The day after our trip to Hereford held a little more promise: it was still raining, but not quite so enthusiastically and the forecast hinted at a brighter afternoon. In fact that seemed to be materialising as we drove down towards the Neath valley, but when we crossed the border into Wales, the skies opened again and things began to look much less promising.
It was still raining when we arrived at our destination and after a hasty consultation through adjacent car windows, we opted for an in-car picnic, to put off the inevitable. It had slackened off a tad by the time we’d eaten, and gratifyingly, when I offered the kids poking around in some cave entrances and a peek at some waterfalls in the rain they were all keen for the off.
The mouth of the Porth-yr-Ogof caves, where the Afon Mellte flows underground is just by the car park. B looked downriver in bemusement: “Well, we’re not going in there today, unless we want to kill ourselves.”
A path leads past several more cave openings, each of them full of roiling brown water.
Where the water leaves the caves, there is apparently a ‘blue pool’. Not today; just a raging brown swell. A pair of dippers repeatedly flew in and out of the roof of the cave. I would guess that they had a nest there for which they would be understandably afraid.
In slightly less wild sections of the river, swallows and martins were skimming low over the water. It was hard to imagine that their insect prey would want to be airborne on this cold and soggy day.
Extra excitement was added to our progress down the valley, because each side-stream presented a challenge. Andy and I both got wet feet standing in them in our perhaps inappropriate trail shoes to hand across the children.
Sgwd Clun Gwyn
This is an overused expression, but the waterfalls were awe-inspiring. As you can imagine, the noise was phenomenal. Beyond the first fall the path follows a course high above the river and eventually above the second fall. I was glad that Andy was there to share in the shepherding of B and S, who sometimes appear to have an under-developed regard for their own safety.
We were able to double back below the cliffs to the base of the second fall….
Sgwd Isaf Clun Gwyn
Nobody was attempting to pass behind the waterfall!
A nonchalant pose.
By this point little S had had enough. Time to turn back – but we had made the most of a pretty shoddy day. I don’t think any of us is liable to forget it.
I’ve finally got around to having a stab at a video. Whilst you wait for a more professional affair to appear at surfnslide, here’s my (short) effort: