Aug 18 - Jul 19
On Sunday October 14th a few members of Llyn Ramblers joined John Edlington, his family and friends at Rhiw Goch to remember Mair. The party walked up in bright afternoon sunshine to a viewpoint high above Rhiw Goch, overlooking Penrhyndeudraeth and the Dwyryd Estuary, for an informal ceremony to scatter Mair’s ashes in this spot which she loved. This was followed by refreshments at Rhiw Goch Farm Cottage. Noel Davey.
Thursday October 11th 2018. Llaniestyn - Garn Fadryn. Today’s walk was a bit of a wash-out with continuous and at times heavy rain throughout its 3 hour duration, a disappointment after the preceding day’s Indian Summer. Nevertheless, Miriam Heald gamely led 25 members out from Llaniestyn on a 5 mile hike, taking the newly improved path up north via Ty’n Rhos and Gwaen Rhiniog Fawr to the village of Garnfadryn. The original objective was the Garn itself, but since this had vanished in the mist and there were no takers for the ascent, it was decided to walk round the mountain instead. This involved crossing the exposed bwlch between Garn Fadryn and Garn Bach in a north-easterly direction, hunting for the route between the new but still unwaymarked pedestrian gates installed for a section of the Sailors’ Path. The route then circuited north-west, skirting the edge of Coed Garn Fadryn, where thankfully obstructing vegetation had been cut. A ruined cottage beneath dripping trees provided a brief stop for a damp lunch. From there it was an easy tramp along the level track and road on the western side of the Garn and then back down to Llaniestyn by the outward path. It was a relief to get into the dry of the village hall which Miriam and Tony had thoughtfully arranged to be open to change in and out of walking gear and for a most welcome tea with an excellent assortment of cakes; this swiftly revived spirits after something of an ordeal. Noel Davey
Sunday October 7th 2018.
Afon Dwyryd. Today there were two walks in the lovely wooded hills either side of the Afon Dwyryd, both starting from Penrhyndeudraeth. Hugh Evans led 9 club members on a circuit of about 12 miles, mostly following Coastal Communities Fund paths, previously part of the Wales Coastal Path. Jean Norton led 10 members on an easier walk of about 10 miles It was a fine day, initial chill soon giving way to pleasant sunny periods, though there was a brisk wind later in the day. Both parties first climbed up steep paths through the north of the town and then took a narrow road to the farm of Rhiw Goch. Here the A walkers branched right on a track continuing alongside the Ffestiniog Railway. There was soon a chance to watch one of the trains puffing up the gradient and the walk was accompanied for several hours by the distant hooting of steam engines. The route continued eastwards through woodlands, pausing at a small reservoir for morning coffee, skirting Llyn Mair and passing close to Plas Tan y Bwlch. There was then a descent past the Oakley Arms to cross the Dwyryd into the village of Maentwrog. All this was the impressive creation of the Oakley family who gained their power and wealth from the Blaenau slate quarries in the nineteenth century. There was then a good pull up to about 550ft above the valley onto an exposed plateau around Pen y Foel. Following lunch in the shelter of a ruined cottage, the way led back down the deep valley of the Afon Prysor through ancient woodland and soaring pines of the nearby Ceunant Llennyrch National Nature Reserve. The Maentwrog hydroelectric station lies at the bottom of the valley, fed by twin pipes from the Llyn Trawsfynydd and still working after 90 years. Another climb followed through Coed Felinrhyd, part of the ‘Celtic rainforest’ and featuring in the Mabinogion as the last resting place of King Pryderi of Dyfed. The party then skirted Llyn Tecwyn Uchaf, which supplies part of the Llyn’s tapwater, finally descending a narrow valley lined by pylons and crossing the new Briwet bridge back into Penrhyndeudraeth. This was a most enjoyable walk on easy dry paths and tracks, offering moderate climbs over a good length and regular fine views over the Dwyryd Estuary. Noel Davey.
