Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Across Wales Walk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Across Wales Walk. Show all posts

Sunday, 9 August 2009

1 to 3 August 2009 – A Short Walk Across Wales

This posting serves as an index to earlier postings made as the walk took place, and as a brief route description for others who may wish to follow in our footsteps along the route, which is based on that used on the annual 'Across Wales' challenge walk.

There's also a slideshow from our walk - here.

Day 1: Anchor Bridge to Llanidloes – 27 km, 800 metres ascent, approx 9 hours.

Blog Postings
An Across Wales Walk
Testing the Pacerpole Camera Mount
Saturday 1 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 1 - Anchor Bridge to Disco Heaven (A Camp Site at Llanidloes)
Across Wales Day 1 - Elevenses
AWW Day 1 Arrival
AWW Day 1 (report)

Route Details
If you don’t have mapping software you’ll need Landranger map numbers 136 and 135, or Explorer map numbers 214 and 213.

The Route Description for the annual 'Across Wales Walk' is to be found here. We adapted that route slightly, and that adaptation is set out below.

The numbering follows that on the route overview below.

1. Start from Anchor Bridge (SO 173 855); the nearest railway station is Newtown, to which you could return from Aberystwyth after finishing the walk, and we noticed a free car park in nearby Kerry.
Take the lane north to Kerry Pole, where a left turn opposite another lane takes you easily along Kerry Ridgeway for 5 km to Two Tumps.

. An orientation point indicates that there are extensive views. You may see them if the cloud isn’t down. Leave this path via a right turn at SO 115 849, 300 metres after Two Tumps.
Follow the path/posts down to a wood where you bear NW to reach the B4355 road at Black Gate.
Cross the road and follow a track W for 600 metres until just after a gate and sheepfold you turn right, north, uphill with a copse on your right.
Descend to a gate and turn left down a track that leads to the A483.

. We ‘fumbled’ the next bit. Turn left along the road, leaving it to the right, opposite Glog Farm. Go down the hill and try to keep right of the thin wood that fills a ravine.
Keep as close to the wood as possible, eventually entering it to descend steeply, emerging at a track where you turn left over a ‘causeway’.
[We went to the left of the wood and got ‘trapped’ at the bottom of a field where low barbed fences allowed us to escape through a shallow gully to reach the ‘causeway’.]
Continue left, over the highest point of the field, to a gate, whence a path leads across a footbridge, reaching a metalled lane.
Turn right, then after 150 metres take a path up a bank to the left.
Ascend to a gate in the middle of the facing hedge, then bear right to ascend to a stile in the corner of the field.
Go on to another stile to the right of some farm buildings before descending to a road at SO 077 861.

. Go left up the road, bearing right at a fork and continuing to a T-junction at SO 069 864 after 1km.
Go through gate and bear left to gate, then follow track, crossing stile to the left of a wood yard, following the path right, down a grassy bank to cross ditch and fence before passing across a field to the left of two oak trees to the edge of woods.
Follow path through the woods, crossing footbridge over Mochdre Brook.
Climb steep bank keeping muddy gully to the right, and continue NW to a gate at the left side of a black and white house (Penthryn) at SO 061 867.
Turn right along the track in front of the house, after a few metres turning left up a road for about 1km to a T-junction at SO 052 872 where a left turn leads up to a col with fine views east.
On approaching the ‘col’, bear left and go through a gate after 20 metres, beyond which a track leads west near the left bank of a stream (a path is marked on the map to the right of the stream, but appeared overgrown to us).
Join a lane that leads down to the pretty village of Llandinam. (No shops open on a Saturday.)

5. Turn right onto to A470 then left after 250 metres, by a statue of David Davies, across the River Severn, immediately beyond which is a fine picnic spot on the right.
After 350 metres, where the road goes right, turn left to Troedyrniew, where a track goes to the right of the house and rises through bracken.
Follow the indistinct path uphill (several options) to the top of the gully and on to an indistinct old gateway where the bracken ends (this may be to your left if you emerge early from the bracken.
Skirt left of a thistly domed field, then head half right to a gate at the edge of a wood with a fallen tree.
Take path through wood, continuing uphill to farm track at SO 017 881.
At track junction join the Severn Way by turning right into a field. Now follow the Severn Way, continuing along the marked path, through a wood, joining a tarmac road at SO 005 875.
At a T-junction turn left towards Gwastadcoed, then in 30 metres turn right onto a muddy bridleway.
Descend to gate in lower right-hand corner.
A track now leads on to join a road at Wigdwr farm. Continue west to a junction with a grassy ‘island’ at SN 987 863.

