After carefully checking the weather reports which were predicting wind speeds in excess of 55- mph at the highest point of his planned mountain walk, William from Penarth and District Ramblers met up with John R, Debs, Sue, Kath and her dog Ramakin for the journey up to the Talybont reservoir in the Brecon Beacons National Park.

Set in the shelter of the Caerfanell Valley with the surrounding hillsides covered with trees, the reservoir was built during the 1930’s to supply water for Newport and it contains a stock of wild brown trout and fly fishing is allowed only by permit with strict rules. 

Parking at the north-west end of the Talybont reservoir and donning protection against the weather the five adventurers and Ramakin set off along the road at the start of their 13-mile hike to circumnavigate the reservoir at a high level. 

Crossing the 380m reservoir dam below which the Talybont Hydro Water Turbine produces electricity for the local community, with the excess energy being fed back into the National Grid and joining part of the Taff Trail, they began the long steady climb through the steep wooded slopes to pick up the Bryn Oer or more commonly known by its anglicised name the Brinore Tramroad. 

The tramroad ran for eight miles from Talybont-on-Usk to Trefil and was operational between 1815 and 1865 linking the Tredegar Iron Works to the limestone quarries at Trefil and the Brecon and Monmouth Canal at Talybont-on-Usk, where row of limekilns are situated. 

Reaching the top and taking advantage of the shelter of trees for their morning break they emerged straight into a strong wind through the gap at Pen Bwlch Glasgwm.

Heading across the open moorland at Bryniau Gleision towards the trig point above Pant y Creigiau they noted the frogspawn dotted along the ridgeway in small ponds some of which were in danger of drying out unless more rain fell to replenish them. 

Reaching the trig point at 565m they enjoyed a short pause to admire the surrounding views before launching into a steep descent down the hillside to cross the road and head towards the forestry plantation and lovely waterfalls at Blaen-y-glyn for their lunch stop. 

Next it was time to tackle the steep climb on rocky paths up Craig y Fan Ddu and at this point the wind began to strengthen and following the open narrow track above the steep escarpment, by the time they reached the pathway known as Graig Fan Las it was difficult to stay upright. 

William had planned to make a detour at this point to descend across the top of the Blaen y Glyn valley in order to view the remains of a Wellington Bomber piloted by a Canadian crew that crashed into the side of Waun Rydd in 1942.

Although it was possible to view the memorial cairn on the opposite side of the valley, by common consent they battled on against the buffeting wind making their way across the barren hillside of Waun Rydd which rises to 769m. 

It was something of a relief to see the mound of Carn Pica looming in the distance and having paused to enjoy the views, a gradual steep descent on Twyn Du meant the worst of the wind was left behind and walking conditions became easier.

Soon the Talybont Reservoir came into sight and heading down to join a bridle path, which led them on past Berthlwyd-fach Farm, a journey through several fields led them back onto the road and back to the car park. 

On March 24, a rail ramble to the Rhondda Valley for an 11-mile moderate walk taking in both Rhondda Fach and Fawr will leave Penarth Railway Station at 8.47am or Cardiff Central at 9.06am, please purchase a return ticket to Porth; contact John R on 029 2070 8294. 

Wear suitable clothing, preferably boots and carry waterproofs, food and drinks.

Some degree of fitness is required and if you are in any doubt, then please contact the walk leader for advice.

To follow the group please log onto penarthramblers.wordpress.com or Facebook. 

Programmes and membership advice can be obtained from Pam on 029 2025 5102.


THE ninth Valeways Walking festival will have a sea theme this year.

The walking charity, has launched details of its Vale of Glamorgan Walking Festival, which this runs for six days from Tuesday, May 15 to Sunday, May 20.

The festival will celebrate the 2018’s Wales-wide theme: the Year of the Sea.

Festival chairwoman, Marion Eynon said: “We are delighted that ours remains one of the UK’s biggest free events of its kind.

“We’re proud, that we can claim to be one of the most inclusive festivals, organising walks for people of all ages and fitness levels.

“Everyone is welcome, no need to book.”

There will be 28 events, from 1.5 miles to eight miles, offering fascinating insights into the coastal paths, maritime history and channel wildlife of the region.

She added: “The Vale is the perfect showcase for the Year of the Sea theme.

“Our aim is that this year, once again, the festival will boost tourism. Visitors from outside the region love the event.

“A free, walk-up festival means they can book B&B, knowing they can cherry-pick their walks with an eye on the day’s weather - that’s not an option that many festivals offer.

“But, of course we’re hoping for sunshine all week long - it sometimes happens.”

For programme details, visit valeofglamorganwalkingfestival.org.uk or call Valeways on 01446 749000.