Penrhyndeudraeth - Rhyd. An alternative ten mile B walk was arranged led by Jean Norton who thrives on such occasions. 19 members congregated at the main car park in Penrhyndeudraeth and split into 9 & 10 A & B walkers respectively. After the customary group photograph the A walkers strode off followed by the slower B group who after a half mile or so ascended the fairly steep footpath steps to reach Upper Penrhyn. The route then went alongside the Ffestiniog Railway before entering the forest and following the forest track for a mile or so before reaching the tarmac road on the outskirts of Rhyd. At this point we went left and undertook a half circle of the village, re-joining the road on its easterly side and re-entered the forest at Bwlch-y-maen where a coffee/tea break was taken. Continuing in an easterly direction we reached the Tan-y-Bwlch station on cue as the train pulled in and one of our club members, a dining car attendant, descended in his bowler hat, to be photographed. We then descended to the nearby Llyn Mair and enjoyed lunch sitting at the convenient lakeside picnic tables. From here the route went west crossing the railway track and meandering its way up hill and on occasions offering stunning views of the Dwyryd estuary with Harlech Castle in the distance. Just short of Hafod-y-mynydd, the highest point of the day was reached at just under a 600 feet but we had started at sea level. Half a mile further west we re-joined the outward route and returned to the car park apparently 20 minutes before the A walkers. The fine weather was a contributory factor in making this leisurely walk an enjoyable experience for all involved. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday 27 September 2018. Sychnant Pass. 22 members congregated at the Echo Rock car park on the Sychnant Pass with two members attending at an incorrect nearby venue. Jean Norton led in a southerly direction climbing steadily in this hilly and undulating area of Penmaenmawr with many an indication of mediaeval settlements. Eventually we reached a foot bridge crossing the Afon Gyrach and turned north west before reaching the Mountain Lane and stopping for lunch. It was an excellent walking day with an occasional stiff breeze and sunny periods as we headed north and reached the Jubilee Path facing west and overlooking Penmaenmawr and towards Anglesey and affording excellent views of the Mersey shipping lanes far out to sea. The Jubilee Path is not for faint hearts and one nameless member had to be blinkered and led along, she managed it manfully! We now followed the Wales Coast Path in an easterly direction ending up in the village of Capelulo where unfortunately the Fairy Glen public house was closed but it did give the walkers an opportunity of using the convenient picnic tables for a welcome break. From here all that was left was the sting in the tail as the relatively steep path continued eastwards and parallel to the road back to the car park. A delightful six mile walk enjoyed immensely by the club members. Dafydd Williams.
Sunday September 23rd 2018.
Carnedd Ugain. Richard Hirst led a small group of 5 determined A walkers from Pont y Gromlech up to Garnedd Ugain. After a string of wet walking Sundays this was at last a decent day, despite a cold wind, with sunny periods, good visibility and just a few brief showers. The route climbed steeply over rocky ground with few distinct paths in a south to south-westerly direction through Cwm Glas Mawr alongside the Afon Gennog. There was a coffee stop beside Llyn Glas, its water looking rather dark and forbidding on the day. There was then a further ascent into Cwm Uchaf, affording striking views of the knife-edge of Crib Goch towering above. Eventually the ridge was reached at Bwlch Coch after a climb of some 2000ft over 2 miles from the Nant Peris Valley far below. Here the route turned west along the ridge, taking an exposed but well-defined path along the southern face of Garnedd Ugain, avoiding the more testing route of Crib y Ddysgl higher up. Finally, there was a rough scramble over scree up the last 500ft to the summit of Garnedd Ugain, at about 3500ft just 60ft lower than Snowdon. After four hours the party were more than ready for a late lunch, enjoying the magnificent views in all directions; the nearby peak of Snowdon itself swam in and out of the cloud, bristling with visitors as ever, many brought by the train seen and heard chugging up and down regularly from Llanberis. Coming off the summit, the party was assaulted by a brief but violent hailstorm, but then it was all downhill via the well-paved Pyg Track, by now fairly quiet, and a relatively easy descent over grassy terrain from Bwlch y Moch back to Pont y Gromlech. The whole day involved 3650ft of ascent over some 7 miles and 7 hours. This proved a strenuous but very rewarding outing, exploring a delightful and tranquil mountain area nestling in the heart of Snowdonia, yet little known or visited. Noel Davey.
