Not another waterfall

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July 2nd 2011
Published: July 6th 2011
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This morning we had to pack our bags again because our time in Wales has come to an end. Albert wanted to make an early start and drive straight home to Stalybridge, so they were up and on the road by just after 8.00am. We were more leisurely about our departure and decided to spend all day taking the scenic route!!

Earlier in the week when we visited the waterfalls, I was saying to Bernie that there is a song that has the lyrics 'Don't go chasing waterfalls ...', but I couldn't remember any other words or who it was by. How freaky is this?? As we were driving along listening to the radio this morning what song did the radio station play - 'Waterfalls' by Paul McCartney!! Although Paul was singing 'Don't go jumping waterfalls ...' so I may not be recalling it correctly or perhaps there is another song about waterfalls?? Still pretty freaky though.

We drove towards the coast on the A482 stopping at the National Trust property, Llanerchaeron, just before we reached Aberaeron. Llanerchaeron is a rare example of a Welsh gentry estate. Having survived virtually unaltered into the 20th century, the property was bequeathed to the National Trust by J P Ponsonby Lewes in 1989.

The house, designed between 1794 and 1796, is a very good example of the early work of John Nash who went on to design the Brighton Pavilion for the Prince of Wales (later King George IV). Llanerchaeron was a self-sufficient estate – having its own butchery, dairy, bakery and brewery in the service courtyard. The two restored walled gardens produce home-grown fruit, vegetables and herbs that are used in the property's cafe, in much the same way as they would have been used in the estate household in the 18th century.

From Llanerchaeron we drove up the coast on the A487, almost as far as Aberystwyth, before turning onto the A4120 to drive up the Rheidol Valley to Devil's Bridge. We stopped at Devil's Bridge to stretch our legs by taking the nature trail into the Rheidol Gorge to view the Mynach Falls. These falls have been created by the Mynach River cascading from the lip of the gorge in a series of falls to join the Rheidol River 400 feet below. The drop of these falls through several levels makes them much higher than the others we have seen this week. We also caught glimpses of the Gyfarllwyd Falls on the Rheidol River, but these falls are dwarfed by the height of the Mynach Falls.

Back at road level we took the punchbowl trail on the other side of the river so that we could get a better view of the three bridges that have been built one on top of another over the deep narrow gully that has been carved by the Mynach River. The force of the water is really concentrated within the narrow gorge and it has carved out some amazing semi-circular shapes over the years.

After this stop we programmed the SatNav for Stalybridge and headed for our home away from home. We took the A44 and the A470 across to the A483 which becomes dual carriageway from Wrexham and feeds into the M56 motorway at Chester. On these major roads Bernie found that the Audi A4 cruises along really well at 80mph, that's mph, so about 150kph!! In fact, he took it up to 90mph and found that it still felt good, but decided that 90mph really was a bit too fast - even though there were still cars passing us at that speed. At this speed we easily made it back to Stalybridge in time for a lovely home-cooked dinner with Kath and Albert.

After dinner we booted up the iPad to look for some accommodation in Scotland. Before we left Australia I was checking out rural accommodation in the Trossachs around Callander and Aberfoyle for our stay in Scotland, but Bernie started looking at Trip Advisor reviews for accommodation in Stirling itself. I guess it is more central?! There were plenty of rooms available for one and two night, but it was a bit harder to find a room for four consecutive nights. We persevered and found a room in a B&B, walking distance from the castle and the Wallace Memorial, for Monday to Thursday nights.

While we were on the Internet, Bernie checked the Stirling Castle website which confirmed that the the State Apartments reopened about three weeks ago, but the whole castle is closed on Wednesday!! It's lucky we planned to be in and around Stirling for three full days and we can work around the closure on Wednesday. Sometimes it seems that we are not meant to go back to Stirling Castle. We have been planning a return visit since 1997, but they keeping doing more restoration work on it - and we want to see it finished!!

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