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.


Abergwili and Carmarthen beyond


An old stone stile


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.


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.


Carved stones protecting a spring




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.


Chapel at Llanfiangel Uwch gwili


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.



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.


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.



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


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




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.


Elegug Stacks


Holiday home for guillemots


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


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!


New parking area


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.



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.



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


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.


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.


Swansea Marina

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


The new sign for the Brexit tangle!


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.


Hooray Andy goes back tonight!

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


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.





Carmarthen Fans and some old guy.


Corn Ddu and Pen y Fan


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.








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.


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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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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The annual “boys” February week away with the “navigator” and my brother-in-law Andy was here again. This year was to be spent in the hills north and south of Machynlleth and our base was some 10 miles east of Machynlleth.



Prior to the above conversion is was an old barn which was used for a past Eisteddfod and was the base for the Pabell Len, a venue for the literary side of things. it is now known as “Beudy Clygo”.

The “Navigator” and I drove up from the Carmarthen area on Saturday and we were due to meet Andy on the outskirts of Machynlleth for a short half day walk but he had car problems and missed the walk.


In this area you will never be far from walking on sections of  Glyndwr’s Way and we frequently came across the way marked route throughout the week. Although we are used to seeing way marks for the Wales Coast Path in odd places here was another on a hillside miles from the coast!


Look out for golf balls.




Coast Path?

This was a good introduction to the area and by luck we met Andy as we both turned into the lane leading to our cottage and in time to see Wales lose to the English.


We parked in Dinas Mawddwy and walked into the valley of the Nant Maesglase.




Ye olde milepost


is that snow?


The wind is blowing the waterfall uphill!

About halfway along we came a sheep who was clearly in distress and on closer examination it had caught itself up in the netting which holds bales of sileage together. We managed to turn the sheep on its side and cut through the nylon mesh and free her. We also ensured the netting was cut in numerous places to avoid a similar accidennt. From experience its not difficult  to release the bale and collect the netting.


Morning coffee break


The Navigator is happy, honest.


Snow on Maesglase

When we reached Bwlch Siglen we saw a group of walkers who turned out to be, apart  from 2 others, the only walkers we saw all week. As we climbed out of the bwlch another good deed was carried out when Andy recovered a large ripped party balloon which was caught up in the gorse. Do purchasers of these items  give any thought to what happens to these balloons when released?


We left the good paths and bush whacked across to Llyn Foeldinas in misty conditions and then back to the car via the disused quarries following a tea break in a welcome bus shelter.







Today’s route would take us to Glaslyn south east of Machynlleth. The lanes in this are are narrow and parking is not easy to find but we found a suitable spot south of Aberhosan near Nantyfyda farm.


We followed Glyndwr’s Way on a good path gently rising to take us to Glaslyn where we had lunch on the beach. The lake and surrounding area is now a nature reserve run by Montgomeryshre Wildlife Trust.










Lunch on the beach.

After lunch we retraced our steps to join a minor road to the viewpoint dedicated to Wynford Vaughan Thomas. The views were not extensive because of the misty conditions but the panorama plate indicated the views are there to be seen on a clear day.


Sustrans mile post route NCN 8



The byway also shown  as a cycle route albeit not one for a road bike, was followed to the village of Aberhosan and then south back to  the car.



Cwm Cywarch was to be our destination today and then up onto Craig Cywarch.


We drove to Dinas Mwyddwy and then up to the end of the road of the  Cywarch valley where the National Trust have made a small car park with an honesty box. There is even a porto loo nicely contained behind a dry stone wall.




We came down this path

The path up is a good quarry road and then a reasonable track up onto the ridge of Craig Cywarch where the temperature had fallen with ice forming on the grass and rime ice on the fences.





No this is not sheep wool.

As we climbed higher snow was underfoot and here we enjoyed lunch. The cloud was now down and we followed a fence line before taking a bearing to Llyn y Fign.


Ice with that sir?

As we started to descend steeply to the path which would take us back to the car I lost my footing and crashed head first on to a very hard rock. Thankfully as it was cold I had some thick covering on my head and was able to carry on without a problem. The fall did leave a large grazed area which my dear brother-in-law said put him in mind of the ex Russian president, Gorbachov! We took the rest of the descent very slowly and there were no further incidents.



The forecast was poor and it seemmed sensible to stay off the hills and we headed for the coast at Aberdovy and the low hills behind the seaside town.


It was a little wet to start but overall it was a fine day and the forecast was not that accurate.

We parked just outside Aberdovey adjacent to a cemetery, not the best choice for us aged walkers!

The route took us east on a gentle rising path where we joined a minor road near Erw Gwenllian. Part way along we stopped for morning coffee with views over the Dyfi estuary and on to Borth.


