Aug 21 - Jul 22
Thursday January 26th, 2022. Caernarfon Circular. A bright sunny day, following a few gloomy ones, brought out 24 members for a lovely circuit around Caernarfon led by Kath Spencer. The walk started from the parkland of Coed Helen, following the narrow road known as the Aberforeshore over the Pont yr Aber. This pedestrian bridge across the Seiont, allowing access for masted vessels to the upriver slate quays, was once the site of a ferry. The route then entered the old town through the magnificent medieval walls beneath the brooding mass of the Castle into Stryd y Jel, past the former prison and county court and more modern council offices. Further on, a slanting footbridge took the party across the infamous chasm created by the 1980’s Inner Relief Road into the quieter elevated streets to the east. This area is dominated by the prominent 200ft high rocky hillock of Pen Twthill, aptly deriving from an Anglo-Saxon word for ‘lookout hill’. Most made the short ascent for coffee and the wonderful panoramic vista over the town and Menai. The walk continued past more key sites of the historic centre including the great Maes and the recently opened modernistic station for the Welsh Highland Railway. A pleasant wooded path doubling as a cycle route was then followed south alongside the rail track, recrossing the river. Field paths led through the impressive dairy cattle sheds of Hendy Farm and past Tyddyn Alice. A pause on a rocky mound provided a chance to enjoy a relaxed lunch, good conversation and the rich rolling green pastoral landscape dotted with trees. More field paths via Plas Farm and Beudy y Chain led out onto Y Foryd for a final stroll along the road beside the sparkling waters of the Menai. It provided a fine spectacle of the Ynys Mon countryside opposite and one of the best views of the Castle on the approach to Caernarfon. This was a most enjoyable, interesting and varied walk of some 5.6 miles over about 4 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday January 23rd, 2022. Waunfawr Circular. Kath Spencer led 15 members on a figure of eight ramble from Waunfawr. It was an overcast day, dry and calm with moderate visibility, fair walking weather. The route started from the Tafarn Snowdonia Parc at Waunfawr. The first section took attractive narrow paths through the village, the first of three visits during the day, passing a house with a menagerie of livestock including a solitary pig of great character, while a notable number of ponies grazed the fields around. A wooded track was followed south-eastwards, turning north-east via Garreg Fawr and entering the private coniferous woodland of Donen Las. This was an amazing sight of moss covered trunks and roots, many felled by past storms in chaotic confusion. After a brief stop for coffee, the party reached the quarries around Bwlch y Groes at the foot of the path up Moel Eilio in the mist above. Today’s objective was the easier 1450ft summit on the moorland of Cefn Du to the north. The wireless pioneer Guglielmo Marconi opened Britain’s first long-wave transmitting station near here in 1913. The remains of brick built buildings are still visible. The facility was vital in the First World War, enabling communication with the USA, Australia and ships in the North Atlantic. A westward route, joining a section of the Slate Path took the party back to down to Waunfawr with a pause for lunch in walled fields near Hafod Oleu, overlooking the wooded valley of the Afon Gwyrfai. In the afternoon a second loop was followed on the western side of the valley, climbing a steep but charming path through Parc Dudley, a local nature reserve on the site of a former granite quarry. Beyond the ruins of abandoned buildings at Ty’n y graig, the 1100ft summit of Moel Smytho provided far-reaching views towards Caernarfon, the Menai, Llanddwyn Island and Yr Eifl. The return leg skirted forest near Hafod Ruffydd, beside the formidable bulk of Mynydd Mawr, and descended to Betws Garmon through the Bryn Gloch caravan site, finally rejoining the outward path to Waunfawr. This was a good, strenuous walk in an interesting landscape covering about 11 miles in 6.5 hours with a cumulative ascent of some 2200ft. Noel Davey.
Thursday 20 January 2022. Abererch - Hafan y Mor. The walk started from the Abererch Beach/Station car park with Megan Mentzoni leading a record number for Covid 19 walks of 25 members. It was dry with some sunshine and the temperature a few degrees above freezing, an ideal day for walking, the numbers in attendance spoke volumes. The walk went north over the railway crossing and across the main road, the A497 at the roundabout and immediately turning right and east onto the old road which was followed for a mile or so until the Hafan holiday camp was reached. At this point the A497 was re-crossed and the Penychain station road going south taken and then over the camp golf course until the promontory of Pen-ychain was reached. This idyllic spot was ideal for lunch with the elevated ground providing shelter from the chilly wind and also offering magnificent views of the Llyn peninsula to the west, the Rivals to the north and the Eryri mountains to the east. We then trekked a couple of hundred yards along the sand dunes before a convenient gate allowed us to get onto the sand and continue towards Pwllheli, and after a mile or so the car park was regained. This was not the end for Megan had done her homework and arranged for us to visit the interesting St. Cawrdaf Church, Abererch as well as providing explanatory leaflets. An ideal 5.5 mile walk for the time of year suitable for all comers. Dafydd Williams..
Sunday 16th January 2022 Cae’r Gors Rhyd-Ddu. On a wet Sunday morning Dafydd Williams attracted 10 fellow walkers to a familiar parking space on the edge of Beddgelert Forest just south of Rhyd-Ddu. We crossed the main road to take a courtesy path up past Ffridd Uchaf which path eventually joins the Rhyd-Ddu path to the summit of Yr Wyddfa. Many remember this path as being particularly wet underfoot but the National Park have spent a considerable sum in improving the path Having gained the main Rhyd-Ddu path we of course turned downhill heading for the village but we noted several groups of walkers, and a group of cyclists heading uphill even though the weather and low cloud still dominated the weather.
A brief panad was taken in a shelter on the platform of the WHLR station before we walked through the village centre down towards the Cwellyn Arms then turned left up the road towards Nantlle. At a popular layby we embarked on a path which could have taken us to higher ground, but opted for the lower level Lon Gwyrfai proceeding along the customarily windy causeway and past llyn y Gadair. After pausing briefly to read the famous Welsh sonnet to the lake, and an English adaptation, we continued onwards in the direction of the cars.
But our leader was certainly not inclined to offer a half day walk. So we turned right and uphill towards Moelfryn and Cwm Du where lunch was taken in the vicinity of one of the many bridges in the woods, before making our way around and down towards Llyn Llywelyn, the rain by then easing and the clouds lifting. Before the lake we glimpsed a clear view through a gap in the trees of the peak of Yr Aran bathed in sunlight. By the time we reached the lake that summit, but not Yr Wyddfa itself, was clearly visible.
From the lake it was a familiar amble along forestry roads and crossing the old (and listed) bridge at Rhyd-ceffylau before reaching the cars at the end of a very pleasant 9 mile walk. Gwynfor Jones.
Thursday January 13th, 2022. Beddgelert-Dinas Emrys. Annie Andrew led 21 ramblers – a record for the Covid walks to date – on a most enjoyable outing from Beddgelert to Dinas Emrys. Early mist soon gave way to sunny periods, providing good conditions for walking and delightful views. The walk set out through the now relatively quiet centre of Beddgelert across the Colwyd and Glaslyn rivers, following the narrow paved lane leading east past pleasant meadows south of the Glaslyn as far as the Sygun Copper Mine. There was a stop for coffee in the grounds of Craflwyn Hall, a pretty Victorian country house owned by the National Trust, but presently leased to HF Holidays as a hotel mainly to accommodate walking groups. The route now began to climb a field path in the hills north of Craflwyn, soon turning off right on a lovely woodland path circling round and up to the hillsite of Dinas Emrys, the main objective of the day. This rocky hill just over 400 feet high juts out into the Glaslyn valley and provides superb views of Llyn Dinas and towards Beddgelert which were at their best on this bright sunny day. The main importance of the site, however, lies in its archaeology and connection with one of the founding myths of the nation related to the Red Dragon of Wales. This tells the legendary story of the 5th century ancient British leader Vortigern (Gwrtheyrn) who built a fort here and the young boy Emrys – variously said to be Merlin (Myrddyn) or Ambrosius (son of a Roman Emperor). Emrys foretold the fight between two dragons awoken in a pool below the site which ended in the red dragon of the British nation eventually driving out the Saxon white dragon. Some of the ramparts of the original fort are still to be seen, together with the remains of a medieval tower. Some of the party waited below since the final tricky path section to the summit was slippery. On the way back down the party stopped for lunch at a magical spot where the falls of Afon y Cwm plunge into a crystal clear pool sheltered by ancient stone walls and oaks. The path here crosses the stream by a fine stone clapper bridge. A detour was taken on a wild woodland path through the former parkland of Craflwyn. A remarkable feature here was a huge and intricate ‘dragon’ seat apparently carved in situ from a solid piece of fallen tree stump. The final leg retraced the easy outward path along the Glaslyn back to Beddgelert. This was a relaxed and interesting walk of some 5.5 miles which allowed everyone to savour the stunning landscape of this part of Eryri on a fine winter day. Noel Davey.
Sunday January 9th, 2022. Penrhyndeudraeth - Rhyd - Llyn Mair. There was a good turnout of 17 for this lovely circuit from Penrhyndeudraeth led by Annie Andrew. Though cloudy, it was a reasonably bright day and an early threat of rain did not materialise. The walk set out from the main Penrhyn town car park, climbing fairly steeply by urban paths and steps to the Ffestiniog Railway crossing over the A4085. Early flowering shrubs and a daffodil out on this south facing slope were a reminder that spring will return soon. From here the route to Rhyd followed that taken on a walk in mid-November. An open metalled track ran north-east close to the railway as far as Rhiw Goch. This continued as an earthy track through mysteriously dark pine forests, passing some ruins of the old Bwlch y Plwm lead mines at Pen yr Allt. A more open marshy section opened up views of Moelwyn Bach looming above and brought the party to the hamlet of Rhyd. The walk kept to the Garreg road for a while, passing the reddish hued Moel y Llys. At Bwlch y Maen there was a turn south on a track descending to Llyn Hafod y Llyn. Here the party left the November walk route, heading to Tan y Bwlch station where the platform bridge provided a useful group photo opportunity. A scenic wooded path led down to Llyn Mair. This popular spot, last visited by the Club just a few days ago, again provided a splendid site for lunch overlooking the still dark waters of the lake. The afternoon leg turned west on tracks circling Y Gysgfa and Hafod y Mynydd, high above the railway and offering superb views of the Dwyryd estuary below feeding out to the sea at Traeth Bach and Ynys Giftan. The path then rejoined the outward route back to Penrhyn. This was an excellent day of rambling through a fine and varied tract of countryside, comprising relatively easy walking on dry tracks, 9 miles and some 1565ft of cumulative ascent over some 5.5 hours . Noel Davey
Thursday January 6th, 2022. Oakley Arms Circular. Seven club members led by Tecwyn Williams ventured out for today’s walk with some apprehension after last week’s soaking and another poor forecast. However, the day turned out drier than expected with only a few light showers and even some pale sunshine. This pleasant walk in the lovely Vale of Ffestiniog and the wooded hills to the north started at the Oakeley Arms near Maentwrog, repeating one last done 4 years ago. The history and landscape of this beautiful area are bound up with the Tan y Bwlch estate, developed by wealthy local families from the 17th century and reaching its heyday under the Oakeley family in the 19th century on the basis of slate wealth. The initial intention was to follow the raised embankments built by the Oakleys along the northern bank of the meandering Afon Dwyryd to improve farmland, but extensive flooding meant that this was not practical today, requiring a short cut back along the A487. The walk then climbed the drive and through the gardens of the impressive mansion of Plas Tan y Bwlch which is now an environmental studies centre run by the Snowdonia National Park Authority. There was a stop for a panad on the grand terrace overlooking the valley. Paths were then followed through the fine wooded parkland of the estate, past the site of a Victorian hydroelectric scheme, now resurrected by the Park Authority. These led to the magical Llyn Mair, an artificial lake constructed by Mary Oakeley. Picnic tables on the northern shore provided a convenient spot for lunch. The route then climbed a forest track below a tunneled section of the Ffestiniog Railway skirting Y Garnedd. Finally, a steep wooded path was followed back down to the Oakely Arms through Coed Ty Coch. This was an enjoyable outing of just over 4 miles in 3 hours. Noel Davey
Sunday January 2, 2022. Criccieth Circuit. The first walk of the New Year was a circuit from Criccieth. Eryl Thomas led a dozen ramblers eager to get out after the seasonal festivities. It was a cloudy day with some bright periods, still unseasonably warm out of the wind, and the group were lucky to escape with only a few squally showers in the morning. The walk started from the former car park at the now closed Criccieth Golf Club, courtesy of the new owners. The route headed north across the open waterlogged fields of the former course, reaching the narrow country road running east-west past Braich y Saint onto the B4411. Just past Gell Farm, a loop on muddy tracks was made through the caravan sites at Tyddyn Morthwyl and Tyddyn Cethin, regaining the main road at Pont Rhyd y Benllig. The walk then followed the lovely woodland path south along the eastern bank of the Afon Dwyfor. Although the going here was difficult on account of muddy paths and awkward tree roots, the sight and sound of the river waters in full spate amid the skeletal shapes of winter oaks were a delight. At Llanystumdwy the party cut down across the A497 via Aberkin to the Wales Coast Path. Here the route rejoined the banks of the Dwyfor, still fast flowing but broad and open as the river finds its way out to the sea through a sandy spit. The coast path was blowy and bracing, showing signs of winter erosion as well as recent repairs. The colourful tenements at the West End of Criccieth soon hove into view, punctuated by the iconic castell perched above. The route turned inland at Cefn Castell, site of an old burnt out cottage resurrected as a white cube of controversial modernist design. Paths leading to Muriau on the edge of Criccieth were still in relatively well maintained condition following volunteer work a few years ago. It was now time for lunch at a busy site making use of a convenient wall at the junction with the A497. The walk then followed the pretty Lôn Fêl northwards, leading on to the impressive 16th century house of Mynydd Ednyfed Fawr, a former hotel, now used for luxury self-catering group accommodation. Finally, there was an ascent of the 450ft high Mynydd Ednyfed, the only major climb of the day. Little seems to be known of the archaeology of this small but conspicuous mount, but there is thought to have been a hill fort here. A pale sun emerged as the party gained the top in time to admire the splendid views of Criccieth town, its castle and the rough seascape beyond. This was a good, well paced walk of some 7.5 miles over 4 hours, ideal for the time of year. Noel Davey.
Thursday December 30th, 2021. Moel Goedog. This was the third time since Covid began that the Club members made their way to Merthyr Farm high in the hills above Harlech to walk around Moel Goedog. As before, an objective had been to climb the Moel to look at the Neolithic stone circles, but again this was forestalled by even worse weather and the dozen walkers led by Dafydd Williams contented themselves with a fairly brisk circuit of some 5.5 miles round the base of the hill. This took a clockwise direction along the northern flank of the hill, skirting Llyn y Fedw and returning along a section of the Taith Ardudwy to the east. This time the rain was relentless for the 3 hours of the walk and low mist precluded even a glimpse of the fantastic views to be enjoyed here on a clear day. All that could be seen were the anoraks ahead and the sodden grass and waterlogged tracks over which the party squelched. Despite the soaking, it felt quite mild and the party seemed to welcome the chance to get outdoors for some exercise and conversation. Noel.
Sunday December 26th. 2021. Moel y Gest. On Boxing Day a group of 4 managed to escape domestic festivities for a few hours walk up Moel y Gest led by Noel Davey. It was a fair day for walking, quite mild with pale sunny periods and occasional light showers. The party set out from the large car park at Lidl, Porthmadog, climbing the leafy path to the ‘bwlch’ below the Moel y Gest ridge. Since wet conditions made the rocky paths tricky, the ridge route was given a miss. Instead, the path was followed on down past Tyddyn Llwyn caravan site and Saethon and along the Morfa Bychan road to the llama farm. A slow but steady ascent was then made by tracks and paths direct to the main summit of Moel y Gest at some 850ft elevation. Here the walkers encountered friends and family and enjoyed lunch with mince pies, settled by the trig point within the remains of the defended iron age enclosure to be found here. There was a bright and sunny panorama to the south over the Glaslyn estuary and towards Criccieth and Eifionydd. Rising mists began to shroud the views towards Porthmadog on the north side. The afternoon leg retraced much of the morning’s route, though the muddy paths downward were found by some to be more difficult. As time was running short, it was decided to curtail the walk, cutting out the originally planned loops via Ty’n y Mynydd and Borth y Gest. Three, however, made a short detour through the delightful woodlands of Parc y Borth. The cars were regained after a refreshing and quite strenuous 6 mile walk over 4.5 hours. This was a welcome antidote to the previous day’s indulgence and left the party ready for more mince pies. Noel.
Sunday December 19th, 2021. Bethania-Moel Dyniewyd-Llyn Dinas. A spectacular winter’s day – bright sun, crisp and calm - was a perfect setting for a walk in the heart of Eryri. Gareth Hughes led a quartet on a clockwise circuit in the hill country south of Nant Gwynant. The walk started from Bethania, climbing the country road towards Gelli Iago. The chilly frost in the valley shaded valley soon gave way to warm sunshine. After a mile the route turned south-west along a straight track heading for Bryn Castell. A broken ladder stile discouraged an ascent of this mysterious conical hill, but the walk continued over three more substantial peaks of between 1000 and 1300ft elevation: Mynydd Llyndy, an unnamed summit and Moel Dyniewyd, the highest point of the day. It was not clear why the lowest was a ‘mynydd’, the highest a ‘moel’ and the other nothing at all. The connecting path crossed a landscape of remarkable broken terrain, a complex patchwork of small hills rising from tussocky and often marshy grassland and dotted with sheepfolds. The views were gorgeous, enhanced by long shadows cast by the bright, low light. The mountains of northern Snowdonia soared all around into a bright blue sky, their slopes a wonderful tapestry of orange, brown and reddish hues. The path, mostly following the line of a fence, was at times rocky, rough and hard going, but at Grib Ddu it joined the more established route from Aberglaslyn and Cwm Bychan. Lunch was taken at the crossroads here, beside some of the tips created by the Sygun copper mine. The party then descended the steep but much improved path and steps down to Llyn Dinas. The vista of the lake was breath-taking, its calm surface providing a perfect mirror reflection of the wooded hillsides above. The last mile or so followed an easy path along the southern side of the lake. This was a first class and well-paced outing of some 6 miles over about 4 hours, well suited to one of the year’s shortest days. The reliable Gwynant café provided welcome coffee afterwards. Noel Davey.
Thursday December 16th 2021. Abersoch - Porth Ceiriad. Meri Evans led 13 ramblers on an enjoyable walk from Abersoch to Porth Ceiriad along one of the best sections of the Wales Coast Path in Llŷn. While cloudy, the day was bright, dry and unseasonably mild, good walking weather. The walk started from the main beach car park and crossed the broad expanse of Porth Fawr to the quieter end of the beach at Machroes. From here the route followed the Lôn Haearn, the track of the old tramway which once linked some 10 lead and silver mines to the wharf at Penrhyn Du. The Coast Path then led along the top of the glorious cliffs, circling around Cim Farm, past the twin islands of St Tudwals and providing a splendid view of the sea crashing on the rocks below and the dark silhouette of the mountains arcing across the bay, stretching from Yr Wyddfa to Cader Idris. Eventually, a climb onto Wylfa Head brought into view the fine sight of the deep cliff-lined bay of Porth Ceiriad, facing south towards the coast of Ceredigion and Pembroke in the faint distance. Lunch was taken on the grass above the bay. The way back in the afternoon followed inland field paths past Nant y Big with its caravan sites and the recently rebuilt Corn Farm. There were views from here down the peninsula to Porth Neigwl, Rhiw and Ynys Enlli. At Bwlch Tocyn the walkers took the lovely steep and narrow wooded lane straight down the hillside, give glimpses of the sprawling village of Abersoch and the hills of Mynytho and Garn Fadryn above. A short loop back via Machroes finally took the party across the golf course to the start point. This was a very pleasant and sociable walk of about 6 miles over around 4 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday December 9th, 2021. Criccieth-Pentrefelin. Ten club members met on the Criccieth Esplanade alongside the Blue China Teashop on an initially dry morning which deteriorated rapidly. The walk went westwards and uphill past the renowned Cadwaladr Ice Cream shop, unique Castle and then along the West Parade onto the coastal path by which time it had started to rain. On reaching the renovated much vaunted former farm house, Cefn Castell which recently featured in the TV programme “ I’m a celebrity get me out of here” and a few years ago appeared on another TV programme “Grand Designs”, the track northwards to the A487 Criccieth to Pwllheli road was taken emerging at the bottom lodge of the former Bron Eifion estate. Here it was left for some 100 yards and then right up the drive to the Bron Eifion manor house now a busy hotel. Before the hotel the public right of way went left and after a wet and muddy half a mile reached the top minor road from Llanystumdwy to Criccieth. Turning right after another 800 yards or so the party reached Bryn Awelon, once the home of Dame Margaret Lloyd George built for her by her husband, David Lloyd George, the British Prime Minister during WW1. The walk continued down Arvonia Terrace and crossed the B4411, the Criccieth to Caernarfon Road and after negotiating a muddy lane and two fields reached Plas Mynydd Ednyfed. Going left, there was then a choice of either climbing Ednyfed Hill or walking around it and with the unfavourable weather persisting the latter route was taken to join up with the minor road which leads to the old Criccieth Golf Club. It was then up through the old course closed in 2017 and onto another minor road leading to Braich y Saint farm which boasts a medieval farmhouse standing on the Pilgrims’ Route to Bardsey. Half a mile further on a footpath on the right leading to a substantial property, Eisteddfa, which was until recently occupied by descendants of Lloyd George was taken, and the main Porthmadog to Criccieth A 487 was reached. It was then right for some 200 yards and at this point 3 walkers opted to continue on the footwalk parallel to the main road to Criccieth as the rain had been continuous and one had forgotten her waterproofs! The lane on the left led to Ystumllyn, another substantial old property, where in the 18th century we are told a black African slave called Jac Black, but in the recent more enlightened times referred to as “Jac Stumllyn”, was in service. From Ystumllyn it was only a 15-minute walk through a number of fields before reaching the Porthmadog to Criccieth railway line where we went right for 400 yards, two walkers on the footpath and the remainder on the stony beach before arriving at the renowned café/restaurant, Dylans, followed by 200 yards along the promenade back to our starting place. Whilst it was not a day to enjoy the marvellous views that are usually on offer, the route of some 7 miles passed a number of places of historical interest and conversations flowed. The walkers were nevertheless glad to re-join their cars and speed off home to discard their wet apparel. Dafydd Williams.
