It’s been very quiet on the blog with no content since May 2018. The reason has been a knee problem.
Some 6 years ago I started having knee pains in my right knee. I was diagnosed with a meniscus tear which led to an arthroscopy and it worked until late in 2017. in October of that year I had are annual Lake District jaunt but I felt I was struggling. I self referred to the physio. department at our local hospital who found I had tight muscles and they were able to improve the situation. Then in February 2018 things took a turn for the worse and I could hardly walk to the local shops, although cycling gave no problems. Following an x ray and a consultation I was told a new knee was required. In my health trust there was a 20 month waiting time and I was not able to be transferred elsewhere!!
As I am 70, 20 months was a chunk of time i potentially have left so I took the private route and depleted the bank account. So on 5th July 2018 i went under the knife. I can now walk without the previous problems and am up to 5 miles around my local lanes. again cycling is also possible. There is still some post operative discomfort but this should continue to decrease.
I have been walking about 2 miles at a stretch and from boxing day I have increased this to some 5 miles. Today I had my second 5 mile walk again around the local lanes.
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.
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”.
Reasonably refreshed I rode up through the town and turned north west at Cross Inn eventually meeting my outward route.
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.
I parked the car in Ffairfach and cycled steadily uphill to Bethlehem, well if the Giro can start in Israel.
Bends in the Afon Tywi
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Near Burry Port and looking across to the north Gower
Lighthouse at Burry Port
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.
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.
We parked in the grounds of Theatre Felinfach and headed uphill in a south westerly direction to Gwynfryn. From here our direction was north down to the Afon Aeron where we walked along the river bank back to the start.
Plenty of sightings of kites, buzzards and a lone cormorant a long way from salty water. We saw a number of anglers who from the posted notices have to abide by a long list of rules, presumably these do not apply to the cormorant. The area also welcomes cyclists and we did see a few mountain bikers.