Monday, 30 May 2016

Wonderful Welsh Waterfall Walk - Day 1

It's all about the alliteration this month!

For her birthday, my friend Hannah decided that what she really wanted to do was Waterfall Hunting.  Having located a good spot for this (Pontneddfechan, about an hour west of Cardiff) we all assembled to go strolling through the hills and dales of Wales.  After all the buildup, we tried to curb our expectations, but it turns out we needn't have bothered.

At Sgwd yr Eira

First stop, the tranquil Sgwd Gwladus, which was honestly one of my favourites.  It comes off a shelf into a wide pool, perfect for swimming in if you've got the inclination (and possibly wetsuit).  If you fancy staying dry, you can also clamber round behind the falls on the ledge.  I didn't want to walk up to the edge, but I did sit down and butt-scoot up to it, dangling my feet over the drop.

After lunch we headed on up the trail to Sgwd y Bedol, which really reminded me of the river-crossing scene from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.  It runs in several stages; a fall and then a flat section of rock plateau and deep pools that overflow after rain, turning the whole thing into a wide river.  We followed the plateau all the way to the top.

At the top of the trail is Swgd Ddwli Uchaf, a quieter and wider fall, where we had a go at skimming stones.  I got as far as two skips, which is an achievement for me, but Harry turned out to be a master at this, skipping his stone so far that it went and pinged into the wall of rock behind the falls.

Photos with Hannah and Becky
Chillin' with Harry and Becky
When you reach the top of the trail, you come out into a lush little picnic area that was surprisingly quiet given what a nice day it was.  We had a well-deserved break and threw some blueberries at Hannah before hot-footing it back down to the car to meet up with the rest of our holiday group, Graeme and Fiona, on the way our rented accommodation in Bwlch.

Even getting there was a bit epic, as you have to drive up and over the moors of the Brecon Beacons national park.  We had rain, mist, sun, and a few small herds of wild ponies.

I've never Air B'n'B'd before, but based on this experience alone I would absolutely do it again.  Our digs for the weekend turned out to be an apartment with a massive living room and 4-person bedroom, a record player, great kitchen/diner, view over the Welsh hills and... wait for it... A HOT TUB.  Which the owners had turned on for us!  We spent a good chunk of the evening being lightly broiled, drinks in hand, watching the twilight over the hills.

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