Sunday December 5th, 2021. Mawddach - Llyn Gwernan. Nine club members met in Dolgellau for a lovely 10.5 mile circuit led by Hugh Evans along the Mawddach and through the wooded hill country below Cader Idris. The group set out from the Marian Mawr Cefn car park across the rugby ground and past the stone circle created for the 1949 Eisteddfod. The walk then joined the excellent Mawddach Trail, a flat and fast-paced multi-use path following the track of the former Barmouth-Dolgellau railway branchline which fell to the Beeching cuts in 1965. The route initially crossed and ran close to the scenic Afon Wnion, soon reaching a tree-lined section running along the broad estuary of the Afon Mawddach, with fine views across to the hills on the northern side of the valley. There was a stop for a panad near the popular riverside George III pub at Penmaenpool, close to the old wooden toll bridge dating from 1879. After about 3 miles, the route turned up into the delightful Abergwynant woods, now managed by the National Park which is gradually restoring native broadleaved trees to replace the conifers planted in 1965. A short detour was taken to a spectacular viewpoint looking right down the glinting estuary to Barmouth. A pleasant forest track continued south-eastwards alongside the bubbling waters of the Afon Gwynant, passing the remains of an old limekiln which once produced lime to spread on local fields. Further on, beyond the Kings Youth Hostel set in a deep ravine near Islawr Dref, there was a steeper section climbing to about 600ft elevation. Near the top there was a break for lunch in a beautiful spot amongst old stone walls, looking across woods and small green fields towards the jagged Pared y Cefn Hir, above the Cregennan Lakes. The route then turned north-east onto a long country road, part of the ancient Ffordd Du, passing a once well-known small hotel on the shore of the peaceful Gwernan Lake. The last section of the walk turned off the road following open field paths. Here there were some of the best vistas of the day towards the peaks of the Rhinogydd and the Arans. A leafy track descending into Dolgellau gave a birds eye view of the narrow streets and sturdy grey stone buildings of this fine historic town. This was a good long walk with modest ascents, taking just over 5 hours, an excellent day out in the rich and varied countryside of southern Meirionnydd. Noel Davey.
Thursday December 2nd 2021. Nefyn to Pistyll. 16 walkers gathered at the Stryd y Plas car park in Nefyn for a familiar walk to Pistyll led by Gwynfor Jones. The first leg of the journey commenced on the coastal path, past a restored well named after John Morgan, though precisely who he may have been is unclear. Given the overlap between coast path and Pilgrim’s path in the area the well may of course be quite old.
As the whole of the return journey was to be on the coastal path, and given that the weather was thankfully much calmer and clearer than the previous days we left the coastal path to circle around the North side of the twin peaks of Y Gwylwyr and Carreg Lefain. Nefyn being a coastal town many of its population made its living on the sea. Y Gwylwyr - the watchmen- may well have been regarded as a fine place to await a sighting of returning mariners. Carreg Lefain (literally Wailing Rock) has an echo but the name may well have reflected also the state of the anxious families when ships were overdue.
The path upwards being quite steep we were glad of an opportunity for a coffee/tea break perched on stones appearing to be the remains of an old derelict cottage. Fine views were enjoyed here (and indeed on the several “breather” stops during the ascent) in the direction of Nefyn and Porth Dinllaen. However, as we reached the highest point of the climb another vista opened up stretching from Yr Eifl almost due East, southwards through a glimpse of Yr Wyddfa, Moel Hebog, the Moelwynion and beyond.
The descent was in the direction of Bwlch y Gwynt (the windy col) which fortunately failed to live up to its billing and on downwards through a field of placid cattle to the main Nefyn to Llanaelhaearn road which had to be crossed with care. At this point we re-joined the coastal path for a short time passing through fields and skirting a leisure development on the site of the old Plas Pistyll hotel before reaching the Church.
Although the Church was open the members elected to enjoy lunch in the December sunshine.
The Church was originally erected as a retreat for Beuno the saint who is linked to the far larger Church at Clynnog Fawr. It was rebuilt as a stone church by the 15th century. The north wall faced the worst of the weather and was originally built without windows. Several sources put forward the theory that the lack of light was no problem as the congregation were illiterate! Later on, a single narrow window or squint was apparently opened for lepers to view proceedings without the risk of infecting the participants.
The return was along the coastal path with wooded sections after crossing the aforementioned road, and a short flight of steps to ease our path in crossing the remains of an old quarry incline before a safe return to Nefyn to complete a leisurely 5 mile walk. Gwynfor Jones.
Sunday November 28th, 2021. Cwm Llefrith-Moel yr Ogof-Moel Lefn-Cwm Pennant. Today’s walk was in Cwm Pennant and on the ridge that forms its eastern flanks. Eryl Thomas led a group of 9, starting at Cwrt Isaf Farm. There was a steady 1150ft climb north-eastwards up Cwm Llefrith to Bwlch Meillionen, closely following the stream to its headwaters. The route passed the remnants of the Moel Hebog copper mine, one of Snowdonia’s many speculative 19th century enterprises where expectations exceeded the realities of poor quality and low income. There was a stop here for a panad, providing delightful views down into the remote and peaceful Pennant valley. A short but steep ascent followed to the summit of Moel yr Ogof, named from the nearby, but elusive cave where Owain Glyndwr is said to have hidden from English troops. The rocky peak at 2150ft provided fine views westwards towards the Nantlle Ridge and down the Llŷn; and to the east some of the snow-dusted peaks of Eryri . Up to now, the weather had been cold, but dry, bright and reasonably calm. However, the ridge beyond over Moel Lefn brought exposure to much stronger and bitingly cold northerlies and, soon after a quick lunch in relative shelter near Bwlch Sais, the onset of squalls of driving rain and sleet. This made the tricky descent on slippery rocky paths more hazardous than usual. It was thus a relief to regain lower and more level ground at Bwlch Cwm Trwsgl and to dry off in brighter and calmer conditions. The route passed the deep pit at the Princess Quarry and further on the extensive tiered levels of old workings, inclines and barrack buildings remaining at the larger, but also short-lived Prince of Wales Quarry. Lower down, the well-preserved stone walls and arches of the lonely dressing mill were an evocative sight. From here the route followed the track of the old tramway which contours gently down the valley, once taking the finished slate via Cymystradllyn to the wharves at Porthmadog. The final mile of the walk took a field path and lane further to the west via Brithdir, finally climbing a short hill path back to Cwrt Isaf. This was a good day out, the first taste of wintery mountain conditions this year, covering some 7 miles and 2600ft of ascent over almost 6 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 25th 2021. Towyn Farm-Cwmistir. Judith Thomas led 10 ramblers on a 6-7 mile walk along the Wales Coast Path from Towyn Farm near Tudweiliog northwards to Cwmistir. The weather was initially bright and sunny, but cold in a brisk onshore northerly wind, while stormclouds gathered by lunchtime. The walk first took an inland route for about a mile along a country lane and track, joining the coastal path near Pant Gwyn. The route then followed close along low eroded clifftops up and down over a succession of delightful little rocky coves, few of which are named on the OS mnap. These provided a glorious scene of ancient greenish grey rocks endlessly buffeted by crashing and roaring waves, with thick white foam erupting in showers in the wind. The open green pastures on the clifftop often contrasted with the orange of autumnal sedges on the foreshore. There were fine distant views of Yr Eifl and the coast of Ynys Môn, as well as the prominent conical peak of Garn Fadryn nearby. A little way beyond a natural arch feature, the party came on a couple of coves occupied by a pod of some 20 grey seals. The huge bulls lay beached on the sand, immobile as large rocks, while smaller family members dived in and out of the water. After rounding Penrhyn Cwmistir, the route took a short detour inland along tracks past Bryn Gwydd. This came back to a pleasant cove which provided a sheltered spot for lunch with entertainment from wagtails and oystercatchers. The party followed the coast path all the way back in the afternoon, enjoying the mesmeric sight and sound of the sea. The path was generally well maintained with relatively little mud and a useful section of boardwalk. About a mile from home, as Tudweiliog village came into view, one of several threatening squalls, a ‘Pembrokeshire Dangler’ scudding down the Irish Sea, burst into life, giving the party a sharp wetting to round off a rewarding and refreshing few hours out in the elements. Noel Davey.
Sunday November 21st, 2021. Foel Offrwm and Precipice walk. A group of 14 club members met near the end of the old bridge in Llanelltyd for a walk led by Noel Davey in the lovely upland countryside once forming the parkland of the ancient Nannau Estate. It was a crisp and bright sunny day, with a cold northerly wind. The route first took the lane eastwards, offering glimpses of the ancient ruins of Cymer Abbey, before making an easy ascent by field paths up to Llyn Cynwch, a tranquil fishing lake and reservoir for Dolgellau at 700-800ft, the prevailing level of the rest of the walk. There was a stop for drinks on the rocks along the western lakeshore where the sunshine took the edge off the chilly morning air. At the end of the lake the party took a well-paved gravel link to the busy visitor carpark at Saithgroesffordd on the Abergeirw road. There was then a 2.5 mile circular ramble around Foel Offrwm by a level well-made path, one of two popular scenic loops originally developed for visitors by the Nannau Estate and adopted by the National Park. Most of the party made a detour on the northern side of the Foel to climb 500ft by a steep path to the summit, the highest point of the day. Here there are the remains of an interesting iron age fort and a later beacon tower. This provided a wonderful 360 degree panorama, including the Arans to the east, the long Cadair Idris ridge nearby to the south, the Mawddach Estuary and Rhinogydd to the west, and the more distant mountains of Eryri to the north. The brisk wind soon brought the party back down to find a sheltered spot for lunch beside a stream at the edge of the Coed Pant Ebolion. The path then continued round the Foel, providing good views across to Dolgellau and of the imposing, but now sadly neglected mansion of Plas Nannau, a pale shadow of its 18th and 19th century heyday when the powerful Vaughan family owned the estate. Retracing the linking path back to Llyn Cynwch, the walk then took the loop of the Precipice Path. This famous route contours round on a narrow ledge for about 2 miles, high up on the steep hillside flanking the valley formed by the upper reaches of the Afon Mawddach. This was not as terrifying as it sounds, as the path is level and well-engineered; all the party made it successfully including some prone to vertigo. The walkers were able to enjoy the spectacular views, peering cautiously down the scree and bracken slopes to the glinting waters of the river snaking through lush green valley fields far below, alongside the busy A470. The route turned off at Foel Faner at the south of the precipice section, taking an indistinct and temporarily mislaid path through open access land. This soon joined an easier broad grass track descending gently to a lane back to the start point. The walk was about 10.5 miles in length with some 2000ft of ascent over about 6 hours. The good weather helped to make the most of the day’s attractive and interesting landscape and the lovely views. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 18. Llanfrothen Circular. Over a dozen club members met at Garreg-Llanfrothen for a lovely 6 mile walk in the stretch of countryside rising to the east of Cwm Croesor. It was another dry and mild autumn day, mostly overcast, but offering fine muted views of the russet and gold of woods and bracken strewn slopes. As parking space at the central village Siop Y Garreg was limited, the walk started at the nearby Brondanw Arms, known locally as ‘Y Ring’, where boats once moored before the Traeth Mawr was drained. The route took the road up towards Croesor, passing the historic house and extraordinary garden at Plas Brondanw, the ancestral home and creation of Clough Williams Ellis, now housing an art gallery and summer cafe. The path then turned off and climbed steadily for about a mile through delightful woods, passing the house of Garreg Fawr. At around 800ft elevation, there was a stop for a well-earned panad near Pen yr Allt, at the junction with the narrow upland road from Croesor to Tan y Bwlch. The route turned south here, passing the point for access up the western shoulder of Moelwyn Bach. At Ogof Llechwyn a pleasant field path was taken via Ty’n Ddôl, close to Rhyd and the route of last Sunday’s walk. More open paths then tracked westwards past Hendre Gwenllian and Tyddyn Gwyn. There was a stop for lunch at the foot of the prominent small hill of Moel Dinas which is crowned by the sparse remnants of an iron age fort. Further on, the path skirted the imposing 18C stone house of Wern. As a final treat, the descent took in the now neglected Brondanw ‘Park’, featuring an unusual tower and sham castle, a wedding gift for Clough from his fellow Welsh Guards in 1915. Some climbed its perilous steps for the remarkable views from the top. Lower down, there is a monument recording a fire at Brondanw in 1955. At the end of the walk, some of the party carried on past the distinctive war memorial tower in Garreg to enjoy tea at the excellent Café Cegin, part of Menter Llanfrothen. This was a varied and rewarding walk over some 4 hours which all enjoyed. Noel Davey.
