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All Wales Hostel Weekend, Blaenavon – Penwythnos Cymru Gyfan, Blaenafon

The All Wales Hostel Weekend visited the Heads of the Valleys in South Wales this year, staying at a hostel created out of the former Welfare Hall of the now extinct village of Pwll Du, Blaenavon.  The view towards Abergavenny and the Sugar Loaf and Skirrid beyond was spectacular; with the derelict industrial landscape of Blaenavon to the rear.  In addition to members from Wales, it was great to have the company of members from across the border in England, as well as visitors from the Netherlands, Belgium and New Zealand.  On Friday evening members trekked all of 100m for a meal and refreshment at the local pub, the Lamb and Fox, a remnant of the old village (trapped in a time warp).  The menu was simple, but the group was amused to be told by the landlady that there were no faggots available that night!

In the morning the mist descended and visibility reduced to 20m as we headed off to the Blorenge.  As we left the hostel a hound appeared off the moor and followed us to Keeper’s Pond.  One of the participants agreed to lead the dog back to its owner at the pub. During this informative walk of two halves, lead by Alan and Ben, we had the opportunity to learn about the rich industrial heritage of the area.  Some members of the group couldn’t resist exploring tunnels constructed on the old tram road.  By the time we reached the open moorland of the Blorenge summit, the mist had cleared and the group could enjoy the views across the Brecon Beacons and the valleys.  During the second half we descended into the town of Blaenavon, passed a typical Saturday afternoon football fixture to the remains of the Iron Works.

On Saturday evening we had the traditional shared meal and out of the chaos a mountain of food appeared.  Culinary wonders were produced in the hostel’s well-stocked kitchen.  One of the women said that it was the first time she’d been on event with men and not had to slave in the kitchen.  Later Steven lit a fire in the fire pit overlooking the Clydach Gorge and many of the group sat sharing stories well on into the night in the red glow of the fire.

On Sunday we left the hostel for a walk up the Sugar Loaf from Abergavenny.  Once again the mist hung around for the morning, but cleared by the time we reached the summit.  The turnout was so good that the planned car park was too small for all the cars – although this didn’t bother John who’d travelled from West Wales on his bicycle.  As well as leading us through some beautiful heather moorland, Silva lead us through a classic example of ancient oak woodland on the lower slopes of the hill.

Thanks to everyone for making this a successful and enjoyable weekend.  See you next year in West Wales!

Eleni cynhaliwyd Penwythnos Cymru Gyfan mewn hostel anghysbell yn Safle Treftadaeth Byd Blaenafon.  Daeth ugain o ddynion a menywod ynghyd i hostel a grëwyd allan o neuadd bentre’ Pwll Du ger Blaenafon.  Yn ogystal ag aelodau o Gymru a Lloegr, daeth cyfeillion o Wlad Belg, Yr Iseldiroedd a Seland Newydd.

Ar nos Wener aeth y grŵp i dafarn y Lamb and Fox drws nesa’ am fwyd a diod.  Mae’r dafarn yn llawn cymeriad gwreiddiol hen drigfan Pwll Du sydd bellach wedi diflannu.  Cawsom groeso gwresog  gan y perchennog a bu chwerthin mawr pan gyhoeddodd nad oedd ‘ru’n ffagotsen ar ôl yn y dafarn at swper.

Erbyn y bore roedd  niwl wedi amgylchynu’r hostel ac nid oedd yn bosib gweld ymhellach nag ugain metr.  Wrth i ni gerdded at fan cychwyn y daith ger Pwll Pen Ffordd Goch ymddangosodd gi anferth o’r niwl a’n dilyn ar hyd y ffordd.  Bu rhaid i un o aelodau’r grŵp ei arwain yn ôl at ei berchennog yn y dafarn.  Yn ystod y daith, wedi'i harwain yn fedrus gan Alan a Ben, cawsom lawer o wybodaeth am hanes diwydiannol yr ardal.  Aeth rhai aelodau’r grŵp i archwilio perfeddion twnnel hen dramffordd.  Erbyn i ni ddringo i gopa’r Blorens roedd y niwl wedi codi ac roedd yn bosib mwynhau’r olygfa ar draws y Bannau a Phen y Cymoedd.  Yn y prynhawn aeth y grŵp i ganol tre’ Blaenafon i weld olion y Gwaith Haearn.

Ar nos Sadwrn paratowyd amrywiaeth helaeth o fwydydd blasus gan aelodau’r grŵp yn y gegin fach.  Roedd y menywod wedi synnu at weithgarwch y dynion ac yn gwerthfawrogi  gallu ymlacio a mwynhau'r bwyd.  Byddai Dudley wrth ei fodd.  Ar ôl cymoni ychydig ar y gegin aeth Steven ati i gynnau coelcerth; a bu rhai yn adrodd straeon tan yn hwyr yng ngolau’r tân.

Ar ddydd Sul aeth y grŵp i’r Fenni a dringo’r Fâl yng nghwmni Silva.  Nid oedd lle yn y maes parcio i’r nifer a oedd wedi dewis ymuno â’r daith a bu rhaid newid trefniadau’n sydyn.  Nid oedd y peth yn poeni dim ar John a deithiodd ar ei feic.  Roedd y bore’n niwlog unwaith eto ac ychydig yn oerach.  Ond erbyn i ni gyrraedd y copa cliriodd y niwl a chawsom fwynhau’r olygfa.  Erbyn hyn roedd yn bosib mwynhau grug y mynydd yn eu blodau ac adar mân y mynydd yn codi yn yr awel iach cyn disgyn yn ôl i’r Fenni drwy goed Deri hudol.

Diolch i bawb a ymunodd i greu penwythnos llwyddiannus a chymdeithasol.  Edrychwn ymlaen at eich gweld yng Ngorllewin Cymru'r flwyddyn nesa’.

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