Tuesday, 25 February 2014

dams and hills

Eager to get out and blow the cobwebs away, I took the boys (and my Mum) to the Elan Valley. I used to live near here so am familiar with a lot of the area, but even so there is plenty to explore that I hadn't seen before. So after some research on the rather good Elan Valley website we set out on the Craig Cnwch walk. It is a circular walk which conveniently starts at the first of the many dams, Caban Coch. I knew this would impress the boys, especially at this time of year when it's overflowing and I wasn't wrong!




It was mesmerising watching the water tumble down the dam.
The footpath goes up the side of the dam giving some great glimpses of the wall of water through the trees.


Just when you think that that was the nerve wracking bit over with (especially with young children!) and you progress onto the calm of the reservoir, the path tests your nerves a little more as it hugs the waters edge. The boys absolutely loved it and it all added to the sense of adventure! It was good to really experience the environment you were in.


As the path leaves the reservoir you reach Nant-y-Gro dam. This has a very interesting history as it is connected to the Dambusters of WWII. 


It was built in the early stages of the dam construction to supply water to the workers and their families. As it was redundant it became the perfect place for top secret testing which helped in the development of the 'bouncing bomb'. Barnes Wallace himself visited the site for two experiments investigating the charge required to blow up a dam. You can read more about it here (at bottom of page).

Detail of the information board showing the first test in May 1942 at Nant y Gro dam
The path leaves the reservoir to climb up and around Craig Cnwch. The views are so amazing that the assent is quite enjoyable as you get to see more and more that the Elan Valley has to offer. You can't help but keep stopping to take it all in (and to take photos!)



And then you get to my favourite type of place to be - up on top of the hills with a great big sky. This is what was needed! 
As you circle the hill and descend into the valley again, it feels as though you are walking ancient paths and lanes - possible drovers roads maybe? Lichen covered walls and trees line the route.


The rosy cheeks and smiles of the boys in the car on the way home was testament to a great day.

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