Post image for Cambrian Way Day 1: Cardiff to Castell Coch

Cambrian Way Day 1: Cardiff to Castell Coch

March 8, 2016 · 14 comments

 

Date walked: 17th June 2015

Distance: 8.75 miles

Map used: OS Explorer 151 – Cardiff and Bridgend

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My apologies for the length of time since the last post. I have been a bit poorly. Normal service will be resumed ASAP.

So, day 1 of a project that could take a couple of years to complete, so be patient- I hope you enjoy the armchair journey. I am going to try and include a map for each leg of the walk. Here’s a first attempt.

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Personally I am not that taken with this mapping system, so here’s an alternative.You seem to need to scroll out a little bit to see the start and finish points. (I know, I’m working on it). Any comments on the map are welcome.

As you see, Neil and I did this walk in June last year. Which means that I can remember very little about it. Perhaps the photos will prompt some exciting observations. If not, I hope you enjoy the pics.

Charles Hawes and Neil Smurthwaite at the start of the Cambrian Way, outside the Millennium Centre in Cardiff

Please will someone sponsor me to have my double chin sorted out

Neil has very kindly taken responsibility for planning our route, referring to the latest edition of the Cambrian Way Guide book, and cross referencing to their website. So, map and Guide Book in hands, we set off in an easterly direction, enjoying the Buddleja encrusted old buildings.

The White Hart, Cardiff, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Practically a garden;the beady eyed might spot some other species.

We passed the entrance to a nameless park with post-modern entrance pillars…

Cardiff Park entrance, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Coal Pit winding towers?

… and then the police station which has a great big lamp in front of it.

Cardiff Central police station, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Suggestive of a light house?

According to the map, and backed up by some signage, we were also following the Taff Trail.

Sign for the Taff Trail in Cardiff, photographed by Charles Hawes

Why doesn’t Grangetown have a translation?

In case you didn’t know this, the Taff is one of two rivers that run into Cardiff Bay. We were going to walk by this river for most of this walk, affording me little opportunity to get lost. Do I hear cries of “shame?”

River Taff, Cadiff, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

There’s a river bus if you fancy a river trip

Considering we were in the city centre, it was surprisingly leafy.

View to the Millenium stadium from the River Taff, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Millennium stadium ahead

Here’s a pic of Neil in the underpass approaching the Millennium 
Stadium.

I promised not to be hard on Neil; I think he fills on that shirt very nicely, don’t you?

I understand that the Millennium Stadium is where lots of Very Important sporting events take place; I have not been inside, but I enjoyed the outside very much.

Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

The touches of colour are especially effective

The Nos Da Hostel is by the river and looked very cheerful.  (For my foreign readers Nos Da means “Good Night” in Welsh)

Nos Da Hostel, Cardiff, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Do check out their website as the rooms are very funky.

Over on the right was Bute Park, where Cardiff Castle is situated and where they hold the RHS Cardiff Show in April;they have a lot of stalls selling Welsh produce – the show gardens are not up to much.

Bute Park, Cardiff, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

This is the ferry stop by the park

A little further on, the path crosses a footbridge and continues on the other side of the river, giving one a completely different perspective.

Footbridge over the River Taff, photographed from The Wales Coast Path by Charles Hawes

I can’t remember how or when we crossed back but still with the river on our right and Pontcanna fields on our left we came to  the Blackweir Footbridge.

The Blackweir Footbridge, Cardiff, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Look, there’s Neil again with an empty rucksack.

Here’s another pic of it.

The Blackweir Footbridge, Cardiff, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

It’s a bit bouncy

It was around here that I began to notice that my feet were beginning to feel sore. Stop to inspect. Find blister. Boo hoo. Regular visitors here will remember me posting a review of the brand new All Out Blaze Sieve shoes (I know, ridiculous name) I was wearing.

The path continued through Gabalfa park….

Cambrian way day 1-22

….near which local youths had been amusing themselves with a bit of wall decoration.

Graffiti near Gabalfa Park, Cardiff, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Looking at it now I think that someone has painted over a previous daub

Someone had even had a stab at a mural.

Graffiti near Gabalfa Park, Cardiff, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

OK, its not great and I don’t know what the red flash is meant to be

We passed another weir.

Weir on the River Taff, Cardiff, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

It’s getting quite rural now

On the other side of the river, but out of sight, was Llandaff Cathedral. (Anne and I went to our first concert there by The Sixteen a couple of years ago- they are a superb choir that we have since been to see several more times -just saying).

Hailey Park was about another mile further upstream.

Finger post at Hailey Park, Cardiff, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

No mention of the Cambrian Way, because it is not recognised as an “official” path

And near it, more work by local artists.

Graffiti near Hailey Park, Cardiff, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Sorry, I forgot to record what it says

We had to cut through built up corner of Whitchurch and came across our first bit of history in the form of the Melingriffith Water Pump.

Melingriffith Water Pump, Whitchuch, Cardiff, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Do read the link – its fascinating stuff

This was part of a tin plate works in the late C18th and early C19th, which according to Wikipedia was the largest in the world at the time.

We were walking on quite a narrow tarmac footpath with a fence hiding people’s gardens. Over one section was a massive rambler rose offering delight to this passer-by.

Rambler Rose on the Cambrian Way near Whitchuch, Cardiff, photographed by Charles Hawes

There are a lot of white ramblers- could have been ‘Bobby James’

The green wedge on this side of the river was occupied presently by some allotments….

Allotments at Whitchuch, Cardiff, photographed on the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

…. whilst over on the other side, where no doubt very expensive properties enjoy elevated views, men from Network Rail were doing some abseiling practice.

