Wild Horses on the Cambrian Way in Carmarthenshire, photographed by Charles Hawes

Cambrian Way day 13: Llanddeusant to Llandovery

February 5, 2017 · 10 comments

A gentle hike through the Carmarthenshire countryside, following the Cambrian Way from Llanddeusant to Llandovery, and encountering some beautiful wild horses

Date walked: 1st November 2016

Distance: about 11 miles

Map used: OPS Explorer OL 12 – Brecon Beacons National Park (Western Area)

Guide book: Cambrian Way by AJ Drake (7th edition)

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It had been nearly two months since our last day on this south-to-north crossing of Wales; at this rate it could be years before we reach the North coast. But we have agreed to up our game and do at least two days walking in succession from here on.

We met up in the car park of the Kings Head Inn in the middle of Llandovery where we had booked Bed and Breakfast for the night. By the time I got there, Neil and Paul had checked in and were raring to go. But not before we spent some time admiring Paul’s new Landrover (well, new to him, anyway).  Marvellous.

Charles Hawes and Paul Steer in the car park of The Kings Head Inn, Llandovery, photograph by Neil Smurthwaite

Taken the next day – yes, OK, you don’t see much of the car, sorry

Neil having the crappy car, and therefore the least likely to get stolen, we took his back to Llanddeusant where we had finished in September. We left the car at the stone bridge over the Afon Sychiwch – a little river that is fed by the Llyn – y-Fan-Fach  which we had much admired at the end of the previous walk.

Bridge over Afon Sychiwch, Carmarthenshire, photographed on the Cambrain Way by Charles Hawes

Odd lettering, I thought. Closer to the graveyard than a modern bridge.

Having crossed the bridge we passed a sign for Gorsduu Plants.

Signh for Gorsddu Plants, near Llandeusant, Carmarthenshire, photographed from the Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Meaning, I suppose, our plants will live for more than one year

Neil did a quick check on the route to see where we turned off the road…

Road near Llandeusant, Carmarthenshire, photographed on the Cambrain way by Charles Hawes

You can’t be too careful

…. whilst Paul and I admired one of the several Kites that were swooping around. Paul reckoned we might be near a Feeding Station. And he was right!

Red kite in flight near Llanddeusant, Carmarthenshire, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Not bad for a compact with a poor zoom

We turned off the road, heading North, passing a quite remarkably tidy sheep farm with rather tasteful owners.

Farm near Llanddeusant, Carmarthenshire, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Nice blue

Our track climbed gently, giving us a good view of the autumnal Tywi valley.

View to the Twyi valley photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

The route was following a hollow way that would once have been used for horse-drawn carts.

Hollow way near Llandeussant, Carmarthenshire, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Well maybe more depressed than hollow

We then emerged into open countryside, fording the little Nant Y Foel…

Nant Y Foel, Carmarthenshire, photographed from the Cambrain Way by Charles Hawes

… and passing the bleached skeleton of a young horse.

Skeleton of a horse, Carmarthenshire, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I haven’t had a decent corpse for a while

This was not dramatic countryside but it was green and un-spoilt (unless you agree with George Monbiot).

Carmarthenshire countryside near Llanddeusant, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Tiny Paul taking picture by fence

In a field below us, the farmer whizzed by on his quad, his two dogs running ahead.

Carmarthenshire countryside near Llanddeusant, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Maybe the small flock of fancy Welsh Mountain Badger Faced Towens that we passed were his.

Welsh Mountain Badger Faced Towens photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Not they look very badger-faced to me

We reached a minor road down which trundled a tractor towing a trailer laden with large straw bales.

Tractor towing trailer with straw bales, near Llanddeusant, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

We turned onto the road and  followed it for half a mile or so, looking for  a distinct track that would cross the road and keep us on our northerly heading.

Road between Llanddeusant and Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrain way by Charles Hawes

No other traffic encountered

We didn’t find it. But we found several minor tracks and after some debate decided that with countryside as open as this we were not likely to go far wrong (sharp intake of breath from my readers).

Carmarthenshire countryside near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Delightfully empty

We passed quite close by the Western end of the Usk Reservoir.

Western end of the Usk Reservoir in Carmarthenshire, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Over to our left was the steep valley of the Afon Clydach; Neil took care that we didn’t lose altitude by heading that way.

Carmarthenshire countryside near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

We like climbing hills – if we have to

In fact there were steep slopes and valleys all around us.

Carmarthenshire countryside near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

 

Carmarthenshire countryside near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Love this layered look

Neil led the way, the land still rising gently.

Carmarthenshire countryside near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Confidently striding forth

This felt like a very remote spot and in the midst of this reedy moor we came across a family of wild horses.

Wild horses in Carmarthenshire near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Except that they were’t wild.

Wild horses in Carmarthenshire near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

Love at first sight

Or if they were wild they were the most trusting wild horses I had ever come across.

Wild horses in Carmarthenshire near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

He wanted to kiss my camera

They all seemed in good condition, too, which led me to think that someone was looking after them well.

