Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. I recently managed to drag my human off the couch for a walk into the nearby hills. There is a narrow and undulating unnamed road leading from Minera and skirting Esclusham Mountain, in North East Wales, then onto Ruabon Moors. The road takes you through a beautiful valley at World’s End or Pen Draw’r Byd in the Eglwyseg Valley. The valley is formed between high sided cliffs giving it an enclosed feeling. Offa’s Dyke runs through the valley that is a playground for hikers and cyclists. It’s also a playground for Joe the Cocker and his human.
The big feller decided to type this for me while we were in the middle of a powercut. Storm Arwen was sweeping through the UK leaving destruction and mayhem in its path. Luckily for us it was just a loss of power. Sadly, for others the storm was more devastating. So, we are sitting my a log fire in candlelight listening to the Foo Fighters on his phone. You guessed it! He was singing along. If, for no other reason, I hope that the power returns soon and maybe he will watch some TV and shut up!
We parked at a spot where a car park is indicated on websites. It seems to have been closed down. Luckily, we were the only ones wanting to park there as there is room for 2 or 3 cars only, in a small layby area, off the road. After a short road walk, part of Offa’s Dyke Path, downhill from our parking spot, we came to a ford in the road. The views down into Nany Fron-lwyd and up towards Eglwyseg were stunning in the bright sunshine. We could even see the tops of the Snowdonian Mountains in the distance, under a bright blue sky.
This would be the point that we would leave the road. The ford was too deep for Twinkletoes to wade through! It was all of two inches deep. Fortunately for him, there was a row of stepping-stones for him to wobble across. I was straight in the water, having a splash and a sneaky slurp as I sprinted through it. He tackled the stile over the fence while I limboed athletically under the obstacle and there we were, in a beautiful vale with a babbling brook running through. It is actually the Afon Eglwyseg in its infancy.
On our left was the towering white limestone cliffs of Craig y Forwyn or The Maiden’s Rock, looking resplendent bathed in the bright morning sunlight. On our right were the equally dramatic steep walls of Craig y Cythraul or The Devil’s Rock, in the cool shadows awaiting the sun to visit later in the day. It was a gentle climb along the narrow path up the valley but a bit slippery in parts where it was muddy. I had a ball, splashing in the water and running up the steeper slopes. It has been a while since we ventured into slightly more rugged terrain. I had missed it and so had my human. This place was so quiet and peaceful. Our kind of playground.
I spotted a cave that I obviously had to investigate. The big feller didn’t venture past the entrance because he is a bit of a wimp. He told me to get out no sooner had I gone in. He said that you never know what people would leave in there!
The path became a wee bit steeper as we moved on but, my human had sensibly brought his trekking poles so he coped OK with the terrain. Soon we were at the top of the pinewood gorge and onto the moors. What a contrast! The vegetation and the scenery changed dramatically. The area was a rolling moorland covered in gorse with tracks and footpaths reaching off into the distance. We continued to head in an easterly direction for a mile or so before we joined a footpath that would take us back towards the car.
After a while the path became a wider track that took us across Craig y Moch, above the gorge that we had walked through. My human found it very amusing when I stood on an ice covered puddle and it cracked, leaving me up to my knees in muddy water! He could have warned me!
We headed across the moorland to a point above the car parking spot. We were gifted views of the wireless stations on the hills in the foreground and awesome views of the mountains in the distance under an ultramarine sky. After a short descent we were back at the car. We will return to the area as soon as we can. It is beautiful and an area that we have plenty to investigate.
By the way, the lights came on nearly four hours later. So, we were warm and back to home comforts. Till next time!