Sunday November 14th 2021. Rhyd Circular. Dafydd Williams led 14 ramblers on today’s circular walk via Rhyd in fine, calm and quite bright autumn weather. After some confusion over which of several laybys on the A487 to start from, the walk took a path south of the main road onto a lovely old lane, once the main road between Maentwrog and Penrhyndeudraeth, leading through a pleasant wooded valley. Beyond Bryn Dwyryd, the route took a forest path down across the A487, through the Blaen Cefn campsite and to the top of Penrhyn town. There was a two minute pause to observe Remembrance Sunday and then a further stop for a panad at a viewpoint beside the Ffestiniog Railway road crossing. The walk then turned north-east, following a metalled track contouring across the open hillside and providing fine views south across Penrhyn towards the Rhinogydd mountains. Beyond Rhiw Goch, a track was taken through vivid green mossy forest, previously the lead mining area of Bwlch y Plwm. An open section across marshy fields brought the party to a B road and the handful of cottages making up the village of Rhyd. Here the party were offered an option to continue on the road, but six took a short scenic detour to the north which involved crossing a reedy marsh. Beyond Bwlch y Maen, tree stumps left from forest clearance provided a convenient perch for lunch. A track then wound through trees and descended steeply to the still waters of Llyn Hafod y Llyn. A path climbed past the highpoint of Y Gysgfa, bringing a splendid vista down across the Dwyryd Estuary, taking in the old slate quays and the new Briwet crossing. A pleasant wooded path finally led down across the Ffestiniog Railway to the main road laybys at Coed Cae Fali. This was a good 6.8 mile walk, involving easy ascents amounting to about 1400ft, through some delightful countryside, bright with the hues of autumn. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 11th 2021. Llanbedrog Circular. Miriam Heald led 17 club members on a circuit from Llanbedrog. Despite rain in the early morning the day remained dry, although overcast for the duration of the walk. There was a two minute silence held at 11 o'clock to commemorate the end of the 1st World War and to remember all the servicemen and women killed in conflicts since. The walk commenced from the NT car park onto the beach and up the steps onto the coastal path and then across the field to Crugan Caravan Park. Lunch was taken at the entrance to Wern Fawr. The route then turned left across two fields onto Lon Pin and left again to take the paths back to Llanbedrog, passing Wern Newydd Caravan Park. At the end of the walk some of the party enjoyed coffee and scones at Plas Glyn y Weddw. This was a short but enjoyable walk. Miriam Heald.
Sunday November 7th, 2021. Ffestiniog Valleys and Waterfalls. A bright and sunny autumn day brought 14 ramblers to Llan Ffestiniog for a great walk led by Eryl Thomas through the delightful landscape of river valleys, falls and woodlands that stretches up to Blaenau. The first stop was a fine viewpoint of the surrounding countryside from a mound above the local church cemetery. The party then walked south to see the Rhaeadr Cynfal, the first of three magnificent falls in full flood visited over the day. Backtracking, the walk led through Ffestiniog town and northwards along a variety of pleasant tracks and paths, taking in the lovely beech-lined banks and churning torrents of the Afon Teigl, near Cae’r Blaidd. At the top of Cwm Bowydd, just below the edge of Blaenau, the route turned west over a stretch of moorland backed by the crags of the Moelwynion and the ramparts of the Stwlan Dam. After crossing the A496 near the Rehau plastics factory, the party walked through the interesting old quarry village of Tanygrisiau, ready for lunch on the green at the head of the Tanygrisiau reservoir. In the afternoon the walk followed the western shore of the lake, passing the pumped storage hydro power station, the first built in the UK. Building of the plant and reservoir between 1956 and 1963 flooded the route of the Ffestiniog Railway, requiring a new tunnel and a spiral ‘deviation’ at Dduallt station built 1965-77 to accommodate the changed level of the track. The walkers made their own deviation from the route to view this remarkable piece of railway engineering, together with a memorial topograph nearby. From there a descent through pine forests below Clogwyn y Geifr led down into the Coed Cymaerau National Nature Reserve, taking in two spectacular waterfalls along the Afon Goedog. The final stretch of the walk took the grass verge down a section of the main road, along a deep wooded path through Coed Pengwern, and finally, just as dusk began to fall, a ‘sting in the tail’ 400ft ascent back up to the hilltop of Llan Ffestiniog. This was a most enjoyable and interesting day out over some 7 hours involving about 2350ft of mostly easy cumulative ascent - a good chance to explore this well-kept secret gem of the Gwynedd countryside. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 4th, 2021. Nefyn - Garn Boduan. Today’s walk was from Nefyn up and around Garn Boduan. This was a repeat of the first cautious Club walk on July 30th 2020 soon after the end of the first lock-down. Then with tight limits on numbers there were only 5 walkers, compared with 13 on the repeat. Noel Davey led both walks. The weather was not as good as forecast, comprising sunny periods and light showers, but threatening cloudbursts were avoided. The route started at Stryd y Plas carpark, climbing up Stryd Y Fron and tracks initially through an area of recently replanted conifers and higher up though more mature trees on the north-eastern slope of the Garn. At 750ft a rough path circled up through heather and rocks and the remains of the north-eastern entrance to the great iron age hill fort, the largest in Llŷn, which sprawls over 30 acres of the summit plateau. The first objective was the ‘citadel’, a separate rocky fortress which crowns the peak at around 950ft elevation. Two modern stone ‘refuges’, sadly damaging the archaeological record, provided shelter for lunch. The views from here were spectacular, stretching to Garn Fadryn just to the west, the long narrow promontory of Port Dinllaen to the north, right down the peninsula to Ynys Enlli, and south and east towards Bae Ceredigion and the Cambrian mountains. A path across the plateau provided glimpses of just a few of the stone circles belonging to some 170 structures, now largely hidden by heather, bracken and tree growth. The route exited through the still substantial ramparts at the south-eastern gate, descending by forest tracks to the main road from Y Ffôr. The next section of the walk crossed the A497 and followed country lanes, circling south and west. At a junction, the walk joined the recently developed Sailors’ Path (Llwybyr y Morwyr) past Carreg Llwyd and the 16C house of Penhyddgan. A boggy section with footbridges took the party across the edge of the fenland of Cors Geirch, back across the A497 and then north through the broad green valley leading up to Nefyn town. This was a relatively strenuous walk of 5.5 miles length and 1000ftof ascent, offering a variety of scenic and archaeological interest . Noel Davey.
Sunday October 31st 2021. Sarn Circuit. Today’s walk was another wet one with persistent showers, increasingly gusty winds and some sunny periods in the morning. Ann Jones led 14 walkers, including 2 new members, on an 8.5 mile circuit centred on Sarn Meyllteyrn. After the heavy rains and flooding of recent days, the route wisely kept to lanes and tracks, as most footpaths were waterlogged and very muddy. The walk first climbed the road leading south out of the village, passing the sites of a number of old water mills. The route then turned north-west, reaching the village of Bryncroes where the Ffynnon Fair, recently restored by the AONB, was probably one of the final stops on the pilgrimage route to Ynys Enlli. The party then crossed the B4413 and took a muddy track past Pencraig Fawr into an area of large exposed open fields of lush grazing for dairy cattle farmed by the Cefn Amwlch Estate. The former hedges and small fields have now been widely supplanted by electric fences. The route followed a series of broad gravelled farm tracks developed to get the herd to the centralised open air and highly mechanised milking carousel and associated storage tanks which form the core of this modern enterprise. The small hillock of Foel Mellteyrn gave a windy bird’s eye view of the fertile basin of farmland stretching south to Sarn and Mynydd Rhiw. To the north the woods of Mynydd Cefnamwlch concealed the 18C buildings of the Plas itself. Further on, there was a welcome stop for lunch in a solid farm outbuilding which provided shelter from the increasingly wet and windy conditions. The final sections of the walk followed an old hedged track and lane south through Trefaes, turning westwards to bring the party past Crugeran’s conspicuous wind turbine and mammoth green poultry shed back down to the village of Sarn, nestling in the upper valley of the Afon Soch. The walking was relatively easy, offering ample time to chat, but a good pace was achieved on the mostly paved surfaces which, together with an accumulated ascent of almost 1700ft, meant it was quite an energetic walk over 4.5 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday 28th October 2021. Coed y Brenin. Nick White led 7 members from Tyn y Groes, south of Ganllwyd, on a leisurely circuit of 4.9 miles, comprising a mix of metalled roads, gravel tracks and forest paths. The forecast was awful, but the party suffered only a mild wetting from a few light showers under the shelter of trees which also kept off the strong, but warm winds. Although it was cloudy and damp, the landscape of deep green conifers and golden autumnal leaves, wild streams, and damp mossy paths provided a delightful array of muted colours. The bright groves of beech trees, in particular, were a glorious sight. The walk set out south on a riverside path beside the roaring white waters of the Afon Mawddach. A tilted board offered a chance to lie back and gaze at the immense Douglas Firs soaring dizzily above. These are getting on for a 100 years old now; the highest at 168ft is designated as a ‘champion’ tree. The Deer’s Leap (Llam yr Ewig) provided a pleasant sheltered spot for lunch beside the Pont Wen. Further on, the ‘Forest Garden’ comprised trees from all over the world, complete with an audio trail. A path leading east then passed the remnants of the Glasdir copper mine which operated in the second half of the 19th Century, producing both copper and gold. The mine was bought in 1896 by the Elmore Brothers who went on to develop the world’s first and still widely used commercial flotation process using oil for mineral separation. The walk then joined a country lane, turning north past Capel y Ffrwd and a lovely garden nearby. The route back followed one of the rocky mountain bike trails, but fortunately encountered no bikers. This proved an easy, varied and very pleasant 3 hour stroll, little marred by the weather, involving a few fairly steep climbs and a total ascent of some 730ft. Noel Davey.
