After a tasty breakfast in the small café opposite our apartment we went – once again with the trolleys – towards the train station. Our train was once again on time to the minute, meanwhile a dearly won matter of course which we, back in Germany, should still miss painfully.
The B&B we booked by phone the day before was called The Alt B&B and was located right on the outskirts of Talybont on Usk in the heart of Brecon Beacons National Park in Llansantffraed, Wales – yes, the long tonguebreaker replacement is intentional! ?
Anne and Shamus, the hosts at The Alt B&B, are incredibly nice and open-minded people who make you feel right at home! The rooms were furnished with a lot of love, clean and we had a bathtub which I missed very much until then and used immediately in the evening for a bath.
Since it was only shortly after noon we decided to go for something to eat and then take a walk through the small town, rather a village, and the surrounding area.
The B&B is situated about one kilometre from the town centre in the middle of the green and on the way to the village you cross the quietly rippling River Usk and are welcomed immediately afterwards by a sign decorated with flowers.
Coffee and tea thirsty we first settled down in the beautiful garden of the Usk Inn half way to take a breather and write a few postcards to the remaining relatives in Germany. Freshly strengthened but still hungry we continued on our way towards the village centre. A few hundred meters further on we came across The White Hart Inn & Bunkhouse which invited us optically directly to dinner, a good decision as it turned out.
I ordered a steak & ale pie without knowing exactly what it was, I had a pâté in the back of my head. But it turned out to be more of a goulash with mushrooms and peas in a casserole dish which is gratinated with puff pastry – very hot but also very tasty!
Well saturated we made our way to the Brecon Canal, which can be crossed over a bridge directly behind the White Hart Inn. The canal was formerly used to transport coal and iron from surrounding deposits. Coal and iron were transported by small railways, so-called tramways pulled by horses, to the canal and transported over the canal on boats in the direction of Newport. Nowadays the canal offers a beautiful hiking trail, permanently accompanied by water, which is also spanned by some lifting bridges.
We walked about 13 kilometres along the canal and then cross country back towards Talybont on Usk, we ate a pretty bad lunch at the White Hart Inn and walked back to the B&B. We also decided to spend the next day here to spend a day without the rolling back and forth of suitcases. In addition we wanted to dedicate ourselves to a long hiking trail and look at both the Talybont Reservoir and a waterfall that Shamus recommended to us.
So the next morning after a “Welsh Breakfast” – actually the same as an English Breakfast, but okay – we made our way to the village to stock up with water, cookies and some fruit.
Behind the White Hart Inn we crossed the bridge and turned off towards the Talybont Reservoir. Our plan was to walk around the reservoir on the east side, see the waterfalls in Abercynafon and then walk back through Talybont Forest on the west side of the reservoir.
To the starting point at the reservoir we went through a small piece of forest where we can still see the path that the narrow-gauge railway used to follow to transport goods to the Brecon Canal. Arriving at the reservoir we were astonished, because we had heard about the size of the reservoir, but in the right proportion we had not imagined it.
Over the dam there is a path that we walked up to the middle to look at the small tower, the meaning of which was not quite revealed to us, which rises out of the water close to the dam. If you know the exact purpose of this tower, please write it in the comments.
Directly behind the dam we went slowly but steadily uphill, so that we could see more and more of the valley and the surrounding Brecon Beacons National Park. My girlfriend at the time fought her way up a hill to the top to see a little more, but as this hill was lower than most of the other hills in the area, I left her the pleasure alone.
At the other end of the reservoir we could admire the whole reservoir and the inlet from the height. Now we had to let all gained altitude meters go again, because it went downhill to cross the tributary and thus to get to the other side of the reservoir. At this point, due to our lack of competence as card readers, we made a mistake that we only became aware of much later.
So we followed the path across the tributary and kept to the right. Soon we passed a few rivers that crossed our way from the Talybont Forest towards the reservoir and splashed down some rock stairs… “Great waterfall” was our immediate thought.
As the forest was otherwise very beautiful, we were not too disappointed. In the forest, rock stairs sometimes led directly into the thicket – probably connecting paths or shortcuts for forest workers – which had something very enchanted about them.
As we were scrambling down a path through the forest, the already not very sunny weather suddenly got worse. It was closing in and the first raindrops fell on us. Within seconds, the trickling turned into a biblical flood and the forest path, which had been somewhat stony and steep but easy to walk, turned into a rapid river with slippery ground. We walked a few more hundred meters along the forest path, hardly seeing our hand in front of our eyes, we were wet to the bone anyway. After about 600 meters it became really too dangerous and there was a possibility to change from the forest road to a road parallel to the reservoir, which we did.
The road itself had also mutated into a river, but thanks to an asphalt surface instead of fir needles as the underground, it ran much safer. Only about 10 minutes after our change the rain subsided as fast as it had started and the sun came out again. On the other bank the forest began to steam as the water evaporated – a spectacular sight!
At that time still a smoker, I was glad about the not yet opened pack of cigarettes which had survived the Flood thanks to the plastic foil. But that was also the only thing that remained dry. In the shade we shivered slightly and made our way back to Talybont un Usk. We were cold and we were broken and we were hungry too!
As wet as we were, we couldn’t go to the restaurant for dinner, of course, but had to change first to the B&B. We asked in the restaurant how long food was served and we were told until 8 pm…but that was only 40 minutes, so we had to hurry! Quickly to the B&B, changed our clothes, dried our hair and at the goose step back to the tried and tested White Hart Inn, where we were greeted with a smile and a card in our hands. We were really late, but the staff was really nice and gave us all the time in the world to choose something delicious for dinner.
After a delicious supper and a few beers we went back to the B&B where we developed a battle plan for the next day, because we should go north to Scotland, better said to Edinburgh and the Highlands.
How we got to Edinburgh and what awaited us there you can read on the next page