May 17, 2020 by welshcyclist
Today was not a work day, but I got up fairly early to take a leisurely spin. It used to be the case that even on my days off I’d be up early and off riding my bike rain or shine. Until yesterday and today that is. I didn’t make it outside until 08.15 so I knew I couldn’t be out long, as usual things to do.
It was a bit cloudy and chilly, but there was a distinct promise of sunshine so I donned my shades. When I set off my knees were on the stiff side after my shed clearing afternoon yesterday, so I decided to try and not give them excess strain. This was, almost immediately, a complete fail. As I cycled through the newly mown field of flowers I changed gear the wrong way and came to a complete stop, and had to put my feet to the ground. Ouch! The back of my gammy left knee complained.
Water level on Neath river at Glynneath remains very low.
I continued on my leisure cycle bearing in mind sudden stops can be harmful to my knees. Riding a couple of times around the cycle path that encircles the field of flowers, I then cycled up to the B4242 to head back to Glynneath. The road runs alongside the Neath Tennant canal, now disused and until the last few weeks completely overgrown.
Dredging and digging out has been in progress leaving it drained and bare.
Gone are the ducks and wildlife, even the otters I saw here four maybe five years ago.
Below is one of the canal feeders slowly filling the canal again, but the weather has been so dry these last couple of months and continues to be so it’s a long job.
Despite the current look of desolation this section of the canal has, the trees and bushes around have a very jungle like appearance.
I’ve no idea what is to appear to the right of the canal, between it and the B4242. Hopefully, it will be a cycle path that pedestrians can share, lol.
Slowly, but surely the waterway is filling without the mass of leaves, silt, debris and neglect that choked it up.
On the other side of the canal is the Aberpergwm mine, recently brought back into production. See the stocks of coal waiting for lorries to take them away.
Next year, all this will be back to it’s former beauty with the added bonus of a shared pedestrian and cyclist path.
I continued to ride by these renovations to where the original locks were, digging out has been in progress here also, with the overgrown vegetation removed is once more recognisable
Everything looks so great in the sunshine, but all is not well.
I have yet to see swallows, swifts and house martins, all of which I have continued to see summer here in the Neath valley. Nesting in the eaves of buildings, swooping over the fields, rivers, lakes and ponds. My son, Conor, says he’s seen a few in the next valley at Ystradgynlais. Apparently, their numbers have been decimated over the past decade.
The mystery continues, as I understand it, the experts still don’t know where they go to winter in the southern parts of Africa.
It is very disturbing.