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Sunday, 18th February
On Sunday 18th February, Cyril Phillips led the Carmarthen Ramblers on a twelve and a half-mile walk that took in Abergorlech, Llansawel and Rhydcymerau. He described it as a triangular walk with three quite different aspects. The first leg passed through a section of forestry, the second over a hilltop with good views, and the third section followed the River Cothi on a flat broad track. The weather forecast was for a possible shower in the morning with light rain in the afternoon. There was a light breeze and a mild temperature of about eight degrees.  The walk started off at a brisk pace from the forest car park in Abergorlech from where they walked into the forestry, following a forestry track that ran steeply uphill through a valley for about two and a half miles. Down in the valley, fifty metres down a steep bank from the track, was the Afon Gorlech. The track passed around Banc Llywelau as it headed in a generally northwards direction, following the river until they reached the junction of several forestry tracks at Trawscoed Uchaf where they stopped for a coffee break.  Turning to a northeasterly direction they skirted around Coed Pwllcymbyd, then out of the forestry onto a farm track that led them into the hamlet of Rhydcymerau where they identified a collection of vintage cars, notably a 1963 A35, a Riley and a Triumph all sadly in need of some care.  Crossing the B4337 Llansawel to Llanybydder road they located what is shown on an Ordnance Survey map as a BOAT (Byway Open to All Traffic). This took the form of an old sunken lane that may well have been a drovers’ path in years gone by, and this took them up onto Banc Cwm-coed-Ifor to reach the highest point of the day at a height of 290 metres where they stopped for lunch with a wonderful vista of the surrounding countryside including views of the Brecon Beacons and the Carmarthen Fans.

In the afternoon they followed the BOAT down the hillside of Banc Cwm-Hywel through fields initially, then a green lane for about three miles, to reach the B4337 again at Sunny Bank then had a half mile march along the road into the village of Llansawel where they stopped whilst Cyril related some of the history of the Sawel Academy.  They continued with a brisk walk along the B4337 towards Talley for about a mile, passing around Pen y Dinas until they reached a track that led down to Garn-wen, then over a shoulder of Banc Beili-Tew with a view of the river and ruins of Edwinsford House nestling in a bend of the Cothi, before dropping down onto a track in the Cothi Valley. This particular stretch of the Cothi is completely unspoilt and the track (another BOAT) ran alongside the river for about three miles below the woodland of Coed Brynabon-uchaf, passing Lledr llwyd, Allt Blaencwm, Allt Cwm Cwtta and Allt Ffosgotta before reaching the road at Pont Gorlech and the car park in Abergorlech where they finished the circuit.
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We set off from Abergorlech on good tracks through the forestry.A morning pause for a group photo in the forest.
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Gerwyn demonstrates the advantages of wearing welly boots.We had fun negotiating this muddy gateway.
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 We followed an ancient track with the Black Mountain in the distance.More mud!  Cyril may earn the 2018 Mud Cup award for this walk.
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We passed the ruins of Edwinsford Mansion in the valley below.A person could be run down by a determined group of ramblers.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Abergorlech 12,5m.gpx  

Saturday, 17th February
On Saturday 17th February, Maud Jones and Angela Pennel led the Carmarthen Ramblers on a six and a half mile walk in the Crosshands and Tumble area of Carmarthenshire.  The walk started from the car park at the Recreation Park in Crosshands, from where they accessed what used to be the original A48 before the dual carriage way was built, and walked the road briefly, turning onto a track just before Crosshands cinema.  Here they picked up the Cycle Track (Route 47) and headed westwards along it towards Tumble. This track runs along the route of the industrial tramway/railway line that once connected Crosshands with Tumble, Cynheidre and Llanelli.  After about three quarters of a mile they left the cycle track and took a footpath through some woodlands along a boardwalk then some fields, which eventually led to the A476 – the Tumble to Crosshands road. Here they followed the road through Upper Tumble to a junction just passed the Brodyr Williams garage where they turned left onto to Gors Road - a quiet country road.