Sunday October 24th, 2021. Garndolbenmaen. Just five walkers met at Garn Dolbenmaen – three had cancelled previously and two of the five decided to pull out on account of the wet weather. So, then there were three! Kath Spencer gamely led the walk of some 9.5 miles on a route comprising two loops with a fulcrum at Cae Amos. It was a day of lowering clouds and intermittent showers, but reasonably warm. The walk set off northwards along some attractive walled paths climbing steadily via Llidiart Mawr and past Gors Graianog, reaching open access land on a plateau around 750ft elevation lying below the mass of Graig Goch. Here the walk skirted eastwards through a striking landscape, a symphony (or perhaps a dirge on this gloomy day) of grey walls, russet bracken, and marshy green tracks. This eventually reached the restored old farmhouse of Cae Amos, now a welcome refuge and bothy. It was occupied by some lads from Coventry, but the party managed to shelter in the porch for an early lunch. In the afternoon, indistinct rights of way were followed north-east, passing the isolated ruin of Llwyn y Bettws and the disused quarry of Chwarel y Plas. Some sections involved a slow flounder across characteristic tussocky marsh for which the area is notorious. It was a relief to get down from this desolate landscape into the green fields and ‘civilisation’ of Cwm Pennant at Gilfach. A brisk walk south for 1.5 miles along the valley road brought the party to a turn up a track at Pont Gyfyng and then by a well-marked moorland path back to Cae Amos. From here the route ran through the Bwlch y Bedol around the foot of Craig y Garn and then, as the path descended, the sun at last appeared for the last half hour of the walk, providing the first views of the day down the peninsula. Weather conditions and the state of some of the paths made this a tough hike over some 5.5 hours with 1650 ft of ascent, but nevertheless the small group relished a good, strenuous day out in the elements. Noel Davey.
Thursday October 21st 2021. Glasfryn Circular. Kath Spencer led 13 walkers on a 6.5 mile circuit from the Glasfryn adventure park in central Llŷn. It was a day of sunny periods, but there was a cold northerly wind. The walk set out eastwards, passing a lake used for wakeboarding and the home farm at Glasfryn. Sections on pleasant country lanes led south-east to Pencaenewydd and then south to Pont y Felin. Soon, after turning west along an attractive woodland path, there was a stop for a panad beside the picturesque ruins of a farmhouse sheltered by beech trees. The route continued past the Welsh Lady Jam factory and across the A499 along a straight section of road to Llwyndyrys village. Near Llwyndyrus Farm there is a recently completed solar farm which is well screened by trees and hedges. Further on, there was a glimpse of the impressive Trallwyn Hall, which is surrounded by estate fields without any public right of way access. A metalled track was then taken northwards past Penfras Isaf and Penfras Uchaf farms. A field path continued across the Afon Erch to the isolated little church of Carnguwch, perched on a prominent site above the valley. There was a stop for lunch in this tranquil spot with distant views of the sea and the mountains and Mynydd Carnguwch rising steeply to the north. The afternoon leg followed sometimes boggy field paths eastwards via Coed y Garth back to the main road close to Parc Glasfryn. En route there was a glimpse of an ancient standing stone in the corner of a field. This proved an enjoyable 4 hour outing on mostly level terrain. Some of the party lingered afterwards for a cup of tea at the Glasfryn café. Noel Davey
Sunday October 17th 2021. Rowen - Pen-y-gaer. Eleven members met at the charming village of Rowen in the Conwy Valley. Annie Andrew led a well researched circuit of about 7 miles. The weather was initially cloudy, but it remained dry and increasingly sunny as the day wore on. A narrow footbridge over the Afon Roe set the walk off southwards, crossing rich green and wooded pastures. The walk was notable for the number and variety of stiles, all well maintained. The path gradually climbed, taking a long straight metalled track up towards the western foothills of the Carneddau. The softer fields and hedges of the Conwy Valley gave way to a more austere landscape of splendid stone walls and heather moorland. The route skirted east of Penygadair and then ascended the prominent small peak of Pen Y Gaer. Here there are the remains of a strongly defended double walled hill fort and a number of roundhouses, dating from 300BC to 100AD. There were fine views from the summit at 1300ft, looking north down the broad valley to the town of Conwy and the sea at Llandudno; to the south the rocky bastions of the Carneddau mountains loomed through the mist, while a line of pylons marked the ancient route up past Talyfan through Bwlch y Ddeufain. A sheltered site for lunch was found just below the summit. In the afternoon the walk backtracked around the steep northern scarp of Pen y Gaer, descending through fine oak woodlands at Ochr Gaer. Lowland rural paths then took the party back to Rowen through more delightful woodlands forming the National Nature Reserve of Coed Gorswen, unusual for its plants on alkaline soils which are rare in these parts. Some slippery rocks and muddy sections here were the only part of the walk where the going was a little difficult. This was a lovely day out in an area rarely visited by the Club. The Tŷ Gwyn pub in Rowen provided welcome refreshment before the long drive home to Llŷn. Noel Davey.
Thursday October 14th 2021. Newborough Forest and Llanddwyn. Jean Norton and Annie Andrew led 13 Rhodwyr Llŷn ramblers on a popular circuit through Newborough Forest to Llanddwyn, the Club’s first venture beyond Gwynedd since the pandemic started. The Forest is managed by Natural Resource Wales as of a National Nature Reserve. It was planted with Corsican Pines between 1947 and 1965 to provide timber and to stabilise the shifting sand dunes. It is great place for a walk as attested by the numbers out and about on its many trails on a day of cloudy but quite pleasant walking weather. The party set out along a forest track from the car park north of Newborough village, heading south-west for about 3 miles, turning at Towen to Tir Forgan and then via Crochan Llanddwyn, eventually reaching the Ro Bach beach. This features some geologically interesting clumps of rocks with pillow lavas formed by under-sea volcanic activity 500mn years ago. Last time the Club were here gale force winds whipping up the sand drove the walkers back, but today it was calm enough and the tide low enough to walk along the beach across to the enchanting island of Llanddwyn. The island is best known for its legend of the 5th Century St Dynwen, the patron saint of lovers, the equivalent of the English St Valentine. She is commemorated by a huge stone cross erected for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897. The island also has two scenic lighthouses, the Tŵr Mawr and Tŵr Bach, as well as a row of traditional pilot cottages and chapel ruins. After lunch on the beach the party had time for a short sightseeing tour round the island, enjoying the fantastic view across the Menai to the sweep of mountains on the opposite shore, stretching from Carnedd Llewellyn via Yr Eifl to Ynys Enlli. The route back crossed the beach on the north side of the narrow island and then re-entered the forest, taking a more westerly track back to the start-point. This was a great 8 mile walk on flat terrain, taken at a good relatively fast pace. Noel Davey.
Sunday October 10th 2021. Northern Rhinogydd. A party of 14 walkers led by Gareth Hughes enjoyed a lovely outing today in the Northern Rhinogydd. After a run of poor Sunday walks weather-wise, the day was bright, dry and sunny with a moderate breeze and good visibility. The ascent to the start point was something of an adventure in itself with the party squeezed into 4 cars to drive to the end of a steep and narrow road some 800ft above Eisingrug near Harlech. The walk initially followed old tracks, some sections dating back to the bronze age, later an 18th century coach road, and latterly the Ardudwy Way walking trail. The main route followed an engineered track serving 4 of some 40 manganese mines operating in the Ardudwy uplands mainly from the 1880s to the 1920s to serve the steel and other industries. The route climbed this track about 1000ft on a relatively steady and easy gradient, passing between the lakes of Llyn Eiddew Bach and Llyn Eiddew Mawr. It led on through a striking landscape of fractured blocks of stone, pavements scraped by glacial ice and perilously poised overhangs of rock. On reaching the chilly waters of Llyn Du, the route turned northwards on a narrow but relatively level path leading to the short grassy ascent of Moel Ysgyfarnogod, at just over 2000ft the highest point in the local range. The panoramic views from the summit were spectacular, north towards the heart of Eryri, east towards the Arenigs and Arans, and west towards the long arm of Llŷn jutting out into Bae Ceredigion. From there it was a short hike to the massive vertical slabs of Foel Penolau, made up of two huge flat-topped mountain blocks cut by a deep gully. Some scrambling allowed most of the party to reach the summit pavements before joining the rest for lunch at the foot of the mountain. A cross-country route in the afternoon descended north-west to Llyn Dywarchen, featuring nearby the curious phenomenon of a stream disappearing underground to reappear lower down the valley. Soon the jutting stones of Bryn Cader Faner were sighted in the distance. This was the Club’s second recent visit to this unique bronze age burial circle, but it looked particularly striking in the day’s sunshine. The final leg led back along the ancient trackway. This was an excellent walk of some 7 miles and 1700ft of ascent, easy enough to suit a range of walkers. Noel Davey.
Thursday October 7th 2021. Abersoch/Mynytho Area. Meri Evans led a group of 14 members on a pleasant circuit of the maze of interesting paths and lanes around Mynytho, including sections of the new Sailor’s Path between Abersoch/Llanbedrog and Nefyn. The weather was cloudy with some light drizzle, quite warm, but disappointing for views. The walk started from the layby near the Warren on the A499, taking a newly improved path past Haulfryn, now the Gwel y Mor caravan park, and looping via Y Fras and Gadlys, site of an ancient enclosure. The route then headed towards the Foel Fawr, but cut westwards across fields at Caer Towyn over several awkward stiles. This led on along the northern edge and then south across the middle of Mynytho Common. Here there were some misty views towards Nanhoron, Porth Neigwl and Mynydd Rhiw. Picnic tables and toilets provided welcome amenities for a lunch stop at the foot of the conspicuous round hill of Foel Gron. Then the party headed down past Wellington into the ‘Nant Fawr’ by another recently improved path. A muddy track climbed past Muriau and came down past Castellmarch, a fine early 17C country house built for Sir William Jones, a prominent judge of the time. A turn left back along the A499 soon regained the start point. Despite the damp and misty conditions, this 5 mile ramble provided an enjoyable chance to chat with old and new walking friends. Noel Davey.
Sunday October 3rd 2021. Foel Fras - Moel Penamnen. The forecast for today’s mountain walk from Blaenau Ffestiniog onto Moel Penamnen was wet and windy, almost leading to substitution of an alternative low-level one. There was certainly blustery wind, but the rain was confined to intermittent short showers amid sunny periods, while the visibility was consistently good. Hugh Evans led 8 walkers starting from the main town car park and ascending steeply on paths and tracks alongside the workings of the former Diphwys-Casson slate quarries up to Llyn y Drum Boeth at around 1500ft. This opened up a wide exposed plateau of rolling grassland and boggy ground stretching to the distinctive Penamnen ridge. The route continued past Llyn Bowydd and Llyn Newydd, two of the many reservoirs built to run the quarry operations . At Cwt y Bugail, the route turned north following a boggy fence-line which was heavy going, eventually gaining the ridge and the inconspicuous summit of Foel Fras. From here there were fine views northwards towards Moel Siabod and down the valley towards Dolwyddelan, much more open now that conifer forests have been cut. The party soldiered on in increasingly windy conditions to the summit of Moel Penamnen at just over 2000ft. A handheld anemometer confirmed gusts in excess of 50mph here, perilously close to the mountain’s precipitous western scarp. The views all round were magnificent, but this was not a time to linger and a more sheltered spot was found for lunch on the path to the north. There was then a steep descent over tussocky grass to the remote Llynnau Barlwyd. The route joined a series of quarry tracks down towards Llechwedd Slate Mines, now heavily invested in adventure tourism. The zipwires stretching high above were kept still by the day’s windy conditions, but the mountain bikers were out in force, skimming crazily down the dedicated network of paths. The descent brought more splendid views of the massive quarry tips enveloping the town of Blaenau, while the dramatic silhouette of the Moelwyns loomed above. This was a bracing and rewarding outing, covering over 7 miles and 2350ft of ascent. Noel Davey.
Thursday 30th September 2021. Eisteddfa-Pentrefelin.
