Llanfechain June 2014

Fri 13th

Journey to Llanfechain was long because of a pile up near Chester just under a roundabout over the A55. A very enterprising young man helped us to reverse back through all the accumulated traffic and we got onto the slip road and away. Good to see someone with a bit of nous.
After settling in we took a short stroll from the cottage, about 2 km and back.
Sat 14th
To Dolanog and then along a bit of Ann Griffiths’ Way and a bit of Owain Glyndwr’s to locate a hill fort. Found it using contours only.
To Seeds in Llanfyllin for dinner.
I had dressed crab which was excellent, steak also good and a creamy thing. C had rack of lamb and huge piece of treacle tart.
From the hill fort
From the hill fort
Sun 15th
To Pontrobert and then all the way along Ann Griffiths’ way to the point at which we left it the day before so we have walked the whole of it. She was a hymn writer. I have now found another bit of it on the map so we didn’t do it all, oh well I am sure we will be back and can finish it off.
Can anyone identify this?
Can anyone identify this?
Cool, calm and collected
Cool, calm and collected
Mon 16th
To Welshpool very early for C to dialyse.
Strange knocking sound in car has been bothering me so drove to Kwikfit in Oswestry which also had the benefit of being opposite Skoda dealer in case I did need to do something urgently. Nothing was found to be loose. I then went for coffee and shops in Oswestry and back to Welshpool to collect C. Drove to a point on the Offa’s Dyke Path with the intention of walking a bit of it. C not well so brought her back to the cottage to sleep.
Went and put up blue balloons to guide Chris in.
She arrived and after waking Carol we went for the full circuit from the cottage. This was the first showing of Carol’s sun hat which gave her a surprisingly artistic appearance. All most fitting as there was a cook book in the cottage of Monet’s recipes. He wasn’t the most inspired of cooks and perhaps should have concentrated on the painting! Here he is in his hat: http://pinkpagodastudio.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/happy-birthday-claude-monet.html
Green Thai chicken curry with rice and broccoli.
Played 1980s quiz game, surprisingly hard, perhaps not, I don’t remember being very sober in that decade.
Early morning Oswestry
Early morning Oswestry
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The Monet hat makes its appearance
Tues 17th
We all drove to Lake Vrynwy. Went in all the gift shops (3) and the RSPB shop.
Walked a circuit which had a couple of steep sections. Chris not so good.
Back to cafe for yummy ice cream which picked her up a bit.
Farewell to Chris at lake.
We used the washing machine and put it all on the line to dry.
Set off a bit late to go to the Pen y Dyffryn hotel at Rhydycroesau. 2 AA rosettes.
Appetiser was a small coffee cup of veg soup. Tasty.
Starter, I had a goats cheese and tomato tart. C had mackerel pate.
Main, I had a pithivier because it sounds so silly to say. Not a good way to pick food as it was more pastry. C had guinea fowl which tasted like chicken to me.
Pud, we both had welsh cakes with berries and creamy blob of stuff.
I enjoyed dressing up and eating out but C says she would rather go for a pub meal in her jeans!
Claude and Chris
Claude and Chris
Straining tower at Lake Vyrnwy
Straining tower at Lake Vyrnwy
Crumbling Victorian concrete
Crumbling Victorian concrete
Weds 18th
Up horribly early to Welshpool for dialysis. I went off and walked up to Beacon Ring which is on the ODP. The ring isn’t exactly creepy but I didn’t feel like walking through the dense wood on the top so went round it. Which council gave the planning permission for not just 1 but 2 mobile phone masts on an important archaeological site? On the way back down I came across some people having sex in a car. He looked very hot with the windows shut and singularly unattractive with his bald head and straggly hair. I only saw his naked torso you understand.
After this excitement I drove down to Leighton and parked by the church (locked) for a while. Then into Welshpool for coffee and lemon drizzle cake. Not drizzled enough.
Then picked up C.
To Church Stretton for a wander round. Hot. Nice shops.
Back near Chirbury to walk some more of the ODP. Stayed on the flat as very hot. We saw a kite at very close quarters.
Back home, supper and stroll round the lanes.
Beacon Ring without
Beacon Ring without
Beacon Ring with
Beacon Ring with
Leighton church
Leighton church
Church Stretton
Church Stretton
Claude has been let out again
Claude has been let out again
Lovely line of trees
Lovely line of trees
The kite
The kite
Thurs 19th
Lazy start. Plumbers came and gave us lots of hot water.
Went up to Lake Vyrnwy and took road up west side that was closed when we were here in March. Mountain road across the passes and into the National Park. Very steep road almost as alarming as the Bealach to Applecross. Stopped at Pennant to walk in the mountain. Lovely path, saw no one. Practised belaying and felt starting to get the hang of it it with my other hand. Picnic lunch and back to drive home on the A roads.
Bad squirrels had got in the window and eaten Carol’s bread rolls this time. Also poo everywhere. Not nice.
Still straining
Still straining
Claude admiring the view
Claude admiring the view

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The artist resting
The artist resting

Friday 20th

We packed up and bade farewell to Nicky who told us a most amusing story of one of her old boyfriends and his false teeth. As we left we came across a giant 2″ wasp creature which appears to be an Asian hornet. After I posted it on Facebook I was advised to report it to the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology which I have duly done.

We drove to Rhydycroesau and took on a bit more of the ODP. We actually met someone doing it, a nice man with a beard and a dog and kind eyes.

Looking forward to the next trip!

Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.

Asian hornet
Asian hornet
Hatching a bale
Hatching a bale

Mid Wales 31 August – 7 September

Friday 31st August
Journey to Llanfechain was a bit mad because we decided to use the little roads but with the road map. We should have got the OS maps out!
Walked from Pentre where we are residing this week, out the back, up the hill, along a heavily nettled path past a derelict building that was too small to be a cottage. Then along a bit and back down the road. Very pretty and completely unspoilt along little lanes. Lovely.
Home to easy supper of Look What We Found chicken korma with rice.

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Saturday 1st September

Walked from Llangynog car park along road to east then up green lane through very old oak wood. One enormous oak had a circumference of 6 metres. We measured a piece of grass on my compass and did some sums. This is about 430 years old according to the Woodland Trust’s ready reckoner.
It was hot in the sun so we stopped for lunch by a stream and then walked a bit more along the u shaped valley. We retraced our steps but went back to the little road on the far side of the stream.
Having done my Hillfit exercises this morning, I now did some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) so ran 220 metres in 2 bursts. Can’t be too unfit as recovered very quickly.
Carol and smallish oak
Posing? Moi?!
 Saturday evening
After delicious home made not Shepherds Pie because no potato masher, we stepped out for a night walk along the lanes near the house. We walked about 3 miles or so and saw no one and no cars. The moon came in and out as a day after full.
With flash
Without flash

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Sunday 2nd September
Drove to Llandrillo to the Tyddyn Llan restaurant where I waited quite a while to see if Carol would recognise that we had been here before. We both had set lunch for £19.50. I had mozzarella with tomato huge portion, followed by chicken tarragon on a pancake with loads of veg.. There was roast spuds, peas with bacon, leeks in cheese sauce baked, steamed green beans and carrots and yummy courgette fritters. Carol had pork loin with all the veg. To be honest the food was good but a bit heavy on the grease levels for Michelin star and Good Food Guide. C then had biscuit glacé with raspberry sauce. This was a sort of nougat ice cream. We were both very stuffed then so came back for early evening walk.
We walked from the cottage again but a different circuit mainly off roads but coming back using the little lanes. Again saw no one and no cars. It’s a great spot for quietness. Lovely weather too. My legs actually getting an airing!
Towards Llanfechain
Made me think of soldiers marching up hill
Proper walker
Not posing again
Just loved the green
Monday 3rd September
Back to Llandrillo to walk to the stone circle called Moel Ty Uchaf.  Very hot. Tremendous views from the circle where we lunched. Across to Arenig Fawr in the west and Aran Fawddwy in the south west.  Then back using a bit of a circuit to ring the changes. Only saw 2 men with motorbikes.
Nicky showed us round her house which is lovely. She is an ex model and was in famous Ossie Clark creation taken by Norman Parkinson, I recognised the picture. I cooked chicken and veg and pasta but it was a bit on the hot side.
Moel Ty Uchaf stone circle
And with hills in background
I liked the contrast
Also here
Lane back to Llandrillo
Carol not posing
Me neither
Inside of the cottage

