Polar bear at the Toronto Zoo, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Reuniting with Max in Germany on October 1st.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The leaning church of Cwmyoy!

Our hike yesterday started off in the village of Llanthony, Wales. There's a public car park at the Llanthony Priory, a ruined monastery dating to the 1100's. It was about a half hour drive to get there, and it was about 11:00am when we set off.

First of course, we had to explore the ruins. A lot of these ruins are free to explore, in fact the two castles we did yesterday were both free, and today's priory was free. Some castles you have to pay for, but we're thinking that there are so many free ones that we don't need to spend the money to see more.

One of the more recent buildings (on the left) has been restored as a hotel and pub.

Ruth, walking among the ruins.

Heading off on our hike. Mostly cloudy, with patches of blue sky, but with a bit of a cool wind.

The valley is beautiful.

A tree fell recently, but this track obviously isn't used very much.

About half way through our 8 mile (12 km) hike, we arrived at the tiny village of Cwmyoy. Yes, the Welsh language is very different and many villages have strange names. Cwmyoy has only a few houses, and a very different church.

The village of Cwmyoy. 

The church has a leaning problem. Built in the 1200's, it was constructed on ground from a landslide many years earlier and the ground hadn't finished settling. The movement over the years has caused the church to twist and the tower now leans more than the famous one in Pisa, Italy.

The buttress on the far right was constructed in the 1960's to try and prevent the tower from leaning further.

The twisting is more obvious inside the 800 year old structure.

Regular services are still held every Sunday. We had lunch on the church steps, and then continued on our hike.

The trail took us through farmers fields with lots of sheep.

Looking back at where we had come from.

The trail then took us to the top of the ridge that separates England and Wales. The geographical difference from both sides of the ridge is amazing. The trail actually goes along the border itself at the top of the ridge. It was a little chilly up there...we all wish we had brought more warm clothing for that part of the hike! I wish I had a winter toque to keep my ears warm!

On the right side of the ridge is England.

And on the left side of the ridge is Wales.

There are horses and sheep roaming on the top.

And then the trail started heading back down to the priory.

A view of the Llanthony Priory ruins.

It was a really good walk. There are so many walking trails, you can walk just about anywhere in the United Kingdom!

Today is market day in the city of Abergavenny, so we're off to explore there.


  1. I was thinking it must be so nice to be somewhere where English is spoken. Then I realised you were in Wales. I can't even read their signs!
    The train we took from Shrewsbury to Birmingham had signs in Welsh. I had not a clue.
    The church pictures almost look like there's something wrong with your camera, or that you've used some sort of "house of mirrors" kind of program. Crazy.
    I think I'd end up bumping into things in that place. My balance isn't the best to start with, and if everything is kinda wonky, I'd be sunk.

    1. It's funny you said that Bob, Kevin and I were just laughing about the language thing. We never thought about the Welsh language being a problem and it isn't but apparently there are some pocket areas that still only speak Welsh.

  2. Interesting church pictures, its a wonder that is still standing.

  3. I would probably worry about attending services with all that shifting. Made for some interesting pictures though.

  4. Beautiful countryside - love the layout of the land - never thought of going to Wales but your photos are very inviting!

    1. Now you will have to think about a visit here. Beautiful views and lots of history.

  5. I think I would keep my eye on the nearest exit while walking in that church:)

  6. 800 years old and still in use. Incredible.

  7. The old crooked church is like something out of a fairytale.


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