfylchi farm we were joined by two springers.

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This is for Paul – we ignored it.

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Lost again!

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It looked like mum and son. After about 100 yards mum returned but the youngster continued to follow us. We kept on hoping he would also return but he clearly liked our company and stuck with us. he was still there at lunch and we were resigned to putting him in our car and driving to Gyfylchi Farm after the walk.. He was well behaved and even when a scarf was attached to his collar when we were near sheep he accepted it. Our bacon was saved when a Royal Mail van bounced up a narrow farm lane and he knew the dog and agreed to take him back to the farm.

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When we started our way south a large wind farm came into view with all its accompanying roadways. I note on the map attached to this blog that these intrusions on the landscape even have their own markings and is adjacent to Bol Las. Thankfully we left these whirring nightmares behind and descended down a lovely valley into Cwm Afan and along the north side of the river back to the car

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A selection of gates for differing purposes.