This challenge has been in its planning stage for quite a long time; as in I’ve known exactly ‘where’…but with a little less clarity on the ‘when’. Finally, it was a visit from the Evans family – friends we met on holiday a good few years back – that galvanised me into action to make the trip to Ystradfellte in the Brecon Beacons to walk behind Sgwd yr Eira (Waterfall of the Snow).
Our party consisted of myself, Jo and Rob, their two boys Rowan and Nathan, and Owen. Getting that many people up and out of the house on a half-term morning was challenging in itself! But off we went – walking boots, jackets and bananas at the ready – destination Porth yr Ogof carpark, for the 4 mile / 2 hour waterfall walk.
The initial part of the walk took us along the bank of Afon Mellte. It was very peaceful and beautiful, but at times extremely uneven underfoot as we clambered over tree roots and rocks for probably almost half a mile. The path evened out a bit, and after around half an hour of walking we reached a waymarker. The intrepid Evans walkers detoured off to view Sgwd Clyn Gwyn, whilst Owen and I took the opportunity for a rest!! The signpost told us it was another 30 minutes to Sgwd yr Eira… not too bad.
Onward, through some lovely wooded areas. We were aware that the river was now quite a way below us, which obviously meant that at some point we were going to have to go down…(and back up again…). And yes, the next signpost duly indicated 10 minutes to the waterfall, via some pretty steep steps. Down we went.
At the bottom, the waterfall was immediately visible. It was beautiful – a curtain of water and we could already see people making their way along the path that runs behind it. To get there meant negotiating some very rocky, very slippery terrain.. I wasn’t going to be beaten having got this far, so along the rocks we went to the path.
The sound and sight of the water was amazing, as was looking out from behind the pouring water. Coats were a definite must as the spray gradually soaks you (hence the rather bedraggled look in some of the photos!). We took loads of pics and stood behind the falls for quite some time before it was time to retrace our steps and negotiate *those* steps back up to the main path.
Having managed pretty well these past few weeks with my now-surely-almost-healed broken toe, what happened next was a bit of a blow… Catching my foot on a rock, I stumbled forward and in a split second realised that I was either going to fall face first onto big jagged rocks and really do myself some damage, or I needed to act fast to ‘right myself’. It wasn’t elegant, but I managed to stay upright… not without administering a solid blow to my right foot and that poor little toe. It was bright red when we got home, and I think I just added *another* few weeks to the healing process 😥
Steps apart, the walk back seemed quicker than the walk there, although I must admit that for the last half a mile or so I was willing each bend to reveal the gate to the carpark! It was indeed a lovely, energising walk and standing behind the waterfall was all that I had hoped it would be. I was glad not to be the driver on the way home (thanks Rob!), and equally glad for the decision to decamp to our local pub for dinner … steak and chips never tasted so good!
[37 down, 13 to go]