Abernant Lake Hotel, Brecon Beacons, Cambrian Mountains, Cwm Craig-ddu, Glan Irfon Farm, Heart of Wales Line, Llanwrtyd Wells Station, Llanwrytd Wells, Mynydd Eppynt, Nant Cerdin, Neuadd Arms, red kite, River Irfon
New Year’s Day, Saturday. After a leisurely breakfast, I made my way to the home of my new friends from dinner the evening before, Pete and Marion, a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, on the edge of the countryside.
They have enviable views – and lovely animals.
They also had chickens.
Coffee and chat partaken, I walked back to the Neuadd Arms, not sure whether in fact I could be bothered to go out for a walk, or whether I would spend the rest of the day in my room with knitting, reading and TV – but that would have been to waste an opportunity.
The weather was brightening a little, rain did not seem to threaten, and I had really no excuse not to complete the eastern circuit proposed in the Town Walk leaflet I had used the previous day. I would have a choice of lengths at one point, and I took my walking pole from my car this time!
The route took me first past the station. Llanwrtyd Wells is fortunate still to have stopping trains, running on the Heart of Wales line between Swansea and Shrewsbury. “The railway crosses two impressive viaducts at Knucklas and at Cynghordy and goes through six tunnels, including one on the magnificent run up to Sugar Loaf. Over 30 stations are served by the line, some of which are request stops.” (Website.)
The next train from Platform 2 will depart in two hours’ time.
Four stopping trains a day in each direction, Monday to Saturday, two on Sunday
The old board must have been there in 1961 when Diane and I used the station.
The walk leaflet instructed, ” Carry on past the station, following the road as far as the entrance to the Abernant Lake Hotel on your right, now operated as an outward bound centre for children.” The centre was barely visible though the trees. At this point that I had to decide whether to do the additional loop to the walk. As otherwise that would have made for a very short outing indeed, I chose to go on. This involved leaving the road, and taking a path towards a railway crossing and Glan Irfon Farm. As I struggled with the gate into the field a couple happened along and asked me if I was looking for the path. I wasn’t at that point, but they helpfully pointed out the correct direction, which was not what I would have taken, so that was very useful. I was meant to head for the very middle of this picture.
I stopped, looked and listened as instructed. With only eight trains a day along the track, the risk was low.
‘Soggy’ was yesterday’s word. ‘Squelchy’ was today’s. At one point the waymarked path invited me to climb over a very rickety ladder stile, sloping away from me, and then to cross a small fast-flowing stream, probably a dry ditch usually. I was not sure that I would be able to do the latter, even with my pole, and having done the former, climbing back over would have been attempting to straddle a rickety ladder stile which would then be sloping steeply towards me. Discretion being the better part of valour, I sought another way to the farm, which fortunately proved not to be too difficult, other than much more squelch, and to involve opening a civilised gate.
Sheep were everywhere I went in this part of Wales. Cows were rarer.
Around this time I saw a couple of Little egrets flying around, but was unable to capture them with my camera. No trouble doing so when it’s sheep.
I became aware that the sun was trying to break through and took this photo over my right shoulder.
I passed through and by Glan Irfon Farm. Its courtyard had some interesting accommodation units, residential I think.
These black-faced sheep seemed much more interesting, and interested, than the others, as I made my way towards another railway crossing to return to the road.
No stiles this time, but a gate to get to the line, with a catch which definitely required a GCSE equivalent in engineering.
To leave it having crossed the line, I reckon you needed an ‘A’ level equivalent! OK, you can – once you know – easily see that the thing blocking the horizontal slider can be slid itself…
A few feet away was this curious object. I have no idea what it is, but I have found (when I was looking for more information on the accommodation) that the railway crossing has its own web-page!
Brilliant sunshine for a minute or two.
And a beautiful tree.
But the sun didn’t last, as I approached the road and looked back.
From now on – and I had a good 40 minutes yet to do, entirely on roadways – I was concerned about rain, as strong winds, those harbingers, came and went, and came and went, accompanied by dark grey clouds.
But I did stop for a few minutes as I saw one, then another, Red kite soaring high in the sky. This is the best photo I could get, of just one.
Which, being enlarged as much as I dare, gives:
I was quite pleased to enter the built-up area of town,
after which the road crossed a tributary of the River Irfon, the Nant (stream) Cerdin.
After the jollifications of the previous evening, I was almost alone in the restaurant for my evening meal (though others were having a meal in the bar).
I slept really late the following morning, two hours longer than I normally do. Although this meant I left for my drive home later than I had intended, I was pleased as it must have reflected my relaxed state.
I thought that I had been in the Brecon Beacons during my stay. I have since realised that in fact I was between the Beacons and the Cambrian Mountains. My drive took me back over the Mynydd Eppynt part of the Beacons, which I had not really appreciated on the outward journey, rain, greyness and dark just making me want this long, winding road to come to an end. But it was an altogether different story on my return. It was amazingly beautiful! I could have taken so many photos if the road (which incidentally is through the largest military training area in Wales) had allowed me to stop. Eventually I came to a breezy viewpoint where I could take these two from the same spot, at about 90 degrees from each other.
An otherwise uneventful journey had me home, despite the later start than planned, by lunchtime. It was, as ever, so good to see the cats again.