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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Year 2017 Period

With Christmas over – a lot of local walks with my grand dog daughter, Holly, on a visit from Chester – we were hosting Andy and my wife’s sister for the new Year. Bound to be some walks involved.

They arrived at lunch time Saturday and Andy and I had a short walk to the National Botanic Garden of Wales  where we had a coffee and returned home.

Sunday we took off to friends in Llansteffan and after lunch we had a short cold walk on the beach.

On Monday I had planned a 5 mile, flat walk with the promise of a cafe at the end for the four of us. We headed for Llanmadoc on the north coast of Gower. The weather was clear blue sky and not too cold and of course a lot of others had planned the same walk and the field car park was  nearly full. The thaw gave rise to a slippery down hill parking place. The way out could be “interesting”, but that was for later.

The first half of the walk is along the beach, passing the Whiteford lighthouse now long disused and the only metal one left in the UK.

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Whitford Lighthouse

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Have they seen the signs?

We turned inland between the salt marsh and the woods all hoping for a coffee and cake. IT WAS SHUT!!!. No mention of this on their website or notices on the gates. In fact the other tea room and local pub were also closed, must be a very local holiday!

We now faced the problem of exiting the car park as did others. With team work and skillful driving no tractors were required.

Route

Thankfully we had an invitation to visit my elder son where a welcome buffet was waiting.

On Tuesday Andy and I set for a walk just north west of Carmarthen based on the village of Bronwydd and into the hills and lanes of the area. The first section was along the Afon Gwili where Andy and I have had good days canoeing.

Route

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Afon Gwili

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Andy learning about Rebecca Riots

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I like this sign

 

We both dragged each other out again on Wednesday for a walk on Mynydd Myddai with another promise of a cafe at the end in the village of Myddfai.  Promise fulfilled this time. Coffee and bara brith and a pat of butter!

Route

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To The Physicians Well

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Bleak

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The trig on Mynydd Myddfai

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We are here somewhere

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More bleakness

 

On our return leg we watched two red kites circling each other and flying low over us,magnificent.

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Andy looking at the mistletoe – no chance!

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Less bleak

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Typical Carmarthenshire farm

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Colourful houses in Myddfai

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Ye olde chemist!

Am I glad that Andy lives in Chester or we would be playing every day.

Blywdden newydd dda i pawb.

 

 

 

Neath Valley

With the rain forecast to arrive in Pembrokeshire late morning “The Navigator” suggested we go east and our destination was to be the Neath Valley with some canal side walking and a climb up to the Pelenna Forest before dropping back down to the canal via the Gnoll Estate Country Park

Route

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Three bridges

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Tennant canal

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Climbing towards Penlenna Forest

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Ruins of Ystrad Owen

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Forest ride and high route of NCN47

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Ivy Tower

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Update

The weather in West Wales from Christmas through to the end of January has not been inviting to the Great Outdoors.

I did manage a few trips but no pictures. Whilst visiting our son in Chester I managed a 25 mile cycle ride with my brother-in-law, Andy to Parkgate on the Wirral. At least we managed a coffee and cake!

We also had a short cross country walk near Guilden Sutton.

Back home my neighbour, Paul and I walked the lanes near Llanddarog as any off road would  have been a mud bath!

I did manage one walk with “The Navigator” in the Havefordwest area but again on hard tracks, lanes and the cycle track.

Parc Drysgol

Wednesday was to be our rest day, especially as the forecast was for a wet day..

Andy and I had a quick visit to Bangor for fresh supplies and after lunch we decided on a short local walk, leaving The Navigator  in charge of the cottage.

Route

The plan was to walk up Moel Rhiwen and onto Parc Drysgol and wend our way in a sort of circle back to base. Although the area is shown as open access we could not find an easy way on to the hill and so walked on to find a path which ran between the two hills. By now the weather had clamped in and visibility  was non existent.

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The non view to Moel Rhiwen

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Another non view – the grey = low cloud

We reached the top of Parc Drysgol and then headed down to the woodland which lay south easterly and followed the road back north to reach another footpath heading north west, although the sign had been painted  over. With rain now falling and no sign of the mist clearing we back tracked and returned to the cottage.

Nant Ffrancon

With strong winds forecast the higher hills would have to wait and so today we would have an elongated circular walk in Nant Francon.

Please click on any links to obtain further information.

Route

We parked in Braichmelyn just south of Bethesda near the huge Penrhyn Slate quarry. The path led steadily up through the woods onto the open hillside of Cefn Orsedd. The forecast was correct as it was certainly windy.

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A good use of doors!

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Penrhyn Slate Quarry

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Looking into Nant Francon

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Mynydd Perfedd ridge

 

 

A suitable coffee stop was found by a sheepfold before we started the long descent to the valley floor where we crossed the Afon Ogwen. From here we walked up the minor road to reach Ogwen Snack Bar.

 

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The views up the valley seem to show there is no way through but  the main road cuts through to Capel Curig. At the Snack Bar there where a lot more walkers and I can only assume they were only visiting Llyn Idwal as the weather was only for the experienced to climb further.

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Our route was back down the minor road where we left it to follow the cycle/walking route  passing the spoil tips from the slate quarry and back to the car.

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Cascades at Ogwen Bank

This was a useful recce for Andy and I as we have a plan to bike pack from Bangor up to Idwal Cottage and camp near Llyn Ogwen and perhaps on to the Capel Curig area. It seems there will be a lot of pushing the bikes!

Mynydd Mawr

Today we were heading for Mynydd Mawr where we should have good views to the east of Snowdon and  to the south of the Nantlle ridge.

Route

We parked in the village of Y Fron and walked through the old slate workings to gain access to the open countryside.

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Nantlle Ridge

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A rare picture of The Navigator with his kit off.

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There is an obvious wide track which takes you north easterly to join the  path which gradually climbs to the summit of Mynydd Mawr. There was a sprinkling of snow towards the top.

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We looked down into Craig Cwm Du and on reaching the windy top took shelter in the summit cairn for a coffee break.

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Into Craig Cwm Ddu

There were a few walkers making their way up from Rhyd Ddu along an interesting ridge.

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Looking towards the Snowdon Range

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Grizzled outdoor men

Just down from the summit the views of the Nantlle Valley and the ridge above the valley came into view. We walked to the edge of Craig y Bere with its steep cliffs down to the valley floor.

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Snowdon in the distance

A lunch spot was found as we descended to the west along the stone wall. The sun was now out and  we could have dozed off  but there was more walking to do! We continued on down and headed in the general direction  of the stone encircled Bryn Castell and on to Llyn Ffynhonnau, where again we had a break before heading back to the car.

North Wales Path and Coast

Our first full day in North Wales and today would be an inland walk, a waterfall and lastly a coast walk.

Please click on any links.

Route

We drove north towards Bangor passing the entrance to Penrhyn Castle to park at the coast near the Spinnies Nature Reserve to the east of the estuary of the Afon Ogwen.

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We followed a lane southwards, past a local church to join the North Wales path and this took us on an easterly meandering route around to Aber Falls.

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Part way along we stopped for a coffee only to be joined by a large flock of sheep who wrongly assumed we would be feeding them!

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There are two waterfalls to admire the first a little smaller than the main Aber Falls but no less worth admiring. At the main fall there were a lot more visitors and the only people we had seen for the day. When we three were last here, the main falls were mainly frozen but today it was almost spring like.

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We walked down the valley towards Abergwyngregin, steadfastly passing the cafe with its siren call of coffee and cake and on down to the coast. From here we followed the Wales Coast Path back to the car.

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Beware high tide.