B walk. An alternative to the programmed difficult A walk was arranged at shorth notice and Dafydd Williams led 7 members from the Snowdon Ranger car park, the usual car park to walk up Snowdon but not today. It was a glorious autumn day with surprisingly few other walkers around as we set off, soon passing Llwyn Onn and up the zig zags before arriving at Bwlch Cwm Brwynog overlooking the reservoir Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas. Here we stopped for a few minutes before turning north climbing steeply a short distance to a stile on the sky line which we did not cross but turned sharply west. After some 100 yards it was north again and we commenced to climb the steep grassy slope Clogwyn Llechwedd Llo and reached our goal, Moel Cynghorion, a modest 2211 feet, some of us after a great deal of puffing and panting. Here we paused to recover and commented favourably on the panorama that surrounded us and whilst it was not perfectly clear the light was such that it held us spell bound. The hard work had now been accomplished and as we walked the relatively flat ridge we continued to enjoy the views before descending to the cross road of paths Bwlch Maesgwm where we enjoyed a late lunch. Turning south we followed the recently completed new path, a big improvement on the former parallel grassy route and soon reached the outward path from where it was a gentle stroll back to the car park. It was a relatively short but extremely rewarding 5.5 mile walk with ample time to enjoy the magnificent views and put the world to rights. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday September 13th 2018. Llanbedrog Headland. There was a good turnout of 33 for a lovely 6.5 mile walk from Llanbedrog led by Jean Norton and Annie Andrew. It was a fine, sunny day with a brisk wind which made the most of the area’s delightful views of the coast and countryside. The route started inland, climbing from the beach car park past Tremvan Hall as far as the school in Llanbedrog village, and then continued via Wern Newydd and Henllys up to the wonderful viewpoint of Foel Fawr; this is also known as Foel Felin Wynt or Foel Twr and more popularly as the ‘Jampot’, referring to the old tower that was once a corn mill and a watch tower during the Napoleonic wars - an excellent spot for lunch. The walk then followed a section of the nascent cross-Llyn ‘Sailor’s Path’, cutting south-east past Bodrwog and through the garden of Erw. After crossing the A499, the minor road was followed up to the top of Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd, passing Mount Pleasant and following the coast path round the edge of the headland which was a symphony of late summer purple and gold of the heather and gorse. The route passed the area blackened by the recent fire up there. The party eventually reached the viewpoint of the iconic ‘Iron Man’ statue before a descent along the excellent paths of the Winllan to Plas Glyn y Weddw where many paused for tea. This was a very pleasant day, marred only by the dismayingly persistent sight of the giant wind turbine at Bodfel: this has just been erected 5 years after it was approved by an incoming Appeal Inspector in spite of universal local objections. Noel Davey.
Sunday 9th September 2018.
Cader Idris. This was the fourth Sunday walk in a row to be dogged by wet weather. A forecast of a risk of drizzle proved overly optimistic as there was persistent rain most of the morning. 15 walkers gathered at the National Park’s Minffordd car park on the south-eastern side of Cadair Idris. 8 elected to do the full climb to the summit, as programmed, while 7 opted for an easier walk as far as Llyn Cau. The two groups shared the first leg, climbing 600ft up steep steps amid the verdant woods and rushing waters of Nant Cadair. A further, gentler 500ft ascent brought the route to the edge of Llyn Cau, nestling in the great arc of the Cadair chain looming in the mist above. After a break for coffee (not a day for wild swimming), the A team trudged on upwards past Craig Cwm Amarch and along Craig Cau, deprived of any views apart from the slippery wet and rocky path underfoot. At long last after about 3 hours climb in wet and increasingly windy weather, the party staggered to the summit of Penygadair at 2930ft and retired thankfully to the crowded refuge hut for a late lunch protected from the elements. Somewhat refreshed and dried out, the walkers then turned east along the relatively level and wide grassy ridge, following close to the northern scarp for about 1.5 miles. At last about 3pm the sun began to break through the gloom, opening up the spectacular views towards the eastern end of the Cadair ridge and later down towards Talyllyn. The customary path down by the steep and exposed scree path from Mynydd Moel was avoided. Instead a gentler, more sheltered but more circuitous route was followed on sheep tracks through heather and bilberries above Nant Caenewydd. This eventually rejoined the paved section of the main path, crossing Nant Cadair at the new slate bridge for the final descent. After some 6.5 miles and 3500ft of cumulative ascent, quite a challenge in the day’s weather conditions, the party were delighted to get a cup of tea and complimentary cake at the excellent Ty Te Cadair Tea Room just before it closed. Noel Davey
