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Delightfully Sunny: Miles Walked: 130.3
Llangadfan to Pont Llogel
Yesterday was sunny, so today was supposed to be rainy. That’s the pattern we’ve had over the last eight days so waking up to bright sun and not a cloud in the sky confused us. Why was Wales playing this cruel trick on us to tease us with the sunniest of mornings and then blast us with torrential rain falls later in the day? Alas, we finally caught a break and had nothing but sun all day, but tomorrow is looking to revert to form with rain predicted. We’re just grateful for two sunny days in a row. We didn’t know Wales was capable!
After a delightful talk with Rachel, the owner of the Cann Office Hotel, which we highly recommend (both staying there and talking to Rachel) we headed out into that lovely weather for the day’s adventure. On the maps we are using if there is something in an old time English font, that indicates something of a non-Roman archeological interest. In the example below, you can see Motte and Earthwork in that font.
Not too far from Cann Office Hotel was a site listed as St. Cadfan’s Well. At breakfast I looked up St. Cadfanwho was an early sixth century Breton nobleman who founded numerous churches in Wales, most famously Tywyn, but also one in Llangadfan. What truly caught my interest was that Cadfan was the son of Gwen Teirbron, who famously had three breasts. That truly is a “christian” miracle if you ask me! There was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to go look at the well that helped found a church by the guy whose mom had three boobs!
We walked right past it the first time, but when we found it, an idea formed. This is supposed to be a “holy” spring so maybe we could make a wish. We each went into the spring and sprinkled the water on each other’s shoes with the following mantra said three times: “May your shoes stay dry.” Did St. Cadfan bring us the dry shoes we dreamed of? You’ll just have to keep reading to find out.
Soon after we left Llangadfan we saw a house named “Blowty”, which was the name of an ancient township in the area. We spent the next 20 minutes making jokes about the name and got to laughing so hard we walked past the turn off where we were supposed to turn and start walking in fields. Instead of walking back those 20 minutes, we had to walk along roads to intersect Glnydŵr’s Way. Was this a St. Cadfan miracle?
We walked through a mixed use forest area with what are called the Rainbow Trails. These are mixed use trails so walkers, bikers, horse drawn carriages, horse riders, and motorcycles can all use them. We girded our loins for any possible combination we might see, but of course saw no one except a family with two little boys having a picnic.
Our morning break was in a beautiful valley in the forest which had a sheep field in the bottom and a brook along the edge. Pam took a quick nap, too. Since her mom loved those bubbling brooks, we left a little bit of her there so she could enjoy it.
For lunch, Pam wanted to stop in Llanwddyn, the home of Lake Vyrnwy. The lake was created by the impressive stone dam built in 1888 to supply Liverpool with drinking water, though it did submerge the original village of Llanwddyn with 37 houses, 10 farmhouses, three inns, and two chapels. I’m sure there were several pubs submerged as well, but those prudish Victorians didn’t want to mention those. Since the water went to Liverpool, the four members of the Beatles drank from here.
What we didn’t count on was a gorgeous spring day and that it was a Saturday so there were numerous dozens of tourists to deal with. Given how few people we have seen, even in the cities, I wasn’t too thrilled as I was used to having everything to ourselves. We did get our sandwiches and after quickly eating, we got back to being the only people in Wales on the trails.
We’d had to walk across a few fields leading up to Llanwddyn, but St. Cadfan was looking out for us because while there was mud and a little water, it never got higher than a quarter inch or so. Leaving Llanwddyn the walk was along gravel roads and had a longish stretch along a two lane paved road. Maybe this St. Cadfan guy did have some powers!
Walking in the hottest afternoon we’ve had at a blistering 66° Fahrenheit and a nice breeze; we walked on a gravel road through a forested area. On the final section of trail to Pont Llogel, we encountered a problem. Some structure had collapsed along the actual trail, so it was closed, and we were directed on a detour route which was a paved road. That meant we crossed the finish line with dry shoes! It’s a St. Cadfan MIRACLE! We wanted to take a taxi back to the magical well so we could fill a water bottle with the elixir of dry shoes so we could have that wherever we hike from now on. We honestly never thought a full day of dry shoes would ever happen on this trip, so we are just as surprised as you are.
In the six building village of Pont Llogel the post office, which doubles as the village store was open, so we wanted to celebrate St. Cadfan by getting a Diet Coke and a KitKat. Celebrating St. Cadfan requires a mixture of high sugar and low sugar. (I don’t make the rules). The store itself is maybe 8 feet by 10 feet in total. The lady running the store was in her 80s and the store was originally opened by her parents, so it’s been there for a while.
We were waiting for the taxi to take us to our hotel, so we waited at a picnic table in the shade (thanks, St. Cadfan!). We heard a strange noise and behind the hedgerow I saw a very old man wrestling with a garage door that was stuck halfway down. The garage was behind the store, so I assumed he was the husband of the store owner. He looked a little shaky, so I went over to see if he needed help. He wasn’t too interested in the help but was super interested in talking about his recent hobby of watching YouTube videos of Big Foot, Sasquatch, and other unexplained phenomena in America. That was certainly not on my bingo card of possible conversations I was going to have in Wales. I politely edged out of that conversation by saying my taxi was coming any moment.
Thankfully, the taxi showed up less than five minutes later. We are staying in Meifod for the next two nights. Tomorrow we will take a taxi back to Pont Llogel and walk the section of the way to Meifod. Given the small villages and accommodation issues, it makes sense.
The taxi driver was a mad man and drove fast. He took a shortcut across a very tiny single lane road for a half a mile and just before it joined back to the main road, it was closed because of some major construction. Though the guy didn’t make me feel too safe with his driving, I must give him major props for backing up that entire half mile (at a fast clip) just using his mirrors. It was impressive. When we got back to the entry of the short cut, there was a sign as big as can be saying the road was closed, but the taxi driver didn’t want to acknowledge that it was there before we went down the road.
Our hotel, The Kings Head, which opened in the 17th century, gave us a big surprise by giving us the biggest room in the place. We have two rooms and three beds. It’s another St. Cadfan’s miracle! Especially since we are staying two nights here.
Before dinner, we went for a walk around town and visited the St. Tysilio and St. Mary Church. We got there just as it was closing but the very kind lady offered to let us look inside. Parts of the church date back to the 12th century. The most impressive part of the church was just hung this year. The townspeople and local school children hand stitched a quilt to commemorate the coronation of King Charles III.
Thanks so much for reading!