I decided a few weeks ago that this was to be the holiday of Welsh Waterfalls. There are quite a few of them and we have lived here too long not to have visited at least some. So a bit of Google research and I discovered that we live within an hour of Waterfall Country on the edge of the Brecon Beacons - so that was it, our days out were decided. Now all we needed was some half decent weather and to be able to persuade Phaolin into the new car! Well the weather duly obliged and we have had some splended walking days... And the dog? Well lets just say he will get in the car with a lot of encouragement from himself and I (I bought him a hammock for the back seat) and once in, he tolerates the journey as best he can.
So last week we set out on our first waterfall adventure and headed for the Waterfalls Centre at Pontneddfechan. Our day began early as our days usually do. Picnics are an essential part of walking with a large dog. We can't go 'into' cafes and you can't always guarantee that there will be outdoor tables or that pubs will deign to serve food outside even if there are, so we learned early on to take picnics and cater for ourselves. We cooked up our standard picnic fare of sausages, (pork and leek for me, vegetarian for himself) hard boiled eggs, soft bread rolls, cheese of some kind, home grown cherry tomatoes, and something sweet, on this occasion Twix for me and an Eccles cake for himself. And we were ready to go...
There are three fairly major waterfall walks in the area around the centre and in my usual inimitable style I decided we would try the hardest one first. So after a quick call into the centre to buy a map and a set of guides we followed the road out of the village and up the mountain and eventually (after 3 tries) found the car park we had been advised to start from.
We were following the Four Falls trail (we actually only saw two, deciding to leave two for another visit) which is described as needing a spirit of adventure to tackle! And I would say that was accurate!
However, it is a truly lovely walk along the river...
If there is a choice of trails I can usually be guaranteed to pick the harder one and this was no exception. The real trail wended away from the river and up, I decided to follow the lower one along the river and left us with a steep climb over rough ground to get back up on to the right path so needless to say there are no pictures as I cannot climb and take pictures without risking serious injury and himself wasn't too keen on that.
Eventually though we made it to the first waterfall. Sgwd Clun Gwyn is an actual fall rather than a cascade into a pool below...
There are no pictures of the falls taken from further round because the viewing area isn't exactly fenced and himself was having kittens every time I went within 3 feet of the edge. Wobbly woman remember.
By this time the path was starting to get a little busier. Schools are back so we were walking in the company of either other professionals taking their annual vacation or small groups of retired folks who I swear were part mountain goat!
The trail wound up through the trees...
With some interesting peeks at the views that would probably be more visible on crisp winter day.
As we tramped on through the trees we decided to bypass two of the falls that required a detour off the main track that the sign said was fifteen minutes which for us would have meant half an hour each way. So we headed directly to our final destination. Sgwd yr Eira, a rather splended waterfall with a very interesting feature.
To reach the falls you have to wind your way down the steep valley side to the river at the bottom and it is not the easiest of paths but oh so worth the effort.
On reaching the river bed this is what you see!
To be honest, by this point we were all feeling a little wobbly so we decided that sitting on a large rock, in the warm sun, by the river was the perfect place to have lunch as we listened to the roar from the falls.
But there was something I wanted to do first, so I left himself and Phaolin in their lunch spot and headed along the river to do something I've never done before. The water plunges over a ledge into the river.
behind the falls... and that was where I was headed. It's a tricky path and a nice lady had to hold my camera for me while I clambered somewhat unsteadily over the rocks but I made it and it was really rather incredible.
The following sequence of pictures were all taken from behind the water looking out, back along the river...
Once I had all the pictures I wanted I clambered my way back behind the falls and along the river to himself and Phaolin and sat down for a very very welcome lunch. I needed the fuel for the return journey!
It was a long walk back along the trail to the car park and we were all done in by the time we got there! Poor old Phaolin didn't even have the energy to climb into the car and had to be lifted into his back seat hammock!
We drove home tired out but very satisfied with a truly splendid day out!