Monday, 9 August 2010

Day seven. Llanbrynmair to Llanwddyn. 16.75 miles.

Well here I am, sitting on the balcony of the Tower Tavern with a pint of Monty's Desert Rats, watching the sun setting over Lake Vyrnwy. Bliss.

The Tower Tavern is part of the Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. It is the non-posh part, which is why I'm here. I can only assume that as well as tramps, midges are also banned from the posh part, because I can see lots of posh people sitting outside to my left, and they don't seem to be slapping themselves every three and a half seconds. If you haven't been to Lake Vyrnwy it is beautiful but, for mid-Wales, quite popular. This is the quietest I have ever seen it and it's fab, though as it's Sunday it probably wasn't quiet earlier. Here is a picture of the dam.

My b&b is also fab, possibly the nicest so far and a two minute walk from the dam, though when recommending the Tower Tavern my landlord forgot to mention midges in the same sentence as terrace, glorious view and relaxing beer. It even provides a complimentary dressing gown, on which there is a label which says, "Wear me whilst watching the highlights of Manchester United's comfortable pre-season victory over Chelsea". So I will.

My Glyndwr's Way guide book is, sadly, rubbish. It is the official National Trail guide containing 1:25,000 OS maps, so why it spends the entire time describing in totally unnecessary detail which way to go I've no idea (have I moaned about this before? I suddenly had a sense of iPhone déjà vu.). I can read a map, I don't need directions, I need answers. I need to know why I am visiting all these places and their connection with my dear friend Owain. I know that, for example, he briefly made Machynlleth capital of Wales, so I know why I went there. But the book seems to forget about him most of the time. Maybe he came here and said, "I declare that this place shall one day become a reservoir, a place of great beauty, a place of meditation and calm. By the way does anybody have any insect repellant?" But then again maybe he didn't.

Another problem with the guide book is that it claims that all of the pubs en route are excellent. Well I suppose it has to really, as an objective guide. They aren't though, as the latest lunch time effort proved. It's Sunday, the Cann Office Hotel at Llangadfan is on the only 'A' road I crossed today, and it advertises all day food on Sunday. But it was empty when I got there. I don't think it's got the excuses that previous, more remote, pubs had. It's just not very pleasant, though at least the beer was good (Brain's).

Today's walk was the longest I'll do and it felt like it. Each day the ascents seem to get steeper and longer, four of them today. Here is the view looking back from the first hill towards Llanbrynmair (on the left).

Four ascents doesn't sound too bad, but I have to remember that each ascent can be anything between 500ft and 1000ft, so it soon builds up. The last hill was a killer, especially as I only had a mile left when I started going up it so I had a nearly finished attitude. The weather was spot on today, sunny most of the time but not too hot, with a lovely breeze. There were two long
coniferous forest sections but both were pleasant, meaning that I wasn't walking in the dark the whole time. The paths were wide and sunny. The scenery changed quite dramatically between entering the first forest and leaving it two miles later. As I went in the hills were as they had been since Knighton, lumpy and dropping down into valleys each time they ended. When I came out it was to much more 'sweeping' scenery, with wider, shallow valleys. More like an upland plateau really. I had read in reports on the net that the northern half of the walk was much less impressive than the southern half, but there has been nothing during the last two days to suggest that, and I've only got two days left.

Song of the day was 'Pale Shelter' by Tears for Fears, which was ok because I like it, though after it's been stuck in your head for hours you start to wonder why it's been stuck in your head for hours, and realise what a miserable song it is (from a really good, miserable album!). Maybe tomorrow I'll make a conscious effort to lodge something cheerful in my head, like Rick Astley. Or maybe not.

I made the most of today's weather because the forecast isn't great for tomorrow. Let's hope it's one of those days that turns out better than predicted. I'm stacking up these blog entries because I haven't had a signal for about five days! I hope nobody thinks I actually have died. Mr Blue Sky has just come on in the pub. That would be a great one to sing tomorrow. In the rain.

Oh, nearly forgot, I had chicken breast wrapped in bacon and stuffed with black pudding, with a peppercorn sauce tonight. Meal rating 6/10. The chicken was fine, but two points docked for trying to overcharge me (it said £9.50 on the menu, so she charged me £13.75), and another two for serving re-heated new potatoes and tired vegetables (well I know what I'm on about, I think!).

-- Posted from my iPhone

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