Black Mountains
16 October 2015

Journey to Wales Crickhowell Cwmfforest Castell Dinas Talgarth Please Read Me

Journey to the Black Mountains - October 16

With Jim at the wheel, it was only about four hours before we reached Cwmfforest in the Black Mountains. We stopped for tea at the "Britannia Inn" in Crickhowell and made arrangements to pick up the train and bus travellers in our party.

Before dinnner in Talgarth, some of us had an introductory walk around Castell Dinas.

In the afternoon some of us made a short circular walk around Castell Dinas, and in the evening, the hosteleries in Talgarth were on the agenda for some of us. You will see on this page that we had quite an active first day in the Brecons.

Coming to Cwmfforest - Interlude in Crickhowell

The M4 and the toll bridge were our route into Wales. A bit of Eddie Stobart spotting is always fun, and today we counted 6 trucks in England and 3 in Wales, the score on the return journey being Wales 0 and England 3; sounds a bit like Rugby - why did I mention that? Anyway, "The Britannia Inn" in Crickhowell was our first stop, to make arrangements to pick up those of our party who had come by public transport. Cwmfforest lies a bit off the beaten track, which is good for getting onto the mountains, but can require some additional transport logistics. Tea at "The Britannia" provided a nice break before the final leg of our journey to Cwmfforest.

Here is down-town Crickhowell -

- history swamped alas by cars and more cars.

However, there is still room to get to our meeting point - "The Britannia Inn" ...

... whose sign holds sway over this mass of 21st century personal transportation.

Here is the sign again - given the "GIMP" treatment!

Cwmfforest Riding Centre - Our Hostel

It's always nice, when arriving at a hotel or hostel to be able to dump one's baggage in the room and do a little bit of initial exploring. That's what happened here. First, I got talking to the lady of the house who actually hailed from near Munich. Her daughter was in Sweden, married - would you believe? - to a Swede. The daughter was instrumental in bringing over the Swedish Stove, of which more below.

This is the entrance to the ranch. Well, not exactly. It's the Cwmfforest Riding Centre, but looks as if it might have had some J.R. Ewing influences. I took this piccy on our last day, bit it fits here nicely.

Here is the comfy lounge, home also to the Swedish stove.

And here is the stove. It's a Jøtul stove. With a name like that it must be Swedish. It was brought over at the instigation of the "Swedish " daughter, but not in her hand luggage. It's a cast iron wood burning stove to fit Swedish requirements engendered by Swedish winters. It also has a special draught arrangement to make the best of the products of a Swedish - and now a Welsh - forest. What more do you want to know?

A Micro-Walk Around Castell Dinas

Tony suggested a walk around our immediate area - a walk to provide a useful "leg stretch" as well as giving us a short introduction to this part of the Principality (Wales that is). The walk was not quite four miles and we not only saw something of the nice local landscape but also learnt that, for our visit, conditions under foot were generally good, apart from the odd lively ford and only the merest smidgeon of mud. (You might also wish to see some quantitative information on this walk.)

As we ascend away from the hostel, the Black Mountains to the east greet us.

It's time for a piccy of ¾ of our small exploring party.

There are some more nice views ...

... towards the east and the Black Mountains.

We stop again for a piccy - why not?
This view is towards the flatter plains of the north.

Here we look back to the south - to the way we came up.

Here is a view of Castell Dinas - the highest castle in Wales. Well, there's not really much left of the castle apart from its earthworks whose construction, all those centuries ago, probably required a lot of hard labour. Although battered by the ravages of time, the castle ruins yielded some interesting museum fodder.

We stop at the foot of the Castell for a break and quick chat.

The scenery is nice ...

... but I'm not sure what caught our attention at this particular moment.

Wherever we stop for a picture, the fine scenery is always there.

Evening in Talgarth

In the evening, some of us ventured north to Talgarth, whose "Bridge End Inn" was our aim. It was crowded, so Jim's contingent went to the nearby Talgarth Hotel. The recommendation for the Bridge End Inn was, no doubt, well intended. Unfortunately, my culinary experience of the said hostelry was not really a matter of perfection. The food was a while coming, and its quality could have been better. However, it was getting late, so there really was very little time to raise any comments. For our subsequent evenings we made other arrangements. So ended our first day. Many impressions good, but alas the culinary impressions not really quite in the top league.

The "Bridge End Inn" at Talgarth had a Food Hygiene Rating of 4 out of 5.