Cynheidre

Today would be a lane walk in the Cynheidre area. Once a large coal mining operation now completely unrecognisable.

Route

Soon after starting we passed Sylen Lakes, a place I had not noticed before. From here we continued along a minor road and visited the trig point at Mynydd Sylen. Unfortunately the visibility was not that clear although further north we could see sunshine.

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As we rejoined the road in the distance a large solar farm could be seen. I regularly pass this on the cycle trail from Cross Hands to Llanelli but today we could see the size of it.

Here on Mynydd Sylen we came across a blue plaque relating to a “great meeting” following the Rebecca Riots. Another place I was not aware of.

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The wind on this higher ground had a bite to it but we managed to find some shelter for our lunch before joining the above mentioned cycle trail which led back to the car. next to the trail near Cynheidre is an old railway which is very slowly being brought back to life.

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. This link gives some interesting history.

Paxton Tower Circular

A day that called out for a walk, blue sky and brisk temperatures. No doubt my grandson will be disappointed that I decided on a walk and not to watch him play rugby!

I walked from my home and through lanes with the highest point being Paxtons Tower.

Route

Not far from Porthyrhyd I met a colleague from Many Tears Animal Rescue who were putting up leaflets about an escaped dog which had been rescued from Romania and had been missing since 9th December last.

The views from Paxton Tower were far reaching with snow on the Carmarthen Fans.

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I had hoped to walk through grounds of the National Botanic Garden of Wales but the northern entrances were closed until February 2018 because of the restoration work being carried out. Continuing on the lanes I met a walking group and stayed with them for a while chatting about the area.

Paxton Tower circular

As I neared my home my mobile rang, it was my wife asking where I was  and this resulted in a cup of tea and a sandwich being ready as I went through through the front door – result.

Stackpole

Sunday the weather was grim with rain all day but this being the UK, Monday was glorious and the “Navigator” and I set off for a walk from Stackpole in Pembrokeshire taking in Bosherton Lily Ponds, the beach at Broadhaven South following the coast to Barafundle and back to the car.

Route

There had been some fog from my village east of Carmarthen which had cleared  by the time I picked up the “Navigator” and the day just got better with blue skies and warm sunshine.

The lily ponds at Bosherton were mirror like, the surfaces only disturbed by the occasional cormorant, coot and assorted ducks.

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Barafundle Bay is often mentioned in the best beaches in the world list but I prefer Broadhaven South.

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From the latter we walked the coast taking in Stackpole Head and on to Barafundle Bay.

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Here a number of sand artists had drawn Christmas messages and I joined in but  certain Facebook “friends” pointed out I had the year wrong!

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Thankfully the tide will erase  my error. Anyway the sentiment is well meant.

 

Pembrey to Pwll

My Sunday chat with the “Navigator” suggested a flat walk on the Millennium Coast path starting in Pembrey and walk towards Llanelli and then catch a bus back. There was a caveat in that on Sunday the snow had come in and whilst we were chatting ice was already forming on the car and this may cause a problem on Monday.

Surprisingly on Monday the temperature must have risen as the ice had all but disappeared and the walk was on. We agreed to meet in Morrisons car park in Carmarthen but although we were both there at the allotted time of 1030  we didn’t see each others cars until 1100 despite being  in the same parking row!

Route

We parked up in the first car parking area at the start of the country park – this one is free -and  walked on to the coast path and headed east passing through Burry PortThe council had put up a number of new information boards showing the history of the area.

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This was a cold but blue sky day with  good distant views some showing the snow lying on higher ground. We wandered off the shared path on to other paths which kept close to the sea and some of which were new to me.

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Near Burry Port and looking across to the north Gower

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Lighthouse at Burry Port

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Burry Port Harbour

Clearly different local areas are claiming a connection with Amelia Earhart as there were two plaques some distance apart showing where she landed her aeroplane! perhaps she took off and landed again.

At Pwll near the Pavilion Cafe (recommended) we left the path and walked to the road where we caught our bus (lovely bus passes) back to Pembrey.

 

Garnant

With our wives heading for Cardiff to give the credit cards a bashing, Paul and I took the easy option and decided on a walk in the Garnant area. Paul had spotted the walk in a web site from Brecon Beacons National Park.

Route

The route was well way marked although we did miss one turning which should have taken us past Hen Bethan Chapel. We blame our interesting conversation.

The conditions under foot was quite wet  but the views were extensive. Although Wales is better known for its flocks of sheep we saw Llamas, donkeys and goats with huge scimitar type horns.

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Near the top of Cwm Pedol we passed a ruin with an impressive archway door. On the way to Cwm Berach there was another ruin with a couple of interesting trees.

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Our wrong turning made sense at the time as there was a footpath sign leading into woods with an uphill  path. Still there is always next time to visit the chapel.

 

Lougher to Swansea Bay and Return

From a few days of downpours, today was a contrast, cold but bright. A cycle ride was in order to blow the cobwebs away. I decided to start at Lougher Bridge and cycle to Swansea Bay utilising NCN 4 which is mainly traffic free.

Route

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Tide in on the Lougher estuary

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Tide out

The route leads from Lougher to Gowerton and then down the Clyne Valley and then onto Swansea Bay.

I turned right and headed out to Limeslade Bay for a coffee cycling through Mumbles and passing Verdis cafe and onto Fortes cafe.

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Limeslade Bay

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Bracelet Bay

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Swansea Bay

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Swansea Bay

The way back was just a reversal of the route.

There was room for a quick grumble in that the Swansea Bay trail is a shared path but with clearly distinguished  separation for walkers and cyclists. It’s a pity those walking  ignore this separation!!.

 

 

Lliw Valley

During my recent week in the Lake District I was having a problem with my right leg with pains around the knee. Some years ago I had an operation on that knee to clear out debris and it was (probably still is) a success. The pain indicates muscular/ligaments and I am now waiting for a doctors appointment.

Not being the most patient of people I went for a 20 mile cycle ride last Monday and all was well as cycling is not too much of a load bearing excecise. Then today I thought a short walk with Paul to view the Lliw Valley reservoirs would be useful to judge the knee situation. Just a niggle.

Route

This area was new to Paul. The car park was busy with half term in full swing with good weather making an appearance. The autumn colours were on full show.

From the lower reservoir we walked uphill to the upper reservoir and onto the rough track for a short while. Thereis a route around the reservoir but that’s for another day.

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We returned  the the lower reservoir and took the steps leading down to the river where children were stone hopping across and of course it was bound to happen one took a tumble!

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The path we were now on was a  track until it reached the dam which we crossed back to the car.

 

Lake District Oct. 2017

Another October, another boys week in the Lake District with the “Navigator”, Andy and me.

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Bob

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The Navigator and Andy

The “Navigator” and I set off from West Wales to meet up with Andy in Chester and then on to Cumbria. We left the M6 at Shap taking minor roads to the east of Bampton Grange and parked up by spot height 257 and started to walk up a farm track at Scarside.

Route

From there we walked below the woodlands and then on to the limestone pavement. Fungi was in abundance especially of the waxcap group. More of those were seen throughout the week.

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Limestone pavement

This was a short walk to stretch the legs after a long car ride and we weren’t far from our cottage at Helton. This apparently is the oldest building in the village.

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Sunday 15/10/17

This could be described as a two centre walk or a figure of eight walk with lunch in between.

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Our morning walk was along  Swindale soon leaving the metalled road and onto rough ground first between stone walls and then on to open ground. The beck was straightened in the past to gain more land but the bends have now been reinstated.

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We crossed to the beck and gradually climbed to view a number of waterfalls which were in  a good flow. At the top we returned to the car via the bridle path shown on the OS map.

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Om our way back we passed a group with five  border collies which is frankly greedy especially as I just want one!

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Three of the five collies

Back at the car we had lunch and decided to continue walking over to view  the Naddle Valley where we walked through Naddle farm now a base for the RSPB. It was hoped we could make a circuit by crossing the Haweswater Dam but there is no path to cross this feature. Instead we walked back to Naddle bridge and returned to the car along the water board road and the then the public road along Swindale.

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Haweswater dam

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The old and not so old Naddle Bridge

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Monday 16/10/17

This was the week including the storms of Ophelia and Brian and the winds today indicated care should be taken if any height gained. We parked in Pooley Bridge in a side street as the official parking was far too expensive and walked down through the village and onto the lake side of Ullswater.

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A misty morning

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A ferry under repair

Route

With all the rain of recent and current days it was very wet underfoot especially across fields. The route zig zagged up to Arthurs Pike which gave good views of Ullswater and down to Glenridding.

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Lunch on the way to Arthur’s Pike

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Looking down on to Ullswater

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The cairn at Arthur’s Pike

 

The wind was strong and we had to hold on to the cairn for safety and the return back to Pooley Bridge was away from any edges.

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That night a tree came down in the garden and a partial collapse of a stone wall!

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Storm damage.

Tuesday 17/10/17

The forecast was not looking good and so a low level walk was decided on. The route was from Pooley Bridge to Aira Force with a bus trip back to the car.

Route

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Crossing a muddy field near Bennethead

It was very wet and muddy throughout and there was evidence of the strong winds as we walked through a wooded area.

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It would be useful if a similar sign was at the other end as well!

Our route took us around Gobarrow Fell which on a better day would have given fine views of Ullswater and the surrounding hills.

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The waterfalls at Aira Force were magnificent with lots of visitors taking in the views.

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Looking down onto Aira Force

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Aira Force

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A big tree!

 

Since I last visited here the National Trust have a new visitor centre and a welcome cafe where we stopped for some refreshment whilst waiting for the bus. Unfortunately our Welsh bus passes are not valid here and we had to buy the very expensive tickets.

Wednesday 18/10/17

The forecast was looking much better with clear sky and little wind and so we were heading a little higher, with Andy going higher again.

We drove to the south end of Haweswater to walk up the ridge overlooking Riggingdale. It was in this area that England had its only golden eagles but the last one was seen in 2015.

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Route

The first part of the walk is alongside the lake to The Rigg and then its up, up and away with hands on rock in some places.

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The way around to The Rigg

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Riggingdale

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Haweswater

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Blea Water with High Street above

The weather had brought out more walkers than we had met since Saturday including a couple from Belgium with a husky or malamute attached to the man with a harness and a long lead. This did look somewhat dangerous when they reached a steep section of the climb but they made it. There was one hilarious interval when they reached the flat boggy area of Caspel Gate when Olaf the dog tried to jump across a gap but belly flopped into the sticky mud. It would have been funnier if the owner had been pulled in!

We had lunch here and the “Navigator” and myself decided not to continue up to High Street but young Andy still full of puff continued on up and we would meet up again at the car. Our way down was via Blea Water and Blea Water Beck where again the waterfalls were in full flow. Underfoot the paths were sodden.

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Blea Water

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Blea Water Beck

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Waterfall on the Blea Water Beck

We had thought that Andy would come down the Nan Bield Pass but he  retraced his steps down the way we went up.

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Ye olde sat. nav.

Thursday 19/10/17

Our destination today was Howtown and Martindale and the surrounding hills.

Route (there is a small part missing towards the end)

We walked  anti clockwise around Hallin Fell and then alongside the lakeside path to the foot of Scalehow Beck.

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The Coombs

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The way down to Howtown

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Looks like fun

 

From here we headed uphill  and eventually onto Birk Fell. Martindale is known for its deer herds and we could hear the bellowing of the stags and in the distance we could see the hinds and a couple of stags.

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Climbing up near the beck

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Looking down towards Glenridding

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Bob

Our way back was between the gap between The Knight and High Dodd. The former, when viewed from one side is similar to our Welsh Cnicht.

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The Knight

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Discarded antlers

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A signpost by Royal Appointment?

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A bridge too far.

Friday 20/10/17

The week has flown and today is our last walking day and not too far from base.

Route

We parked in the hamlet of Burnbanks which was built for those involved with the Haweswater reservoir.

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We walked on the north shore away from the dam until we reached Measand beck and its waterfalls.

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These signs are much better than the modern wooden type.

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Looking down Haweswater

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Coffee break

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More waterfalls

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Even more

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Crop circles?

From here we struck uphill and onto Bampton Common. We lunch near Ulgill Gutter  and then towards Broom Bank crossing Howes beck near the dam. We had a coffee break in the Howes and then on into Bampton and followed the lane back to the car.

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Juust so Andy’s wife can see he can handle a vacumn cleaner!

 

 

 

Mwnt

Both the “Navigator” and myself  are now back from our respective holidays and it was time to venture forth again. We still had bad memories of our last walk which was a mud and bramble fest, not to mention the incident with my camera! Hopefully this walk would be less horrendous.

We parked up at Patch which is on the north side of the Teifi estuary and headed north across fields (just a little muddy) and quiet lanes to Mwnt.

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Estuary mouth of Afon Teifi

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Looking upriver towards St Dogmaels

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Old advert on long closed garage

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Ye olde sat nav.

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Mwnt beach

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Another view of Mwnt

This can be a good spot to see dolphins but they stayed hidden today nor did the the rough sea help.

We joined the coast path here and headed back to the car.

 

 

When the Welsh coast path was opened there was unfortunately a dispute with one landowner and the area immediately overlooking Cardigan Island is off limits. You can of course pay a fee to visit the Farm Park.

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Route

Ludchurch

Are any of you old enough to remember Flanders and Swan? if so you will appreciate why we were singing the song “Glorious Mud”!! We have had a lot of rain recently but some paths were just taking the mick.

If that wasn’t bad enough I had a major serious moment when at the end of the walk I placed my camera on the car roof and forgot about it. The inevitable happened when I found it later crushed and ruined. As government spokesmen say after a disaster “lessons will be learned”

Route

So no pictures today.

I have to take full responsibility for this walk as it was one I had accompanied the “Navigator” on a considerable amount of time ago when I recalled walking through some disused quarries and seeing the water filled holes. Well since then the quarries have been reopened and “unauthorised” people are not allowed anywhere near.

Bearing in mind the walk was not that far from home and a lot of the paths are shown as trails (The Knights Trail and The Landsker Borderlands Trail) we thought this would be straight forward leading to an early finish. Signposting was at best intermittennt, which is unusual for Pembrokeshire. Early on when taking the path westwards from Crunware Curch (closed) we had to bushwack along it and  then clamber over an earth bank obstruction.

Further on we followed “The Landsker Borderlands Path” across a field which had no way through a recently erected fence – we managed to climb over it with a close eye on the barbed wire.

From there it wasn’t too bad but there was a sting was in the tail. The last footpath from about Trenewydd Farm back to Llanteg was  about an “11” on a scale of 1 to 10 in relation to mud. I was thankful I had had the foresight to wear gators. However we had to laugh as at the end of that path was a sign informing walkers the path was closed because it was unsafe!

Then to top it all I had the camera faux pas. Hey ho, the joys of country walking.

PS When I spoke to my home insurers I was told the camera was less than the excess.