The weather was just right for a country walk, so we packed a picnic lunch and headed up the A470 to the Brecon Beacons, turning off to take the country lane along Pontsticill reservoir, parallel with the track of the Brecon Mountain Railway, which I last visited with James about eight years ago, but first visited as a Boy Scout on a hiking expedition back in 1956-7, when a small group of us took the train from Maesycwmmer to Pontsticill, on a railway line which sadly closed not long after, only to have the reservoir stretch revived by train enthusiasts a decade later. We drove on, up over the pass that leads down to Talybont reservoir, to walk in a steep stretch of forest area that contains a series of fast running streams and waterfalls in a stretch of Forestry Commission terrain little exploited yet well frequented by walkers and picnickers.
We sat by a fast flowing stream to eat our sandwiches, watching a couple of children exploring the water carefully, barefooted, and wondered how often urban kids got to do things like this with their parents nowadays. We passed an Asian extended family as we walked up, carrying food and equipment to a level clearing where they were going to prepare food for a feast, by the looks of it. Well worth the effort in such a beautiful setting. On our way back down, I noticed several men from the group we saw earlier, gathered at the top of a small waterfall performing their ritual ablutions before prayer. So refreshing to be able to pray together unhindered in the great outdoors, I thought to myself.
After our walk, we called in for a drink and cake at the charming Old Barn tearoom, set in a lovely garden clearing in woodland, a few miles away from the waterfalls. The farmhouse is quite remote from others at the far end of the lake from Ponsticill village, but whenever we've called in there, it's been busy, as trail bikers and walkers as well as picnickers can easily find it, due to its discreet well placed home made signposts distributed around the area. We're very fortunate to have such lovely countryside to visit within easy reach of Cardiff.
And to end the day, another episode of 'The Young Montalbano' to make us smile.