St Clears Circular

Another lycra day, this time west of Carmarthen near St Clears along lanes new to me passing through Laugharne and back.

Route

I parked up near the chapel just passed  the Forge garage on the A40 just east of St Clears. Most of the ride followed NCN 4. From the start there is a cycle lane which leads to the Afon Dewi Fawr and into lower St Clears.

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Just after crossing the bridge over the Afon Taf the main road to Laugharne and Pendine is left behind by taking the right hand turn which climbs steadily from 18 feet to 500 feet through woodlands before turning east at Three Lords. It was now time to regain my breath on a flat and downward route to Laugharne via Landawke.

Underneath Laugharne Castle it was time for a stop to munch on a banana and watch the tourists slowly filling the car park. This of course is Dylan Thomas country and for more up to date times one of the areas used for the filming of the well received TV drama “Keeping Faith”.

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Laugharne Castle

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Taf Estuary

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Dylan’s Boathouse

Reasonably refreshed I rode up through the town and turned north west at Cross Inn eventually meeting my outward route.

 

Ffairfach Circular

I blame the wife and the Grand Old Duke of York – read on.

The blog has been quiet of late as the knee problem has turned out to be the need for a new knee! The excellent NHS in my part of the world expect me to wait 20 months and will not automatically transfer me to a health board with shorter waiting lists! So I will have to raid the piggy bank and line the pockets of a surgeon carrying out private work.

Although I cannot walk far without pain and then very slowly, riding a bike has little effect – thankfully.

Amazingly for a Bank Holiday the weather is glorious and a bike ride was planned. I had a route in mind west of Llandeilo possibly visiting a friend from decades ago whose children I helped learn the dark arts of kayaking.

Route

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I parked the car in Ffairfach and cycled steadily uphill to Bethlehem, well if the Giro can start in Israel.

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Bends in the Afon Tywi

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Of course I cycled passed well before 12 o’clock.

Then onto Felindre to join the main road from Llangadog to Brynamman before turning left back onto narrow and quiet lanes leading to Pont ar Llechau crossing the Afon Sawdde. This used to be the get in for a grade 2 river run down to Carreg Sawdde Common.

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Afon Sawdde

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Carmarthen Fans

After the bridge it was a long uphill ride and walk to Capel Gwynfe, the village where I planned to visit an old friend. I had failed to find his address on the Royal mail post code site and a little way after the summit of the hill I stopped to ask some locals who knew Roger well and explained I would have to go back down the hill looking for a chapel and follow a lane through some forestry. I rode back as far as Pont ar Llechau without seeing anything resembling a chapel. Loins girded I rode/walked back up the hill and again spoke to the locals. They had not explained or I had not understood, but I should have taken a turning off the main road which led steeply down a lane where I would indeed see the chapel. Off I set again and lo and behold I found the house – he was out!!! I now had the joy of riding/walking back up the above mentioned steep hill!

At least this was the end of any major hills and at spot height 287 I stopped to eat my cake before an excellent downhill swoop to Ffairfach.

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Sheep hoping for a piece of my cake.

Moylegrove

It was just the “Navigator” and me today and based on the weather as we left are respective homes I could not blame the others. However with full faith in the Met. Office that the sun would come out in Pembrokeshire we sallied forth to Moylegrove.

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Route

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No doubt some lorries have been stuck here.

The rain had almost stopped and it did not warrant over trousers but with mud almost bound to be encountered gaiters were worn.

We walked inland along lanes to Monington, another Pembrokeshire hamlet I can tick off. We stopped here by the bridge for coffee. From here we walked uphill to Pantsaeson which has an interesting history (click the link).

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unloved church?

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Carn Ingli in the distance

The coast was regained at Ceibwr Bay after walking along a number of lanes and bridleways. This small bay was a regular launching place for canoeing trips that we used to make along the coast, but it was not inviting today with waves crashing into the cliffs.

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Ceibwr bay

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Interesting formations Ceibwr

A route was signposted back to Moylegrove alongside the Afon Ceibwr which we took albeit somewhat muddy. However there was evidence of numerous plants starting to show growth and a spring walk would be worthwhile.

Chirk

I was recently in Chester for a spot of dog sitting and wallpaper removal. The weather was not wonderful but dogs have to be walked and various paths and parks around Hoole were explored to include a stroll in the rain around the “Walls”.

Monday’s weather was the best of the bunch and in the morning Holly and I walked along the canal to Christleton and back. We then picked up Andy and headed off to Chirk for an interesting walk along mostly lanes but some muddy paths in the afternoon.

Route

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Posh gates near Chirk Castle

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Chirk castle area

The snowdrops were making an appearance.

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I managed to get home before Rhodri and Gianna and wash off Holly in the bath!

The day finished with a visit to the new library/cinema complex now known as the Story House in Chester where Rhodri and I watched a film of very talented skiers and snowboarders.

Cynheidre

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!!.