Pistyll Rhaeadr

Hello again people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here. Me and my human personal assistant have just returned from our New Year’s Eve walk. We were going to hike to the summit of Moel Famau for the midnight celebrations, but after researching it we discovered that some people set off fireworks as the new year arrives. I really don’t like fireworks, like a lot of pooches, so we swerved that one. Instead, we drove the short-ish distance to Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant in the Berwyn Mountains. It is a popular visitor attraction, but we hoped that there would not be the usual weekend throngs of sightseers as the weather was wet and windy and people would be busy with their New Year celebration plans. We were right, it wasn’t crowded. The three mile long single track road from the village was completely devoid of those awkward moments when cars travelling in opposite directions meet at the narrowest sections. The car park charge was as steep as the surrounding footpaths at a fiver. There is an unofficial parking spot at the roadside just prior to the official car park, but, hey-ho, the fees help to maintain the area.

Car park at the foot of the falls

The base of the waterfall is only a few yards from the car park and tea rooms, so that is where we headed first. Pistyll Rhaeadr is fed by the Afon Disgynfa and drops into the Afon Rhaeadr, in three stages, a total of 74 metres which makes it one of the largest in Wales. It is one of the Seven Wonders of Wales and an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). It was a short lead day for me, initially, as the waters were running wild after the recent rains.

The foot of the waterfall

My human spent ages at the foot of the waterfall taking photographs and gawping at the tumbling water. The noise created by the gushing white water was deafening. I think that this sort of stuff really impresses humans. I, on the other paw, was really impressed by the mud and puddles created by the spray from the waterfall and the smells that needed investigating all around the area. I would have loved to have had a dip in the river or one of the plunge pools formed by the waterfall, but, unfortunately it was out of bounds!

Pistyll Rhaeadr

After we had spent, what felt like a lifetime, at the base of the falls, we set off on the clamber up to the top of the waterfall. We had to make a detour back to the car while my human picked up his trekking poles. The hike to the top only takes thirty minutes, but it is quite steep. We passed through a gate and through some Cocker Spaniel knee-deep mud onto a stony and muddy pawpath. Shortly, the path became less muddy and easy to walk on. I was still on my lead while we passed some grazing sheep on the hillside.

Looking towards the Berwyns
Looking back down the valley
Footpath into the hills

Ahead we could see the footpaths leading into the Berwyn Mountains, but there were for another day. Instead of continuing on the easy path, my human took us off-piste, up a steep and slippery footpath. This rejoined the easier path further up the hill. He made the excuse that he wanted to take some photographs, as he struggled up the slope, so that he could gasp on some air. The views back down the valley were worth the wait for him.

Afon Disgynfa
Feeding the falls

We were soon on the grassy slopes above the falls where the big feller took his time, trying not to slip and slide in the mud. The top of the waterfall is a rocky area with some precarious overhangs. This was an area that I was on a very short lead. Except for when my human was prepared to risk my life and limbs while he forced me to pose for the obligatory snap shots. As you can see from the photographs, I wasn’t amused. The drop over the edge was super scary, but I still had to pose. Well, I wasn’t going to smile. Why should I? He wouldn’t stand near the horrendous precipice. We spent a while at the top of the falls before returning back to the safety of the easier downhill path.

The top of the falls
I’m not amused!
Leaning over the edge
The top again

It was a fairly easy return down this path. My human spent his time admiring the views while I spent my time eyeing up the sheep on the slopes. I didn’t like the look of the horns on a few of them. They looked like they could do some serious damage so I stayed well clear even though my human had extended my lead. We were soon back at the car. My human said that he could not believe how muddy I was. Well, he brought me here so the blame solely falls on him. Till next time!

Footbridge to the Berwyn Mountains
Sheep on the slate
Sheep stand-off

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