6. Go straight on up the lane heading roughly SW, following it around a loop to Bont-newydd, leaving the Severn Way in favour of the track leading to that farm, before which a stile leads you across a field directly to the north of the farm.
This path continues west, passing to the south of the next farm, Morfodion, before leading to the camp site (7) at Dol-llys (Llanidloes), SN 962 857.
[We were forced, by a cow that had just given birth, to take a route through a field, to enter the camp site by climbing a barbed fence at a water trough – the actual path went to our right.]

Day 2: Llanidloes to Maesnant Valley – 26 km, 1200 metres ascent, approx 10 hours.

Blog Postings

Sunday Morning - Bright and Early
Sunday Lunch at Hafren
Mick and Gayle make it to the summit of Plynlimon
Home for the Night
Sunday 2 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 2 - Llanidloes to Soft and Hard Camp (A Wild Camp below Plynlimon - see previous posting)
AWW Day 2 - Luncheon
AWW Day 2 (report 1)
AWW Day 2
(report 2)

Route Details
1. Turn left out of the camp site towards Llanidloes, taking a sharp right turn at the junction with the B4569 road.
Continue up this road, where there is an option to take a brief excursion through woods to the left before rejoining the road at a sharp right-hand bend. Here, go left up the lane to Penrallt, where immediately after the buildings you turn right down a waymarked track.
After 250 metres leave the track at SN 955 862.

2. Turn left along Glyndŵr's Way. Follow the path, with the hedge on the left, to a gate, then descend to the left of an Opel Manta, with a wood on the left, to cross a stile.
Good views to Y Fan and beyond.
Bear right across a field to join a lane via a gate in the lower right-hand corner.
Turn right along the lane for 100 metres before taking the footpath left, to descend through fields to another lane at SN 951 871.
Cross the road and head up the lane towards Garth Farm. After 250 metres turn right up a steep bracken bank at the edge of a small wood. Continue up this path, past a small quarry on the left, to enter a field at SN 945 872.
Carry on in the same direction, taking a fainter lower path after 100 metres, contouring around Garth Hill to a green lane bounded by trees.
After a gate, continue to follow Glyndŵr's Way as it heads left across a field, then right along field edges, before pointlessly progressing alongside a perfectly walkable driveway to Pen-y-banc.
Turn right onto the B4518 and reach a road junction after a few metres at SN 931 868.

3. Continue along the B4518 for about 400 metres, rising around the eastern side of Penwar hill, before turning left down a surfaced farm road towards Bryntail. Follow the waymarked path to the north of the farm and on towards the impressive Llyn Clywedog Reservoir dam, at 72 metres high, the tallest concrete dam in Britain. You can skirt to the right, or do as we did and drop down through the woods to emerge at the site of a lead mine and picnic site with a fine view of the dam.
It's worth taking a breather here, as the next section is tricky.
Go over the bridge and turn right up to the car park, then up the access road to a junction. Turn right here, to ascend gently for about 200 metres to a point where the road bears to the right. On this corner a faint path through bracken leads west to enter a field, after 20 metres, over a barbed fence. From there, head up another 20 metres to a gate, beyond which a faint path leads south. Do not follow this path more than a few metres. Instead, head on up the slope for another 30 metres or so to join a thin path contouring left.
Traverse carefully, past SN 910 863, through deep bracken, taking care to keep feet on the path, as there is a precipitous drop to the left.
This will be slow.
After a while the precipice lessens and the path slowly descends to join a sunken lane just beyond a derelict building on the left. The worst is over!
Continue ahead, passing to the left of a gorse topped spoil heap at SN 906 864.
Cross a stream to pass between the game feed sheds and pheasant pens of Aberdaunant Shoot to a gate, beyond which only the foolhardy would cross the stream using a bridge made from crash barriers. A footbridge to their right is recommended.
Ascend on a path heading south of west, progressively climbing out of the valley until, at the top, a gate leads to flat ground and a road junction at SN 896 860.
Cross a cattle grid and turn SW down the track to Brithdir and its swarm of small dogs.
Continue down gated track to reach road at SN 885 855.

