Day 0, getting to Wales

This was going to be a day a clock watching, Indeed the clock seem to run super slow on Friday at work while I waited at my desk for the appointed time for me to leave Washington DC and catch the bus to the airport. Bus, Airport, Plane, 2 hours sleep, Saturday Morning, Customs and Immigration, another bus and into a rental car.
I got to Heathrow at 6:30AM, and was on the road by 9:00AM. My schedule gave me 45 minutes to get to Sainsbury’s at exit 12 off the M4, 1 hour for shopping, and another hour and 45 minutes to get me to Tintern Abby and then 2 hours for my first glimpse of Offa’s Dyke.
A Glimpse of Offa’s Dyke (5 Mile Circuit hike)
From Tintern Abby I walked ¼ mile North and crossed over the river on the foot bridge. The path is clear, although it’s muddy and climbs uphill fast. Bearing left and then choosing the middle of 3 routes takes you rapidly to the top of the bluff where Offa’s dyke runs along the top of the cliff, parallel to the river.
I had heard that this is one of the best examples of the Dyke so I was a bit disappointed with my first impression; I guess the years have been hard on it. None the less, although the dyke has seen better days, this is a splendid hike with some great views across the Wye valley. And in fact the condition of the dyke improves as you continue Southwards along it. At the top of the hill I turned Right and walked along the dyke for a couple of miles stopping to admire the view at Devils Pulpit with its view over Tintern Abby in the valley below. Continue past Plumwier Cliffs to the old fort then scramble down the hill and at the bottom of the hill follow the river North back to the bridge to finish the loop.
Hike distance 5 miles
From Tintern Abby I drove the 2 hours to LLandovery to visit my old Mum, then on to the Youth Hostel at Llanddeusant to check in.
I checked into the hostel just after 5:00 PM, I was actually almost an hour ahead of my schedule, but 5:00 felt like Noon, what with the jet-lag, and with so much sitting in the plane and whilst driving I still had some chinks to iron out. The Hostel is just a couple of miles from bottom of Fan Foel (the Black Mountain) So I drive over there and hiked up to the ridge, but no further. The murky sky gave no clue of the location of the sun, but my watch told me it was setting. Turning tail after one hour I retraced my footprints. Two days later I hiked the full 8 miles, so more on that later.
Hike distance Almost 4 miles.
All in all a decent Saturday’s adventure.


  1. That last photo is phenomenal - even with the finger in the corner :) What strange geology! Any idea how it came to be that way - that is - completely flat topped?

  2. Yes, bad thing that finger, I trimmed the pic and then posted the wrong version.
    Brecons steep sided valleys are considered a classic example of glacial erosion, scrapped away by the mile thick ice.
    Cant remeber it they were formed 10,000 years ago in the most recent ice age, or the one before that..