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The Cambrian Way
Information Introduction Postscript

Days 1-3 4-6 7-9 10-11 16-19 20-23 24-26 27-30


Day 12. Storey Arms to Ystradfellte - 9 miles

We wake to the sound of the waterfall and a meadow pippit singing close by.

We walk up the road to the Storey Arms, cross the style and take a bearing west heading for Fan Fawr. We intend to skirt Fan Fawr, cross the moor to Maen Lila and then make for Glentawe. We see a path heading in the right direction and assume it is the correct one. Will we never learn? So confident are we that we march on regardless until, too late, we see the Ystradfellte Reservoir and realise we are way off course.

Ystradfellte Reservoir

We make a quick decision to head for Ystradvelte. There are many variants on the Cambrian Way at this point. Ystradfellte is one of them. We decide to walk from Ystradfellte to Glentawe tomorrow as we want to look round the caves. If we eat at the pub tonight we will still have enough food to get us to Llandeusant, the day after, without having to walk to the shops when arriving in Glentawe tomorrow.

It is hot again and rough walking along the shoulder of the hill but we soon reach the reservoir.Once past the reservoir, we cross the river on a footbridge and follow the path to the road down to Ystradfellte.

yews church and yews We are looking forward to a pint when we arrive but the pub is shut. We sit outside the church and are fascinated by a row of yew trees which must be extremely old. The post office is shut too. We were hoping, maybe, we could pick up some snacks. We make do with a cup of tea and, while we brew up, look for a bed and breakfast in the guide book.

I take a walk round the village and find the bungalow listed, tucked away up a side lane. I knock and, thankfully, she has a room for the night. She says we are very lucky as she has been trying to go out shopping all day but every time something stops her. She was just about to go.

She makes us very welcome and gives us a cup of tea with some home-made welsh cakes. She says the pub is not only shut, it has closed down altogether, so we will be wanting a meal tonight. She offers to cook for us. In the guide book it says evening meals must be booked so we are very grateful. To our amazement, she leaves us in the house, alone, and goes shopping saying she will be a couple of hours.

We make ourselves at home and take a long bath. We make another cup of tea and relax on the balcony. This is the life!

The lady comes back with her shopping and tells us dinner will be around six. Moments later, we can hear her busy in the kitchen. She makes a superb meal. A real tasty soup with granary rolls followed by pork chops, new potatoes, cauliflower cheese and salad and then a large bowl of strawberries and cream. She actually apologises for not making a “proper” desert as it was a bit short notice!

We sit on the balcony for a while after dinner and take to our bed at around 8.30pm. We sleep like logs






Day 13. Ystradfellte to Glyntawe - 8 miles

I woke in the night, saw light shining through the window and thought the tent had expanded before I realised where I was.

We have a great breakfast to set us up for the day and chat to the land-lady about, her family, life in general and how her stone wall had collapsed

ruin The weather is not too pleasant this morning; quite cool and drizzly. We start up the road and pick up the path to Blaen Nedd Isaf, which is a check point. From here we must cross the moor. It all looks very bleak. We pass a ruin which has a very eerie feel to it even discounting the fact that we see two dead sheep there. The area is full of shake holes and swallow holes, some very close to the path, so we do not stray.

on the moor moor It is still raining as we cross the moor but I actually prefer this. I associate moors with rain and mist. Once across the skies begin to brighten and when we reach the quarry at the end of the moor we are in bright sunshine again.

quarry

Oh no, I’ve been bitten by another horse fly!

Once we reach the quarry, we take the path to Glyntawe. After about half a mile we see the road below. There is a stile before the descent. It is rather high and awkward. I get stuck half way over and, in the end, have to give up, take off my sack and give it another go. Charl says I get three points for a refusal. above Glyntawe

We walk up the road to the camp site which is directly beside the Dan Yr Ogof Caves and Dinosaur Park. There is also a restaurant inside and a pub up the road so, as our food worries are over, we decide to stay here tomorrow and spend our time looking round the caves.

We are starving when we arrive and, as there is now no need to conserve food, tuck into a sandwich. Then we realise it is 5.30pm. How could it be that late! I could have started dinner.

We talk to a welsh man who is there to walk the Carmarthen Vans. He obviously loves the place. He tells us Pembrokeshire is “little England” and that Cardiff is not Wales at all!





Dan Yr Ogof Caves

We wake around 7.00 am, have our morning cuppa, get showered and do some washing. Charl asks if I want another cup of tea or shall we go to the coffee shop. I don't need to answer.

The entrance fee to the caves includes the dinosaur park and the shire horses. It is already hot when we sit outside the shop with our coffee and Danish pastries. We are astonished to find that the Danish pastries do actually come from Denmark. Probably the first time I have had a true Danish, Danish pastry.

The caves are extensive. They are not pretty like the Cheddar Caves but very majestic and impressive. At one point we see a gang of pot holers, along with their ropes and lights, disappear down an entrance that is closed to the general public. The Cathedral Cave is beautiful and has two waterfalls one of which you can walk behind. It is so awe inspiring that I get a lump in the throat and feel the tears welling up. All in all, it was well worth taking a day off for a visit. The dinosaur park is not actually a separate attraction but is walked through and round whilst going from one cave complex to another.

The sun is still beating down as we return to the tent. We decide to walk to the pub for lunch. We did momentarily consider visiting the shire horse centre but give it a miss and head straight for the pub. It is very busy but we manage to find a seat outside and order chicken and chips, expecting a very ordinary meal. We both receive a huge chicken breast which is so succulent you just know it has never seen the inside of a freezer.

