Another lycra day, this time west of Carmarthen near St Clears along lanes new to me passing through Laugharne and back.
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.
Sheep hoping for a piece of my cake.
Today would be a lane walk in the Cynheidre area. Once a large coal mining operation now completely unrecognisable.
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.
. This link gives some interesting history.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today’s walk was in an area we rarely walk, perhaps because it seems a long way to drive, but not so.
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.
The walk up.
How did this bin get here?
Himalayan Balsam taking over.
A gentle walk today around Usk Reservoir.
Throughout the walk there were good views of the Carmarthen Fans (The Black Mountain) and of course of the reservoir itself.
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.
As the “Navigator” had a hospital appointment in Carmarthen to check he was still alive, today’s walk would be fairly local.
We parked in the Bronwydd village hall car park and headed downstream alongside the Afon Gwili and passing the station of the Gwili Railway.
From here we crossed the main road and walked uphill into the countryside and turning north towards Newchurch along a very overgrown bridleway.
Dr Livingstone I presume?
Follow me, this is definitely the way.
Our route turned east towards Cwmdwyfran and again alongside the Afon Gwili back to the car.
Afon Gwili a fine grade 2 canoeing river at the right levels.
Can you spot the “Navigator”?
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!
Craig y Ddinas
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.
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.
Heading up hill en route to Sgwd y Eira
We heard the fall before seeing it and it was running well.
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.
Looking down on Sgwd y Eira
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.
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.
Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn
Sgwd Clun Gwyn
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.