Llyn Cau. The seven B walkers struggled upwards in the wake of the A walkers as far as Llyn Cau and after a very short lunch break in the shelter of a friendly large rock made a quick return and enjoyed a visit to the convenient café. The main recollection I have is of the steepness of the steps for the first 600 feet and how wet you can get in heavy rain in two and a half hours, my water proof coat pockets were half full of rain water. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday August 30th 2018. Pen y Gaer. This was a repeat of part of a Sunday walk in Cwm Coryn which was curtailed last year by mist and rain. This time the sun shone, giving 25 club members and friends, led by Sue Woolley, a most enjoyable leisurely outing of about 7 miles in good walking weather in this delightful area fringing the Clynnog Hills. The route climbed eastwards from the new carpark in Llanaelhaearn up the minor road serving the valley. A level walled bridle way then continued eastwards along the foot of Moel Bronmiod at an elevation of about 700ft, offering magnificent views south across Eifionydd towards the coast and the distant Cambrian Mountains. Beyond the ruins of Tai Mmynydd, at Cwm Cilio, the route turned north-east across rough boggy land to the foot of the prominent conical hill of Pen y Gaer. Here the party split into three groups: one elected to stay below, lunching in the remains of a large iron age hut complex, another climbed steeply direct to the summit, while the other took a gentler, more circuitous ascent round the back of the hill. Near the top the climbers entered the precincts of the large iron age fort crowning the hill through the distinctive double walled ramparts. They met for lunch at the summit at just under 1300ft, dodging swarms of flying ants and enjoying the panorama in all directions, including the mountains of Snowdonia and the wide expanses of the Clynnog Hills stretching to the north. The way back retraced the same route, giving the party a further chance to chat and savour the superb views towards Tre’r Ceiri and Carnguwch, as well as the remarkable prehistoric agricultural landscape of walled and terraced fields on the slopes below. Noel Davey
Sunday August 26th 2018. Beddgelert to Bethania (wet weather alternative). The morning of the first walk in the new programme – Bank Holiday Sunday – brought persistent rain, as forecast. The 8 people meeting for the walk, including the leader Dafydd Williams, decided on this occasion to abandon ideas of the scheduled expedition to the distant Berwyns in such unpromising weather and instead to do a shorter and nearer low-level walk from Beddgelert to Nant Gwynant along the southern shore of Llyn Dinas. This provided a fast and easy 7.25 mile round trip on the excellent path with the added attraction of refreshment in the popular community café at the half-way point of Bethania. The misty and murky beauty of the lake and mountain landscape was not looking its best, but the walk provided some welcome exercise on a wet Sunday and brought the party home unusually early in time for other holiday activities as the skies brightened in the afternoon. Noel Davey.
Thursday 16th August 2018. Precipice Walk. Fourteen members accompanied Nick White for a short but exhilarating outing on the Precipice Walk above the River Mawddach . The weather threatened to deteriorate after a sunny start, but fortune smiled on our group as the rain swiftly passed. The views were outstanding, from what is surely one of the easiest spectacular walks in Snowdonia. Lunch was taken on a promontory overlooking the Mawddach Estuary with great views of Cader Idris and the estuary down to Barmouth. The walk back to the cars was along the shores of Llyn Cynwch, the reservoir for Dolgellau. This was as low as it has been for some time, but the walk along the track through the woods was sublime. All too soon we were back at the car park for the journey back to the peninsular. Nick White.
The Walk along Hadrian’s Wall 18th to 27th June 2018.
Nearly two thousand years ago the Emperor Hadrian, in a trump-like moment, decreed that a wall should be built from coast to coast across the neck of northern England. Today the vestiges of this remarkable structure survive as a wonderful 84 mile long amenity for walkers and lovers of landscape and history. In June four members of Llŷn Ramblers decided to walk from east to west along what has become one of Britain’s most popular National Trails.
