Aug 20 - Jul 21

Sunday October 18th 2020. Garn Dolbenmaen circuit. Eleven members of Llŷn Ramblers met at Garn Dolbenmaen village car park for a walk led by Kath Spencer. The day was mostly overcast, but there were sunny intervals, little wind and it was dry. The party headed north through the outskirts of the village by interesting lanes and paths running amid the characteristic patchwork of small walled fields. After skirting Gors Graianog, the route took a narrow walled path section which had benefited from clearance by the footpath volunteers last year and emerged onto a wide tract of open access moorland extending across the southern slopes of Mynydd Graig Goch. This impressive mountain, recently reclassified as a 2000ft peak, forms the western terminus of the Nantlle Ridge. The exposed landscape features rough heather clad terrain, often devoid of paths other than sheep tracks. In places the heather had been burnt off to reveal bleached stones and meagre grassland. The group climbed gradually, following the line of long straight walls to an elevation of about 1300ft. From here there were commanding views across Eifionydd and down the peninsula to Cilan and the St Tudwals Islands. The walk then turned south to follow the headwaters of streams that eventually join the Afon Dwyfor in Cwm Pennant and the Afon Dwyfach near Bryncir. There was a welcome stop for lunch at a large sheepfold. Further on there was a brief stop at Cae Amos, a lonely formerly derelict cottage adopted in 1967 by the Leeds Mountaineering Club and handed over in 2015 to the Mountain Bothy Association to provide refuge to passing walkers. From here the route followed a track along part of Bwlch y Bedol, eventually regaining the civilisation of Garn. This was a fine, well-researched walk of some 7 miles length. Noel Davey

Sunday October 11th 2020. Yr Elen. A party of 12 met at Pont Abercaseg in Bethesda for an ascent of Yr Elen in the Carneddau led by Roy Milnes. The day was mostly sunny and not as cold as forecast on the tops, despite a brisk wind and mist at times. The route out soon left the wooded paths close to the town and took Cwm Caseg, climbing steadily east into exposed grassy moorlands, keeping to an elevated and drier path on the northern side of the valley, well above the boggy terrain along the Afon Caseg itself. As mists lifted the conspicuous peak of Yr Elen came into view. After about 3 miles, the path forded a tributary at around 1600ft elevation, turning south past Carreg y Gath and entering the narrow upper reaches of the valley deep between craggy walls which soar above the small lake of Cwm Caseg. There was a welcome stop for lunch in this relatively sheltered spot at about 2500ft elevation. The final steep assault took the less commonly used eastern route up Yr Elen to reach the summit at 3156ft, making it the ninth highest of the Welsh peaks. Here commanding views opened up westwards towards the peaks of Carnedd Dafydd and Elidir Fawr and to the north across the lowlands of Arfon, the Menai and Ynys Môn. The route down took the relatively easy grassy shoulder westwards into Cwm Llafar, crossing Foel Ganol and Braich y Brysgl. The path across boggy terrain closer to Afon Llafar became indistinct in places, but eventually reached the scenic lower reaches of the river close to Bethesda. This was a quite strenuous but most rewarding day out, involving some 8.5 miles over almost 7 hours and a cumulative ascent of about 2750ft. All did well, especially those venturing into the mountains for the first time for several months. Noel Davey