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Tuesday 4th September
Mainly a day touring round in the car. Went to Welshpool and Llanidloes via Tregynon. Gregynog Hall is in Tregynon and brought back memories of a fairly raucous few days there back when I was at UWIST (University of Wales Institute of Science and Technology – UWIST now subsumed into Cardiff University when it was amalgamated with University College, Cardiff). Liked Llanidloes and had nice time in the bookshop. Travelled some more B and unclassified roads to get back to the cottage. Needed air after too long in the car so did another circuit of the lanes round here for about an hour. Carol had some leftover lamb hotpot. I am on a fasting day so had some broccoli.
Gregynog Hall, Tregynon
Llanidloes market hall
Please help me to identify this
Evening walk
Wednesday 5th September
First we looked in Llanfechain and went round the church which is dedicated to St. Garmon. Then drove to Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant on lovely little lanes without seeing other cars.
We were following a walk in Ron’s Rambles. It goes up on the road towards the waterfall and then up what is someone’s drive then into the woods. This comes out onto a field and it was ok until we needed to avoid some cattle. We did this but then reached a gate saying “No entry”. We could have gone back to a gate but instead decided to cross a barbed wire fence into a cow dung puddle. This got us more or less to the other side of the “No entry” gate. Then it was across a road, along some fields to the Afon Lwrch. We used a footbridge to cross and then up another field to a track along the side of Mynydd Mawr. We stopped for lunch and carried along the track which has great views to green valleys. Past what seemed a very remote house and up onto the side of the hill, Ron’s measurements were a bit on the generous side. We then tracked back along the hill at height which was very beautiful, coming to a tiny church tucked into the hillside. This is St. Garmon’s too. We chatted with a sweet old couple and tried to help them decipher a tomb stone but this was doubly challenging as in Welsh and very eroded.
Down the lane and then continuing with Ron, we took a path across a field of sheep but clambered into one full of bullocks. Big mistake. They were a bit too interested in us and we couldn’t get back to the gate so in a mega panic we not only got very muddy but ended up crossing a stream and another barbed wire fence to escape from the killer bullocks. We tracked down some fields, squeezed under an electric fence and arrived at the Afon Lwrch again but it was too big to cross so we got back over the barbed wire again, over the smaller stream and then up what felt and looked like a near vertical ascent of scrub, brambles and dead trees to reach the road. Then it was just a couple of kilometres to get back to the car.  It was a bit too adventurous and we both agreed we had made the wrong decision by going into the bullock field. Silly idiots!
Chicken and veg in white sauce bake with sliced spuds on top and more sprouting broccoli. Yum!
St. Garmon’s Llanfechain
St. Garmon’s Llanfechain
How green was my valley
Not a good look
Any fungi people out there?
St. Garmon’s Plas-y-Newydd

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant,+United+Kingdom&aq=0&oq=Llanrhaedr-ym-Mochnant&sll=52.923347,-3.405447&sspn=0.018525,0.060339&t=p&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant,+Powys,+United+Kingdom&ll=52.826209,-3.302078&spn=0.062234,0.102997&z=12&iwloc=A&output=embed&w=300&h=300]

Thursday 6th September
Went to Montgomery which I had been told was a town with lots of shops. It’s a very nice town but only actually has about 3 shops. I managed to buy a book and some veg. We walked up to the castle and ate our picnics in the ruins.
Then went on to Bishop’s Castle which had lots of shops by comparison. Here I managed to buy 2 books, some soap, and some cheese.
This all took a surprising amount of time so we headed back to do a bit of packing up before heading out to Seeds in Llanfyllin. This is a very nice little resto. I had Italian cold meats and mozzarella starter with figs, main of sautéed lambs’ kidneys in mustard sauce with beetroot, broad beans, carrots, spuds. C had chicken and black pudding in nice sauce. I had creme brûlée and C had treacle tart for pudding. All washed down with beer from Pontypridd. Chatted with some of the other customers who helped us with our Welsh pronunciation and we got the hostess warmed up by the time we left.
Montgomery Castle
Montgomery Castle
Montgomery Castle
Friday 7th September
Came home via Lake Vyrnwy which is a Victorian reservoir with splendid big chunky made to last architecture. I was very taken with the Straining Tower. Then took a mountain road to Bala, stopping on the way to walk a few kilometres in the sun on Foresty tracks. We also had a brew by the road and sat by a babbling brook to drink.
Then stopped once more at Carrog for our lunch and then home.
A lovely week with the best weather of the year, no rain and lots of sun for a whole week in Wales!
The Straining Tower!
Lake Vyrnwy
In the Aran mountains
Next time at this cottage bring wooden spoon and cheese grater. Spud masher and lemon squeezer optional.
Please visit Map and Compass and learn how to interpret a map with me and my navigation partner, Cath.