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In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
heleninwales
We spent a week in Aberystwyth, staying in the flat above the Cliff Railway station. The building is Victorian, but the flat is beautifully modern.

We arrived on Saturday and the next day we attempted the most epic walk of the week to Craig y March. We'd tried to reach it on our previous trip to Mid-Wales last autumn, but we ran out of time and I ran out of energy. However, we learned a lot on that trip that helped us on our second attempt.

Last autumn we had attempted to follow the official footpath which runs along the southern bank of the river. This had originally been an old lane leading to an abandoned farm house. Unfortunately, due to disuse, it had turned mostly to bog. We tried to avoid the bog by attempting to traverse the rough hillside above the track, but it was very difficult due to the rough vegetation and rocks. While we were struggling over the rocky hillside, we had observed two farmers, one riding a quad bike, the other on foot, herding sheep on the other side of the valley. They were making much better progress than we were and we noted the shallow place where they drove the sheep across the river and then on down the valley towards the farm. When we eventually gave up the quest to reach Craig y March, we followed the line they had taken and walked back to the car in about a quarter of the time it had taken us to walk out.

So, on this second attempt, we knew exactly how to tackle the valley, and, crucially, we were wearing wellies[*]. This made light work of the boggy bits and fording the river was a piece of cake.

Here's the view looking back the way we had come. We'd walked along the far side of the valley and forded the river just to the left of the clump of trees.

Afton Hengwm

Another named rock. This is Craig yr Eglwys (Church Rock) which we passed en route to Craig y March (Stallion Rock).

Craig yr Eglwys

We actually managed to see Craig y March this time, but even so we didn't get right up to it. It would have taken at least another hour across rough ground and we had got near enough to take the photo that G needed for his book.

Craig y March

Craig y March could lay claim to being the geological centre of Wales as it's the peak of the folded rock structure. It's also right by Pumlumon (aka Plynlimon in English), which is Wales's major watershed and the source of the River Severn, as well as the Wye and Rheidol, which all flow off in different directions.



[*] For any non-Brits reading this, "wellies" are Wellington boots which are made of rubber and totally waterproof.

Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

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heleninwales
On the Monday we did a less strenuous walk up the Llyfnant Valley.

The plan was to drive up one of the narrow lanes to the village of Pwllglas, park in the tiny village and then walk down the very narrow lane to the main road and back up to the village along a forestry track. However, there was absolutely nowhere to park in Glaspwll which is really just a small cluster of houses -- though it does have a bee breeding station. We had no choice but to drive back down to the main road where we parked in a lay-by.

The new plan was to walk up the forestry track and then back down the scarily narrow lane. As it turned out, the adjusted walk worked better than the original plan. Walking up the forestry track meant we didn't have to worry about cars and we could amble along, photographing the rock outcrops at our leisure.

Near the beginning of the walk. You can see the steep-sided wooded valley in the distance.

Near the beginning of walk

We ate our sandwiches sitting in the sun and ended up taking off our coats and sweaters because it was hot enough for short-sleeved t-shirts. This is just wrong for February, especially considering that the same week last year we were nearly freezing to death in the Beast from the East.

Catkins

Once we reached the shady side of the valley as we came down into the village, the temperature dropped again. It was like entering a fridge, but the narrow road that had been a horribly scary drive last autumn was a nice walk. Total distance probably about 6 miles.

An old abandoned mine tunnel, just by the road.

Old mine

The scarily narrow road was closed to vehicles this time. Last time we visited the area my husband sent me up this road! I was terrified I was going to meet someone coming the other way because there are virtually no passing places.

Narrow scary road!
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