WALES – CAM DAU
Pontsticill Forest 9th June 2014
After what turned out to be a rather pleasant night considering the hassle to start with early evening … broken tent, midges etc..
The forest has been good to me though, nothing better than that protective feel of a dense canopy.
The air is damp, but one gets that feeling of ‘life’ from it. Too many people complain about the weather. THE weather brings life … SIMPLE!
Over looking Pontsticill reservoir serves up a nice spot for a coffee break (I always make a flask in the morning, cus that’s how I roll!) before the long descent to Talybont.
The downhill to Talybont reservoir takes a good thirty minutes … nice indeedy!
I’d hoped to camp at the YHA Danywenallt so as to repair my tent and arrange for a spare part to be shipped out.
VERY disappointed to find the place crawling with kids … ! Apparently the cottage is used regularly for school-children-outdoor-adventure-trips. OH well, off to find somewhere else … QUIETER!
The manager of the YHA did point me towards the Talybont Farm campsite, so thank you to him.
I’m in luck, probably more do with the time of year … it’s very quiet and at this stage, a field to myself. Campsite equals washing and showers … HAPPY!
I ended up staying for three nights as I await the new pole-section for my Hubba Hubba!
Cascade Designs (in Ireland) who are the parent company for numerous quality brands (my tent been MSR) couldn’t have been more helpful. All sorted and posted for FREE. Thank you ever so much.
Bonus too, Talybont has a pleasant cafe, so cooked breakie every morning. One has to take these opportunities when they arise!
Back on the Brecon canal. So so lucky with the weather.
The canal terminates in Brecon and I start heading west towards the Brecon Beacons. But first, the customary stop in a cemetery for elevenses!
A visit also to Lidl’s to fill up my panniers with food goodies.
Once again, I’ve bought too much as I struggle to get it all in my bags. Dam those BIG trolleys!
Excelled myself again, fourteen miles and pitching my tent. Solid excuse: too much food to haul, why not eat it now. After scouting a top spot from the road, it was a not a hard call!
A cottage near by had the builders in, so a very easy water fill up. Sorted for the evening.
And look who came calling … Mr Hedgehog himself. I can see you too!
Not long after setting off the next day, my second breakfast awaits lying on the road. Unbelievably, un-blemished … right, I’m having that! Finders keepers and all that!
As I search in Llywel for a water source (the only stand-pipe I’ve yet to find!) I peek at the map, blimey, that looks a big climb. OH well, might’s well have my elevenses first then, with my pear! AH … simple pleasures in life.
Right, the BIG climb upto the plateau that is the Brecon Beacons (large military training ground). I say BIG, in Wales, the hills aren’t long, they’re just vertical!
The last time I was in the Brecons was with the RAF (Royal Air Force Regiment) and I said then ‘I’ll never return’ Why would someone visit here … it’s always wet, windy and very miserable (perfect for the military!).
So here I am … the weather is perfect, I’m thirty years older and on a bicycle. I would never I have foreseen that!
What can only be described as perfect rolling hills through the Brecons I arrive in Llanwrtyd Wells. The town claims to be the smallest town in Britain.
I’m not quite sure what contributes being a town over a village or hamlet! But, I’m informed, it has an ancient charter and a town council. Traditionally, places granted permission by the King/Queen or the local lords to hold regularly scheduled markets received a charter which conferred “town” status upon them.
Again, I’ve gone shopping while peckish, so I’ve an overloaded bicycle, again! Enough reason then to find a camp spot and get a brew on the go.
This camp spot above might look idyllic. But, firstly, it’s up a near vertical climb and secondly, bloody midges everywhere! But, I’ve a river below, so water sorted.
At least, with a mesh-inner-tent one can enjoy the view WITHOUT midges!
First order of the following day: knock on a strangers door for water. Fortunately, most people are very obliging and some times one gets fruit or biscuits thrown in too. My ‘Hobo’ look works every time!
I leave behind the wooded banks that line the Irfon river from Llanwrtyd Wells and pop out onto the magical valley of the Twyi Forest. I stop and savour the view, relishing the cycle through it.
The ride up the valley was truly beautiful, but I soon come crashing back to earth with the all-to-soon-arrival of a HILL! And boy, it’s a hill to remember. I don’t always remember them, but this one I won’t forget. Catch it in the video.
The climb was broken up with occasional stream of Morgan’s on a Sunday morning drive. Good to hear some of the cars really struggling with the incline … he he he!
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In bicycle terms, that means there’s always a downhill … eventually. This one was a good thirty minutes descent down to Tregaron … weeeeee!
North out of Tregaron I join the FLAT Llwybr Ystwyth Ystwyth Trail.
I turn off the trail at the junction for Aberystwyth and head further inland.
Now, back on the road following the Afon Ystwyth river eastwards. My eye soon relishes good wild camping prospects and I soon find the perfect water source.
After some more bank scrabbling, the perfect spot near the river for me and my tent.
Some remedial landscaping work required!
I’ve suffered knee problems for the last few days (never had before) and struggle to put pressure on them when scrabbling (carrying kit up embankments) off the bike … on the bike fine.
Just getting up this one was a real struggle without serious pain. It really bloody hurt and at one point I had to a take a longer walk round to miss the steepness.
Have shelter. Have water. Have food. Still midges though!
The worst: midges or sand flies? Both a pesky irritant, but not to my knowledge likely to kill you. Might send one insane though, but not directly kill you.
With sand flies, you’ll feel the bite, so you’ll get the satisfaction of killing the bastards. Midges, no such satisfaction and probably more plentiful, so I’ll have to say, midges are the worst.
All the best insect repellents in the world work to a degree, but always wear off, plus you end up getting the stuff everywhere! Prevention is always better than cure, so covering up is the best remedy.
Coed Craigyrogof Woods 15th June 2014
You can click on each photo in this post for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos.