Today, we took on the Raven Walk challenge! We left the Cwmcarn Visitor Centre at 10.00 and found this fifth and final Raven cache at 19.50.
From the bluebelled field at the third Raven post, we continued through the forest, admiring the bright green new growth on the needled trees as we went. Just before the A467 underpass, we left the Raven Walk to turn right on to a footpath following the south bank of the River Ebbw. At the footbridge, we crossed into Risca and made our way to St Mary's Church. It was a lovely evening, and we saw confetti evidence of a recent wedding. Unfortunately, the church was closed, so, after a brief bout of arithmetic, we continued on our way.
Just past the church, we turned uphill, passed under a railway, and found a canal bridge where we were surprised to see the canal end abruptly in a pipe! We followed the towpath west along the canal until we reached a humpbacked bridge, where we rejoined the Raven Walk. We crossed over the bridge and followed a rocky path up into the woods and to the site of Cwmbyr Farm. From here, the path levelled out and made for a really nice evening walk through the forest and along the edge of a pasture.
Even though there was one more mountain to climb before finishing the walk, we felt jubilant upon reaching the fourth Raven post! We found the cache with little trouble, and we left a mini watercolour set.
Before we left, we made our final brass rubbings and felt satisfied and pleased at our smudgy but complete graphite pictures.
From here, we had a "barely got the soles of our feet wet" unbridged-stream experience, although Simon had been hoping to practice serious river crossing techniques. We continued up the opposite bank and climbed the side of the valley, the views southward opening up as we ascended. We reached Pegwn-y-bwlch as the sunset blazed pink and orange through the trees. The view from Twmbarlwm must have been stunning, but not enough daylight remained in which to make the diversion. Dusk encroached as we made the steep descent through the forest, and, when we reached the bottom, we spied a lone daffodil standing tall among the other flora as a bat flew around our heads.
As we approached the lake, the last light of the day caught in a million sparkles on the surface. After passing some campers preparing a late-night barbecue, we finally had a happy reunion with our car. The time was 21.45, and our total distance walked was 26.1 km. Tired but triumphant, just as the last of the colour drained from the landscape, we declared CC to also stand for Challenge Completed!
Thank you very much, Write and Mane, for these five fantastic caches on this spectacular Raven Walk! It was absolutely gorgeous this crisp May day, and it was well worth every step. We highly recommend the Raven Walk and its excellent booklet to all subsequent cachers!