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Sunny with a 100% Chance of Bog: Miles Walked: 117.6
Llanbrynmair to Llangadfan
We have been eating big breakfasts every morning this trip, but today’s at Caffi JoJo was the best so far. Our B&B host owns the café, his main business. It sits right on the main road through the middle of Wales, and he’s built an impressive business over the last 20 years. After an amazing breakfast we had to get a couple of their pasties and a sandwich for lunch. His wife makes the deserts and they all looked so good we bought four different kinds, and they tasted even better than they looked. With some raised eyebrows they checked us out because after that huge breakfast and were buying an equal amount for lunch. We just told them we were Americans, and this is how we eat normally. I swear we will stop eating so much when we get home. I hope. I really hope.
Wales is the land of many castles, but on our transverse of the middle of the country we aren’t going to see any. Pam is a little bummed and she’s thinking of not hiking one of the days we are near Welshpool so she can see one as Wales is known for its castles. She’s fascinated by all the royalty and how they lived. I was so happy when I found a castle for her to see without getting off Glnydŵr‘s Way! For some reason, I don’t think she was quite as excited as I was about the castle.
Something I haven’t talked about is who is Glnydŵr and what is his Way? Created in 2000, Glnydŵr’s Way is only one of 15 designated as a United Kingdom National Trail. It’s named after Owain Glyndŵr (anglicized as Owen Glendower), a fascinating character. NOTE: Pam says if don’t care about the history you can skip the next four paragraphs and keep up with our story. John says the history is the key part. The choice is up to you, and we will not judge…maybe.
Glyndŵr was a Welsh ruler and military leader who led a Welsh rebellion against English rule during the late 14th and early 15th centuries. Glyndŵr was born in 1359 in north-east Wales, and his family had a history of serving the English crown. However, Glyndŵr became disillusioned with English rule and launched a rebellion in 1400. The rebellion was initially successful, and Glyndŵr was able to gain control of much of Wales.
During his rebellion, Glyndŵr was able to establish a Welsh parliament, with representatives from all regions of Wales. He also forged alliances with other European powers, including France and Scotland. Despite his early successes, however, Glyndŵr was ultimately defeated by English forces. He went into hiding and was never captured by the English.
Despite his ultimate defeat, Glyndŵr became a symbol of Welsh resistance and nationalism. His legacy has been celebrated by poets, writers, and musicians, and he is still seen as a hero by many in Wales today. In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in Glyndŵr and his rebellion, with efforts being made to increase public awareness of his life and legacy.
Today, Glyndŵr is remembered as one of Wales' greatest heroes. He is celebrated for his bravery and determination in standing up to English rule, and for his efforts to establish a Welsh parliament and unite the Welsh people. Glyndŵr's legacy continues to inspire Welsh nationalism and resistance to outside influences, and he remains an important figure in Welsh history and culture.
The walk started with a little haze in the air, but it was blessedly dry, so we have no complaints. We had our usual daily commune with sheep but found something fascinating in their behavior. Through the trip, and today at the lower levels, the sheep are wary but don’t get freaked out when you are walking through their pasture. They want to stay more than 10 feet from you and walk away when you get close. Other than that, they just ignore you. When we got up high today, we were farther from any roads and civilization that we had been on the trip. When we’d get within 75-100 feet the sheep took off running at full speed. Sheep at full run are not the most graceful of animal. Our guess was that since these sheep were so remote, they must not have acclimatized to people. Wolves were reintroduced in the south of Wales and there have been reports of pumaskilling sheep so that might play a factor. They must have looked at Pam and seen an apex predator so that could explain the fear.
We were on the ridges we looked at yesterday so got to see the hills we came down from across the valley. Hikes like Glnydŵr’s Way are so much fun because you get to see the land from different perspectives and in different weather. In the picture below we walked down the mountain across the valley right past the big cell tower in the upper right corner.
After lots of views we slogged a couple of miles through a very remote section of high land that has been turned over to a working forest. Much of it had been logged so it wasn’t pretty, but we appreciated that land that wasn’t useful for farming could be used. If you want paper or other paper products, you need wood and places like this are what’s needed to create it.
Something we’ve noticed is if there’s a forested area anywhere there must be a bog nearby. Sure enough, we popped out of the forest, and we were unsuccessfully dancing around squishy stuff. Such is life on the trail. Since today was much shorter than yesterday we decided to plop down and enjoy our outstanding lunch and take a little nap. That gave a chance for my shoes and socks to dry a good bit. Feeling refreshed, we walked three more minutes and got to do the bog water dance all over again.
On the other side of the ridge from the dramatic views of steeper hills into valleys gave way to more rolling hills and wider valleys. It may not look that much different in the pictures, but it was interesting to see the difference in a couple of miles.
We admit that walking through those flatter valleys was much appreciated after all the ups and downs in the past. There were also a lot more cattle in the area. The public access went directly through a large cattle farm with at least seven or eight big barns full of cattle. No one was around but when we walked through the cows all came to the openings to watch us. We felt like royalty. As we were walking through one field, we had to name it “Hedge Your Bets Farm” because they had lots of sheep, dozens of cows, and tens of horses all sharing the same pasture. We looked hard for pigs and chickens but couldn’t find any, but we were sure they were there.
The last long downhill we had into Llangadfan was a little tough. Finding the trail markers was difficult, but the bigger problem is that it was a giant bog for a mile and a half. After a while gave up dodging the water because we would have been up there for forever as the entire hillside was water hidden under grass. When we got to the hotel I was talking to the owner, and she asked if we had hiked down Pen Coed. When I grimaced, she laughed and said that’s got to be the worst part of the entire Glnydŵr’s Way.
We are staying in the Cann Office Hotel that has a neat history. The Cann Office was originally, in 1310, a wooden castle surrounded by a ditch, then a farmhouse, and eventually became an inn. The Cann Office's name comes from the original inn sign showing three tankards full of local brew as cannon or canon was the name of a full tankard. For dinner we had the traditional Beef and Ale pie which is, in American terms, pot roast with a bread crust on top and we enjoyed it. The dish was served with peas and chips (French fries) and a gravy bowl. We asked what the gravy was for and were told that they only added it after all the English complained about not having enough gravy for their chips.
Thank you all so much for reading!