Wild horses in Carmarthenshire near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

No ribs showing

They were lovely creatures and it was a real treat to have encountered them.

Wild horses in Carmarthenshire near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

We were on the edge of the hill known as Mynydd Myddfai and shortly after our horse-fest we climbed down its steep north edge.

View over the Carmarthenshire Countryside from near Mynydd Myddfai, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Paul finding something to tweak his artistic juices

A track at the bottom brought us to a quiet metalled road at the hamlet of  Sarnau where a grapevine on one of its two or three houses grabbed my attention.

Vine on house at Sarnau, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

From here we had a mile on this quiet road to the village of Myddfai.

Road sign for Myddfai, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

Paul, being Welsh and a fount of knowledge, knew about the Physicians of Myddfai – a succession of 500 years of them it seems, from the C13th to C18th (well he didn’t know much about them).

Saint Michaels chuch Myddfai, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

This is Saint Michaels church – we should have had a closer look

My contribution to our knowledge base was that Prince Charles has a home just outside the village; I wrote to his office a few years back asking if I could photograph the garden and was politely refused.  But you might be able to stay there. It is called Llwynywermod.

We must have felt pressed for time because the local shop looked nice and deserved a shufty but we passed it by.

Village shop, Myddfai, Carmarthenshire, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I bet they would have done a cup of tea and a bun

The Methodist chapel just outside the village provided a very good backdrop for  a shot  of the last yellow leaves hanging onto some trees by its railings.

Methodist chapel, Myddfai, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

In fact the branches are pretty good, too.

Paul reckoned that some Welsh  painted onto the road was a wedding greeting.

Writing in welsh on the road near Myddfai, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

He’s a clever lad – “pob lwch” meaning “good luck”

We left the road to take  a footpath, passing a blue-painted house that proved a source of disagreement.

Countryside near Llandovery, photographed from The Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

I liked it, Paul didn’t, Neil was on the fence

We then had a hilarious encounter with a flock of sheep. As we walked through their field they rushed up to us….

Sheep near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, photograpged from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

… only to seemingly panic when they got close, whereupon they rushed off.

Sheep near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, photograpged from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

They then did a lot more running around together; Neil was convinced they were planning another attempt at ambush but we left their field before they got themselves together.

There were more animal encounters as we passed through a farmyard.

Cow and calf near Llandovery, Carmarthenshire, photographed from The Cambrian way by Charles Hawes

They were entirely un-perturbed by our intrusion

It was getting gloomy now, and we still had a few more minor hills to climb.

Approaching Llandovery from Llanddeusant, photographed from the Cambrain Way by Charles Hawes

I have to admit there were complaints raised about more uphill walking

The last one gave us a good view of Llandovery, its street lights already lit.

View to Llandovery from the south, photographed from the Cambrain way by Charles Hawes

It was considerably darker than this

We finished by taking a wide and very muddy track through a wood after which any further pictures would have been pointless.

Approaching Llandovery in the dark, photographed from the Cambrian Way by Charles Hawes

So there really wasn’t time for those call ins we might have made

We had decided to eat at the pub, but the real question was what to do about Neils’ car. Paul heroically offered to drive Neil  back to it once we got to the pub. Neil graciously decided to leave it until the morning, when Paul and he would get it then drive to our end destination and return to the pub where I would have had a nice lie-in;  what good friends I have. Pub feedback? I remember the beer was good.

 

 

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

John February 5, 2017 at 9:55 am

Gotta say, Paul looks after his walking gear better than you (competition was the subject of photo 1, yes?). The sheep were probably coming at you with imaginary rolling pins after your infidelity with the horses. Just wondering, is that horse’s skull still there?

Reply

Charles February 6, 2017 at 11:41 am

You don’t “look after” your gear when walking, you wuss. You get it nice and dirty. I’ll pop back to check out the skull situation shall I?

Reply

Anne Wareham February 5, 2017 at 9:58 am

pob lwch? Sure it didn’t say ‘pub lunch’?

Reply

John February 5, 2017 at 12:15 pm

Whoops, I missed that. Did Charles mean “pob lwc” which means “good luck” or “pob lwch” which means “all dust”? Gotta mind your Hs you know!

Reply

Charles February 6, 2017 at 11:44 am

Stop showing off.

Reply

Charles February 6, 2017 at 11:42 am

Haha!

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Paul Steer February 5, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Pob Lwc … Definitely !! Although we like a pub lunch x

Reply

Charles February 6, 2017 at 11:42 am

When have we ever had a pub lunch on a walk? #timetomakeamends?

Reply

Neil February 6, 2017 at 11:10 am

A fairly easy days walk, I recall, (although the muddy quagmire caused by the diggers at the end of our final track was a pain)
I recall the pub being very friendly, decent food, and comfy bed. All good. A nice days walking, a very gentle contrast to the drama of the previous walk along the ridge in the Brecons. ? ??

Reply

Charles February 6, 2017 at 11:43 am

Yes, thanks for adding a bit about the pub.

Reply

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Copyright Charles Hawes (2012)