GW Day 6 – Machynlleth to Llanbrynmair, Wednesday 6th June

Another tough day in the unrelenting heat of Mid Wales! Is that the first time in history that sentence has been uttered?

I fear it will be a shorter missive than of late though as not an awful lot happened worth writing about!

After leaving the B&B in Machynlleth at about 9:25, after the usual faffing about, it was a gentle enough start, on roads for the first mile or so but very quiet minor ones.

Shortly after turning off the road, the first climb of the day was accomplished to the accompaniment of the Red Arrows who were obviously training in the ‘Mach loop’ but in solo, so no diamonds or hearts I’m afraid. You can just make it out in the photo below (which is probably over cropped so a bit pixellated).

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I was looking for some shade for about an hour to eat my co-op bought sandwiches but there was very little to be found.

I eventually stopped under a sycamore – just glad to be out of the sun. I heard a bird call that I wasn’t sure of. It was like ‘weird, weird’. When I spotted it it was another beautiful Redstart. Of course, I couldn’t get a decent photo…

I was already rationing my water and coke at this point (about 13:30) as I knew I wouldn’t reach the pub I was staying in until at least 6pm.

My hydration bladder (basically like a big polythene water bottle that slots in your rucksack) had started leaking on Saturday morning and, despite me putting it inside a carrier bag, by Wednesday it was pretty much unusable. The beauty of re-using Pepsi bottles however is that you know exactly how much you’ve got left and can ration it accordingly. I find with a bladder hidden away in your rucksack you’ve got no idea how much is left and can be caught out in hot weather.

Viewranger, which is the GPS based mapping software I use, tells you exactly how far you’ve got to go on your pre-loaded route so you can say to yourself ‘OK, I’ve got 5k to go and 500ml of water left so I’ll have 100ml at every km. That’ s what I do anyway…

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Lots of nice views of the Dyfi valley in the earlier parts of the walk today. The second was a bit ‘agricultural’ to be honest . Not just all the sheep but churned up ground that can easily turn an ankle and loads of empty feed bags and broken plastic buckets lying around.

One of the unusual highlights of the day was this tractor graveyard by Commaes Road. A bit of T-Cut and it’ll be like new! Reminds me of the first, scene setting, episode of Minder where Arthur provides Terry with the white Capri – “It’s barely run in Terrence”!

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Both the guide books I’m using, the Kittiwake and the Cicerone one, had promised a walk through forest 2 km from the finish and I was longing for a bit of shade. Unfortunately, said forest had been felled since the books were published and it was a scene of much devastation. It looked like they’d given the contract to Laurel and Hardy.

Anyway, the end was in sight as Llanbrynmair appeared below but you couldn’t get there the straightforward route. Oh no. The farmer had obviously insisted that instead of walking down his access road, as done already umpteen times on the route, they’d have to set up a complex diversion around the farmyard and he’d see to it that the ground was as rough as possible and rock strewn.

The Wynnstay Arms is old school, with basic rooms, but the landlady Pauline is doing a grand job and at least it’s still going. You walk through so many villages and you look at a ‘house’ and think – that used to be the pub.

Onwards and, invariably, upwards. The longest stage tomorrow but I’ve allowed myself the luxury of staying in the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. Just got to get there first!

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