Neath Valley

With the rain forecast to arrive in Pembrokeshire late morning “The Navigator” suggested we go east and our destination was to be the Neath Valley with some canal side walking and a climb up to the Pelenna Forest before dropping back down to the canal via the Gnoll Estate Country Park





Three bridges


Tennant canal





Climbing towards Penlenna Forest


Ruins of Ystrad Owen


Forest ride and high route of NCN47


Ivy Tower




The weather in West Wales from Christmas through to the end of January has not been inviting to the Great Outdoors.

I did manage a few trips but no pictures. Whilst visiting our son in Chester I managed a 25 mile cycle ride with my brother-in-law, Andy to Parkgate on the Wirral. At least we managed a coffee and cake!

We also had a short cross country walk near Guilden Sutton.

Back home my neighbour, Paul and I walked the lanes near Llanddarog as any off road would  have been a mud bath!

I did manage one walk with “The Navigator” in the Havefordwest area but again on hard tracks, lanes and the cycle track.

Parc Drysgol

Wednesday was to be our rest day, especially as the forecast was for a wet day..

Andy and I had a quick visit to Bangor for fresh supplies and after lunch we decided on a short local walk, leaving The Navigator  in charge of the cottage.


The plan was to walk up Moel Rhiwen and onto Parc Drysgol and wend our way in a sort of circle back to base. Although the area is shown as open access we could not find an easy way on to the hill and so walked on to find a path which ran between the two hills. By now the weather had clamped in and visibility  was non existent.


The non view to Moel Rhiwen


Another non view – the grey = low cloud

We reached the top of Parc Drysgol and then headed down to the woodland which lay south easterly and followed the road back north to reach another footpath heading north west, although the sign had been painted  over. With rain now falling and no sign of the mist clearing we back tracked and returned to the cottage.

Nant Ffrancon

With strong winds forecast the higher hills would have to wait and so today we would have an elongated circular walk in Nant Francon.

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We parked in Braichmelyn just south of Bethesda near the huge Penrhyn Slate quarry. The path led steadily up through the woods onto the open hillside of Cefn Orsedd. The forecast was correct as it was certainly windy.


A good use of doors!


Penrhyn Slate Quarry


Looking into Nant Francon



Mynydd Perfedd ridge



A suitable coffee stop was found by a sheepfold before we started the long descent to the valley floor where we crossed the Afon Ogwen. From here we walked up the minor road to reach Ogwen Snack Bar.




The views up the valley seem to show there is no way through but  the main road cuts through to Capel Curig. At the Snack Bar there where a lot more walkers and I can only assume they were only visiting Llyn Idwal as the weather was only for the experienced to climb further.


Our route was back down the minor road where we left it to follow the cycle/walking route  passing the spoil tips from the slate quarry and back to the car.


Cascades at Ogwen Bank

This was a useful recce for Andy and I as we have a plan to bike pack from Bangor up to Idwal Cottage and camp near Llyn Ogwen and perhaps on to the Capel Curig area. It seems there will be a lot of pushing the bikes!

Mynydd Mawr

Today we were heading for Mynydd Mawr where we should have good views to the east of Snowdon and  to the south of the Nantlle ridge.


We parked in the village of Y Fron and walked through the old slate workings to gain access to the open countryside.


Nantlle Ridge



A rare picture of The Navigator with his kit off.


There is an obvious wide track which takes you north easterly to join the  path which gradually climbs to the summit of Mynydd Mawr. There was a sprinkling of snow towards the top.


We looked down into Craig Cwm Du and on reaching the windy top took shelter in the summit cairn for a coffee break.


Into Craig Cwm Ddu

There were a few walkers making their way up from Rhyd Ddu along an interesting ridge.


Looking towards the Snowdon Range



Grizzled outdoor men

Just down from the summit the views of the Nantlle Valley and the ridge above the valley came into view. We walked to the edge of Craig y Bere with its steep cliffs down to the valley floor.








Snowdon in the distance

A lunch spot was found as we descended to the west along the stone wall. The sun was now out and  we could have dozed off  but there was more walking to do! We continued on down and headed in the general direction  of the stone encircled Bryn Castell and on to Llyn Ffynhonnau, where again we had a break before heading back to the car.

North Wales Path and Coast

Our first full day in North Wales and today would be an inland walk, a waterfall and lastly a coast walk.

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We drove north towards Bangor passing the entrance to Penrhyn Castle to park at the coast near the Spinnies Nature Reserve to the east of the estuary of the Afon Ogwen.



We followed a lane southwards, past a local church to join the North Wales path and this took us on an easterly meandering route around to Aber Falls.





Part way along we stopped for a coffee only to be joined by a large flock of sheep who wrongly assumed we would be feeding them!


There are two waterfalls to admire the first a little smaller than the main Aber Falls but no less worth admiring. At the main fall there were a lot more visitors and the only people we had seen for the day. When we three were last here, the main falls were mainly frozen but today it was almost spring like.






We walked down the valley towards Abergwyngregin, steadfastly passing the cafe with its siren call of coffee and cake and on down to the coast. From here we followed the Wales Coast Path back to the car.


Beware high tide.

Tenby and Penally

Mad dogs and Welshmen go out in the mid day rain!

Only two walkers today. Mrs Navigator is on a spending spree in London, Chris has man flu and Paul had suggested I check the weather forecast, he had!


And so it was just The Navigator  and I  who parked up in Tenby, at least the parking was free. Suitably togged up we set off to walk through Tenby now quiet compared to the busy summer period. Near South beach we walked alongside the golf club and turned off to walk through Kiln Park Holiday Park.

In one of the many old kilns we stopped for a coffee.


From here we headed inland to follow footpaths into Penally.


Ruin cottage overlooking Penally

A welcome bus shelter was found where we had lunch before deciding this was madness and we headed back to Tenby. However just to be perverse our inward journey was along a wet and windswept South beach with a good surf running.



It’s nice in the summer


A possible shelter

Apart from one brave dog walker, whose collie was clearly in its element we had the beach to ourselves.


Colourful homes overlooking South Beach

A rather steamy car ride  soon had us back into Carmarthenshire. I can’t, wouldn’t dare speak for The Navigator but I enjoy these wilder days as long as I know a warm home is waiting at the end of the day.

The shortage of photos is due to the awful weather.


I travelled up to Chester following my walk on Mynydd Llangyndeirne to help out my son and partner Gianna look after a newly acquired puppy, a springer named Holly.

Gianna had arranged a day off on the Tuesday and I was not required for that day and so I met with my brother in law, Andy for a walk.

The destination was to be Llangollen for a walk up to Dinas Castell Bran and then along the limestone escarpment of Creigiau Eglwyseg.


It was a clear day albeit windy and the views were excellent whilst walking up the hill to the ruined castle and continued throughout the day.



Nothing changes in Wales


Towards the Clwydian hills


Creigiau Eglwyseg


Ruins of Castell Dinas Bran

Once on the escarpment we found a spot out of the wind for lunch and then carried on eventually finding a marked path leading down from the escarpment on to the lanes leading into Llangollen.


Heading down into the wind


An interesting way down


Looking back up


Another view of the ruins


A very full Afon Dee at Town Falls

The day finished with a welcome cup of chocolate and a festive mince pie.

The rest of the week was spent doing my utmost to train the puppy to realise the toilet area was outside and that her needle sharp teeth were not for eating me. Best of luck Rhodri and G.


Mynydd Llangyndeirne

I made my usual telephone call to “The Navigator” on Sunday evening only to be told I was to be the guide on Monday suggesting a walk near my home.


So on Monday the 7th December a full group was assembled consisting of Mr and Mrs Navigator, Paul, Chris, Daisy the Dog and me.

We left the village of Llanddarog and headed south on lanes and up to Mynydd Llangyndeirne  passing the huge limestone quarry. This quarry has been in production for a considerable time and we have seen it eating into the mountain for the 35 years we lived here.


An old lime kiln near the quarry



Letter boxes for the few properties on the hill


Once on top of the hill (mountain seems an excessive description) we walked through some very muddy areas, the group had been forewarned about conditions, and up to the trig point where a panorama view point had been erected showing the various areas that can be seen.


They were warned it would be muddy



Two toned Daisy


No, it is not what it looks like!

Lunch was had out of the wind and we then set off on the return leg, encountering even more mud until we reached the more firm track taking us back to the road. Another footpath was taken leading to the fishing ponds of Garn Ffrwd. It was then lane work down to near White Hall, Cil-yr Ynys and then another footpath through Glanyrynys leading back to Llanddarog.


Gowerton to Bracelet Bay and back

I had arranged to see my grandson play tag rugby at Gowerton Rugby Club on Sunday (he scored a try) and decided to take the bike along and have a ride down to Swansea Bay after.


The route follows NCN 4 and is traffic free. With the fine weather the route along the Bay to Verdis Cafe was busy with walkers, runners and cyclists.

I extended the ride a little by cycling on to Bracelet Bay before returning to Gowerton.

it was good to be out as the weather has been bike unfriendly for some time.