Arweiniodd Val Rowlinson daith braf o 4-5 milltir yng nghefn gwlad deniadol o amgylch Pentrefelin. Ar wahân i un neu ddau o gawodydd byr, gan gynnwys rhywfaint o genllysg, roedd yn ddiwrnod o gyfnodau heulog, er yn eithaf oer. Cyfarfu deg cerddwr ym maes parcio Pysgodfeydd Eisteddfa. Yn gyntaf oll , roedd cylched o un o'r llynnoedd pysgota heddychlon. Roedd yna ychydig o bysgotwyr â chyfarpar da ar y glannau, yn bwriadu dal y potensial o’u ‘nofio’. Roedd y daith nesaf yn mynd i'r gogledd i fyny lôn, heibio'r safle carafanau Eisteddfa sydd wedi'i sgrinio'n dda a'r tŷ yn Garreg Felin. Roedd golygfeydd da ar draws i fryniau a sgarpiau amlwg Moel y Gest, Craig y Gesail ac Alltwen gyda Moel Hebog yn codi y tu ôl. Yn Cefn y Meusydd Uchaf bu egwyl am banad, cyn i'r parti droi i'r de ar lwybrau trwy goedwigoedd a chaeau heibio adfeilion hen adeiladau fferm i gyrion Pentrefelin. Parhaodd y llwybr trwy'r pentref, gan basio maen hir amlwg 10 troedfedd o uchder Treflys ar y briffordd, ac yna troi i lawr y trac sarn hynafol i Ynyscynhaearn, a leolir ar hen ynys yn Llyn Ystumllyn, sydd bellach yn gaeau dan ddŵr a chorstir. Mae eglwys ddiddorol 19C gyda gwreiddiau llawer hŷn yn sefyll yma mewn mynwent furiog anghysbell lle mae cerrig beddi nodedig yn cynnwys rhai John Ystumllyn, a elwir yn lleol fel Jack Black ac y dywedir mai ef yw'r caethwas cyntaf a ddaeth i Gymru, a David Owen, y bardd, telynor cyfansoddwr 'Dafydd y Garreg Wen'. Mwynhaodd y cerddwyr eu cinio yn y lle hudolus hwn. Yna cymerwyd y llwybr i'r de o Moel y Gadair yn ôl i'r briffordd a gwneud taith olaf i edrych ar dŷ a gardd hardd Elisabethaidd Ystumllyn. Mwynhaodd pawb y daith hamddenol hon mewn tywydd braf. Noel Davey. (Cyf: DHW). (Gol. Mae'r daith hon yn ailadrodd yr un a wnaed ar 19eg Tachwedd 2020. Copi o'r adroddiad gwreiddiol yw hwn).
Sunday September 26th 2021. Moel Goedog-Bryn Cader Faner. A group of 11 walkers led by Dafydd Williams met at a remote roadside spot opposite Merthyr Farm high up on the Ardudwy Plateau above Harlech. The Club last did this walk about a year ago, but the weather on both occasions featured mist and drizzle, limiting the fine views otherwise offered. But the area’s wealth of Bronze Age archaeology provided a fascinating focus for the walk. This time a clockwise circuit of Moel Goedog was made, reversing the route taken last time. Neither walk ventured to the top of the Moel on account of the weather. The route headed north-east past standing stones and cairn circles. The cloud lifted for a while to give lovely views of the sunlit lowlands of Ardudwy, extending across to Ynys Gifftan, Portmeirion and the Dwyryd Estuary. After about two miles, the path joined the Ardudwy Way, following the prehistoric track which continued to serve as the main route across Ardudwy until the lowlands were drained in the 19th century. After a further couple of miles, the main goal of the walk, the spectacular angled stones of Bryn Cader Faner came into view perched above the surrounding countryside. This magnificent three thousand year old cairn circle – the ‘Crown of Thorns’ - is a remarkable survival, not least having been used for army target practice in WWII. After lunch and photos at this now lonely spot, the party headed back along the trackway, keeping to the Ardudwy Way south of Moel Goedog, passing the twin lakes of Eiddew. From time to time there were lovely sunlit views of the jagged crags of Ysgyfarnogod and the massive slabs of rock above Cwm Bychan. Despite the disappointing weather, this was an enjoyable and easy walk of some 8 miles though a captivating landscape. Moel Goedog still awaits! Noel Davey.
Thursday September 23rd 2021. Lil's Memorial Walk - Mynytho. Today’s walk in Mynytho was held in memory of Lil Parker who died in spring 2020 at the height of the Covid pandemic when few were permitted to attend funerals. Lil and her late partner Walt were staunch members of the Club from its earliest days. Lil was an inimitable character who is greatly missed. During the walk in an area Lil was particularly fond of, Dafydd Williams paid a fitting tribute to her memory (see below). 17 club members were on the walk which was devised and led by Jean Norton and Annie Andrew. Some 20 members met afterwards at Plas Glyn y Weddw for refreshments and to share reminiscences.
It was a pleasant sunny day which made the most of the lovely views down to St Tudwals Roads and across Cardigan Bay. The walk comprised an anti-clockwise circuit, taking in many sections of the intricate network of varied paths and roads in Mynytho. There was a stop for a panad at the terminal of the Clawdd Mawr which was one of Lil’s favourite paths and a good spot for Dafydd’s address. Further on, there was a break for lunch in a sunny field near Ty Hir. Apart from a couple of awkward stiles, the walking was easy and taken at a sociable and leisurely pace, covering about 3.5 miles over 3 hours. A pleasant outing that Lil would have enjoyed. Noel Davey.
Tribute to Lil Parker by Dafydd Williams, given during the walk.
We are undertaking this walk today in memory of Lil Parker as this was one of Lil’s favourite walks, she and Walter had been member for many years after she and Walter arrived here. Can I thank Jean and Annie together with others who assisted in preparing this enjoyable ramble enabling us to reminisce in each other’s company, this walk of course is to be followed by tea and buns at Plas Glyn y Weddw, a number of other present and past members will be joining us.
Lil died either at the end of March or beginning of April last year but what I do know for certain is that she was cremated on the 9 April, it seems a long time ago now and a lot of water has passed under the bridge so to speak since then. The first lockdown had commenced and representing the Ramblers, Megan, my wife Catherine and I attended the cremation in Bangor, there were only 7 of us, it was a surreal occasion. Numerous others would have been present I am sure to bid farewell to Lil had the circumstances been different I am certain you will all agree with me that Lil was unique, there was only one LIL!
Some of you will recall her attending her last Club dinner in January last year, in fact it was the last club dinner for all of us but we were not aware of it at the time but Lil was ahead of us, she did know it was her last and she circulated to say her goodbyes. Not everyone was aware what was going on, it was only afterwards that the penny dropped.
Most of us are aware of how Lil lived her life, she and Walt as she called Walter her husband , were living legends and the tales we could relate are too many to relate however I do recall this quite respectable one when Lil was on a club holiday and Walter had stayed at home as his health was deteriorating. Lil approached me and said the land line at the guest house was out of order and she wanted to check on him and could she use my mobile. I obliged and dialled the number and after a while Walt answered whereupon I said Lil wanted to speak to him and the reply was “Lil’s away on holiday and would not be back for a number of days” and without further ado he put the phone down, Lil’s response was “Silly old bugger”. I recall on another occasion being on a walk near to Tan y Bwlch Ffestiniog Railway station on a very hot summers day. Walter was taken ill and fainted in the heat and a fellow walker relieved him of a large square shaped military haversack he was carrying. When it was opened it was found to contain an expensive looking leather fur lined pilots jacket which was the last thing anyone would want on a hot day. When Walter came to he declined to go to a nearby road to await transport and insisted on continuing the walk and Lil’s response this time was “Contrary old bugger”.
Lil I believe came from humble beginnings and true to her type had never flinched from hard work and had lived frugally all her life and when Walter died she had no idea that they were comfortably off, Walter had carefully been salting away their hard earned money over the years.
Lil had a passion to raise money for charities and her jams were a source of income for this purpose, the Air Ambulance and the Aberglaslyn Mountain Rescue being her favourites. I personally delivered a cheque of £100.00 on her behalf to the Air Ambulance at Llandwrog Airport, she used to know somebody connected to the Aberglaslyn club.
By now if she was here I can hear Lil saying “tell him to carry on with the walk instead of rambling on” and this is what I intend to do. Yes, Lil made an impression on us all and could be extremely uncouth on occasions but she had a heart of gold and Catherine and I will never forget her. Rest in Peace Lil, you were a valuable member of Rhodwyr Llyn Ramblers. Dafydd Henry Williams.
Sunday September 19th 2021. Pedol Marchlyn Horseshoe (inc Elidir Fawr). Eight walkers led by Noel Davey met high above Deiniolen, to walk the Pedol Marchlyn Horseshoe. Initial rain and enveloping mist bore out the poor mountain forecast, but thankfully it dried up and the sun came out after about 2 hours. The first part of the walk took the gently climbing asphalt road which winds up to the dam at Marchlyn Mawr, the upper reservoir for the huge Dinorwig pumped storage hydroelectric power scheme, popularly know as Electric Mountain (Mynydd Gwefru). When power is needed to meet peak load and surges in demand the water stored at over 2000ft above sea level is sent down to Llyn Peris 1300ft below through turbines buried deep in the old slate quarries beneath Elidir Fawr. Water is pumped back up to Marchlyn Mawr using cheap off-peak power. The scheme was built between 1974 and 1984 and at the time was the largest construction project undertaken in in the UK. The walk turned off at the smaller lake of Marchlyn Mawr to make the 1000ft climb up a long grassy shoulder to the wide plateau forming Elidir Fach. The inconspicuous peak at last emerged out of the mist, marked by the banner of Owain Glyndwr (which has recently replaced a wind-tattered Welsh Dragon). There was a welcome pause for coffee before tackling the steep scree path to the still completely invisible peak of Elidir Fawr, at over 3000ft elevation. At last, as the party scrambled off the summit, following the narrow path along the ridge of Bwlch Marchlyn, the mist gradually lifted, providing breathtaking glimpses of the landscape. To the north there were precipitous drops to the blue waters of Marchlyn Mawr, now far below. The rolling green expanses of Foel Goch and Y Garn to the south provided the backdrop for lunch near Bwlch y Brecan. Here the route took the path northwards onto the grassy slopes of Mynydd Perfedd, continuing across a broad plateau to the more impressive rocky crown of Carnedd y Filiast. Both peaks have recently been provided with new stone refuges. From here there was a reasonably straightforward descent through heather to the Marchlyn dam road, soon taking the party back to the start point. This was a rewarding mountain walk of some 6 miles length and 2350ft ascent. The improving weather over the day thankfully brought the views to make the most of at least the latter part of the walk. Noel Davey.
Thursday September 16th 2021. Trefor Circuit. A fine Indian Summers morning drew 10 walkers to the Trefor Beach car park for a walk led by Gwynfor around the lower slopes of Yr Eifl. We initially followed the coastal path past the huge stone jetty built in connection with the quarry, now being used to shelter a few small boats and as a vantage point for the odd angler.
The path followed the shore line at a low level. The 3 peaks of Yr Eifl, Garn For, Garn Ganol and Tre’r Ceiri were clearly distinguishable from this angle. This prompted a discussion as to the meaning of the original Welsh name. Two theories were put forward namely that it referred to a mountain with two cols or a mountain resembling a three-pronged fork. Both of course seem entirely accurate.