Leading up from the coast


Dyfi estuary

We carried on the road to its end and then turned on to a path for about half a mile before striking north to have lunch looking down on Llyn Barfog (the Bearded Lake).



Lunch over looking Llyn Barfog


Our return was now west along a path, muddy in places thanks to the sheep feeding area and down to the road along Happy Valley.


The road along Happy Valley

At spot height 53 we joined the by way which led us down to the main road which we crossed and on to the golf club and back to the car.


Waun Oer

This was to our “wet day” although I don’t recollect  the forecast saying that.


This walk was again in the Maesglase area with the high point being Waun Oer.

We parked in the marked car park near spot height 363. It’s always good to let the car gain some height!


Looking back to the car


Looking north

You will notice lots of tightly packed contour lines with some steep ups and downs. Andy of course treated it as a flat walk whilst the “Navigator” and I felt the burn. The weather was closing in but we had some good views of the steep cwms to the east.


Steep cwms

Some way from Waun Oer it was time for the full waterproofs and when we reached the cairn there were no views where we had hoped to glance Cadair Idris. We didn’t hang about and retraced our steps to have lunch in the woodland.


Waun Oer

A joint decision was to extend the walk and we followed the fence line south east to Craig Portas for more views of the cwms following the edge back to our outward walk.


Looking down from Cribin Fawr


Cribin Fawr

At the disused quarry we stopped for afternoon tea and it was here the “Navigator” realised he had left his over trousers back at the lunch stop! They are still there if anyone passes by , finds them and wishes to notify me.


Bereft of over trousers!Afon

Cursing his forgetfulness we walked on and down hill along the diagonal track in an easterly and then westerly back to the car.


Afon Cerist cwm?

We passed a group of three men on the path who were dismantling a small tent and a camp chair. Curiosity got the better of me and they told me they were plane spotters and were hoping to see an American Osprey plane but the weather had meant a cancellation. I assume this is it.


Our last day and still standing and we were off south of Machynlleth to see waterfalls and wildness.


We drove to the end of lane and walked through the farm,Cwmyrhaiadr (755964). The waterfalls  are signposted and its about a mile and quarter along first a good track and then deteriorating to a wet muddy one before a stiff climb to the top of the fall.



Towards the waterfall


Closer now. Our path can be seen in top left


Mine machinery?

The climb starts at Llechwedd Melyn and then diagonally south west. The week’s walking was now taking its toll and the first climb I found tough but then recovered as the climb eased.


Looking back from the top of the climb

Once at the top we headed for Llyn Penrhaeadr where lunch was eaten.


Five locks!


It would have been easy to have a doze here but it was not to be.We retraced our steps and walked through the woods to Hafodwnog and along the path towards Pen y Darren and then along and down through Bwlch y Groesen to the car.




The end of a good week of walking with reasonable weather and when the Viewranger stats were added up we had walked about 50 miles and climbed 12700 feet.


The “Navigator” had been studying the weather forecast for our Monday walk and it seemed that if we headed for Aberaeron and walked to Llanon we may be lucky and indeed we were.


We parked on the south side of Aberaeron harbour with nearly all the boats parked up on dry land for the winter, clearly fair weather sailors.


Aberaeron Harbour



Many of the houses in the town are brightly painted which was a contrast to the cloudy day, albeit the views towards the Lleyn were reasonably clear.


Looking south

This part of the coast was new to me although I have often driven past it.

Our plan was to walk to Llanon and make use of our bus passes back to the car hopefully missing the rain which was due to arrive about 1400.


Afon Arth


Colourful street in Aberarth


Fossil of a conch like  thingy




A lot of the path was muddy made worse by sharing it with cattle.

As we entered Llanon a bus arrived full of old folk just like us.


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.


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.


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.


Looking towards Swansea bay


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).



No clue given about this construction


Looking towards the M4 bridge





From here we headed back to the car in Britton Ferry

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.


Whitford Lighthouse


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.


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.



Afon Gwili



Andy learning about Rebecca Riots


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!




To The Physicians Well




The trig on Mynydd Myddfai


We are here somewhere


More bleakness


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


Andy looking at the mistletoe – no chance!


Less bleak


Typical Carmarthenshire farm


Colourful houses in Myddfai


Ye olde chemist!

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

Blywdden newydd dda i pawb.




Swansea Bay

I had planned to watch my grandson play rugby in Waunarlwydd and to make the most of the day I decided to have a cycle ride after the game.

It was a good start as his team, Bynea under nines, came out on top. I then drove to Gowerton and cycled down route NCN4 down through the Clyne valley to Swansea Bay.


From there I turned left and rode up and through the marina and returned back to Gowerton.




There were lots of people cycling, walking and running despite an overcast day.