Aug 18 - Jul 19
Thursday March 14th 2019. Trawsfynydd -Tomen y Mur. Nick White led 27 ramblers on a walk of just under 3 miles from Trawsfynydd to Tomen y Mur and back. The good turnout attested to the popularity of a short easy walk like this, crowned by coffee and cake at the Lakeside café, the starting point for the walk. The route led directly across the A470 up a muddy path and under a bridge of the former Traws-Blaenau railway which was now a streambed in full flood. The party then entered a magical area of ‘Celtic Rainforest’, a remarkable survival of ancient wizened oaks and dramatic boulders, all dressed in a vivid green carpet of thick moss. Further on, a spot for lunch was found under more trees which gave some protection from the cold winds. A couple of precarious stiles led on to a lane and access to the historic site of Tomen y Mur. Here there are many interesting remains of a Roman Fort which once housed some 400-500 legionaries and formed part of a network of forts and roads controlling movement through Snowdonia in the second century AD. In the Mabinogion this is Mur Castell, the court of Llew Llaw Gyffes. The Normans were also here, building a still prominent motte which provided a good windy viewpoint over Traws lake and the surrounding countryside for half the group who puffed up the steep 50 feet to the windswept top of this manmade hillock. The path back via Utica crossed fields and followed streams, partly along the route of a Roman Road. This proved a very pleasant ramble on a bright and dry, though windy day. Noel Davey
Sunday March 10th. 2019. Llwyngwril. There were two walks today, both starting from the village of Llwyngwril, on the coast south of Fairbourne. This filled a gap in the Club’s recent walking experience, exploring the hills forming the westerly end of the long Cadair ridge. Hugh Evans led 11 members on the programmed ‘A’ walk of 10.5 miles; the Chairman elected to do the full ‘A’ walk but started ahead of the rest and was soon joined by 9 others led by Dafydd Williams for a slightly shorter ‘B’ walk on much the same route, but avoiding the first mile out of the village; this involved a steep ascent of some 500ft, something of a ‘kick in the teeth’ rather than the proverbial ‘sting in the tail’. The route passed a small iron age hill fort at Castell y Gaer, opening up splendid views of the coast, and then turned east, inland onto a series of well-marked tracks crossing an open area of remote and rolling grassy hills with gentle gradients. The trail led through a narrow valley alongside the Afon Dyffryn, crossed a forested area and eventually near Braich Ddu joined the Ffordd Ddu. This ancient trackway running below the Cadair ridge west from Dolgellau via the Llynnau Cregennan down to the coast is peppered with intriguing prehistoric remains of standing stones, cairns and hut circles. A more recent artefact is a new plaque in memory of 20 American airman killed in a Flying Fortress crash in June 1945. Part of the route is now a section of the Wales Coast Path. The bright sunny weather provided magnificent coastal views across the Mawddach to Barmouth and across the sea to the distant outline of Penllyn right down to Ynys Enlli. This section also fully exposed the walkers to the day’s buffeting westerlies, gusting to 50mph, and one brutally violent, but thankfully brief squall of stinging hail and sleet. The party was thankful to get back to the shelter of Llwyngwril after about five hours of cracking walking through some fine landscape. Noel Davey
This was an alternative B walk to the A of 10.5 miles and 1669 feet of ascent which was on the programme and led by Hugh Evans. Strong winds reaching 57 m.p.h. were forecast which did not augur well as the walk of 8.5 miles was parallel to the nearby coast with the approximate first four miles heading north east before turning south west for the second half.
Hugh had cleverly suggested that the first 1.2 miles of the B route be accomplished by car. This saved the B’s 600 feet of steep climbing, albeit on tarmac, and in addition, a short 1.5 mile triangle at the northernmost end was omitted.
At the start of the walk at the Llwyngwril car park there were 12 A walkers and 9 B’s who were duly transported to the top of the hill in 2 cars driven by two kindly A’s! The Chairman had purposefully arrived some 30 minutes before the main party as he was determined to walk up the steep tarmacked 600foot hill and he joined us B’s soon after we set off in a southerly direction. Initially we were on tarmac but we soon climbed over a stile and crossed reed strewn fields before reaching an old walled and well used track going east but gradually turning towards the north east as we passed sheepfolds and disused tips as the route slowly gained height over some 4 miles, before eventually reaching a forest on our left , where lunch was taken in the shelter of the trees. All morning the sun shone brightly but the wind speed had been increasing from the south west and to our backs.
Following lunch two walkers decided to go on a further mile or so to the site of a plaque commemorating the crash of an American Flying Fortress in 1945 when 20 American airmen tragically lost their lives. The remainder dropped down westwards on wet and muddy rutted forest tracks for a good half mile and reached a tarmacked open road, part of the Wales Coastal Path heading south and into the teeth of the near gale force wind. The direction was now downhill and the two “deserters” rejoined us and a good speed was maintained despite the wind but in a short period of time the sun disappeared and was replaced by a dark threatening sky and hail began to descend. Fortunately by this time we were approaching Llwyngwril and managed to reach our cars without getting too wet.
It had been anticipated that the A walkers would have caught us but we never saw a sign of them and later learnt they were some distance behind us. The B walkers quickly dispersed in various directions but four of us enjoyed tea/coffee and cake at the welcoming Trawsfynydd Lake café on our way home. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday February 28th 2019. AGM & Criccieth circular. The Rhodwyr Llyn Ramblers 40th AGM was held in Capel y Traeth in Criccieth. There was a good attendance of 37 members. The Chairman’s efficient handling of the agenda led to a successful and admirably short meeting, leaving 23 members ready for a short walk of about 4 miles led by Dafydd Williams. The day was damp and misty, but still mild, and threatened rain mostly held off. The route crossed north of the High Street, turned west through fields and then ascended the charming narrow walled Lôn Fêl. At Pen y Bryn the party followed a long straight section of country lane past Bron Eifion, pausing for an early lunch on the way. The walk then circled back to towards the coast on sometimes muddy field paths and tracks past the Girlguiding Cymru Residential Centre at Ynysgain and along a pleasant path known locally as ‘Lovers’ Lane’ which a group of Club members had cleared just last month as part of a footpath volunteer effort. This brought the walkers to the coast at Cefn Castell, the controversial ‘grand design’ house which divides local opinion. From here it was a short step along Y Dryll on the Coast Path back to town and a final stop at Cadwalladers for refreshments. Noel Davey
Sunday February 24th 2019. Llanddona to Beaumaris. On a day of record February temperatures for Wales, Gwynfor Jones led 16 members on a glorious walk along a 12 mile section of the Anglesey Coastal Path from Llanddona to Beaumaris. The party assembled at Beaumaris and eventually navigated road diversions to reach the start point. The route from Llanddona led down steeply to the coast, offering fine views across the broad expanse of Red Wharf Bay, commanded in the distance by the giant limestone rock of Castell Mawr and the town of Benllech. There was then an ascent to a lovely section of clifftop path, reaching Fedw Fawr, a peaty area managed by the National Trust and part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest extending right along the coast on account of its unique geological, botanical and wildlife features. Here the route turned inland, past the Mariandyrys Nature Reserve, through a rich area of countryside, boasting fine houses and one of the island’s characteristic white windmills. Further on, the path crossed Parc Pentir, a distinctive area of walled grassland, passing the Dinmor Park limestone quarries from which ‘Penmon marble’ was hewn to construct many famous structures, including the two Menai bridges and Birmingham Town Hall. The party then descended to the lighthouse at Trwyn Du , a popular viewpoint at the eastern tip of the island. A late lunch was enjoyed on the pebble beach with a backdrop of Puffin Island (Ynys Seiriol) and the Great Orme in the distance and to the evocative sound of the lighthouse bell tolling twice a minute on this unusually calm day. Next came the interesting collection of historic buildings on the promontory at Penmon, comprising the remains of an Augustinian Priory, an abbey church, an ancient well and a large stone dovecote which the Bulkeley Family built after they took over the site following the dissolution of the monasteries. The last leg was mainly along the road, sections of the coastal path being inaccessible close to high tide. Wispy mist hung low over the waters of the Menai Strait, creating a dramatic foil for the lofty Carneddau soaring above on the other side. On reaching Beaumaris, some of the party enjoyed some leisurely refreshments at the Bulkeley Hotel, while the drivers again braved the local road diversions to retrieve the cars from Llanddona. This was a great day out on the Anglesey coast, made especially memorable by the exceptionally warm and sunny weather for the time of year. Noel Davey
Thursday February 14th 2019. Coed Hafod y Llyn.