Sunday October 4th 2020. Criccieth-Pont Dolbenmaen. Dafydd Williams led a group of 10 on a repeat of a popular 12 mile circuit through a delightful pastoral area north of Criccieth with much of visual and historical interest. Early rain gave way to a pleasant day of dry sunny periods. Underfoot, though, it was often wet and muddy. The route started from the clinic and took the familiar Lôn Fêl , passing Bryn Awelon, once home of Lloyd George and his daughter Megan, but now a nursing home. A footpath skirted Mynydd Ednyfed Fawr, a house of 16th C origin, now offering self catering accommodation. After crossing the defunct golf course, the way turned north, past Braich y Saint farm, another fine listed 16th C building. The route joined a country lane for a while and then turned off on a path running below the small hills of Bryniau Ystumcegid and Bryniau’r Tyddyn. Here a now indecipherable mound comprising the ruins of Cefn y Fan, a medieval hall house, was probably the Llys of Ieuan ap Maredudd ap Hywel and said to have been burnt by Owain Glyndwr in 1403. Further on the party encountered a frisky herd of cattle without mishap. An apparent large lake ahead turned out to be the waters of the Afon Dwyfor which had flooded over a large tract of low-lying grassland after recent rain. This meant that the intended tricky section along the south bank of the river had to be abandoned for a half mile march along the verge of the busy A487. Before that, the parapets of the old bridge at Pont Dolbenmaen provided a pleasant spot for lunch above the raging floodwaters of the river. Along the main road the party passed the newly built Dŵr Cymru works handling the water from Llyn Cwmystradllyn which supplies much of Llŷn: their design blends in well with the landscape. The route then turned south, requiring something of a paddle to reach a footbridge recrossing the Dwyfor. Field paths linked three farms of Ystumcegid, including the house at Ysumcegid ganol which has been abandoned since 1935. At Ystumcegid Isaf there was a stop for tea beside the fine Neolithic burial chamber, prompting speculation on how its builders raised the great triangular slab to roofit. The walk continued past Gell Farm, turning at Trefan Farm onto less frequented paths down to the A497. The final leg took the party down to the coast at Ynysgain, passing the Girl Guides centre, along the Coast Path past Cefn Castell and back through Muriau. All enjoyed this lovely day in the countryside of Eifionydd. Noel Davey

Thursday October 1st 2020. Moel y Ci circuit. Sue Tovey led a group of 11 walkers on a relaxed 6.5 mile walk in pleasant sunshine, starting from the community enterprise of Moel y Ci near Tregarth. The route headed east, then south by a network of pretty paths through fields and woods, skirting Waen y Pandy and Sling. There were good views towards the town of Bethesda tucked under the bulk of the Carneddau mountains behind. South of Bryn Eglwys the walk followed a delightful path through a deep and narrow valley of oakwoods and rushing waters. This woodland area had been presented to the community by the Penrhyn Estate for a nominal sum. There was a stop for lunch in a sheltered garden nearby, courtesy of the walk leader. The route continued through the quarry village of Mynydd Llandegai which is distinguished by two parallel rows of semi-detached quarrymen’s cottages built in the 19c for workers of the massive Penrhyn Quarry nearby. These feature a conspicuous grid of long and thin one acre strips which were provided to feed each family. Turning west, the walk entered a more exposed upland area, with fine views towards the peaks of Mynydd Perfedd and Elidir Fawr. En route, the group admired a beautifully refurbished Neuadd Goffa and an impressive new water works. A track was followed north around the hill of Moel y Ci at an elevation of over 1000ft, providing a vista of the lowland fields and villages of Rhiwlas and Pentir. A gradual descent finally took the party north-east across rich walled and wooded pastures to regain the start point at Moel y Ci. Some rounded off a most enjoyable walk with refreshments at the excellent community café. Noel Davey

Sunday September 27th 2020. Nantlle Ridge (Cwm Silyn - Mynydd Tal-y-Mignedd). Today’s walk was a circuit of 8.5 miles led by Noel Davey, taking in the central section of the Nantlle Ridge. A group of 9 walkers met at Maenllwyd at the end of a narrow lane east of Llanllyfni on the border of the open access area at about 900 feet elevation. It was a beautiful sunny day, quite cool at first, but with moderating winds. The walk initially headed east by a broad moorland track, turning south after about a mile to climb the long grassy shoulder of Cwm Silyn. This took the party above the steep crags of Clogwyn y Cysgod and onto the ridge path, reaching the rocky summit cairn at 2400ft, the highest part of the ridge, in time for a well deserved morning panad. The views from here and throughout the day were spectacular, stretching down to the Glaslyn and the Llŷn to the west, to the mountains of central Snowdonia to the south and east and to the lowlands of Arfon and Ynys Môn in the north. The descent of 750ft down Craig Cwm Silyn by winding and often vanishing rocky paths was in many ways the most difficult section of the walk. It provided tantalising glimpses down into Cwm Pennant far below and a majestic panorama of the verdant ridge snaking ahead in the distance. The respite of reaching the level col at Bwlch Dros-bern soon gave way to a steep and craggy 500ft climb onto the plateau of Tal y Mignedd. At the summit, the conspicuous obelisk, commemorating Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, was the ideal spot for lunch in the sunshine. The route back headed north-west down a gentle grassy shoulder with fine views down to Llyn Nantlle and the tiers of old slate quarry workings beyond. After negotiating boulders to ford the Afon Craig Las, the walk continued south-west across moorland, mostly following sheep tracks close to the 1000ft contour. At a ladder stile, the party turned south though heather and bilberries to reach the twin lakes of Llynnau Cwm Silyn which nestle under the towering grey cliffs of Craig yr Ogof, a popular haunt of mountain climbers. There was a pleasant stop for tea on the lakeshore. The final leg passed some interesting ruins of uncertain origin, rejoining the morning track back to the cars after about 6 hours. This was a rewarding day out in this wonderful piece of Snowdonia, involving a total ascent of some 2500ft. Noel Davey