They followed this road uphill passing Llwyncwta to a spot at a height of two hundred and fifty five metres – just below the Reservoir – the highest point of the day, and stopped for lunch enjoying the lovely views northwards and westwards, including the distant Preseli mountains in good visibility, and all bathed in sunshine except for a grey cloud approaching them rapidly from the west. Just as they finished lunch the first drops of rain fell which spurred them on to continue the walk in a short sharp heavy rain shower.  In a few minutes the rain passed over and the sky cleared again as they reached a crossroads where they took the left turn then paused near the Trig point for a group photograph. The group continued in a northeasterly direction for about a mile towards Pentwyn where they left the country road, and picked up a footpath which took them downhill through fields past Blaenau-isaf to reach the old A48 Pontardulais Road.  Turning right for a few metres, and then left onto a Bridleway, they walked through an area of the Crosshands Food Park, and joined a footpath running parallel with the A48 dual carriageway. This path brought the walkers into the village of Crosshands where they crossed the A476 onto the new road passing the newly opened retail outlets, and they turned left onto a footpath at the rear of Maes y Gwendraeth School, then turned left again to enter the Recreation Park back to the starting point.
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At the start Maud told us some interesting facts about the local area.We then set out on a well-maintained cycling & walking track.
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A footpath led us uphill and onto a quiet coutry lane.At lunchtime the clouds rolled in and it began to rain.
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We paused for a group photo as the rain became more persistent.We passed this interesting tree as we made our way along the lane.
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Before long, the sun was shining once more as we romped downhill.A friendly Welsh dragon greeted us as we returned to Crosshands.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Cross hands 6,5m.gpx  

Sunday, 11th February
On Sunday 11th February, Cyril Phillips led the Carmarthen Ramblers on an eight and a half-mile walk that incorporated the hamlet of Myddfai about five miles south of Llandovery. The area is steeped in the legend of the Lady of the Lake and the Physicians of Myddfai on which there is great play in the visitor centre. The terrain took in several quiet country roads, a bridleway and farmland, and offered some tremendous views.  There was a mixed bag of weather conditions forecast for the day with light rain showers, sleet showers and even some snow flurries - all made worse with a strong breeze, but there were also occasional sunny spells although temperatures held about four degrees C.

The walk started from the car park of the very smart and fresh-looking visitor centre in Myddfai, as indeed were most of the dwellings in the hamlet. From here they walked through the hamlet in a northeasterly direction along a quiet country road that led up Cwm Ty-hen and soon veered eastwards into Cwm Clyd.  At the top of a hill they turned right into a farm lane that pointed them to Mynydd Myddfai directly ahead of them.  The lane led down into the valley to cross Nant Cwm-Clyd, then through the farmyard of Cwmclyd, then southwards through the fields beyond to cross the Nant Craig cwm-clyd and then reached a lane where they stopped for a coffee break.  They turned to a southeasterly direction as they contoured around the foot of Mynydd Myddfai for about three quarters of a mile on a farm track that ran around the perimeter of the farmland of Esgair-Llaethdy where the Lady of the Lake and her husband and three sons are said to have lived. The track ran along the edge of the open moor on the mountainside of Mynydd Myddfai, crossing a few swollen streams on the way, and they eventually reached a country road.  There were about two miles of winding country road walking as they passed through Allt y Gwydre, ascending and descending a couple of steep hills, to eventually meet a junction with a lane that led up to Cefngeudrum. A quarter of a mile up that lane - that was lined with snowdrops - they crossed into a field where they stopped for lunch in brilliant sunshine.  

In the afternoon they crossed the field for a fabulous view southwards of the snow-dusted Carmarthen Fans in the Brecon Beacons National Park, with Picws Du and Fan Foel standing out prominently to indicate the location of Llyn y Fan Fach - the lake that gave rise to the story of the Lady of the lake.  Turning westwards they headed downhill into a stiff cold breeze through fields to meet a bridleway that they followed for about a mile over the shoulder of a hill to the farmyard of Tirpaun, then along its lane to meet the road. From this point it was easy road walking for about a mile and a half back into Myddfai where they held their debriefing over a pot of tea and a cake in the visitor centre.
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We set out from Myddfai on this quiet lane in open countryside.A footpath took us across farm fields towards the hills.
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We needed our waterproof boots as the streams were quite full.
After our morning coffee stop we paused for a group photo .
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Lunchtime found us enjoying a farm bank in bright sunshine.Behind us was a great view of the Carmarthen Fans, dusted with snow.
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Cyril arranged for this convenient boot wash on a farm track.A farmer is feeding his sheep as we descend a track returning to Myddfai.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Myddfai 8,5m.gpx  

Sunday, 4th February
Our Annual Dinner

On Sunday, 4th February, the Carmarthen Ramblers enjoyed their Annual Dinner in Carmarthen.  Thanks to Maud for taking on the responsibility of arranging and making a success of the event.  

Maud made a special "Muddy Boot Award" to Joyce Nam because of her close connections with "Mother Nature".

