Tairbull to Erwood – Day 12 of Romilly’s One Island Walk for street children

Market researches, girls with clipboardsMarket Researchers in Brecon                                                                       © James Forshall

We walked down the main road for the few remaining miles to Brecon.  Johnny wanted to buy some new boots and I needed some maps for the next leg of the journey.

Orchids We were heading  for Nighton, which is two days walk from Brecon.   A straight line drawn on the map would take us within a few miles of Erwood, where there is a bridge over the Wye.    There were few footpaths across the farmland and those did not go in our direction but across it. We would have to take lanes for much of the days walk.  Although it would not be difficult to navigate, tarmac is an unforgiving surface on which to walk.

Looking south to Pen Y Fan framed by treesLooking south to Pen y Fan                                                                             © James Forshall

We stopped at a farm house to fill my water bottle. You could see the Brecon Beacons clearly.  ‘Yes it’s a lovely view’, said the farmer’s wife, who was cutting up cabbage, ‘ but it’s rough up here in winter.’

I walked out of the farm to find that Caro, a friend of Johnny, and who lives nearby, had arrived with ginger beer, pork pies and chunks of delicious ginger cake.  Thank you Caro.

DSCF8998 Ivy clad telephone box copyright James ForshallTelephone Box                                                                                           © James Forshall

At Erwood we stopped for a drink in the pub. As I walked in an old habitue of the place, said, ‘Well hello, looks like Crocodile Dundee’, and sniggered. What I should have said was, ‘Looks like Crocodile Dundee…. It is Crocodile Dundee’….  but of course I didn’t.  I was tired.

We walked through Erwood over the bridge and up the hill on the other side leaving the road and heading north through fields hedged with hawthorn further uphill.  We saw a curlew and heard it’s cry as it tried to distract us from it’s nest.  Peter, Caro’s husband came to pick us up. He took us back to their beautiful house on the banks of the Wye where Caro was preparing a delicious supper.

It was the night of England’s match against Uruguay. We watched the first half before eating and then watched the recorded second half, and the Nibbler of Uruguay destroy England’s hopes.  Well better to be beaten by a superstar and than a mediocrity, and England’s spoilt, overpaid players did seem to be trying a little harder than usual. The surprise of the game was Rooney scoring a goal.  We all agreed that it had been a good game and as I stumbled off to bed I thought what a jolly evening it had been, how delicious the food and how kind and hospitable our hosts, and although I cleaned my teeth I certainly don’t remember my head touching the pillow.

You can help Romilly help homeless children here: http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/RomillysOneIslandWalk

Aberdulais to Tair Bull – Day 11 Romilly’s One Island Walk for Street Children

man sleeping in sleeping bag, foxgloves We started walking around 6.30.  Our target was the campsite at Brecon.  It was going to be a long day. We walked past woods and wind turbines.  The track was clear enough.  After about an hour and half we came over the side of a hill an saw Duffryn below us.

Oxeye Daisies at Duffryn

                                                                                                                                © James Forshall

We walked down between two rows of cottages which Johnny told me had originally been bought by the coal board, who when short of money sold them to the tenants.  When the pit closed those that had bought found their savings locked up in houses that no one wanted to buy.  Beyond this a road led off to the main village.  A man with a stick was walking towards us and I went to ask him where the pub was.  I was thinking of breakfast and wanted to keep my cold deep fried sausages in reserve.

The man told us that Duffryn was the birth place of St Patrick and that was a stone dedicated to him down the road, how he’d been a slave and then become a Christian and went to Ireland.  ‘People say he was Welsh, but there were no Welsh then. We were all Romano British. The term Welsh didn’t exist in St Patrick’s Day.’   The man’s name was George Evans. He was over 80 years old and as sharp as a tack.  He pointed us on to the pub. ‘Tell Glynn George sent you and to treat you right.’

We found Glynn outside the Duffryn Arms,  stripped to the waist, painting the wall in front of the pub.  He took us in and fetched us cheese rolls and a cup of tea.  We chatted away. He asked where we were walking to, where we had stayed.  ‘How much do I owe you’  ‘Oh, let’s see…..make it a fiver’.   We had also had a couple of bags of crisps.  ‘That seems very reasonable’.  He asked why we were walking and when we told him he gave us back the fiver.  ‘Here put this towards your charity’.   I found this very touching.  Thank you Glynn.

A little to the North of of Duffryn we picked up the Sarn Helen, the Roman road going up to wards Brecon.  It is very impressive though sadly damaged by green laners and tractors.

Sarn Helen, Roman Road

Sarn Helen – The Roman Road                                                                         © James Forshall

We walked past hill farms and through plantations of fir trees. We met no one except for a party of DoE girls resting and later some elderly rambler types ending their walk and getting into their comfortable cars. Here there was a stream. We were at the base of the Beacons.  Not so far to go now.

Johnny had sped along the day before but was finding it more difficult today. It was long and he was wearing a pair his son’s shoes, which were not providing him with much protection from the broken stones of the Roman Road. Though obviously suffering he never complained.Man bathing feet in stream

We were two hills to the west of the Storey Arms.  We climbed almost due east and then turned north and made our way along sheep tracks, past shaggy ponies to the top of the hill. We turned north west and then due north to a saddle and then just north of East walking towards the top of the cliffs above the road which heads north from the Storey Arms.  We could now see Corn Dhu and Pen y Fan to the East.  We had been walking for over twelve hours.

Looking North East towards BreconLooking north East towards Brecon                                                           © James Forshall 

Man Reading Map

 

Man descending hill side

© James Forshall

We climbed down towards the road which leads north from the Storey Arms to Brecon.  It was about as steep as a grass bank can be. Once on the road we headed down hill for the Tair Bull pub as quickly as we could.  We were hungry and wanted to get there before the kitchen closed.  Once at the pub we ordered chicken curry and beer. We had walked 28.5 miles and were about 5 miles short of being back on schedule.

Help Romilly to help homeless children. Donate here :  http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/RomllysOneIslandWalk

All photographs © James Forshall