ON the journey up to Talybont reservoir, untreated icy minor roads at Pontsticill and a squeeze past a fallen tree across the lane beyond the Pentwyn reservoir added to the excitement of the walk ahead. Arriving safely, all eleven walkers and leader Joy set off in glorious winter sunshine carefully dodging cars on the slippery road surface to pass the Nant Tarthwynni gushing down the hillside before reaching the Talybont reservoir dam, where the excess water was thundering over the spillway into the valley below to re-join the River Caerfanell.
Crossing the dam and following a narrow lane, then a steep muddy track uphill underneath a railway bridge to begin the long haul up the steep hillside to the ridgeway above, thick green moss coated rocks, boulders and trees beside the path and following weeks of heavy rainfall, rivulets of water were flowing all around. After tramping the rocky path uphill through an almost continuous flow of water it was a relief to reach the ridge at Pen Rhiw-calch to enjoy morning refreshment in bright warm sunshine. At the end of the ridge the huge form of Fan y Big and on the opposite side of the valley, still the remnants of snow on the north facing side of Waun Rydd and Craig y Fan.
Enjoying a brief chat with Cynon Valley Ramblers going the opposite way, three off-road motor cyclists roared along the ridge, suddenly changing tactics and instead following behind on the track Cynon Valley were using. Packing up, it was time to begin the gradual descent through woodland surrounding the reservoir whilst enjoying the sight and sounds of the many waterfalls tumbling down the hillside.
Heeding kind advice from two walkers coming uphill concerning a landslide ahead and reaching the point where the path completely disappeared into a deep wide ravine, a muddy scramble across a stream and through trees on the wooded hillside to re-join the path covered in soft pine needles through tall conifers meant they were back on track. Clambering past an assault course of uprooted trees blocking the path to the valley bottom, sheep were grazing on the banks of the River Caerfanell on its journey through the delightful Glyn Collwn valley.
Green meadows lined the route to Pont Blaen-y-glyn for a pleasant lunch on the banks of the fast flowing river and with temperatures dropping they were glad of the short walk along the road into a forestry track below Allt Forgan to warm up. Behind the cattle grid ahead, a flock of pregnant ewes evidently put there by the farmer to keep them safe and dry and with plenty of hay to munch they barely panicked as the group approached on the way to the Talybont Forest.
An enormous amount of tree felling there meant fantastic views not normally seen across the reservoir and beside the track huge cut logs were heaped in piles. At the highest point of the walk and gazing upwards to the ridges of Gwalciaur Cwm and Cwar y Gigfran, two walkers looked tiny compared to the surrounding scenery before the path dropped downhill. Passing more stunning waterfalls before clambering over a huge tree that was completely blocking the track, the path ascended once again and reaching the end of the wood, a short sharp descent brought them back to the reservoir before their journey home.
On March 1, meet 9.45am at the Barry Waterfront for a five to six mile moderate mystery walk in celebration of St David's Day with Welsh cakes and a short quiz; contact Barbara on 01446 794313.
A change to the planned walk on March 2, meet 10am at Cogan for a short five mile easy walk along the Banks of the River Taff; contact Pam on 029 2025 5102.
Wear suitable clothing, preferably boots and carry waterproofs, food and drinks. Some degree of fitness is required and if you are in any doubt contact the walk leader for advice. To follow the group log onto www.penarthramblers.wordpress.com Programmes and membership advice can be obtained from Pam on 029 2025 5102.