Brynamman Cycle Ride

I have had this ride in my mind for some time, taking in the mountain road to Llangadog but returning prior to that village.

Route

I parked opposite the Black Mountain Centre and started the climb along the A4069 which entailed a couple of “photo opportunities” (rest stops) until I reached the Herbert Quarry.

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The long and winding and steep road ahead

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From there it was a welcome down hill ride to the sharp left turning which would take me back to Brynamman via narrow lanes and views over the countryside to include distant sightings of Carreg Cennen Castle.

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Carreg Cennen Castle in the distance

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View from the road summit

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Carreg Cennen a bit nearer

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My destination not on the signpost!

 

I was looking forward to a coffee back at the centre and perhaps a cake but doom and gloom the cafe closed for food at 1400! To be fair I was offered a coffee if needed but it seemed churlish to reopen just for me.

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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.

 

 

 

St Davids

Our usual Monday date was postponed because of stair rod type rain and so Friday was chosen. Unfortunately the “Navigator” takes politics seriously and had stayed up late to witness May’s humiliation and his own tiredness.

The theme for the day was to be flowers and St Davids the venue. When we arrived the first thing we noticed was a new roundabout and road had been built since our last visit.

Route

We set set off  in a westerly direction first along a footpath and then lanes leading to Porthselau on the coast where people were happily sunbathing.

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Following coffee we then turned north passing Whitesands Bay and onto St Davids Head for a lunch stop.

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Whitesands Bay with Carn Llidi

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The return journey was via the shoulder of Carn Llidi passing the Youth Hostel and along the narrow lanes barely wide enough to accommodate tractors and pedestrians at the same time!

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The flower theme follows.

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Echium

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Orchid

 

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Honeysuckle

 

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Foxglove

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Yellow daisy type flowers.

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.

LLangollen

My wife and I were dog sitting in Guilden Sutton near Chester and so I managed an away day with Andy. We decided to visit Llangollen.

Route

We parked near the school and walked along the canal and then onto a footpath just up from the Museum and passing above the Valle Crucis Abbey.

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We were heading towards Creigiau Eglwyseg, the limestone outcrop which is above the Dee Valley.

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At Plas yr Eglwygiau Eglwysegseg we we joined Offas Dyke and then climbed up the first valley onto the top of the limestone escarpment.

We walked east slowly descending and then climbed the hill to Castell  Dinas Bran and back to the car.

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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.

 

Preseli

The Navigator had suggested that we tackle the Ten Tors. Seemed a long way to go for a  day’s walk but  he amended it to Ten Carns which we would find on the Preseli Mountains. He’s a wag.

Route

We parked the car just down the road from Penygroes and headed for our first carn of the day Carnalaw.

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The Navigator leading the way

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We then walked on taking in the rest of the carns, some mentioned by name on the map some not.

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A fine man pose

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Towards Foeldrgan

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Trig point on Foeldrgan

From Foeldrgan it was downhill back to the car. Although this was a bank holiday Monday we saw few walkers.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abercastle

With Mr and Mrs Navigator keen to show off their tan lines from a break in gran Canaria a walk was arranged on the Pembrokeshire coast. The forecast was heavy rain until about 1130 and sun thereafter and so we motored slowly and had our morning coffee break in the car above Abermawr beach.

Route

It was still raining as we set off but this had not deterred three Park Rangers busy digging out a new path near the beach.

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Abermawr

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Our route struck inland through a woodland which in a few weeks will be covered in wild garlic, and then onto lanes leading down to Abercastle and the coast.

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Abercastle beach

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he knew Trump was coming!

The sun was now shining and we had a grand walk back to the car at Abermawr.

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The famous Pembrokeshire wall climbing sheep

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We came across this little shrew busily chewing on an obviously tasty leaf and took very little notice of us as we busied ourselves taking his/her photo.

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Cute

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Abermawr