May 09 04
We often forget about bank holidays … and then we can’t decide what to do… so Thursday night we planned a weekend of running … shock! We tried to locate an area that could take a three-day route and that nicely split up into three-day portions allowing the luxury(!!) of B+B’s en route. So we decided on a trip starting at Llangurig, leading to Pontrhydfendigaid, then onto Rhayader and finally back to Llangurig. I’d been to the Elan valley area many years ago and Richard had never been, so it gave us a chance to see what this area of the country is like.
We drove to Llangurig on Saturday morning and set off with packs full to the brim of … pub clothes … shoes (!!! – normally a luxury not required), cheese and fruit loaf. The journey to Pontrhydfendigaid was interesting. The area is surprisingly barren at times, but with lakes and the occassional ancient landmark (burial chamber/cairn) it kept our attention. We finally came down to the Pontrhydfendigaid valley and found puddles full of tadpoles, but also, one puddle containing little crayfish! A few more miles later (and past the ancient Florida Strata Abbey) and we came to the nice little village. The day was a good 27 km – mostly off-path. After jumping in between hummocks of grass all day I was done. We watched the snooker on a black and white TV and slept!
Day 2 from Pontrhydfendigaid to Rhayader started off slowly after the cooked breakfast, but gained speed during the day. We travelled up the lovely valleys past the Teifi Pools onto the fell and then descended to the shores of the Claerwen Reservoir until we got bored and went off the track over a few hills. Sometime later we came to the main dam and then descended to the Elan Village. It was effectively a short walk to Rhayader from here on the road … however that wasn’t in keeping with the trip, so we bypassed the road by going up a huge hill, then another hill, and then on a footpath along a river which stopped at a bridge which didn’t exist! – hence we headed through thorn bushes for the last section. Eventually we landed in Rhayader. I was shattered, and was not amused when we walked the length of the B+B road twice before we found the house (complete with Stena stairlift!). The lady was nice, but had never heard of Pontrhydfendigaid – not surprising as now we realise that we’d walked/ran 40 km! After tea we flopped on the bed and watched the snooker in colour (we’re not snooker fans, but it was all we could manage in terms of brain power).
Day 3 was the easy day. We walked back to Llangurig past a Roman camp, past a few standing stones and then towards the end of the day we climbed a huge hill just so that we could walk within the wonderful wind turbines. After another 23 km we were back at the car.
We had a really fun weekend and are now completely knackered! 90 km/56 miles…
Valley near Pontahydrfendigaid:
Dam at the end of Lake Claerwen:
Freshwater crayfish in a puddle?
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