Thanks to Bob for the photo.
Muddy Boot Award

Sunday, 28th January
On Sunday 28th January, Brian Lowans led the ramblers on a nine and a half mile walk in the Cwmafan area near Port Talbot. This was an alternative walk to the eight-mile walk planned for Foel Fynyddau, as dismally wet misty weather and low cloud covered all the surrounding hills in the Cwmafan – Ponrtrhydyfen area so there was absolutely no chance of enjoying the otherwise possible views over Swansea Bay and Port Talbot with the poor visibility.  The alternative walk was an out and back linear walk based mainly on a three-mile section of a cycle track that led eventually up to the Miners’ Museum in Afan Argoed. The weather drizzled on and off for the whole day but did not spoil what was otherwise a very interesting walk.  

The walk started from Heol Crwys on the edge of Cwmafan from where they made their way through the residential area onto a footpath that took them to a path that ran alongside the River Afan which they followed downriver for about a quarter of a mile to reach a footbridge over the river that they crossed to start the route upriver on footpath/cycle track 887 for about three miles.  The path led up the valley, sandwiched by the A4107 Port Talbot to Cymer road on their right and the river and the B4286 Cwmafan to Pontrhydyfen road on the left.  Half a mile up the track at Pwll y Glaw, they stopped to view the metal artwork representing three well-known personalities of the area, Rob Brydon, Richard Burton and Richard Wagstaff - head Ranger for Afan Park who was instrumental in developing the cycleway.  The track was developed along the route of a disused railway line, and shortly they walked across Pont y Cymer viaduct that crossed both the river and the B4286 onto a track that took them just a few hundred metres into forestry before doubling back on a track that led downhill into the village to meet the B4286 road in Pontrhydyfen.

This was the spot to view the magnificent arches of the viaduct so they stopped here whilst Brian gave a potted history of the area and admired the rushing waters at the confluence of the River Afan and the smaller Afon Pelenna with the centre pillar of the aqueduct positioned on natural rock at its centre.  They made their way through the village, past No 2 Dan y Bont - the house where Richard Burton was born, and then uphill to the very busy country car park at Rhyslyn which is used by mountain bikers to start/finish the many cycle routes in the area, and then crossed the footbridge high above the river Pelenna into Kenji Park. On the other side of the park the route was diverted due to a landslide some years ago but the route was firm underfoot as it continued up the steep sided narrow valley of the river Afan and they eventually reached the site of the Miners’ Museum where they stopped for their lunch break.

In the afternoon, they retraced their steps briefly, now facing into a light breeze, crossing back over the Afon Pelenna and picked up the footpath/cycle track that now led over the aqueduct high above the village in the valley below. The final stage of the ramble was a two-mile stroll back down the Afan valley through Pwll Y Glaw where they once again passed the metal sculptures of some of Cwmafan’s well-known characters. Shortly afterwards they crossed a footbridge over the Afan to return to the village of Cwmafan, and then walked through the village back to the start.
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We set out from Cwmafan and soon reached this cycle path.On a wet day the paved path was a welcome change from muddy footpaths.
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Beneath this impressive old aqueduct we paused for a group photo.The Afan Forest Park is an attractive and well-groomed area.
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We had a good chat as we walked along in the drizzle.At the South Wales Miners Musuem we enjoyed our lunch stop.
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The sign says "Mud on Road" but it looks more like Water on Road!On our return leg we passed these statues of three local celebrities.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Cwmafan 9,5m.gpx  

Saturday, 20th January
On Saturday 20th January, Bob Millington led the Carmarthen Ramblers on a six-mile walk that took in several forestry paths around the Usk Reservoir.  Weather wise, the day started rather damp and misty with some light rain during the middle of the walk that cleared towards the end of the walk.  Undeterred by the poor weather they started walking from the car park near the dam on the Usk Reservoir, from where they walked back along the access road to turn sharp right onto a forest track that led past another car park with fishing posts onto the lakeside.  Following the edge of the water they walked along the southern side of the reservoir before turning left uphill slightly to follow a narrow path through rough scrubland for almost a mile, until eventually they came out onto a proper forest road/track in Glasfynydd Forest.  They turned left here, and then shortly ahead, at a T junction, turned right following this forest road over a small metal bridge and rising slightly to see a prominent fir tree on the right (where in better weather a small path leads to a lovely spot overlooking the reservoir which would be ideal for a lunch stop).  Continuing along the forest road they soon came across a picnic bench near twin bridges, which could have made another suitable lunch stop site in better weather. Crossing the bridges they continued to the westernmost point of the reservoir below Fedw Fawr where there was a small ford at the Afon Sgio but they used the little wooden footbridge to cross it. Here they found a second picnic table where they stopped for a much deserved lunch.

