Sessions 35, 36 And 37 … Welsh Camping With Added Fishing

Saturday, 24th August, saw Liz and myself set off camping in Wales for a long weekend’s (Sat 24th – Tues 27th) camping near Llandeilo, just on the west edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park and about 25 miles north of Swansea at the Trapp Fishery, Camping And Caravanning site in Trap – yep, I know the fishery name has 2 ‘P’s in ‘Trapp’ and the place name has only one ‘Trap‘ but those are what are on the fishery leaflet and on the road signs…. 🙂

We set off from Wolverhampton at around 1400 on the Saturday as Liz had to work a shift on the morning and I dropped her off at work, returned home and loaded the car, and then picked her up when she finished for the day and we headed straight off for our break from there.

The trip took us just under three-and-a-half hours, including the compulsory coffee stop around half way, which was exactly what we expected and so all was good despite some roadwork hold-ups but we made good on those – without breaking any speed limits even!

So, first thing on arrival, we spoke to the site owner who was very pleasant, informative and helpful and we soon had our pitch choice sorted – although it must have been 100 yards away from the pool! Oh, the hardship!! LOL!

This was the first outing for our ‘new’ weekend tent – last year we used a 3-4 man ‘pop-up’ tent, the sort that consists of a single circular pole/hoop and having removed it from the bag you just throw it up in the air and it lands ready set up…

pop-up

Not the actual tent … illustrative only

However, the deficiencies of the tent became too apparent on the few times we made use of it and so we had ventured afar – OK, so we actually went to Decathlon a few miles away – after seeing a possible candidate in the Arpenaz Base M tent – and we weren’t disappointed when we saw it in store! Sized 98” square with a mid-ceiling height of 86”  easily accommodates our two single air beds connected by a double fitted sheet over them plus allowed space either side of the bed to move to dress/undress AND had enough height even at the walls to stand upright to dress/undress unlike the pop-up where one had to wiggle on one’s back to get trousers, etc on unless, of course, one rose early enough so that the campsite was deserted and could leave the tent to do the necessary and not have to worry about the sudden arrival of the police to deal with reported ‘flashers’! And at £79.99 it was a bargain compared to our pop-up tents (not cheap ones – over £100!)…

However, as usual, its described as an 8-man tent as the designers of tents invariably think that (a) people don’t have luggage, (b) no-one snores and (c) people all sleep in group hugs. 8-person, definitely not, 8-sardine more like – but great for 2 like us!

BTW – two single airbeds under a double fitted sheet.. You may ask – why not a double airbed? Well, a few good reasons we’ve learnt over our years of camping.

  1. Often, at times too often, an airbed gives up the ghost and deflates overnight. With a double airbed both occupants get inconvenienced and can get to spend a ‘hard’ night sleeping effectively on the ground before the bed can be changed/replaced. With single airbeds just the unlucky one gets the problem.
  2. Replacing a single airbed is cheaper than replacing a double – generally not a lot more granted but it all mounts up over time.
  3. Probably the ‘best’ reason … if one person is restless or needs to get up in the night for some reason then the acts of rising/getting back down and/or just turning over changes the air pressure within the air bed… I’m sure you’ve seen videos of those large air pillows whereby one person sits on the end of one and then someone jumps on the other end catapulting the first person into the air? Well, similar, if not as violent reactions occur to the events I mentioned which impact on the other person’s ability to slumber by being bounced up/down if a double airbed is used. With single airbeds in use, each being its own enclosed system, none of this occurs and ‘A’ can almost trampoline on their own airbed without any effect being felt by ‘B’.
  4. However, ‘coverlet’ stealing can still remain a problem! Solution to that is simply a good sleeping grip on your side of it!

Also, the Arpenaz is simple to set up … just two fibreglass poles that form the crossed arches – and which are easy to pass through the sleeves fitted to take them unlike other tents we’ve had – the ends of the poles then being connected to pins at the corners of the tent itself – and 5 tent pegs knocked in to anchor down the base – and another 4 pegs for the guy ropes. Literally, 5 minutes or less from getting out of its carry bag, and you have a great – and very stable – tent set up. Another plus is the sewn-in groundsheet – no rain can run into the tent from external sources. Only slight negative is that it is single-skin and that does become liable to condensation on the inner walls – but not enough to run and puddle – and leaving just a slight gap at the top of the window’s curtains seemed to have an appreciable effect in the lessening of that as it allowed air to circulate a bit and so equilibrate the inner and outer temps slightly as well as allowing dampness from the breath to pass through and out. All-in-all this tent has pleased us immensely!

The site itself was pretty much a standard small farmer’s field. One shed housed the single toilet and single wash basin. No showers at all. There were facilities for caravan waste disposal and a drinking water tap was available to replenish drinking water carboys… The Lake Cottage did have it’s own facilities inc a shower. We had a non-serviced pitch but also pitches with electric supply were available. So all very basic really and almost back to the earth camping BUT it was what we were after for our short break and it suited us to the ground. There are plans in hand on the site to remove the current toilet/washroom shed and replace it with a proper toilet/shower/washroom block as well as other general improvements on the site…

Anyway, to get quickly over the rest of the stay and on to the fishing – we took just a single gas burner cooker, kettle and a water container – plus tea, coffee, sugar and powdered milk – for our on-site catering as meals we have out (ie JustEat) – generally we have a ‘brunch’ as our main meal and just grab some ‘picky’ bits and nibbles for the campsite evenings.

So to the fishing… the site had its own fishing pool … not massive, it had 10 accessible and marked pegs for campers/caravanners with a day ticket charge of £7.50. There was also the Lake Cottage on the dam wall at the end of the pool which has its own reserved fishing area (ie the dam wall itself).

From speaking to the site owner it appears that the water suffered a fish kill a few years ago, the reason being a difference of opinion between the site owner and the EA … the owner reckons it was due to crop spraying by a nearby farm, the EA reckons the source was from upstream .. and never has been resolved one way or the other. The owner also said the pool was fed by a stream that also fed the ‘famous Brecon water’ which I take from a look at the map as being Usk Reservoir. Anyway, it seems that due to the fish loss and the re-stocking (this year the owner has added 2,000+ rudd) it seems many of the fish are still of ‘stockie’ size although carp of estimated double figures were seen. However, the larger fish didn’t succumb to my baits …. but what the fish lacked in size they more than made up in in their condition – the rudd were as golden as gold could ever possibly be and every single fish I caught was fin and scale perfect…

The fishing itself on all three sessions was identical and so the descriptions given apply to all really… all sessions were about 4-5 hours in length, the first session being at 0600-1000 on Sunday 25th, the second was 1530-2000 again on Sunday, and the third was 0600-1100 on Monday 26th … a planned 4th session on the Monday evening was shelved due to fatigue from the previous day’s activities (driving to Wales, fishing, touristy afternoons out), etc and it being super-hot and fatiguing in itself!

Session 1. I fished from peg 1 – the last peg before the dam wall – plenty of fish activity – carp cruising but crust thrown out was nosed and battered but not being taken. I floatfished in my usual lift method style with worm and maggot baits and caught lots of rudd and roach, a skimmer bream and several tench. Biggest was probably the bream at around 12oz-1lb. The pool is very weedy and I had to cast into the clearer areas as much as possible but even so many fish were lost to fish escaping the hook after getting into the weed.

Session 2. I fished from peg 10 – opposite the peg I’d fished in the morning at the other end of the dam wall. The wall of rushes to my right looked very fishy and a possible perch haunt. Again lift method, again worm/maggot and some sweetcorn, again a lot of roach/rudd, several very small bream, a lot of tench (up to about 1lb)… no perch, in fact no perch on any session but reading the blurb seems to indicate that maybe there are none in there as they’re not listed in the species in the fisheries flyer … seems that trout are the water’s in-house predator although I had none of those either. Anyway, a lot of weed assisted fish lost again….

Session 3. I changed to an ‘on the drop’ method with a 5BB onion float set to fish about 6” or so off bottom thinking this may help with the prevention of fish using weed to escape the hook – and seemingly that situation improved – and also that it would make the bait more visible being held higher and possibly above the weed, and again it did seem that bites were more frequent not that they’d been slow previously. Again, the catch was made up of rudd, roach, bream, tench … and a small mirror carp.

Some of the weekend’s catch….

Anyway, we had a great weekend… weather was superb marred slightly about 30 minutes of very fine rain just before we got the tent down, typical, tent down back to sunshine!!! Certainly a place we’d revisit some time in the future, especially with the improvements on site we’d maybe have a longer stay … and maybe the fish stocks would mature and grow too….

SOME ADD-ONS….

A sea fishing brochure with trips out from Newquay, Wales… Possibly do it if we are in the area again…

View of Carreg Cennen Castle from the camp site…

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