On what seemed like the first day of spring – on Valentine’s Day? – Nick White led 21 members on a lovely amble amidst the woods and waters of Coed Hafod y Llyn. The walk started from Tan y Bwlch Station, descending to Llyn Mair where a path was taken round the western half of this enchanting lake. The route then turned up, crossing the Ffestiniog Railway and circling round to Llyn Hafod y Llyn, a smaller lake nestling in the trees which was one of several developed as a reservoir to serve the Oakley Family’s Tan y Bwlch estate in the heyday of the slate quarries. The picnic tables here provided a pleasant spot for a leisurely picnic lunch. It was then a relatively short step back across the road to the start point. Throughout this easy walk the bright sunshine and mild temperatures showed off the dappled mossy woods at their best with tantalising glimpses of the Moelwyns rising steeply beyond. After the walk most of the party repaired for refreshments at the hospitable Oakley Arms nearby. Noel Davey
Sunday February 10th 2019.
There were two walks today, both starting from the Joe Brown car park at Capel Curig. Hugh Evans led a party of 6 on a good long walk around the lakes and woodlands of the Gwydir Forest, while Dafydd Williams led 9 on an easier walk through the Llugwy Valley. Hail and sleet at the hour of departure did not augur well, but it soon turned into a very pleasant day with long sunny periods and little sign of the forecast strong wind gusts.
'A' Walk: Llyn Crafnant & Llyn Greirionydd
The A walk headed east across the A5 climbing past the Clogwyn Mawr, then north under the crags of Crimpiau along the Nant y Geuallt into the Cwm Glas Crafnant National Nature Reserve. After a pause for a morning panad, the route entered the expanse of the Gwydir Forest, with far-reaching views down the length of the enchanting Llyn Crafnant towards the Conwy Valley from where a road connection makes this a popular recreational area. The path followed the northern shore of the lake, reaching an obelisk at the eastern end recording its gift in 1896 to the town of Llanrwst as a source of water supply. The party then climbed past old lead mines, skirting around Mynydd Deulyn with a stop for lunch by a sheltered stream, before descending to Llyn’s Geirionydd, another attractive lake set in a deep, narrow valley. The Taliesin Monument here commemorates the belief that this was the home of the 6th century poet; later, the 19th century bard Gwilym Cowlyd founded an ‘arwest’ here, a sort of rival to the National Eisteddfod. The walkers continued gingerly along the western shore, navigating a network of slippery surface tree roots, climbing again past Llyn Bychan and then following broad forest tracks back down to Capel Curig with splendid views opening up of the snow-covered peaks of the Carneddau, Moel Siabod and Lliwedd. This was a great day out in delightful countryside, involving about 10 miles over 5 hours and a moderate ascent of some 1700ft. Noel Davey.
'B' Walk: Capel Curig -Ty Hyll Circular.
This was an alternative to Hugh’s more adventurous 9.5 mile “A” walk starting from the same place being the free car park at the rear of Joe Brown’s outdoor equipment shop at the junction of the A4086 and the A5 at Capel Curig. On reaching our destination we were subjected to a heavy shower of hail which fortunately only lasted for some 10 minutes and the remainder of the day was virtually dry but chilly. 15 walkers turned up, 6 of whom went on the “A” and 9 on the “B”. The latter initially went north on the old A5 coach road and after some 200 yards sharply left and west on a rough footpath/farm road facing Moel Siabod, which after ½ mile emerged on the A 4086 which we crossed and went down past the gable end of the outdoor pursuits centre Plas y Brenin. We ambled over the wooden footbridge spanning the southern end of Llynnau Mymbyr onto a forestry track going south alongside the river for a mile or so before reaching the handsome Pont Cyfyng with the tumultuous waters of the River Llugwy cascading below. The present A5 was to our left over the bridge but we went right on the old road passing the site of the Roman Fort, Caer Llugwy, until we reached the Ugly House,( a one night house), where lunch was taken, again close to the adjoining A5. Passing to the right of this cottage we went steeply uphill on the tarmacked road for some 800 yards before turning left and northwards along a forest road which we soon left to follow a footpath with a wall on our left. The route for the next 1.5/2 miles was up and down through the forest, on rough, wet and slippery tracks, until eventually a late lunch was taken after we emerged from the forest. This spot afforded unhindered views of the panorama surrounding us with the picturesque snowcapped mountains of Moel Siabod in close proximity on our left, and Snowdon and its numerous satellites to the north. From here it was a mere mile to the end of the walk on a recently much improved gravel and stone laid path. We adjourned to the nearby extremely busy and welcoming Siabod Café for tea/coffee and cake. An exhilarating walk which seemed to be enjoyed by all the walkers. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday January 31st 2019. Llyn Llywelyn, Beddgelert Forest. Today’s walk was a circuit of some 4.5 miles through the Beddgelert Forest, a 700 hectare area of woodland managed by Natural Resources Wales. Mary Evans led 25 members on a relaxed ramble along a network of easy snow-covered tracks. The weather conditions were close to freezing, but dry with pale sunshine occasionally breaking through the light cloud cover. The walk started at Pont Cae Gors on the road between Beddgelert and Rhyd Ddu, heading through Moelfryn. Initial conditions on slippery ice were hazardous, but this soon gave way to crisp shallow snow which was much easier to walk on. The route turned south at Parc Cae Cra (where a path leads off up to Bwlch y Ddwy Elor), soon reaching Llyn Llywelyn. This pleasant little lake provided a delightful site for lunch, its calm icy waters contrasting magically with the dark green pines around the shore and the backdrop of snow covered peaks of Y Gyrn, Castell and Moel Lefn. The final leg of the walk led eastwards along the Afon Hafod Ruffydd Isaf, crossing the Welsh Highland Railway and then turning northwards over the old coach road bridge. This was an enjoyably social walk of about three hours duration, but the party were relieved to get back to the cars before more promised snowfall swept in. Noel Davey
Sunday January 27th 2019. Llanystumdwy. Kath Spencer led a dozen members on an invigorating 12 mile circular walk on the pleasant paths and byways of Eifionydd, starting from Llanystumdwy. It was a bright dry day with sunny periods, but also gusts of wind to 50mph which at times brought the feel of the temperature down below freezing. The walk started westwards through the village, turning north at Bont Fechan on tracks, through fields sporting early lambs, across the Afon Dwyfach and past the fine little country house of Ysgubor Hen, built about 1700. Thankfully, the perennial mud on this section had dried up somewhat since the club last did this walk. The route then turned south-west following a section of the grand 6 mile long tree-lined avenue of the Lôn Goed down to Afon Wen. This still little known local gem is a remarkable asset for walkers, built to link inland farms to the coast by John Maugham who was agent to the Talhenbont Estate in the early 19C. The walked continued down to the coast, following the Coast Path around the former wartime naval camp, later a Butlins, and now the Hafan Holiday Park, one of the largest caravan sites, employers and tourism investors in North Wales. There was a brief stop for coffee in a sheltered spot near Porth Fechan and then a hasty dash around the exposed headland, offering fine views of the sea and coast, back inland across the new golf course. A path was taken through Bryn Bachau, the site of one of Dwyfor’s large new solar farms which, when the sun is shining, churn out renewable energy, almost sight unseen. At Chwilog the shelter of the school playground catered for lunch. A pleasant road section and a field path past the fishing lake at Chwilog Fawr soon brought the walk back to the Lôn Goed for half a mile northwards before rejoining the outward route back to Llanystumdwy. Easy terrain and fine if chilly conditions allowed a good pace to be maintained on this excellent January walk. Noel Davey.
