Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Berwyn Montains in May. Just had to share . . .

"Let's go . .  to the Ceiriog Valley" I suggested as OH came home after a morning's chat with an old friend in 'the cafe'. After a long wait and a very cold few weeks, the sun was shining in a clear blue sky. It was a shame to waste the day. I had worked all morning gathering material for writing. It was time to relax.
Off we set after lunch with the top of the car down, sunglasses in place and a map clutched in my hand.
The Ceiriog Valley is so beautiful. I have long extolled the virtues of North Wales and how you travel far to match it. On a day like today it was easy to feel that you were abroad in the French Alps or Andorran Mountains in the Pyrenees. The angels had been busy with their paint box.

Taking the quick route along the Wrexham by-pass to Chirk, we turned towards the  railway station, before swinging left towards Selattyn and the road to Glyn Ceriog and  Llanarmon Dyfryn Clwyd or Llanarmon DC as it is known. This is the other side of the mountain from Llangollen. There is a road over the top here but quite bad. The road took us along the valley with the babbling River Ceiriog running alongside. Sheep grazed contentedly on the lush grass of the fields which covered the mountainside. Passing through Pontfadog, we reached  Glyn Ceriog  and later Llanarmon DC, ignoring all the delights and places to visit.  I suggested that we head towards  Llanrhaeadr ym Mochnant (B4500) and the waterfall.  The unmarked road from Llanarmon took us high over the Berwyn mountains and Mynydd Mawr , on roads which had a steep drop at one side as it fell away into a deep valley. Everywhere was peace and calm, beauty and ever changing scenery. At one point, I spotted a small cluster of trees on top of the mountain.
"They are very straight considering they are on the top," commented OH.
The road seemed to go on forever as it wended its way along the top of the mountain before dropping into the valley. This mountain road brought us out onto a junction we had not used before as - well - we had not been on this road before. Coming to Llanrhaeadr we soon recognised where we were and turned to the right for the waterfall. The road here gets very narrow. The last time we came here, we were on the Gold Wing motorbike I think. Having lived in the country, in the Dee Valley not far from the Ceiriog Valley, for many years we were used to this. However, some of our friends were very perturbed at the narrowness of the roads and lack of passing places.
Arriving now t the car park, we noticed that the charge was now £2.00. Pay and Display. Simple really. No machine; we simply paid at the ice cream counter and took a 'raffle/cloakroom' ticket to display. The first time we came here with the Gold Wingers, OH was the leader and said he would pay the 50pence charge for everyone to make it simpler. The  very young attendant had great difficulty in working out what ten times fifty pence was and was in a mild panic. I kid you not!

I digress. Back to the waterfall.

The border between England and Wales  here is very changeable. One minute you are in one county - and country -  and the next, in another. Llanrhaeadr is in Powys, Wales with a Shrewsbury,Shropshire, England postcode! In Welsh the waterfall is called Pistyll Rhaeadr. It truly is a sight to behold with the water, cascading from the high craggy rocks above, roaring into the river far below. Take a look at the photos in the links. We didn't take any today as we already have lots and you can't improve on perfection.
I wasn't really wearing the right shoes to trek down the steep slope to the bridge at the foot of the falls (nothing new there!), so we settled for an ice cream and cold drink in a shady spot on the terrace of the little cafe.The website does actually remind you that this is mountain country and to follow instructions posted for safety. This area is delightful and over the years in which we have visited here, it has developed into a lovely spot to relax on a trip out.
Returning to the car, after drinking in the peace of the roaring water finding escape from the mountains as we sat in the dappled shade, we headed back to the village. Having missed a few turnings, we found ourselves on the Llansillin road which I could see from the map had lots of turnings into the mountains back to Llanarmon DC. Rabbits continued to chance their lives as they crossed the road in front of the car. A brightly coloured pheasant with a bad leg, hopped across the road into the hedge. Everywhere, hedgerow flowers bloomed in a glorious display of white and yellow - sometimes with pink and blue ones peeking between them - and managed a wave in the still afternoon air.  A lone sheep, guarded the field from the hedgerow. At every turn we had a different scene. High above us to one side were towering tree-covered mountains with sheep grazing on lush grass. At the other side, they  [sheep] clung to the fields which dipped steeply down to the meandering river far below.
Avoiding the signs for Llanfyllin, we headed east and following the signs, we turned off the B4580 onto a more 'minor' road to reach Llansillin. Here we turned left and north west across country towards Glyn Ceriog and the B4500 to pick up the A483, ignoring the signs for Rhydycroeasau and Oswestry. The roads were very narrow with high, well-trimmed hedges. It was difficult to see far ahead. Fortunately, the roads were quiet. OH hadn't a clue where he was. I had the map. I was in charge and OH was happy to follow wherever the missed road signs took us. We had all the time in the world. As the poem says  "What is life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare" ( W.H. Davies)
The colours were fantastic with all shades of green being mixed in with that citrus yellow tinged with green which you see at this time of year. The trees were certainly showing off their new spring finery.
The heat was now going out of the sun. What a wonderful impromptu ride out in the glorious month of May.
 I just had to share . . .

Rosalie x x