Day 27: 19 Apr 2014; Builth Wells to Rhayader
|Date||Sat 19 Apr 2014||Start to end time||08h 03m|
|Start point||Builth Wells||End point||Rhayader|
|Miles today||18.52||Cu miles||510.70|
|Ft today||2,936||Cu ft||82,814|
|Route miles left||965.52||Route ft left||117,981|
|Today’s weather||Very cold and frosty start. Sun in early morning but clouded over about 9:30. Sun came out again late afternoon. Cold westerly breeze. About 9C|
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
|GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)
Today was the post Black Mountain anti-climax which I’d expected yesterday, but which hadn’t actually happened. But I did break through the 500 mile mark, which was a pretty significant personal achievement.
The route followed the Wye Valley Way again, through rural countryside which is becoming increasingly upland. If you were a sheep farmer no doubt you would be interested in the progress of the lambing season along the route – but to my mind once you’ve seen one lamb you have rather seen them all. And my overwhelming memories from today will I think be of the sound of sheep bleating (some of them sound like they are gargling with diesel) and the smell of sheep manure, which completely pervaded the air.
The views became increasingly spectacular as I waked up the valley – the river becomes less oily and more like a proper mountain stream. And it starts to branch into smaller tributaries. Just before Rhayader, it spits into the Wye and the Elan and there is an impressive, if slightly stomach-churningly wobbly, suspension bridge for the path across the Elan.
Just before Rhayader, I had done a bit of cunning route-adjustment to cut out another hill and an extra couple of miles on the route, by following a different right-of-way shown on my map. It would lead to a bridge and then directly to my campsite. Unfortunately, when I had walked a couple of miles to the “bridge”, I discovered that it didn’t exist. So although the right of way does indeed cross the deep and fast flowing river Wye, it does so in theory only. There is no bridge, ford or stepping stones so rather than retracing my steps I had to fight my way along the river bank through an almost non-existent path, to Rhayader. An unwelcome diversion but I’ve learned to interpret rights of was as precisely that – a right to walk somewhere, but not necessarily a guarantee that there will actually be a means of doing so.
Tonight I’m camping at Gigrin Farm campsite, which has two interesting features. The first is that it is also a feeding station for Red Kites, and I think that the red kites that are a frequent companion on hikes in the Chilterns were actually introduced from somewhere near here. (Though the Welsh kites seem a bit darker coloured than the Chiltern ones, and have a less “twitchy” flight). The second is that there is no shower at the campsite. To the hiker this a) saves time as you don’t have to bother getting washed b) means that you don’t have to expose yourself to the elements in order to get into the shower. In fact these are such significant benefits that I’m surprised more campsites don’t offer them, and indeed at a premium price.