Thursday January 17th 2019. Ynys Talsarnau. A crisp, bright sunny day brought out 23 ramblers for a lovely walk led by Tecwyn Williams around Ynys near Harlech. The walk started at Ty Gwyn Mawr, also known as ‘Y Warws’, a large mid-19C warehouse used to store corn for ferrying across the Traeth Mawr. The route headed west towards the shore, offering a spectacular panorama across the Traeth to the colourful jumble of the village of Portmeirion opposite and the whole coastline of Penllyn stretching in the distance; behind, the arc of snow-capped peaks of Snowdonia, centred on Yr Wyddfa, looked magnificent in the bright sunlight. After passing a large house at Clogwyn Melyn, the walk joined a section of the Wales Coastal Path, skirting a wide open expanse of drained land and tidal flats. Lunch was taken below the small hill of Ogof Foel. After passing the Council’s former landfill site at Fridd Rasus, now a recycling, composting and residual waste disposal centre, the route turned north through fields with further fine views towards the hills of Ardudwy. Close to the end of the walk the party lingered at the interesting church of Llanfihangel-y-Traethau. Rebuilt in 1873, the original church was built on a rocky tidal island in the 12C and linked to the mainland only after the sea retreated in the Middle Ages; a standing stone in the graveyard has a Latin inscription stating it is the tomb of Wleder who founded the church in the time of Owain Gwynedd. More recent graves include those of the diplomat Lord Harlech and the author Richard Hughes. This enjoyable leisurely ramble of some 4.5miles was rounded off with tea at CADW’s splendid new Harlech Castle visitor centre. Noel Davey.
Sunday January 13th 2019. Cwm Bowydd/Cwm Cynfal Slate Trail. The walk today explored the delightful area of deep river valleys and waterfalls in the Vale of Ffestiniog. The weather was overcast, but mild, with just a few spells of light drizzle and gusty wind, much better than the Club’s last visit here when it rained incessantly. Noel Davey led 19 members on a ramble of just under 10 miles. The route initially ventured south from Llan Ffestiniog in a loop down to the deep gorge of Ceunant Cynfal, taking in the impressive waterfall. It then headed north-west down to Rhyd y Sarn and across the A496 in time for coffee in a magical grove close to the confluence of the Afon Goedol and Afon Teigl. From here there was a steady ascent through the woods of Clogwyn y Geifr onto more exposed moorland alongside a section of the Ffestiniog Railway. This was rerouted and rebuilt over 50 years ago when the Tanygrisiau pumped storage scheme was constructed. Further on the walk skirted the reservoir developed as part of this project, stopping for lunch on the lake shore. The afternoon segment took the ramble east down to Cwm Bowydd, passing Llys Derfel, thought to be the site of a 6th century court and the subject of a current archaeological dig. The route continued southwards along Cwm Goedol through Coed Cymerau, comprising areas managed by the Woodland Trust and a National Nature Reserve managed by NRW, a wonderful landscape of woodland paths, spectacular rapids and waterfalls, and a haven for ‘Celtic rainforest’ flora and varied wildlife including otters. Regaining Rhyd y Sarn, the last leg followed a stretch of the Teigl and a classic ‘sting in the tail’ pull to get back up to Llan Ffestiniog with half an hour left before sunset. This was a rewarding though deceptively strenuous outing, involving a cumulative ascent of some 2350ft within a modest elevation range of 100-700ft. Noel Davey.
