Sunday, 5 November 2017

Walking the Canal Path from Talybont to Brecon

I've been planning this walk for a while, and last week I got round to doing it. As it turned out, it was only just inside my comfort zone!

The first step was to get the bus to Brecon, and there I had about half an hour to wait for the bus (the 43) to Talybont. So that gave me plenty of time to double check the times of the buses back to Brecon along that stretch, just in case I'd bitten off more than I could chew.
I arrived at Talybont at about quarter past eleven - a bit early to have a drink at the Star, as I'd planned - but that didn't matter, because the Star wasn't open until 5pm anyway.
Luckily, the café across the road was open, and I had a very pleasant coffee and egg on toast there (local ingredients wherever possible). This is also the local shop and post office.

As I got up to the canal towpath, I was lucky enough to see one of the drawbridges in action:

It was a slightly grey, misty day, but pleasant for walking. I saw several grey squirrels, and occasionally herons flying between the trees.
And at one point, I met a couple who were searching along the hedge. They said they were geocachers, looking for a box that was supposed to be close by - which is one way to give a walk purpose. I was just enjoying the canal.

At Pencelli, I emerged from the towpath into the village, because I wanted to get a good look at the portion of the canal which was routed through the old castle moat. There's quite a distinct wiggle in the line of the canal.
Then I walked through the village to the Royal Oak, where I had a very fine half of Black Rock stout, a Champion Beer of Wales in 2016. The pub also has a rather lovely ginger cat.
Getting back onto the canal, I discovered that, if I'd just walked a bit farther, I could have got into the pub via the garden, which backs onto the canal path!
Pencelli seems to be quite a centre for canal boats, and I also saw private moorings at intervals along the side. Some of these had a little shed for storage, or a table and chairs set out, with the name of the boat displayed.
There were also canoeists out on the water, and cyclists on the towpath, as well as other walkers, but mostly it was pretty quiet, although it was half term.
By the time I got to Brynich, I was flagging a bit. Here renovation work is being done along the canal, so there's a diversion for walkers along the towpath - clearly signposted across a field, and then down across the road bridge to link up with the canal again on the other side of the River Usk. Here's the aqueduct in the distance:

Again, I was lucky enough to see the Lock in action:

There is actually a narrowboat at the bottom of the lock!

At this point, I could have waited for a bus, but I thought I was close enough to Brecon to keep walking. I think on another occasion I'll start walking from the canal basin at Theatr Brycheiniog, so I can appreciate the industrial archaeology along that stretch better - there was a big lime works at one point, and a tram way that ran beside the canal.
It was along here that I was passed by cyclists I'd met earlier in the day coming out from Brecon, with a little white scrap of a dog still racing along with them - it must have done well over ten miles by that point!
I did about seven miles, and by the time I got into Brecon, I was really glad to stagger into the Brecon Tap and have a pint!
I just had enough time to relax with the pint before getting the bus back to Hay.

No comments: