The new academic year’s begun, so for the third or fourth time, I joined the uni’s hiking club. In a shocking break with tradition I actually went on one of their hikes with them yesterday – a 12-or-so mile stroll in the Neath Valley. It were lovely.
We started high up, at Craig Y Llyn, above the reservoir, and followed the ridge on the western side of the valley south, past the big wind farm near Glyncorrwg (this is the wind farm you can see on the horizon from Swansea on a relatively clear day, e.g. today) and the down past Melincourt Waterfall, ending up at the Farmer’s Arms for a welcome pint — of course.
I tracked our progress with my iPhone, but sadly the (fully-charged) battery ran out after 9 miles or so. Here’s the result with nice elevation and pace graphs (although the duration is all wrong: it certainly wasn’t 7.5 hours to that point – more like 4.5!), and here’s a Google Earth file if anyone’s interested. (You can imagine the rest of the path easily enough: drop down by the falls, then cross under the A465 and to the pub.) I didn’t take any photos because that would have eaten the iPhone’s battery even quicker — but I’m sure some will appear on the hiking club site soon enough.
One particularly nice thing, from a personal point of view: when we got to the top of Melincourt Falls, it wasn’t at all clear where the path down to the falls (on the north side of the stream, according the the leader’s map) was, and we started down one path which led to someone’s back yard before returning to the road. Fortunately, I’d been there a month earlier with Carys, and I knew a way down on the other side – because we’d walked up it! So I led us down to the falls, only slightly worried I might not be able to find the right path. In the end it was obvious. On the down side, I left my flask (half full of coffee!) at the spot where we stopped to have lunch (not the falls). Grrr.
It was a nice group: 32 of us, all students of course, and I was probably 10+ years older than almost everyone there (a couple of exceptions, maybe). Lots of international students. Lots of German girls. A surprising amount of unsuitable footwear – but that might be because everyone’s waiting for the discount equipment night at Blacks and Millet’s tomorrow night! :-)
Next week they’re going up Pen Y Fan, and the week after to the Peak District — but I’ll miss both of those due to personal commitments. The next one I’ll make should be a walk in Pembrokeshire at the end of the month (photos of last year here).