CC16 Nant-y-draenog Reservoir (Raven2)
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This is the sixteenth of a series, the “Caerphilly Collection”, that will explore the whole Borough Council area. This cache is also one of a subset around the strenuous circular Raven Walk. One virtual cache leads to the final regular cache in a medium sized plastic lunch box. Although using more of the Raven Walk is encouraged, the cache can be completed within an overall walk of a mile with 300' of ascent (steep in parts and may be slippery).
The Caerphilly Collection is distinguished with a unique CC number and is made up of 50 caches. The caches vary in difficulty and type and usually have other “C” word connections – castle, cheese, coal, canal, etc. There may even be Cryptic Clues for Clever Clogs! The current Caerphilly unitary authority grew out of the former Rhymney Valley and Islwyn Councils and stretches from the outskirts of Cardiff and Newport in the south to the Brecon Beacons, north of Rhymney. Despite a past dominated by coal and heavy industry, it has a diverse history and varied and dramatic scenery. We hope you will enjoy exploring it with us.
Towards the end of the Collection is CC48 The Accumulator, the location of which is given in coded form. The translation details of the code are distributed around the whole Collection, but only about a third of the caches will contain a piece of the code, which is on the back of the Log Book. To do the Accumulator, you will need to keep a note of each piece of code that you find. Unless you are very lucky, you will need to find the majority of the Collection in order to do the Accumulator. The Accumulator cache is hidden in an area of difficult terrain and demanding navigation, with a 5,4½ rating.
CC16 is the second of a subset of the main series, following the Raven Walk which is about 14 miles long with 3500' of ascent, around the confluence of the rivers Ebbw and Sirhowy. The official start/finish is at the Cwmcarn Visitor Centre and our set of caches begins here and is designed to follow segments of the circular route (so CC could also stand for Cwmcarn Circular) in the recommended anticlockwise direction.
When originally established, the guide from the Visitor Centre included the cost of a badge for those who completed the walk. Proof of the achievement was the aggregation of four brass rubbings from posts (topped by carved ravens) placed strategically around the Walk. There was (and still is) no obligation to do the walk in one go. Sadly, all of the original carved ravens succumbed to vandalism and their posts (and brass plates) have been removed and most of the original waymarks (see uploaded image) have disappeared. But don't let this put you off: there are new raven sculptures and waymarks, an improved guide and a new challenge, which requires the finding of Ogam characters at the sculptures and translating these into a Welsh word. The correct word will gain you an enamel Raven Walk badge. Despite its proximity to over-populated valleys, the trail finds some beautiful countryside and achieves magnificent vantage points.
You are advised to use a 1:25000 map to ensure that you use public rights of way to get to the cache, because footpaths are not obvious on the ground.
In the following, VC stands for Virtual Cache and RC for Regular Cache.
VC1 is in the churchyard of St Tudur's, Mynyddislwyn, at the coordinates given above for this cache. Limited roadside parking is available on the south side of the churchyard. The church is on an ancient "llan" site thought to date from the 6th century. The first church may have been of timber, but the present stone one dates from 13th/14th century (though much extended and altered since). Thanks to CADW and the Heritage Lottery Fund, the church was brought into good order for the millennium, including restoration of the tower with a ring of eight bells (five coming from St Luke's Church in Abercarn). Take a look inside, if you are lucky enough to find the church open. On two days a year, tours of the tower are offered … to those that can cope with the narrow stone turret staircase. To the south of the churchyard is a Norman motte.
The area around the south porch is paved with gravestones removed from inside the church when the floor was lowered at the beginning of 20th century. These include the so-called "domino" gravestone. But we are looking outside the paved area for the grave of Louisa Bryant, who died on 29th December 1959. Make a note of her middle name and convert this into a set of numbers using the keypad of your mobile phone.
RC2 is at N51 3a.bc3 W003 1b.de7, where:
a = the first and sixth numbers in the set derived at VC1 multiplied together
b = the seventh number minus the second number
c = the sixth number
d = the third number
e = the fifth and eighth numbers multiplied together
The Nant-y-draenog Reservoir was decommissioned some years ago, but used to be on the end of the supply pipeline from the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir in the Black Mountains. The Raven Walk crosses the dam. Despite the abandoned dam and treatment works below it, this secluded valley remains attractive.
If you are doing the whole Raven Walk subset (CC15 to CC19) in one go, you will carry on across the dam, heading for Ynysddu and CC17. Alternatively, you may wish to link this cache into a circular walk with CC20 and CC15, a round trip of about 3 miles with 600' of ascent.
5z hc onax, orybj ovttrfg gerr.
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Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum