On Friday night grey and gloom was forecast for Saturday morning clearing to sunshine in the afternoon. So I planned a return visit to ‘Waterfall Country’ further west in the Brecon Beacons National Park. Despite the forecast I opened the curtains to mostly blue sky with yet another sliver of red between the bank of cloud and the ridge-top. Optimistically I chose to ignore the old saying about shepherds and red sky in the morning and headed west on the Heads of the Valleys Road. It clouded over.
But I stuck to my guns, parked the car, at the information centre in Pontneddfechan (Bridge over the River Nedd Fechan) and set out to walk up the eponymous river to a series of waterfalls marked on the map.
Unlike the path to Sgwd yr Eira with its wall-to-wall mud the Elidir Trail has been much improved and is well maintained with steps and metal duck-boards at key points. Boots are still needed but on the path itself the mud is superficial. Of course it’s a rule of photography that the best shots are to be had by going off-piste, climbing crags or, as today, squelching through deep mud and skating over expanses of slimy rock pavement. It was great fun and as a bonus by mid afternoon the cloud cleared and the sun came out.
The coincidence of a good path, a weekend and a sunny afternoon meant that there were a good number of people on the path: taking all shapes and sizes of dogs for a walk, taking children for a walk, or like me, taking a camera for a walk. In towns and cities no-one looks at strangers let alone greets them, with the exception of Crocodile Dundee in New York, but in the mountains it’s a universally accepted courtesy to say hello and maybe exchange a few pleasantries. Ignoring someone is rudeness. So it was on the Elidir Trail today. In places only a single person width, given the fact that it skirts the edge of a precipitous drop into the river, people would wait for each other to pass, call dogs and children to heel, simply act in a thoroughly considerate and pleasant manner. A group of girls anxiously enquired after my well being when they saw me slithering about on the smooth rock platform at the foot of one falls.
On the way home I noticed that the setting sun behind me had set the sky on fire so I drove to the top of the ridge behind the house for a better view.
I reckon I’ll believe the old saying about shepherds and red sky night. Should be another good day tomorrow.