Onwards then to the first (very minor) climb of the day for a walk along the cliffs of Trwyn y Tal keeping a reasonable distance from the cliff edge. Below the West End holiday cottages, we ventured back down to a shingle beach for a panad finding seating on the rocks, apart from two members who commandeered an unseaworthy rowing boat for that purpose.
From sea level there was only one way to go. The first part of the climb was gentle, up to the aforesaid cottages, and on past the site of a former hotel known as Plas Yr Eifl, restored to use, if not as a hotel, following a disastrous fire many years ago.
The Coastal Path then heads initially down a tarmac road towards the village but after passing below a bridge, immediately turns upwards. The bridge carried the old tramway/track bed but after a brief look we regained the coastal path crossed a couple of fields then started the main climb of the day.
This started on another the road to Llanaelhaearn but as we stuck resolutely to the task of following the coastal path, we faced ever deteriorating surfaces. Eventually after gaining over 500 feet in little over a mile and spent the best part of an hour doing so, we came to a ruined cottage above Cae’r Hafoty where we paused for a well-earned lunch. The club have used this as a picnic spot before and we were blessed with reasonably clear views over the village, past the peaks of Penllechog, Gyrn Ddu and Gyrn Goch as well as the flatter coastal plain and a large part of Anglesey.
A brief further climb after lunch led us to the point where we departed from the coastal path (which would have led to Bwlch yr Eifl and eventually Nant Gwrtheyrn. Our aim however was to skirt the foothills of Garn Ganol in an easterly direction before regaining the Llanaelhaearn road below a communications mast.
The next downhill section stayed longer on the public road than originally planned due to a recce discovering a large bull occupying the field crossed by a public footpath to Elernion. We accordingly passed Hendre Fawr, this being the property that lent it name to the locality until the advent of the quarry totally changed its rural nature and led to the new village being named after the quarry manager. Cwm Pottery followed and at that point we turned down a public footpath alongside a stream and in due course out to the western end of the main village. Having passed the narrow rows of houses used to film a drama series Minafon broadcast in 1985 during the early years of S4C., we had a leisurely stroll through the village and found our way back to the cars after a short but moderately challenging Thursday walk. Gwynfor Jones.
Sunday September 12th 2021. Mynydd Carnguwch Circuit. 10 ramblers met at Mount Pleasant for an enjoyable walk led by Kath Spencer. The weather was generally cloudy, but warm with some hazy sunshine in the afternoon; remarkably, it also remained dry despite a forecast high probability of rain for most of the day. The walk first headed in a south-easterly direction towards Caergribin along the broad tracks below Yr Eifl. A country road then circled the western side of Mynydd Carnguwch, allowing a relatively easy climb from the south-eastern corner of this splendid but often overlooked peak, now more familiar to the Club, as this was its third ascent in the last few months. The bowl of the great cairn at the 1200ft summit was the obvious place to stop for a morning panad and to drink in the stunning views of Eifionydd below, stretching from Abersoch to Nefyn and Porthmadog. Once back down, the party followed lush field paths, lit by the vivid red berries of hawthorn and rowan. An obstructing herd of cattle attended by bull and calves fortunately decided to allow the group to pass without too much upset. A winding route led to the beautiful little church of Carnguwch, based on an ancient Llan attributed to St Beuno or possibly an obscure St Cuwch. The building is now in good repair under the care of local ‘friends’. This elevated and tranquil site made a delightful picnic spot. The walk continued south over the Afon Erch, through Penfras Uchaf to Llwyndyrys, turning westwards along a pleasant country road. Tracks then cut across past Plas Newydd farm and Melin Carguwch to the byway (Cilffordd) heading west to Moel Gwynus. The last leg of the walk followed a track north via Fridd, across the Pistyll road at Tan y Bwlch, and back across the grassy plateau to Mount Pleasant. This was a lovely 5 hour ramble through a fine rural landscape, with some 1800ft of ascent. Noel Davey
Thursday September 9th 2021. Rhostryfan-Moel Tryfan-Moel Smytho. Today Meri Evans led 10 members on a repeat of this popular 7 mile walk from Rhostryfan, first made on May 6th 2021. It was a day of light cloud and sunny periods, free of threatened showers, providing good views of the mountains of Eryri and the Menai shore including Caernarfon Castle. A detailed description may be found in the report on the earlier walk. Noel Davey
Sunday September 5th 2021. Bangor City Circuit. 10 members met in sunny weather on the Hirael shore at Bangor for an interesting circuit round the hinterland of the city. Gareth Hughes kindly took over as leader from Dafydd Williams who had sadly damaged his ribs on the recce. The walk took an anticlockwise direction, descending to the dock at Port Penrhyn which once shipped out the slate that famously ‘roofed the world’. The route followed the Lôn Las Ogwen, formerly the track of the Penrhyn Quarry railway, now a pleasant green multi-purpose recreation route. After about 1.5 miles, just past the Llandygai Industrial Estate, the walk turned west onto a lane, leading to fields over the Fridd Carw. A coffee stop provided good views towards Elidir Fawr and neighbouring peaks. Near Caerhun, the route turned north west along woodland paths past Perfeddgoed, eventually coming out into a contrastingly busy commercial area of scrap metal and road material businesses and one of Bangor’s large retail areas. Once safely across the main road, the party climbed a surprisingly quiet rural path up to Penrhos Garnedd and the hospital, stopping in fields en route for lunch, again with scenic views of the mountains. Since the former customary path through the grounds of Treborth Hall is now closed, a short cut had to be taken along the busy A487, passing the end of Telford’s magnificent Menai suspension bridge. Wooded paths above the main road then kept the party away from the traffic. The route descended to the sparkling Menai shore, passing through the circle of Gorsedd Stones dating from the 1971 National Eisteddfod. There were interesting views across to Ynys Môn and the Garth Pier, built over a century ago and the second longest in Wales. From here it was a short step back to the car park. This was an easy and leisurely walk of some 8 miles, with only a few moderate climbs; though never far from the urban bustle, it offered a surprising wealth of interest, tranquil rural sections and unexpected glimpses of the city’s many facets. Noel Davey.
Thursday 2nd September 2021. Porthmadog-Penmorfa-Wern-Borth y Gest. No report nor photographs at present (06/09/21).
Sunday August 29th 2021. Hills of Rhiw. For this Bank Holiday Sunday Jane Logan had devised an excellent and intricate walk over the peaks and pinnacles of Mynydd Rhiw. Sadly, Jane was indisposed on the day and Noel Davey lead the 7 ramblers on this occasion. The first hours were cloudy, but it brightened up by lunchtime and there were good, if hazy views. The walk started from the National Trust carpark at Plas yn Rhiw, taking the new section of Coast Path south-west through woodland and onto the open headland of Mynydd y Graig beyond. Next there was a climb onto the conspicuous spine of jagged rocks of Creigiau Gwineu, incorporating a hillfort high above the village of Rhiw. Paths continued through heather and bracken onto Graig Fawr where there are the remains of a wartime lookout post overlooking Porth Neigwl. The Coast Path was rejoined to climb to the trig point on Mynydd Penarfynydd and out to the rocky promontory of Trwyn Talfarach, a good spot for morning coffee, offering lovely views of the coastline down to Maen Gwenonwy and Ynys Enlli. The party stopped again to enjoy icecream and brownies at the café kiosk set up by the enterprising Penarfynydd Farm. The route continued past old manganese workings down to the delightful cove of Porth Ysgo, the waterfall above somewhat diminished after summer drought. There was another pause at the isolated little church of Llanfaelrhys, notable for its RS Thomas mementoes and the graves of the Keating sisters of Plas yn Rhiw. Field paths took the walkers back to Rhiw village for an ascent past Conion onto the unusual conical outcrop of Clip y Gylfinhir (Curlew Hill), adjacent to the MOD radar tracking station. At 800ft this provided another superb viewpoint to be savoured over a late lunch. The final peak, at 1000ft the highest of the day, was Mynydd Rhiw itself. This wide tract of open moorland, a patchwork of vivid heather and gorse in purple and gold, criss-crossed by ancient tracks, was a magnificent sight. The gradual descent past bronze age cairns and the elusive site of the Neolithic axe factory provided further wonderful views over the heartland of Llŷn, towards Garn Fadryn, the busy beaches at Abersoch and Nefyn, and the hazy outline of the Eryri and Cambrian mountains in the far distance. The last leg of the walk led down past the newly refurbished Ffynnon Saint and through recently felled forestry tracks to Treheli. A final woodland path ended in a well deserved tea at Plas yn Rhiw. This was a long but rewarding day, covering some 10.5 miles and 2250ft of ascent in 6-7 hours, exploring a magical landscape of great historic interest. Noel Davey.
Thursday 26 August 2021 – Snowdon foothills & Beddgelert Forest. On a fine summers day 13 members met at Cae’r Gors, near Rhyd Ddu under the leadership of Dafydd Williams. From the parking area the group returned to the nearby Beddgelert-Rhyd Ddu road and crossed it to a permissive path starting from this point and headed up the hillside towards a farm, Ffridd Uchaf, to join a path which higher up merges with the main Rhyd Ddu-Snowdon route. The last time the writer walked this permissive path the bottom reaches were wet and muddy and there is now an excellent solid path with fences being erected in places.
Having reached the Snowdon path it was left and down to Rhyd Ddu and whilst it was too early for lunch a coffee/tea break was undertaken on the platform of the West Highland Train Station where the toilet /seating facilities were highly appreciated. From here there were outstanding views in all directions, to the west, the Nantlle Ridge with Snowdon, Yr Arran and surrounding mountains to the east.
It was then across the main Beddgelert-Caernarfon road to join another excellent path, the Lon Gwyrfai path, which can be followed for 5 miles to Beddgelert however today after some 2 miles we meandered on alternative forest tracks to Llyn Llewelyn, an artificial forest lake which possibly at one time provided water to nearby properties. From the lake it was only a mile or so back to our cars and as it had been quite humid the 7 miles plus was enough for the majority of the members. Dafydd Williams.
Sunday August 22nd 2021. Yr Eifl-Tre’r Ceiri. Ten club members gathered at Mount Pleasant above Llithfaen for a walk in the Yr Eifl area led by Judith Thomas. The weather was unpromising with the hills hidden by a low-lying pall of cloud and mist. It was decided to rearrange the walk, taking the shorter loop first down to the coast and back over the plateau. This proved the right choice as the vista of the great green cleft of Nant Gwrtheyrn soon emerged as the walkers descended the steep and winding road down to this intriguing village, now the National Language Centre, nestling by the sea. The path led down to the beach, then ascended steadily through oakwoods to Gallt Bwlch in time for a stop for coffee at this high vantage point. The route then returned across the open grassy plateau to Mount Pleasant. The mist now showed some sign of lifting, so the walk resumed, taking the gentle path past Caergribin towards Tre’r Ceiri. This crossed a wall, the final resting place of the scattered ashes of a couple who were among the Club’s founding members. At this point three of the group, wary of the slippery rocks beyond, beat a retreat. The others climbed Tre’r Ceiri, clambering through the astonishing jumble of hut circles and defensive walls surviving from the iron age village which once crowned the peak. Lunch was taken on the citadel at the highest point as the cloud lifted to give fine sunlit views down to Trefor and up the coast of Arfon. By then the central peak of Yr Eifl itself was emerging from the cloud, so the walk continued to its summit at 1860ft to enjoy even more vivid views of jagged grey rocks, swathes of purple heather and deep blue seas. A long tricky descent of the north slope brought the party down to the track at Bwlch yr Eifl from where an easy walk lead back again to Mount Pleasant. A patient wait for the weather to oblige brought the reward of a most enjoyable walk of some 7-8 miles and 2250ft of climbing taken at a relaxed pace over some 6.5hours. Noel Davey
Thursday August 19th 2021. Garndolbenmaen Circular. 6.5 miles. Despite rain and a light mist, Kath Mair and eleven other club members cheerfully set out from the car park on a walk to take them into the hinterland of Garndolbenmaen.