Thursday January 3rd 2019. Penygroes Circular. Kath Spencer led 24 walkers on an interesting circuit starting at the Inigo Jones Slateworks near Groeslon. It was a dry, calm day, somewhat colder than recent weather as the promised sunshine failed to break through the light cloud. The party first headed north along Lôn Eifion, the national cycle track following the old railway line from Afon Wen to Caernarfon, which closed in 1964. After crossing the A487 and skirting to the south of Groeslon village, the walk led through the unique landscape of upland Arfon, brought into being in the late 18th and 19th centuries by the workers of the great slate quarries. This is characterised by a dense patchwork of small walled fields and cottages, served by a maze of footpaths which once linked workers’ homes and the quarry sites and are still typically accessed by carefully preserved narrow iron gates. Some of the fields and paths are now abandoned and overgrown, requiring quite a feat of navigation and some hard work before the walk to cut back vegetation and sheathe obstructing barbed wire. The route wended south via the damp and mossy woodland of Gwinllan Tyddyn, now owned by Coed Cadw/The Woodland Trust. There were some good views down to the Menai and across to Ynys Môn. After lunch near Llwyndy Bach and the cemetery, the walk skirted east and south of Penygroes, passing through the Pant Du vineyard, eventually regaining Lon Eifion to get back to Inigo Jones at a smart pace for refreshments at the café. This was a pleasant outing of almost 7 miles length on predominantly flat terrain. Noel Davey
Sunday December 30th 2018. Llwybr Morwyr / Sailors’ Path. There was a good turn out of 21 ramblers, perhaps eager to walk off some of the indulgences of the Christmas holiday. Judith led a linear route from Llanbedrog to Nefyn, christening for the Club the excellent Llwybr Morwyr, or Sailors’ Path, which provides a newly completed 10 mile cross-Llyn route linking the two coasts, with a branch to Abersoch. The waymarked route mostly follows existing rights of way, but has replaced most of the old stiles with new kissing gates and added some courtesy paths and boardwalks in the boggy sections near Cors Geirch. The day was mostly overcast with some initial damp mist, but conditions otherwise were mild, calm and mostly dry, with good if murky views across the peninsula. The route started off westwards, crossing the A499 in the ravine between the two iron age forts near Llanbedrog and then climbing past Bodwrog and Henllys to Foel Fawr and onto Mynytho Common. A new path section at Pandy brought the party back down to Inkerman Bridge (Pont Llidiard-y-Dwr) over the Afon Horon, where there was a stop for coffee. Then an ascent through fields, replacing the old right of way lost to Nanhoron Quarry, reached a cross-roads at Penbodlas and continued onto the exposed upland col at about 750ft elevation between the peaks of Garn Fadryn and Garn Bach, a fine picnic site. From here the way was mostly downhill or on flat terrain in a north-easterly direction. Just beyond the former Madryn Castle, the route followed Nant y Gledrydd, past a standing stone, and courtesy paths through pleasant woodland. The last sections crossed through grounds of the interesting 16th century house of Penhyddgan and along a shallow valley west of Garn Boduan, passing the jousting ground where Edward I held a tournament in 1284, and eventually reaching Stryd y Plas in Nefyn. This was a great walk on a new trail which is likely to become a very popular asset of the peninsula’s path network. Noel Davey.
Thursday December 20th. Cwm Prysor Viaduct. Today’s excursion, led by Tecwyn Williams, was to Cwm Prysor to follow a section of the former railway between Bala and Ffestiniog. A party of 17 assembled at the head of the valley near Blaen y Cwm and, after some delay due to a road accident in Llyn and time to organise cars either end, set out westwards on a linear walk of 6 miles to Trawsfynydd. The day was overcast, but mild and dry. The railway was built in 1882 and closed about 1960 when construction of the Llyn Celyn reservoir flooded the line. It is a remarkable engineering structure, running along a manmade ledge formed by cuttings, embankments and bridges, reaching almost 1300 ft above sea level on this section. This is now a permissive path which offers fine views of the valley and surrounding hills and comprises almost level terrain, varying from grass to gravel on the ‘fills’ to ankle deep water and mud in the ‘cuts’ where streams cascade from the crags above. The walkers soon crossed the superb 500ft long viaduct which curves and arches gracefully over the Afon Prysor, high above the valley. Next came a conspicuous natural hillock of rock topped by a stony mound which is all that now remains of Castell Prysor, an early Welsh castle from where Edward 1st wrote a surviving letter in 1284. About halfway there was a stop for lunch in a mossy grove of trees. After crossing the Afon Llafar the path diverted north away from the former railtrack following a lane and fields to the hamlet next to Traws cemetery, the terminus of the walk. This was a pleasant and easy walk in a remote and interesting area, ideal for one of the shortest days of the year. The lakeside community café provided a reliably good panad after. Noel Davey.
Sunday December 16th 2018. Ledr Valley. Today’s walk was in the delightful Lledr Valley a few miles to the west of Betws y Coed and east of Dolwyddelan. The previous night’s Storm Deirdre had given way to a brighter, calmer and drier day. Tecwyn Williams led 11 ramblers, starting at the quirkily towered and aptly named Plas Penaeldroch (at the head of the rapids), perched above the south bank of the river at Pont y Pant. The route headed north then east, climbing steadily past Rhiw Goch, crossing narrow stream valleys at Cwm Celyn and Cwm Dreiniog and penetrating into the extensive Gwydir Forest. The party eventually reached the southern end of Llyn Elsi (visited on an earlier walk this season from the Betws side) and circumnavigated this scenic lake by a good path. There was a stop for lunch at the monument commemorating establishment of the reservoir courtesy of a Lord Ancaster about a century ago. This prominent site at 850ft elevation provided fine views towards Moel Siabod and northern Snowdonia and across the waters of the lake towards the Penamnen ridge. The path then headed down again to Craig Lledr through dense and dark mossy forest, reaching the Pont Gethin Viaduct, a magnificent piece of Victorian masonry built in the ‘Scots baronial’ style bearing the Conwy valley railway from Llandudno to Blaenau across the Afon Lledr. The final leg of the walk followed the south bank of this spectacular section of the river, carved by a series of rocky rapids, a spectacular sight after recent rains. At last, after passing Lledr Hall, now an outdoor pursuits centre owned by Salford Council, the party regained Plas Penaeldroch, just before rain set in for the rest of the day. The café at the Plas provided most welcome hospitality after an excellent 7 mile walk. Noel Davey.
Thursday December 6th 2018. Lon Gwyrfai. Gwynfor Jones stepped in to lead a walk on the Lôn Gwyrfai from Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert on a day of persistent light rain and murky but mild conditions. A party of 9 ramblers met at Beddgelert and used their bus passes to reach the start point of this popular, well constructed and well marked trail built with European funding. The first leg skirting Llyn y Gader was exposed to blowy conditions, but the greater part of the walk led through the more sheltered Beddgelert Forest. The old 18th century coach road bridge near Hafod Ruffydd Isaf provided a good mossy spot for lunch beside the raging torrent of the Afon Cwm Ddu. The damp and misty conditions meant this was not a day for dawdling, preventing even a glimpse of the surrounding mountain scenery from the various viewpoints. The route continued through the Bedggelert Forest campsite where smart wooden lodges have supplanted some of the former tent and tourer pitches. The final approach to Beddgelert passed Cwm Cloch, a farmhouse of 17th-18th century origin, once part of the landholdings of the local Augustinian priory. The Hebog Café provided welcome sustenance for some of the party before the journey home. In spite of the weather this was a worthwhile tramp of 5 miles, allowing a moderately fast pace on the easy and gently descending paths. Noel Davey.