We started off aptly enough from Wallsend. The first day was 16 miles of tarmac, wearing for the soles of the feet, but it proved an unexpectedly fascinating exploration of the River Tyne, taking us right through Newcastle with its seven splendid bridges and past an extraordinary mix of old industry and modern redevelopment. In the centre there was a welcome stop for a coffee at the Baltic grain mill, now superbly converted into an art gallery. It was a relief to reach the rural village of Wylam, childhood home of the renowned engineer, George Stephenson, and our destination for the night.
Next day came the first uphill hike, to the village of Heddon-on-the-Wall where the reward was the first sight of a sizeable chunk of the Wall. Over the next few days we learnt it was not just a wall, but a composite piece of engineering, comprising a formidable ditch facing north, then the wall proper, then a military road, now the busy B6318, and finally a wider earthwork defence known as the ‘vallum’ to the south. The Wall was manned by regular square ‘milecastles’ and two smaller ‘turrets’ or observation posts every mile, while every 5 miles or so there was a large Roman camp housing several hundred soldiers; substantial remains of three of these survive at Chesters, Housesteads and Vindolanda. The remarkable finds in the museum at Vindolanda bring the ruins brilliantly to life, not least the famous writing tablets recording the minutiae of a soldier’s life on the frontier.
Days 3-5 brought the highpoint of the Trail, reaching over 1100 feet on the watershed between Northumberland and Cumbria. This is deservedly the most popular section of the route. Continuous sections of the Wall snake up and down the steep crags and swooping escarpments, presenting a formidable barrier to the north reflected in evocative names: Sewingshield Crags, Cuddy Crags, Cat Stairs, Steel Rigg, and Sycamore Gap.
Here the Trail passes through an austere and rugged landscape with far-reaching open views towards the Kielder Forest and the Scottish border, a haven of dark skies and almost devoid of population, a reminder that when the Romans left this lawless border region became for centuries a stage for constant feuding. The Wall became a giant quarry to build castles, monasteries and fortified houses. It was rescued only in the 19th century when John Clayton pioneered efforts to preserve and publicise what was left. A reminder of its role as a battleground was the lonely site where the Saxon St Oswald vanquished the Celtic Cadwallon in the Battle of Heavenfield in 633AD.
From here it was mainly downhill through pleasant pastoral countryside alongside the River Eden which eventually brought the Trail to the City of Carlisle, a welcome chance to replenish supplies. There was little sign of the Wall now, perhaps because this section was built of turf rather than stone. En route in a café in the village of Walton, there was a surprise encounter with four acquaintances from Pwllheli who were setting out to walk the Trail in the opposite direction – ‘byd bach’ indeed!
The final leg followed a long straight road along the exposed shores of the Solway Firth, marking the boundary with Scotland. Increasing heat made this the most tedious section and it was a relief to reach the lonely settlement of Bowness-on-Solway at the mouth of the estuary, marking the terminus of the Trail. All that remained was an evening of celebration enhanced with a bottle of prosecco at the local King’s Arms.
This proved a memorable holiday where everything seemed to go well – congenial company, good walking, ideal walking weather, bar the heat of the last day or so, with barely a drop of rain, an invariably friendly welcome in the pubs, B&Bs and cafes, a reasonable standard of accommodation, and faultless transport arrangements. The final impressive tally was over 100 miles in 8 days, allowing for detours to find beds, hostelries and historical sites. Where next? Noel Davey.
Sunday August 12th 2018.