When we return to the camp site, it is too hot to sit in the sun but when I move to the shade I get goose bumps. I shuttle from one to the other. There are emus in the next field. They make a very strange noise. A terrier has taken a dislike to them but they treat him with disdain.

My fly bites are just red blotches now and the third one subsided after twenty four hours without a tablet but I still have more than my fair share of gnat bites.

Late in the afternoon, we hear an ambulance siren. It pulls into the cave complex. I hope it is not for the pot holers. Maybe someone that has slipped in the caves, or banged their head or perhaps a child has wandered off and crawled into one of the many small holes or someone has had a heart attack in the heat. My mind runs riot and I hope to hear, on the grape vine, what has happened but I never do.






Day 14. Glyntawe to LLandeusant - 10 miles

It must have been a cold night. I wake screwed up into a ball. It is just getting light and a girl is wandering around the camp shouting at the top of her voice to no-one in particular. Is she deranged or suffering the effects of too much partying last night. Charl says he was cold, too, and neither of us were very comfortable. We also remember hearing a lot of noise during the night.

Packing up is easier with a bench nearby. We walk some distance up the road to pick up the path. For a while we walk beside a small stream with a very pastoral feel and then set off up Van Hir, first straight up over rocks and then on an easier incline with a path.

We climb steadily for about three miles.
Van Hir from Van Hir

We think we are at the top but there is still a considerable climb ahead.

The scenery is breathtaking along the ridge and the weather could not be better. We pass Llyn y Fan Fawr and

climb to Fan Brycheiniog, onto Bannau Sir Gaer and so to Llyn y Fan Fach


approaching Fan Brycheiniog LLyn y Fan Fawr Fan Brycheiniog summit from Fan Brycheiniog summit Bannau Sir Gaer back to Bannau Sir Gaer

It looks a long way around Llyn y Fan Fach and down the other side but it only takes us 45 minutes. We sit at the bottom by the mountain hut and brew up. We contemplate upon what a terrific walking day it has been.


Llyn y Fan Fach descending to LLyn Fan Fach the descent and Bannau Sir Gaer

It is a long walk along the access road and downhill all the way. Finally we reach the road to Llandeusant. It is along pull up out of the valley again to The Cross Inn. We arrive and thankfully throw ourselves down on the bench outside and down a pint in virtually one go!

We pitch the tent in the nick of time as the rain begins to start. It is now an altogether different evening, dreary and damp.. There is a small shop for the camp site but it is closed. We have pasta and cheese for dinner and, apart from this, have only three biscuits left between us.

I go over to the shower block and find not only can I not get into the shower, I can’t get into the loos either. There is no sign of any reception. I am absolutely busting! I finally see someone sitting on a bench, in the drizzle, who asks if they can help. This seems to be reception. He disappears into a caravan and returns with a key. I pay and ask about the shop. He says he will open it in the morning. Ah well, I was hoping for something nice with my evening cuppa but never mind, I still have one and a half biscuits. I rush back to the loo.






Day 15. Llandeusant to Llandovery - 6 miles

I wake just after midnight. It is still raining. I fall asleep around 1.00 am and it is still raining. Charl wakes me with a cup of tea at 5.00am. Still raining. I doze and listen to the weather forecast - rain. It is supposed to ease off in the late afternoon followed by heavy thundery showers.

I knock at the caravan and ask for the shop to be opened. A large dog appears, jumps up at me and leaves large muddy paw prints down the front of my coat. He is followed by a young lad who reluctantly puts on his boots and picks up the key to the shop. The cupboard is bare. There is no bread, nothing substantial for lunch or breakfast and I end up with a pack of frusli bars.

We polish off two each for breakfast and start to pack up. It has stopped raining. We can’t believe our luck as by the time we are ready to pack the tent it is virtually dry. We are only walking six miles to Llandovery today as this is one of the few reasonably sized towns we will pass through. We decide to walk along the road to Myddfai. The path goes in exactly the same direction and we would have to walk a considerable way up another road to meet it anyway. We can have lunch at the pub in Myddfai which will be a far better prospect than another couple of frusli bars.

We leave the Cross Inn at about 10.00 am. By 11.00 am the sun is shining and there are clear blue skies. The lane has high banked hedges either side full of honeysuckle and dog roses with foxgloves and the usual brambles and nettles growing beneath. We can see hills above the hedge. Round lumps that remind of children’s drawings and some with trees sprouting on top that make them look like hedgehogs.

Myddfai

We reach Myddfai to find the pub ……. closed, of course. The land-lady is busy in her garden. I try to catch her eye and look wistful in the hope she might take pity on us. She doesn’t. Well, frusli bars it is then.

By the time we reach Llandovery it is very hot again. Never believe the weather forecast! It is only a short walk to the camp site. We put up the tent and leave it open with just the mosquito netting so it doesn’t get too hot inside whilst we go into town to get some food.

It must be one of the hottest days yet. We go into the bakery and it is unbearable. We order bacon baguettes and cream and jam scones. The cream partners the scones not the baguettes. The assistant tells us to wait outside in the shade and she will bring them out for us when they are ready. I ask her how she can work in that heat. The bakery is like a furnace. She just grimaces. Llandovery

We take the opportunity to do all the things we need to do in a town ie: buy more gas, buy postcards, send used map back home and so on. We go back to the bakers and I buy a two pint carton of ice cold milk which we down straight away. We call in at a supermarket on the way back to the camp site and stock up.

It is really hot walking back and we get slower and slower. We are carrying coats because we still half believe the weather forecast!



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