Sunday September 13th 2020. Moel Goedog - Bryn Cader Faner. Today’s walk took a small  group to the uplands of Ardudwy in Meirionnydd for an 8  mile walk under the leadership of Derek Cosslett.  The morning weather brought mist and drizzle which limited the views but failed to dampen spirits. The walk started from a lonely roadside spot near Merthyr Farm, heading north-east along the ancient Bronze Age trackway below Moel Goedog, climbing gradually past Llyn y Fedw and Llyn Eiddew on a section of the Ardudwy Way, a recently opened high level trail connecting Barmouth to Llandecwyn. The  track  entered an area of increasingly rich archaeology, peppered with  ancient stones, cairns and hut circles, a reminder that this was a relatively well populated and developed area three millennia ago. Soon the spectacular cairn circle of Bryn Cader Faner came into view high on an isolated rocky mount, a ring of tall angled stones jutting out like rays of the sun, also known as ‘the Crown of Thorns’. To quote ‘A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales’ ( F.Lynch), ‘It is a monument of simple but effective design, placed with sophisticated precision in its dramatic setting so as to achieve maximum impact on travellers approaching from the South. It is arguably the most beautiful Bronze Age monument in Britain’. The party stopped for lunch in a sheltered spot nearby. In the afternoon the skies brightened, opening up tantalising views across Cardigan Bay to  Portmeirion and down the Llŷn. The route back followed a grassy track along  the northern  flank of Moel Goedog. Despite the poor weather this was an enjoyable walk in a remote and intriguing landscape. Noel Davey.

Sunday September 6th 2020. Cilan - Porth Ceiriad. On a fine sunny day Jane Logan led a lovely 9 mile walk near Abersoch featuring superb views of the coast and mountains and much of local historical interest.  The walk started at the rough patch of ground of a National Trust carpark on Mynydd Cilan, heading down above Nant Farm to Llanengan. There was a pause for coffee beside the imposing chimney, a restored 19C relic of the extensive lead mines hereabouts. The route continued through the hamlet of Sarn Bach, now enveloped  by a rash of exposed caravan sites, following a line of the old horse-drawn tramway which once carried mine ore to a wharf at Penrhyn Du.   The Traeth Mawr at Abersoch, busy with Bank Holiday crowds, was a fine sight. Other  reminders  of the area’s mining heritage included cottages and a chapel built for migrant Cornish tin miners and a plaque recording a serious mine accident. The walk then turned onto the coast to follow the Wales Coast Path along  the spectacular clifftops  at  Cim, passing the St Tudwals Islands. Trwyn Wylfa provided a splendid lunch spot overlooking  the cliff lined bay of Porth Ceiriad. A school of dolphins was sighted in the waters below. The route next ascended the sheer wall  of the Pared Mawr, past the remnants of an iron age hillfort. There was a detour to inspect the single massive stone surviving from the Neolithic burial chamber of Llech y Doll.  Tracks through heather across the top of Cilan brought the walkers back to the startpoint and the final  treat of  tea in the leader’s garden to round off a memorable day out.   Noel Davey.

Walk Reports September 2020. Way back in March Rhodwyr Llŷn Ramblers had no sooner held their AGM and launched a new spring/summer programme of walks than the maelstrom of the epidemic whirled in on us. During the lockdown many club members started  pounding  their local footpaths in solitary ones or twos, gaining an intimate knowledge of their 5 ‘milltir sgwar’. We were privileged to have this unusual opportunity  to savour  our wonderful and virtually deserted landscapes in the spring sunshine. These tranquil walks were a godsend to stave off Covid anxieties.   As restrictions lifted, the Club cautiously began a rolling two week programme of walks prebooked  for groups of typically 6-8 and requiring social distancing and care at gates. What a relief to get out in company into some of the wilder parts of Gwynedd! Since then we have enjoyed some 16 walks mostly in areas avoided by the returning crowds of holiday visitors. Reports on a couple of these walks follow.