A week of rain left the Sunday walk route rather wet underfoot, including an absolute torrent tearing down the now-ruined track from Soar-y-Mynydd towards the Doethie Fach. Sun and showers were forecast, but we got rather more showers and only a few flickers of sunlight. Nonetheless, the group were well geared up to face the weather and the grey clouds served as brilliant contrast with some fine autumn colours.
Nothing can dim the drama of the Doethie valley seen from above, though we did not fancy stopping for the traditional coffee break up at the pass as planned, in view of the exposure to the elements. Carrying on down to meet the Cambrian Way running along the riverside, we paused instead for coffee by a waterfall on Nant Lluest-fach, sheltered under some of the old sessile oaks for which the valley is known, clothed in mosses, lichens and the odd fern.
The path at the bottom was less wet than might have been feared and the streams pouring river-wards were all passable without pole-vaults. Not a soul passed us at any stage as we headed upriver towards the hostel and eventually out onto the track.
The track between Soar-y-Mynydd and Ty ‘n y Cornel hostel, nominally a Byway Open to All Traffic, is currently closed since surface damage and lack of maintenance have combined to let the winter weather tear the gravel and rock surface away so the water is now cutting down through the subsoil and causing long sections to collapse (much to the distaste of Murphy, who doesn’t like to get his paws too wet). A group of 6 on trail bikes nonetheless passed us despite the clear ‘Road Closed’ signs, claiming that it did not apply to bikes. As we reached the turn-off from the track to the cairns, the rain swept in across the whole skyline and we rapidly decided not to stop for lunch but to head for Soar-y-Mynydd where we’d parked, to a late picnic beside the wonderful trees dotted through the graveyard. Of course, well before that point the rain had stopped again and we even had a glimpse of blue skies above the chapel roof, to end the walk.
This was the last walk we had planned for 2022, watch out for the start of the 2023 season when the days start getting a bit longer again!