The route went initially north-west via quiet tarmaced lanes and grassy tracks passing Bryn-glas to enter open access land below Ty’r-mynydd. Striking north-east, the walkers crossed rough tussocky wet terrain to reach open moorland. Bearing east, they then trekked over more rough and marshy land- keeping to the stone wall on the right - and stopped for a very damp coffee break before resuming the trudge. By this time, the mist was well established but it didn’t diminish the party’s high spirits. About three miles had so far been covered.
The group went on, further into the mist, when the leader realised she’d missed the cross-track for turning right to reach the bothy, Cae Amos, for lunch. The correct way was soon found, partly helped by the mist lifting and a glimmer of sun coming out. From about 780 feet, there were lovely views looking towards the slopes of Graig-lwyd and Mynydd Graig Goch. Cae Amos provided a very pleasant place for a welcome lunch and many of the walkers had their sandwiches sitting on plastic chairs outside the stone building.
After lunch, there were a further two and a half miles to do, walking south-west back to the car park. Once again, the terrain followed rough and wet tracks before passing Craig y Garn over on the left to continue down quite tarmac lanes. Here, there were beautiful far reaching views of the undulating Lleyn Peninsular. The group returned to their cars, damp but still cheerful. Kath Mair.
Sunday August 15th 2021. Moelwyns. A & B Walks. The walks today were in the magnificent Moelwynion group of mountains. The mountain forecast was poor and did not disappoint, low cloud and mist and intermittent rain all day, with no sign of the sun or of the spectacular views to be had on better days. Nevertheless, a dozen members, perhaps displaying more optimism than sense, assembled at Croesor, where there was unusually enough parking space on account of the weather. The walkers split into two groups: Noel Davey led the majority on a route that took in all the main peaks, while Hugh Evans led a small but growing band that (perhaps wisely) avoided the steepest climbs and more difficult sections. The two groups started together, climbing steadily 1000ft up the Croesor valley on the old track up to Croesor Quarry. Here there was a pause for coffee and to regroup. The two parties then diverged, but fortuitously met again en route on two occasions. Both ascended the relatively easy Moel yr Hudd, from different directions, taking different routes across the elevated plateau through the fascinating landscape of former quarry tips, pits and buildings, looking all the more mysterious in the enveloping mist. A 700ft ascent of Moelwyn Mawr followed by the south-western grassy slope to reach the highest point of the day at 2550ft. As the summit seemed an inhospitable choice for lunch today, the A group struggled south across the rugged neck of Graig Ysgafn, half a mile of slippery, rocky paths and jagged outcrops. Meanwhile, the B group took the lower bypass route, contouring above the Stwlan dam. The two parties reunited for lunch in the relative shelter of Bwlch Stwlan. The B walk then took the somewhat marshy Pant Mawr valley route down to the Tan y Bwlch road, while the A walkers made their third ascent of the day by a steep, but relatively easy rocky path to the top of Moelwyn Bach. From there the SW shoulder provided an easy, grassy descent. At 1300ft the parties were delighted as the panorama over the Dwyryd Estuary, the Glaslyn floodplain, with Port and Criccieth beyond, at last swam into view below the clouds. It was then an easy step back to Croesor where richly deserved coffee and cake awaited all at the café after 5.5 hours in the sodden hills, 7-8 miles and over 3000ft of ascent. The day was something of an ordeal and all deserved a medal for endurance, but there was a compensating feeling of achievement and perhaps an urge to savour it again, but on a drier day guaranteeing some views. Noel Davey.
Thursday August 12th 2021. Cwmystradllyn. Weather conditions: dry and sunny with moderate breeze. After crossing a stile, the initial fields were of grass with ferns before coming onto a farm track near Ynys Wen farm. The walk continued along the track before becoming a metalled road near Ynyspandy slate mill. Here we went into the mill to look at the structure, which is part of the recently announced World Heritage Site, and to enjoy a coffee break. Colin provided an information hand out giving the history of the quarry and mill. From the slate mill the walk followed the original track back, which was used for taking slate from the quarry to the mill, this being flat countryside through fields via a couple of stiles, a footbridge and an avenue of pine trees. The track eventually came onto the narrow road heading towards Tyddyn-mawr farm and café. Continuing straight past Tyddyn-mawr, with the tarmac road turning right towards the dam, the route then became a wide track heading towards the quarry. After about ¾ mile and near some old stone cottages (Tal-y-llyn), a left turn was made up a sloped path towards the old village of Treforys lunch was taken amongst the old walls of the village.
After lunch the walk continued on a level plain through the ruins and, as the old track was somewhat muddy and wet, a zigzag course had to be taken before a drier section of the path could be found. The track, though not too distinct, then followed a downward course through ferns, across an old stone footbridge before re-joining the main track about ¾ mile on from where we left it. The walk continued along this damp level track and onto the Gorseddau Quarry itself, where the group took a little time to explore and view the workings and buildings. From here the walk retraced its steps along the track as far as the stone cottages, Tal-y-llyn, where we had originally left the track towards Treforys, but this time turning left through the old buildings. The group struck off at an approximate 45-degree angle, across two fields and aimed towards the bottom corner where a low gate was stepped over. At this point the lower path that circles the lake was joined. Although not quite distinct, this path went through fields striking at an upward angle to arrive at a gate behind Tyddyn-mawr tea rooms where afternoon tea and cakes were enjoyed by most of the group. Everyone seemed to enjoy the walk and we were blessed with perfect walking weather. Colin Higgs.
Sunday August 8th 2021. Mynytho-Garn Fadryn. Jean Norton and Annie Andrew led 14 members on a first class 10 mile walk from Mynytho to Garn Fadryn and back. It was a cloudy morning with a brisk westerly, but only a hint of rain. This gave way to warm sunshine in the afternoon. The route started from the carpark at Foel Gron, circling the conical hill and then following the path along the western edge of Mynytho Common. From here there were splendid views across Nanhoron towards Mynydd Rhiw and Porth Neigwl. The Common was rich with purple heather and vivid green growth after recent rain. The next leg followed a section of the recently opened Sailor’s Path (Llwybr Morwyr) which crosses the Llŷn from Abersoch to Nefyn. The path led across fields past Pandy and down across the gorge of the Afon Nanhoron by the Pont Llidiart Nanhoron roadbridge, also known as the Inkerman Bridge, commemorating the death of the 22 year old heir to the Nanhoron Estate in the Crimean War. The route continued north above the Nanhoron Quarry, turning at Penbodlas to Pen y Caerau. A rough ascent over open access land brought the party to the summit of Garn Bach, at just under 1000ft. The party then descended across the intervening bwlch and all but three made the slightly easier climb of the 1200ft peak of Garn Fadryn to enjoy the superb 360 degree panorama over central Llŷn, while lunching on the leeside of this commanding viewpoint. The afternoon leg crossed the open grassland to the farms of Caerau, eventually joining the scenic narrow country lane running south back to Mynytho This took the party past the rocky mass of Carn Saethon (an island of ‘open access’ without a right of way to get there!) and the grassy hill of Carneddol (with no right of access at all). There was a pause to admire the isolated little church of Llanfihangel Bachellaeth, now converted to a private home, and also a chance to shed some clothing in the increasingly warm sunshine. Mynytho soon came into view, opening up a spectacular vista down to the sparkling blue bays of Abersoch and the St Tudwal’s Roads, dotted with summer yachts. This was a lovely ramble taken at a relaxed sociable pace over seven hours. Noel Davey
Thursday August 5th 2021. Tanygrisiau Reservoir. Tecwyn Williams led this interesting figure of 8 walk of some 5 miles around Tanygrisiau. On this occasion under Covid restrictions there were 14 walkers, half the number on the same walk led 4 years ago. Part of the walk was wet on both occasions – it is a suburb of Blaenau Ffestiniog after all - but today the first half of the walk was dry whereas last time it was the second half. The morning loop explored the village of Tanygrisiau, a typical old mining village of narrow streets where the backs of houses hug the steep cliffs (‘under the steps’ as its name suggests). Some homes have been smartened up, brightening up the village. Residents have added a quirky note, such as a striking collection of vintage American gas guzzlers and a proud display of miniature garden gnomes and bric-a-brac. Tanygrisiau also has cultural claims as the erstwhile home of the poet and scholar Gwyn Tomas, the dedicated educationalists Silyn and Mary Roberts, and Meredydd Evans of Triawd y Buarth fame, all duly noted during the walk. After lunch on the convenient picnic tables, the afternoon loop took some rocky paths through heather and bracken, past the Ffestiniog hydroelectric plant and around Tanygrisiau lake which now forms the lower reservoir for this pumped storage scheme. The walkers crossed the Ffestiniog Railway no less than 5 times during the walk and were rewarded by the magnificent sight of the Lloyd George steam engine hauling a long trainload of holidaymakers at one of the crossings. Near the southern end of the lake the route passed the disused Moelwyn Mine and the former dam of Llyn Ystradau, the reservoir which preceded the present one when the power plant was built in the early 1960s. Some of the party enjoyed tea at the Lakeside Café after a pleasant 4 hours of walking through a fine natural landscape, overlain by the area’s fascinating industrial heritage. Noel Davey
Sunday August 1st 2021. Mynydd Mawr. Mynydd Mawr was today’s objective, the fine peak sometimes known as Elephant Mountain, just to the west of Yr Wyddfa. 10 club members led by Eryl Thomas gathered at Drws y Coed in the Dyffryn Nantlle for a first class hike of some 8-9 miles over 6 hours. Light cloud and sunny periods provided good conditions for walking. The walk started at the chapel which replaced an earlier one commemorated on the other side of the road when it was damaged in 1892 by a huge boulder tumbling from the Clogwyn y Barcut above. The route followed sections of the Slate Trail with many reminders of the area’s quarrying and mining history, particularly resonant just a few days after the successful designation of Gwynedd’s entire slate landscape as a World Heritage Site. The well-defined path climbed steadily from around 500ft at Drws y Coed farm, joining the main route from Rhyd Ddu at the edge of Beddgelert Forest. After reaching Foel Rudd, the walk skirted the precipitous crags of Craig y Bera, with glimpses of the valley now far below at the foot of steep mountainside screes. A relatively gentle ascent over grassy slopes then led to the summit of Mynydd Mawr at 2300ft. There was a spectacular vista from the top in all directions, only somewhat muted by the cloudy conditions, taking in the central peaks of Eryri, the lowlands of Arfon and Ynys Môn and the hills of northern Llŷn. A refuge provided shelter from a coolish breeze for an early lunch. The descent took the long grassy shoulder on the north-west side of the mountain, above Craig Cwm Du. This gave a good view of the re-activated quarry workings at Moel Tryfan and the mass of older tips and pits around the village of Y Fron. The walk passed by Llyn Ffynhonnau, crossing the bilberry, heather and marshy grassland of the exposed Uwchgyrfai Common, an area of prehistoric settlement and local folklore. The final sections were an interesting mix of quarry remnants and more pastoral and wooded countryside. This proved an excellent day out in splendid landscape, offering a good climb with no particularly difficult sections. Noel Davey.