Having been dropped off at just after 10:00 at Felindre, the first job was to get through the Upper House Farm farmyard without setting the dogs off. Mission failed… at least they were all in kennels.
There must be some local rivalry as to who has the loudest farm dogs because twenty minutes later it was the canines at Rhuvid to show what they could do and they easily took the rosette.
The waymarking was, as the guidebooks suggested, excellent and there was no real way of going wrong. The paths were firm and dry all day with only one boggy bit but it was well flagged up in the books and relatively easy to negotiate. Most of the paths were grassy and easy walking which helped as it was up and down most of the day.
The dark clouds were threatening but never really looked like giving any trouble and as the morning drew on it was getting warmer and I was developing quite a thirst. I had checked the opening hours at the New Inn at Llanbadarn Fynydd and I knew I’d be ok for food if I got there before 2pm. I was on schedule for 1:15 so no worries. On a photo on their website I had noticed a Ludlow Gold pump clip on the bar and I could hear it calling me onward!
There was a lovely stretch around Castell y Blaidd and at Fron Top I heard a curlew but couldn’t locate it. It was all road then for a while but it was easy going and relatively quick and meant I’d get to the pub a bit earlier for a spot of lunch and a well earned pint (or two) of Gold!
A nice downhill run – with the only blocked gate of the day – brought me to the pub bang on ETA.
“Pub closed due to staff illness”
Now, you won’t find a man who believes more wholeheartedly than me in the rights of people to take time off sick. It’s a fundamental human right as far as I’m concerned. But for crying out loud…
My euphoria at being out in the Welsh countryside on a beautiful day had been reduced somewhat but I pushed on, knowing that I would need to stop soon to eat my lunch. This would now be a bar of Dairy Milk.
It was a long steady climb out of Llanbadarn Fynydd after ‘lunch’ and then a short, boggy bit before climbing again to a wide, grassy path with amazing views all around.
I still hadn’t passed (or even seen in the distance) any other walkers all day. Lots of birds though, more importantly, including numerous Red Kites, Buzzards, Stonechat and the best look I’ve had at a Redstart in years. I heard plenty of cuckoos but didn’t get a good look at any. Same with Chiffchaff. Lots of close up views of Skylark and plenty of Chaffinch as well.
The last two miles felt like five, as is usually the way. There was at least a pub in Abbeycwmhir, my destination for the night, The Happy Union. The union I had in mind was between me and a pint of real ale and as I turned down the path to the pub door at 5:15pm, having made reasonably good time and spitting feathers, I saw the sign.
Open at 20:00
It did at least open! It was very welcoming too to be fair. The Felinfoel Double Dragon was eminently drinkable and the staff and locals very friendly. Here’s hoping for the same standards in Llanidloes tomorrow!