In the afternoon the group continued along the forest road along the north side of the reservoir on the lower slopes of Mynydd Myddfai for about two miles, until they eventually reached the north side of the dam that on this occasion was closed to all traffic including pedestrians. A small detour led down the tarmac road to the bottom of the valley, passing the work site for the repair of the spillway, until turning right on the opposite side valley for a short climb back to the cars.
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Our group photo in the morning (note two ramblers hiding in the shed!).Todays' walk was a circuit of the Usk Reservoir.
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Looking in the other direction we see considerable forestry cutting.We chatted along the forestry road on the north side of the reservoir.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Usk Reservoir 6m.gpx  

Sunday, 14th January
On Sunday 14th January, Richard Leggett led the Carmarthen Ramblers on an eight-mile walk on the Black Mountain, the mountain range straddling the county boundary between Carmarthenshire and Powys forming the westernmost range of the Brecon Beacons National Park. The walk involved a large anticlockwise circle around the castle at Carreg Cennen that was subject to many photographs from all angles.  There was brilliant sunshine in the morning that enhanced the beautiful Carmarthenshire scenery, especially the castle. The weather forecast for the day showed a dry and sunny morning, clouding over from the west as the day went on, with a light breeze and temperatures around about the five degrees C mark.
The walkers started from the Visitor Centre of Carreg Cennen castle in bright sunshine, from where they walked along the country road a few hundred metres towards Trapp to meet a road junction on the left and followed it downhill for about a quarter of a mile to reach Pantyffynnont. Here they entered a field that led them steeply downhill into the Cennen Valley below the castle, to reach a footbridge that led across the Afon Cennen then into a field for a steep uphill climb on the opposite side of the valley to reach the service lane for Llwyn-bedw. Looking back from this point there was a terrific view of the castle standing on top of the rock on the opposite side of the valley at a height of 253 metres against a clear blue sky background.  The group followed the lane for about a quarter of a mile to cross a brand new new footbridge near a ford on the Nant Llygad Llwchwr, then turned to a south easterly direction following the run of the river to its source and stopped here for a coffee break.

Continuing along the lane they soon reached a country road and turned right to a southerly direction and walked along it for about a mile, with farmland on one side and the open moorland of the Black Mountain on the other side to reach a crossroads, and turned left to reach the start of a footpath. There was a change of terrain as this path led eastwards up onto the open moorland where a cold wind picked up and the temperature dropped as they steadily climbed across Pyllau’r Fai to reach Tair Carn Isaf at a height of four hundred and sixty metres. The route now followed a ridge along a rugged stony path through heather to the trig point at a height of four hundred and sixty metres  - the highest point of the day near the impressive Cairns at Tair Carn Uchaf where they stopped for lunch in the shelter of one of the Cairns. There were views of the surrounding area with the Amman valley in a south-easterly direction below them and the Betws Mountain just beyond clearly identified with all its wind turbines.

In the afternoon they started the return journey as they headed northwards, beginning the descent across the rough stony terrain riddled with shake holes, out of the cold wind down onto Banc Wernwgan where they met the mountain road near Wern-Wgan farm.  Turning westward, with the castle standing out clearly in front of them, they walked along a track for about a quarter of a mile.  They then had to pass through a boggy area before picking up a farm track, then a footpath, that started the descent into the Cennen valley again, passing the farm of Hengrofft on a footpath that led to a footbridge which crossed the river Cennen. This was the start of a half mile uphill slog on a footpath that led steeply up the side of the valley through Coed Y Castell, taking their time along the ascent to appreciate the views over the valley, and reaching the access to the castle on top of the hill at a height of two hundred and thirty seven metres. With all the hard work done the last few hundred metres was downhill along a footpath that led through the farmyard back to the visitor centre.
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From the start we enjoyed great views of lovely countryside.We paused for a group photo with Carreg Cennen Castle now behind us.
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For a while we climbed steadily away from the castle.By coffee break we had reached the source of the River Loughor.
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The breeze felt colder as we climbed across open moorland.We passed both Tair Carn Isaf and Tair Carn Uchaf.
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After lunch we watched the sunshine on the other side of the valley.The castle looked magnificent on its hilltop as we returned.
Right Click here and select Save Link/Target AS (with a Left Click) to download a GPX track of this walk to your computer as Carreg Cennen 8m.gpx  

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