Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Monday, 3 August 2009

Monday 3 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 3 - Maesnant Valley to Aberystwyth

After last night's excellent meal I was soon sound asleep in my cocoon of down on the cosy NeoAir mattress, which wasn't really needed in the deep soft grass I had chosen for the night.

All too soon, a 6am alarm heralded the final day of this energetic little excursion. With the last of my water I was able to enjoy a bowl of cereal and a mug of tea from the warmth and security of my cocoon of down.

The world was then easy to face on this unexpectedly fine morning, and Mick, Gayle and I set off in good humour soon after 7.15.

We soon reached a metalled road, with French youths and others camping in grassy lay-bys (the green sheen no doubt concealing a bed of hard core - and we wagered that they would not have enjoyed the luxury of NeoAir mattresses).

The weather was overcast, but the views were fine, with hills, forests and reservoirs dominating the scene. The only minor cloud was a need for the toilet. Luckily, just as the orange trowel was due to be deployed, a blue and white tardis appeared beside Nant-y-moch Reservoir. It looked like a derelict relic from the location shoot of an episode of Dr Who, but inside was a working, flushing loo! With loo paper, water for hand washing, hand towels, etc. Remarkable! Gayle was very cheeky and also used it, despite it being clearly marked 'Gents'!

With light loads we streaked onwards beside fields full of thistle, sheep and stonechats towards Bont-goch, taking an avoiding route past some steep scree which, when we looked back, actually looked quite easy to traverse.

Elevenses were taken beside an antiquity (more later), on the outskirts of this small village (Bont-goch) where house building is taking precedence over house renovations.

One property had what appeared to be a mature graveyard in its front garden!

Easy walking down a narrow lane past red kites brought us to Garth, then Penrhyn-coch, then a delightful picnic spot with no sign of a lawnmower (or anything or anyone else) at Gogerddan (aren't some of these names wonderful?).

The early start now delivered us an easy afternoon - just a 2 hour walk to 'Aber', mainly along pleasant paths with good views (pictured), including a pretty ginnel beside the golf course, as we approached the sea.

After completing our 26 km for the day with 600 metres ascent, we loitered with holiday makers on the beach, taking a selection of photos on the sunny afternoon, before adjourning to a café - Salt - where the prices were high but the toilets facilitated a good wash, in preparation for our train journeys home, part of which was spent in the company of an elderly trio on a day out from Cheltenham. They had gone to Barmouth for lunch!

I'll do a summary of the route and a link to more photos in the next posting, and finish now by thanking Mick and Gayle for selecting this route, for having me along, and for their excellent company over the last three days. Thanks, both, and enjoy the champagne when you get home!

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No Further to Go

Here we are in Aberystwyth, with no further to go.

This excellent three day stroll across Wales, sadly, is at an end.

More about today will follow.

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Monday Morning - Back in Contact

It's elevenses time, and phone signals have returned. The fine weather is holding fair.

Gayle is busy trying to recover from deleting her massive and interesting posting about yesterday.

Mick informs me that Australia are 123 for 2.

I've just finished my last piece of chocolate, so we are hopefully nearing civilisation.

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Sunday 2 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 2 - Llanidloes to Soft and Hard Camp (A Wild Camp below Plynlimon - see previous posting)

We took advantage of the weather and enjoyed a rare 'day without rain' for the walk to Plynlimon and beyond.

It started along the gentle paths of the Severn Way and Glyndwr's Way. Gentle, but sometimes undulating and navigationally interesting. Slow going.

Mewing buzzards again kept us company. They dominated the skies above the rolling farmland of mid Wales.

A highlight of today's walk was the massive dam at Llyn Clywedog (pictured), below which we paused for a lengthy break after a steep descent.

Before that, a swarm of hikers had appeared, walking in the other direction. "You'll have to say that twenty times" joked the first. We didn't mind a few 'Good mornings' - these were the only 'proper' walkers we have seen so far.

Beyond the dam came a really quite scary path. I'm sure Gayle will have described it in graphic detail, but it seemed to me that someone had devised this path through deep bracken at the top of a cliff that didn't really look like a cliff because it had a wide lip of the bracken that festooned its face. You couldn't really see the path, so we had to feel our way along hoping not to place our feet over the edge, which looked all the more horrific when we viewed it a few minutes later from the other side of the ravine.

The difficulties of the path eased, but at Brithdir we were engulfed by a swarm of small dogs, one of which, Max, was intent on coming for a walk with us. He was eventually rescued by his owner, but I think Mick would have taken him home, given the chance!

A short road walk in forest scenery saw us lunching on a picnic table at Hafren picnic site. It was fine at first, as we brewed up and fed ourselves on this sunny Sunday lunchtime. Then a man with a lawn mower appeared and grew ever closer to our bench as he noisily mowed the picnic area, homing in on the various picnickers in ever decreasing circles before forcing them away from their lunches. Rather an odd time to be doing this, we thought.

Plynlimon was easy in comparison with earlier paths, a lovely route up by the infant River Wye. It was a bit hard going for 2 km on a bearing up to the summit ridge from the top edge of the forest, though.

From the barren summit we enjoyed good views of the coast despite the black clouds that were hurrying towards us, before dropping down to this heathery spot, where I have a soft but hardly flat pitch in some deep grass, whereas Mick and Gayle have chosen a flat spot on some grassy hard core.

I then settled down in a bid to further reduce tomorrow's pack size - on this short trip I've brought a few heavy, bulky, items that have been in the backpacking larder for far too long. I'm pleased to report that most have now gone - here's this evening's instalment:

Tea
Vegetable soup
Chow mein with crispy noodles
Strawberry angel delight
Hot Chocolate Fudge

Delicious - in a little tent after a long day.

Goodnight.

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Home for the Night


It's 5.30 at SN 778 876 and we have pitched camp in a good spot despite it being a little boggy hereabouts.

It'll be a quiet and leisurely evening, with no chance of a disco disturbing us. There's just the mellow sound of the nearby Maesnant stream to lull us to sleep.

But you won't hear all this until tomorrow, as there's no signal here.

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Sunday, 2 August 2009

Mick and Gayle make it to the summit of Plynlimon

16.45 and all is well, but the weather is starting to look ominous.

PS I was there as well! ...see here:


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Sunday Lunch at Hafren

We are about half way across Wales. The sun is shining and we are summoning energy for the ascent of Plynlimon.

We are still a bit damp from yesterday's bogs; this is a good chance to dry out.

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Sunday Morning - Bright and Early

As predicted - despite the efforts of Llanidloes village fete/disco.

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