Tyrrau Mawr. There were two walks starting from the Cregennen Lakes. 8 ramblers joined the A walk of some 11 miles led by Hugh Evans over Tyrrau Mawr and 4 went on a shorter B walk led by Nick White. The longer walk first circled north and east around the western lake, occupied by a couple of early morning wild swimmers, and then descended to take the road east along the valley for a mile or so. The steady ascent then began, joining the popular and well maintained Pony Path route up Cadair Idris as far as the ridge at Rhiw Gwredydd. Here the party turned west along the ridge, climbing steadily to Carnedd Lwyd and the grassy tump of Tyrrau Mawr itself, at 2200ft the highest point of the day. The morning was dry and bright with sunny periods, allowing fine views across the Mawddach and down to Barmouth to the north and down Dyffryn Dysynni to the south. However, cloud and mist rolled in from about 1.30, bringing prolonged showers, brisk wind and limited visibility for the next couple of hours which unfortunately ruled out even a glimpse of the lovely prospect from the long ridge of Craig y Llyn. Lunch was postponed till the last tough piece of ascent was achieved and some shelter could be found under a rock outcrop. The route continued past Twll yr Ogof and the Braich Ddu forest, eventually turning sharply north-east down onto the track of the Ffordd Ddu, part of the ancient trackway from Llanegryn to Dolgellau, marked by a number of bronze age standing stones. The clouds and mist lifted at last to show off the valley landscape including the impressive crags of Tyrrau Mawr from below, though that did not stop the main party somehow detaching itself from the leader for a short detour from the intended route. Despite the disappointing weather this was an excellent day of walking in this beautiful area of Meirionnydd. Noel Davey
Cregennan Lakes and Pared y Cefn Hir. Three members joined Nick White for a seven mile walk starting from the car park by Cregennan Lakes, surely one of the most beautifully sited car parks in Wales. In slightly threatening weather a start was made scrambling up Pared y Cefn Hir. The weather was clear enough to enjoy the fantastic views from the top, followed by a walk along the ridge through an old hill fort and down to the ruined chapel at Islawrdref. Lunch was eaten in the graveyard, allowing for a viewing of Gwynfor Evans memorial. The walk continued past Kings Youth Hostel and through the attractive valley of the Gwynant up to Cader Road, where unfortunately the heavens opened. Luckily the heavy rain did not persist too long, and the walk through Nant y Gwyrddail and across the fields back to Cregennan was not as boggy as on previous occasions. A quick visit to the boat house on the second lake was followed by a stroll back to the car park. Nick White.
Wednesday August 8th 2018. Snowdon Summit. In what is becoming something of an annual Club tradition 18 members and friends met at the Ranger car park to accompany Dafydd Williams on an impromptu ascent of Snowdon, on the occasion of his 82nd birthday. Most of the party successfully completed the climb with Dafydd, covering the net 3000 ft of ascent over 4 miles in 3-4 hours. While the first mile or so of the Ranger Path (the zigzags) have been improved with gravel, the route remains a steady long slog up the mountain on the predominantly rocky path. After queuing with the crowds for a photo at the summit, the party pushed into the ever busy café for lunch. The weather proved substantially better than forecast, remaining dry, if cloudy on the way up with mist from about 2750ft; but at lunchtime the cloud began to lift, soon providing stupendous views across the landscape of north-west Gwynedd and Ynys Môn which could be savoured at leisure during the afternoon’s descent in the sunshine. Catherine and Dafydd offered most welcome celebratory refreshments to follow. Congratulations, Dafydd, on another successful ascent of Snowdon! Noel Davey.
Thursday August 2nd 2018. Ardudwy Rivers. Today’s walk of some 6 miles explored the delightful wooded river valleys of Artro and Nantcol in Ardudwy. 14 walkers met near the station at Llanbedr and took a route starting by the village bridge and circling north past the War Memorial and the substantial house of Penrallt; this led down to the road at Pentre Gwynfryn which was followed for a few hundred yards as far as Salem Chapel, its interior immortalised as the subject of S.C.Vosper’s much-reproduced painting of ladies in Welsh dress used by Lord Lever to sell soap throughout Britain. An upland route was then taken across finely walled fields down to the busy campsite at Nantcol. From here an interesting circular path was followed through Coed Cefn Cymerau up onto the open moorland plateau, reaching the spectacular rocky tiers of the Nantcol falls, a good spot for lunch. Then a river path took the party back down, passing a further impressive waterfall. The return route wound along delightful mossy woodland paths and tracks through Coed Cadw’s Coed Aberartro with recurrent views down to the rushing waters of the river below. The Victoria Inn in Llanbedr provided welcome tea and coffee to finish off a relaxing and enjoyable ramble in fine, warm and lightly clouded conditions. Noel Davey