The wet weather, forecast for the day of this walk seemed to put people off coming.
This is aways disappointing given the amount of hard work put in by the walk
In my experience the weather rarely turns out as bad as predicted, and that was the
case on this occasion, with just 2 or 3 short sharp showers and lots of dry weather.
So from 10, on the day there were only 4 due to attend before I left the house but at the meeting place there were 6 of us in total with Bev, who we had not seen for a while, being welcomed back.
Gail had put a lovely route together, including ensuring a rotten and dilapidated stile was replaced by Carmarthenshire council and a gleaming new gate put in its place.
So a select and perfectly formed group set off from Pantyffynnon station ready for a wander on Betws mountain which Gail pointed out through the trees.
The top of the mountain was only about half a mile away as the crow flies, but we were to meander this way and that, zig-zagging our way through some beautiful countryside making our way towards the summit.
We started off over a lovely suspension bridge that swayed quite viciously as we crossed over the Amman River.
Making our way through some fields and over a few slippery stiles we came to some greenery with trees, where we had our first tea break and where we had great views towards Cross Hands and to nearby Ammanford.
On we went, creeping gradually up and then dropping back down again through a variety of terrains.
We descended down to a wooded area, with flowing water, complete with an intriguing small stone bridge covered in mossy overgrowth.
Climbing up again we came to a field and with some rumbling tummies, we all agreed that it was time for a lunch stop.
From the start of this walk our Dear Friend Henry (who had recently died) was at the forefront of all our minds and over lunch we exchanged some lovely stories and incidents we had had in Henry's company.
We all agreed that when Henry was around there was always a mischievous adventure to relate, and of course lots of laughter too.
We were all of the same opinion that we would miss his company very much.
After lunch there was a spell on a quiet country lane and then through another wooded area up to a house where Gail surprised everyone by ringing a bell that was by the garden gate, very loudly.She knew from experience that this warned the owners that walkers were about to cross their property, and they made sure their dogs were inside and under control.
After a few minutes we passed through the garden and onto the adjacent fields passed some curious sheep who kept following us.
We could now clearly see Betws mountain and its wind turbines and passing The Scotch Pines, a well known local hostelry, we started the last bit of the climb onto the mountain.
At that moment we had a wet and windy hail shower but luckily this only lasted some minutes leaving a beautiful rainbow on the horizon.
Crossing the road we came to a great viewpoint and then it was all downhill.
Passing two tall Scotch Pine trees, presumably that had given the pub its name, we proceeded through some boggy ground and came to the brand new gate, though disappointingly the council had ommitted to tie a ribbon around it, for Gail to cut, as she was given the honour of being the first to walk through.
We cautiously descended down a very wet and stony surface and through a small holding and out onto another lane.Then down to a lovely waterfall and across a bridge and needed to climb over a fallen tree, before emerging out onto another lane.
After another brief stop for a snack, we came to the muddiest part of the whole walk, a very boggy field, with cows.
In order to give them a wide berth we found we were on a severely waterlogged and muddy surface, which unbelievably got even worse, so we had to literally wade through some quite 'orrible deep slurry which threatened to (and indeed did) ooze over the top of our boots.Thankfully and luckily no-one fell, in the very slippery conditions and we all breathed a sigh of relief as we emerged from the stinking conditions.
Continuing through some more greenery we then found ourselves back beside the river, eventually crossing back over the spectacular suspension bridge and back to the waiting cars.
Throughout this walk the the three men, Rob E, Robert T and Russ--The Three R's--
were constantly lagging way behind and Bev, Gail and myself were continually waiting for them to catch up. They tried to convince us that it was Henry, influencing them??!!
(He always had a slow pace, seeming unable to walk and talk at the same time and of course Henry loved to talk. . . . .)
The one exception to their slowness on the whole walk was at the mud/slurry area when all the men shot passed us, every man for themselves??!!
As we got to the cars there was also an upturned rainbow coloured umbrella in a nearby hedge that had Henrys name written all over it?!!
What lovely company this had been and what a thoroughly enjoyable walk, with such variety, in an area that was new to most.It was really nice to share some "Henry memories" and for him to be in all our thoughts on this Special Day.
Many thanks to Gail for putting this lovely route together.