4. Follow the road for 3.3 km to Hafren Picnic Site (benches, toilets, finely cut grass).

5. There are several routes up Plynlimon (Pumlumon Fawr). We went near the source of the River Wye; you could go via the source of the River Severn, a slightly longer route but with more paths.
Leave the picnic site under the archway and take the left-hand path to join the bright red 'Cascades Trail' boardwalk.
Continue beyond the end of the boardwalk, after some distance passing a small covered picnic area. Soon after this the path heads to the right, beside the infant River Severn. Continue up there if you wish to visit the source of the Severn. But our route crossed the first bridge - after about 200 metres - and doubled back left, following the 'Wye Valley Walk' and rejoining the (true*) left bank of the river, continuing gently upwards and eventually reaching a T-junction with a forest road.
Turn left, following posts with the 'Wye Valley Walk' emblem to another junction at SN 832 867, where a sharp right turn on the forest road leads up to a loop that takes you north then briefly south, to a gate at the forest boundary.
Continue for about 400 metres to the highest point on the track, just before a right-hand bend, at SN 826 865.
From here take a bearing of 303° (magnetically adjusted), and ascend steadily for 2 km, with good retrospective views and the infant Wye to your left, to reach a boundary fence at or near its low point (SN 809 873 - 675 metres) to the west of Pumlumon Arwystli. [Those visiting the source of the River Severn will rejoin our route here.]

6. Follow the boundary fence in a westerly direction, crossing it to reach a pristine looking boundary stone marked '1865'. Continue to a cairn at SN 799 871, now with a view towards Plynlimon's summit.
Continue in a westerly direction, to the left of a fence, down then up, to reach the summit of Plynlimon, at 752 metres the highest point of the walk and an excellent viewpoint.

7. From the trig point head north for 200 metres to a large cairn, then bear left to a smaller cairn from with a descent north leads to a col at SN 788 873.
Take a sheep track skirting to the left of reeds, then head west, on the right bank of the Maesnant. You could select a camping spot here, but we continued down to camp beside a vehicle track at SN 777 877 (8).

Day 3: Maesnant Valley to Aberystwyth – 27 km, 600 metres ascent, approx 8.5 hours.

Blog Postings
Monday Morning - Back in Contact
No Further to Go
Monday 3 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 3 - Maesnant Valley to Aberystwyth
AWW Success
AWW Day 3 (report)

Route Details
1. Turn left down the vehicle track and descend to the minor road by Nant-y-moch Reservoir, cutting off the last corner to descent directly to the road.

2. Turn left along this road for about 2 km to reach the impressive dam, built in 1964, which according to the information boards flooded many antiquities and drowned many historic relics.

. Continue over the dam, past a convenient gents toilet cubicle (see here) and on for about 3.5 km to leave the road along a track to the left at a bend in the road at SN 736 867. (You could take an alternative route through the forest here.)
Continue along the track, turning right at a T-junction then descending to cross a ford (Nant Melyn) at SN 729 864.
Follow a bearing of 250° mag along the north side of Llyn Craigypistyll on a reasonable path.
On reaching a dam the best route is probably to continue along this path to cross the screes of Craig y Pistyll, keeping the stream to the left. We chose to avoid the screes by crossing the outflow from the dam over pipes about 30 metres below the outflow. We then followed a path traversing the left-hand side of the valley.
We continued through a gate to a firebreak in the forest to the left, descended the firebreak to just over half way down, taking a forest path to the right (marked by a prominent rock in the centre of the firebreak), past the front of a small farmhouse and down (right) to a footbridge which led to the path coming down from the screes.
Continue down the valley, passing on the left side of old mine workings then below the fine looking farmhouse at Llawr-y-cwm-Bach. On reaching a gate at SN 701 856, leave the track in favour of fields (as indicated by the waymark on the gate) heading towards a wind farm on the horizon.
Rejoin the track and pass above Llanerchclwydau before descending to the hamlet of Bont-goch.

4. Turn left along the road through the village, past a house with a graveyard for a garden, and past a plaque commemorating the birthplace of Dafydd Gwilym - poet.
Keep left here and shortly continue on across another junction to a gated road along which you carry straight on down a hill and past lovely woods, through Broginin and on to Garth, turning right into Penrhyn-coch.
Beyond the church, turn left along the road to Aberystwyth, soon passing a picnic site at Gogerddan - an excellent spot for lunch.
Continue to turn right down a lane, shortly before reaching the A4159 road. Cross that road and pass experimental vegetable patches and inflating scarecrows to reach a wood.
Follow the path through the wood and right, to reach the main A487 road under a railway bridge.
Turn left under the bridge then follow a track to the right until it approaches farm buildings. Turn left up the field and follow a rising path in a SW direction to the right of a small hill, dropping down to a lane that leads up to the B4572 road.
Turn left and head past a campsite almost all the way to the A487, turning 1st right along a track that rises to a good viewpoint. This is the last hill!
Turn left at the T-junction and after a few metres take a path to the left that follows a hedge on the left-hand boundary of the golf course. Follow this pretty path into woodland and find your way down to the sea front - we took a convoluted route down steps to the left, along a road to descend a ginnel to the right, then right into the town centre and on to the beach (5), and its associated 'fleshpots'.

I've not attempted to illustrate this particular posting, partly because of difficulties with Windows Live Writer - it has stopped working on our desktop computer - it won't reinstall - it just comes up with this single obstinate message:
'Windows Live Writer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.'

Any ideas on how to resolve the problem would be appreciated!

But in any case I've spent time time compiling a slideshow, so you can take a pictorial journey along our route by clicking here for the slideshow.

There are of course many ways to skin a cat, and obviously many ways to reach the Welsh coast from Anchor Bridge, or wherever you happen to wish to start. This is just one route, and there is no reason to follow it blindly - it is not necessarily the best route!

Phew. That was a long one (in response to requests for 'route details') so I'll now be doing a few short postings in order to try to 'catch up' with last week's activities!

*left/right bank is always the river bank as you face down river, so even though we were walking up on the right-hand side of the river, we were on it's left bank, if you see what I mean.

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:

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

Delicious - in a little tent after a long day.


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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.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange before the assault of the lunchtime lawn mower!

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Sunday Morning - Bright and Early

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

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Saturday, 1 August 2009

Saturday 1 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 1 - Anchor Bridge to Disco Heaven (A Camp Site at Llanidloes)

Sue kindly transported us to the start of this little parambulatory interlude, but sadly was unable to join us due to a shoulder problem.

Mick and Gayle were, as usual, accompanied by rain clouds, but as we travelled west we slowly managed to shake them off.

By the time we reached this excellent campsite (the disco is fairly distant) the sun was beaming down, and later, as I write this, a 3/4 moon is rising in full view of the tent door.

The day's undulating route took us through lovely countryside not usually frequented by hillwalkers. We saw nobody else out walking today.

It has been raining in recent days. The evidence of that is everywhere, and soon I had wet feet due to leaky boots and failing Sealskinz socks. Mick and Gayle were both better equipped, and had dry feet and much lighter loads. However, they did enjoy helping lighten my load of fudge brownies!

The bog zones were interspersed with areas of mud, sometimes slurrified, occasional tarmac, deep ravines, thistle zones and squeaky gates.

Buzzards mewed at us throughout the day, and David Davies (1818 - 1890) beamed at us from the other side of the River Severn (pictured above) as we enjoyed a break on a bench near the pretty village of Llandinam. It was all very rural. The shop and pub were both shut so our yearnings for beers and ice creams were just that - yearnings.

The Eagles are now serenading us from the disco (quite pleasant really!).

As we planned our final section of the day's walk (eventually the plan was foiled by a cow that had just given birth on our path) a Springer Spaniel, well, sprang upon us. Perhaps it smelled the chocolate. Anyway it jumped onto Mick's lap just as if it were a hearth rug!

Dinner was very civilised, as we ate around a big table in the camp kitchen. Whilst Gayle produced an eloquent report on the day's activities, I went searching for a can opener (tuna and rice is a bit boring if you can't get at the tuna), then we hunted in vain for part of my spectacles that seem to have vanished. Why do I keep losing such things - last time it was one of the handles of my billie can?

Anyway, it has been a lovely day, but after 27 km with 800 metres of ascent and a 16 kg pack it's now time to allow the lullaby of the disco to induce unconsciousness for a few hours. That should be pretty simple in the old Phoenix Callum Hord tent on this fancy new NeoAir bed gadgety thing.

We have an early start tomorrow...

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Testing the Pacerpole Camera Mount

Above: Self-timed photo taken with the Canon G10

Below: Blogged images taken with the Blackberry Curve 8320 'phone

It works for the Canon G10!

An Across Wales Walk

Mick, Gayle and Martin stand in the rain at Anchor Bridge, wondering whose daft idea this was. 9am this morning - seemingly just before dawn!

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