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.



Tide in on the Lougher estuary


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.


Limeslade Bay


Bracelet Bay


Swansea Bay


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.


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.


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!


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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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.


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.

 Route 1

Route 2

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


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.


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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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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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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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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.


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!





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.


Estuary mouth of Afon Teifi


Looking upriver towards St Dogmaels


Old advert on long closed garage


Ye olde sat nav.


Mwnt beach


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.









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”


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.

Elan Valley

Together with my brother-in-law, Andy we spent 4 days in the Elan Valley area taking in two cycle rides and two hill walks.

Our base was the Elan Oaks campsite  which is an excellent site. despite our stay being in August the camping field was not at all busy. there are quite a few electric hook points in a separate area.

Both our cycle rides were taken from “Lost Lanes of Wales” by Jack Thurston. The two walks were suggestions from “The Navigator” regularly mentioned in this blog.

Day 1.

When I left home and heading for Llandovery the heavens opened and I was having second thoughts about our trip as the forecast did not mention rain! Anyway when I reached the Sugarloaf the weather improved.

I met Andy at Beulah where we started our ride.


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rain clearing

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In Abergwesyn the village hall has toilets which are not locked. There is a note warning people that the area is bereft of any kind of electric signal and if walking the hills you will have to rely on the old fashioned whistle.

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Not often is there a convenient convenience.

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We cycled close to the Afon Irfon as it meandered into Llanwrtyd Wells.

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From here the route makes its way to Llangammarch Wells. Jack’s directions take you over a ford before the town but  unfortunately the footbridge was closed. We continued on to Llangammarch Wells and rejoined the route.

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Impossible ford

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Footbridge closed

We found a convenient bench for lunch just in time as a large flock of sheep were being driven down the road. This flock was met later and the farmer explained they had been driven from the the local hills for their annual inspection.

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It was then downhill back to Beulah and then a drive up to our campsite in the Elan Valley.

Day 2


Boots and rucksack today. Our high spot would be Gamriw. We walked from the campsite along quiet lanes until we met a footbridge where the collar work started. There was a path at the beginning but this petered out to various sheep tracks leading ever upwards.

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Huge mushrooms

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First pathless hill.

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Looking down from the first hill


It was dry at first but  near the high area there were bogs and wet areas and little in the way of a path. However we reached Gamriw only to find the bogs continued and the downhill was not as easy as we had hoped.

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Where is everybody?

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Gamriw trig


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Looking back up

The O S map did show paths and also forestry which had disappeared in part which did not help. Thankfully trusting to the compass we found our way to Caban Coch reservoir after passing the small dam which had been destroyed whilst practising for the bouncing bomb.

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At last a path. Caban Coch reservoir

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Although well deserved we decided against a celebratory cake in the visitor centre and headed back to our tents.

Day 3

A longer cycle ride today. Again from “Lost Lanes of Wales” and described as “The Green Desert”.


We started from the camp site and headed towards Llanwrthwl along a quiet lane steep in parts. The route then turned north towards Rhayader. We missed the Glyn bridge but crossed the river higher up and joined the traffic free route into Cwmddeudwr.

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We now faced a long and continuous climb to Penrhiw-wen with a few stops to “admire the views”. There was one longer stop to visit the waterfalls above Glanllyn. At one stage Andy was kind enough to shout back as I thought the top was in sight “false summit”!!


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Waterfall on Nant Gwynllyn

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Waterfall on Nant Gwynllyn looking back to Gwynllyn

At last the legs and lungs could take a rest as we had a fast steep ride down to Pont Elan where a perfectly situated bench awaited our lunch stop.

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Craig Goch from Penrhiw-wen

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Craig Goch reservoir our route to the right.

From here we followed the lanes alongside the reservoirs and a final stretch along the traffic free route to the visitor centre where we did celebrate with coffee and cake.

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Later back at the camp site I realised I had mislaid the cycle computer which I had removed before going into the cafe. However the next day I called back to find it had been found by a member of staff.

Day 4

This was our last day with the tents taken down and the cars packed. We drove to Rhayader and parked in the mart (free apart from Friday). We were heading to the hills to the left of our steep cycle ride of yesterday.


From the mart we walked into Cwmddeudwr and took the minor road which almost circles Coed y Cefn and then onto the farm “Treheslog”. Here there is a path although not shown as a public right of way which leads steeply onto the high ground.

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Track up from Treheslog

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Nearing the top with Gwynllyn in the background

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The top


Once again a dearth of paths underfoot until we reached Banc Trehheslog and down to the waterfall and the road we slowly peddled up on Wednesday.

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The higher waterfall with the steep road in the background

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Mr Outdoors

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Panorama before the above photo

On crossing the road we headed back to Rhayder via the wide track stopping to look at Esgair Dderw.

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There’s a large stone here somewhere according to the map.



We had lunch back at the car and we set off to our respective homes, Andy to Chester and Carmarthen for me.

there is plenty to see and do in this area  and no doubt we’ll be back to explore, hopefully with the same good weather.




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.

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The walk up.

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How did this bin get here?

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Fantastic garden

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Himalayan Balsam taking over.


Plumstone Mountain

Just two of us today, the “Navigator” and myself. We were heading west towards Roch for a circular walk to take in the area around Plumstone Mountain.


As we approached Solva I casually asked ” I thought we were heading to Roch”. We turned around and drove back to where we should have been!

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Our route after Hayscastle Tump was along a bridle way leading on to Plumstone. This route started well but rapidly became overgrown with nettles, brambles and flooded areas. This was not helpful when wearing shorts and trail shoes!

As we left this bridle way I found a scrap of paper which included a route plan for somewhere in the Wye Valley!?

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Ramsey Island in the distance

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Roch Castle

We walked past the renovated Roch Castle which is now a 5 star hotel.



Carmarthen to St Clears and back

This was a signing ride organised by Sustrans to check signs  on NCN 4 were still in place and relevant.


In the main all was well. Some discussion about signage in Carmarthen town which may cause a little confusion with non locals. This to be taken up with the Council.

I had not ridden this section of NCN 4 before and I enjoyed, even the hills!