Wilderness Wales


Day 30 - Henrhyd Falls

Afon Llech, Swansea Valley

Henrhyd Falls in the Rain

Henrhyd Falls in the pouring rain

Two days to go and only one fall left, Henrhyd Falls. Although this is in the Swansea valley (all the others are in the Neath valley), it's actually quite close to Ystradfellte, not far from Sgwd Einion Gam in fact. The Afon Pyrddin rises right next to Henrhyd Falls. Henrhyd is also the highest fall in the Beacons, at 90ft.

Although it's a nice walk up the Nant Llech valley to Henrhyd, the weather was horrible, not only wet but quite dark too, and I was in no mood for a long rain walk, so I parked at the car park above the falls and took the tourist route instead, down the steep path to the river below. Although the previous two rain walks had been quite pleasant, conditions seemed different today, and I didn't enjoy it at all.

Previously the path from the bridge had been closed due to a landslip, a tree had fallen off the edge of the path. The path was still there, but was closed in case of further slips. Since then, a new path has been built away from the edge, so the approach is quite safe now.

In no mood to spend any longer there than necessary, I made my way to an obvious viewpoint, quite close to the fall. After a couple of days of rain the fall was starting to look quite impressive, although still way short of what it would look like in extreme conditions.

To my surprise the fall was generating quite a breeze, throwing spray at me in addition to the rain. As I set up my brolly-pod it tried to take off! The wind from the bottom of the fall was blowing up the slope and lifting the umbrella. I had to tie my camera pouches to it to hold it down.

Not only was the fall blowing spray at me, but rain too. In spite of the umbrella, the rain was being blown underneath it, giving me a headache trying to keep the lens clean. The long exposures in the dull light only gave the raindrops more time to collect on the lens. I wasn't too happy about my digital camera getting wet either, even under the brolly. Conditions were so unpleasant I only took seven digital shots, and although I didn't realise it at the time, every single one was spoilt by raindrops on the lens.

As I walked back I saw a potentially good viewpoint down on the river bed, but in those conditions I really couldn't be bothered, so I made my way back.

As I ascended the long steep slope back up to the car park, who should I meet walking down but Bill Grey! I'd mentioned Henrhyd as my destination that day and Bill decided to meet up with me, but declined my offer to return to the fall. Instead I returned home with Bill, where he showed me his new digital camera, the Canon 300D! Everybody seems to be buying one of these! I'm very jealous. All in all, a terrible day, a complete waste of time going out.