Railway line by River Taff, photographed from The Cambrian Way in Cardiff by Charles Hawes

Clever of me to get a train in the pic, eh?

The quality of the graffiti showed a marked improvement…..

Graffiti on the Cambrian way in Cardiff, photographed by Charles Hawes

My, that roof is in need of urgent repairs

… including this witty panel.

Graffiti on the Cambrian way in Cardiff, photographed by Charles Hawes

Pity about the scribbler who thought it needed spelling out more.

About half a mile before we passed under the M4, another weir was doing a good job of trapping troublesome trees.

Melingriffith weir, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Just above this was the feeder for the Melingriffith tin works.

An information board gave further insight into the the industrial history of the area – a light railway used to run along the bank, bringing iron from the Pentyrch iron works further upstream to the tin pate works.

Pentyrch Iron Works information board, photographed from the Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

You haven’t seen Neil for a bit, so here he is.

I instruct him not to smile, but he finds this difficult

I instruct him not to smile, but he finds this difficult

The M4 provided me with my favourite pic of the day.

Bridge supporting the M4 over the River Taff, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Well, two of them actually.

Bridge supporting the M4 over the River Taff, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Immediately after the M4 was another bridge that would have taken the aforementioned light railway.

Iron bridge over the River Taff near Tongwynlais, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

After a last misty glimpse of the Taff….

River Taff near Tongwynlais, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

…. we were directed north-east away from the river and under the A470 to the village of Tongwynlais.

This is a drab little place, sandwiched between the river and the hillside and hemmed in by the busy A470.

Tongwynlais Village Hall, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

We stopped for a sandwich, taken in the churchyard.

A right turn in the centre of the village and a little climb up a minor road brought us to the fantastic Victorian gothic-revival conceit of Castell Coch.

Castell Coch, Tongwynlais, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes.

Neil went in subsequently and agreed that it was fab

I love this place. Anne and I visited years ago. The interior is highly decorated and is WONDERFUL.

Now this should have been the end of the day’s walk, the Cambrian Way heading north-east up through the forest. But in a state of most uncharacteristic confusion Neil had us staying on the Taff Trail for two more miles.

Neil leading us on a wild goose chase

We ended up at a bus stop  alongside the A468 at Nantgarw. We had just missed the bus that would have taken us back to Cardiff, so after a lot of head scratching and without any recrimination we took a bus to Caerphilly then a train back to the city. Still, I got to use my Senior Citizen bus pass which put a smile on my face as Neil (who is older than me), did not have one.

 

 

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Neil March 8, 2016 at 12:45 pm

I always smile when I’m with you Charles !!!
Fun to relive the very easy start to our adventure. Good set of pics.
🙂

Reply

Charles March 8, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Smiley Face.

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Anne Wareham March 8, 2016 at 1:23 pm

Brilliant, apart from mistake in first line -allowable in a Sickie. Seems a really interesting walk to me, apart from lack of sheep. Wonderfully flat. Not likely to stay that way, I think?

Xxxx A

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Charles March 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm

Sorted! (and you missed another one).No, I’m sure that there will be sheep in future.

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John March 8, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Well, Tuesday lunchtime coffee break will have to make up for lack of Sunday breakfast I suppose! Will this be your new schedule? If so, I bag Sundays 🙂 That blister’s been hanging around in the Bay for years waiting for you to pick it up again. Glad you didn’t miss the all-important “s” in “Hostel” after Nos Da! It has a reputation for being noisy as that’s wot young people want (like those in Port Talbot). And very nice of Neil to take you off-piste at the end. It wouldn’t be a Charles walk without you going off-piste at some point.

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Charles March 8, 2016 at 5:00 pm

Well, it had been so long since my last post I thought I would just publish it as I completed it. No, I shall probably keep to Sundays. But probably not this coming Sunday. Toodlepip.

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David Marsden March 9, 2016 at 7:01 am

I don’t suppose you found a wallet at Castell Coch car park did you? My partner lost his there about 15 years ago. Good to follow a new path with you Charles (though what a tardy report – I would never post about such an OLD walk #cough). Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell – hope you’re feeling better? I’m very interested in your use of OS maps. I’ve tried to do the same but got horribly confused. Any tips? Dave

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Charles March 9, 2016 at 6:20 pm

We found three wallets- what was his like? Mind you, none had any money in. I agree about the tardy report- hugely embarrassing. Thanks for the sympathy re illness. Feeling better now, thanks. Re OS maps. Bloody nightmare. My tip is don’t try and get one in your post unless you have a couple of days where you fancy getting really angry and wanting to cause damage to your computer or to throw a brick through OS’s window. The other map was a free Wordpress plug-in called Intergeo Mpas and is easy to use if you don’t mind its rather simple legend (though it does have other choices). I’d plug it in and have a play.

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Paul Steer March 9, 2016 at 1:06 pm

It had not registered in my pea – sized brain just how great a challenge this walk will be. Seeing the route map has made me gasp – are you two old men really up for this ? ( tongue in cheek)

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Neil March 9, 2016 at 1:43 pm

Hi Paul 🙂
It’s ok. We’re planning to do it in 6 mile sections, with a month off recuperating in between 🙂 !!!

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Charles March 9, 2016 at 6:22 pm

Noooo!! We are only doing a couple of six mile walks while we recuperate. Then it will be much more.

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Charles March 9, 2016 at 6:21 pm

Well, this is why we need young blood like you along to carry us over the bigger hills.

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Paul Steer March 9, 2016 at 10:51 pm

Errr have you forgotten the almost passing out incident climbing up to Cribbarth from Craig y Nos ? Neil I’m with you on this one !

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Charles March 10, 2016 at 11:12 am

Wimp!

Reply

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