Sunday December 2nd 2018. Criccieth Circular. Gwynfor Jones led a group of 13 walkers on an excellent circuit through the delightful countryside in the hinterland of Criccieth. It was a mild, mostly cloudy day, but threatened rain held off throughout. The route started from the West End car park following the Coast Path eastwards along the front at Criccieth and alongside the railway. At Rhiwfor Fawr the party turned north onto an inland path passing the impressive house of Ystumllyn with 16th century origins, climbing north past the campsite and fishing lakes of Eisteddfa, and eventually reaching Braich y Saint, another 16th century house. This viewpoint almost 500ft above the coast provided good views of Criccieth town and castle below and a fine spot for a morning panad. A fast pace along a section of upland road soon brought the party to the notable megalithic burial chamber of Ystumcegid Isaf with its fine capstone. After lunch amongst the surrounding stones the route descended to the Afon Dwyfor, in full spate today, and followed the pleasant riverside path to Pont Rhyd y Benllig, then down the long drive past Tremfan Hall. A turnoff led through the grounds of Ty Newydd, another beautiful old house, once the home of David Lloyd George and now the National Writing Centre. The final leg rejoined the Coast Path, passing the rather controversial ‘grand design’ house of Cefn Castell perched on the eroding cliffs, and leading back along Y Dryll to the start point. This was a most enjoyable walk of almost 10 miles, providing great variety and easy walking conditions, ideal for a dry December day. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 22nd 2018. Parc Glynllifon. There was an impressive turnout of 36 walkers and 5 dogs for a relaxed ramble led by Miriam Heald in Parc Glynllifon. While the Plas itself, the ancestral home of Lord Newborough, was closed for redevelopment as a hotel by its new owners, the extensive grounds of the Park are still maintained by Gwynedd Council, providing a network of undulating paths with a wealth of interest for a good walk, belying its short length of 2 miles. Another day of crisp bright sunshine added to the enjoyment. The route wended through park woodland, boasting a wide range of fine trees, past fountains, grottoes, follies, sculptures and a pet cemetery with a hermitage (Capel y Cwn). Features of particular note included art installations of Gwerin y Graith, commemorating the Penrhyn Lockout of 1900-1903, and Cilmyn Droed Ddu, a wooden carving on a totem pole celebrating the estate family’s legendary origins in a semi-mythological figure of the ninth century. A modern slate-built amphitheatre provided a venue for lunch preceded by an impromptu entertainment of a sea shanty and poem recital, reminding walkers (after WH Davies) that this was a good time and place ‘to stop and stare’. This pleasant social event was rounded off by a very leisurely tea in the Black Cat café, providing a good chance to catch up with club members whose preference now is for only the shorter walks. Noel Davey.
Sunday November 18th 2018. Foothills of Cadair Idris. Nick White led a party of 15 on a lovely walk in the foothills of Cadair Idris. It was a glorious sunny day, but there was a cold easterly wind. The walk started at the Ty Nant car park south-west of Dolgellau, ascending the first part of the Pony Path, one of the main routes up Cadair Idris. At about 1000ft the walk turned off eastwards, but continued to climb steadily over fairly rough terrain, eventually reaching Llyn y Gadair, its cold waters nestling beneath the sheer grey ramparts of Cyfrwy and Penygadair. At 1850ft this was the highest point of the day, providing spectacular views across the valley below enhanced by the wonderful autumn light. By this time the wind was gusting to 50mph, enough to lift a few off their feet. A relatively sheltered but still quite chilly spot in the shadow of the mountain ridge was found for lunch. After skirting the lake, the route joined the lower part of the Fox’s Path, a precipitous route up to Cadair Idris. The rough rocky path, strong winds and a couple of stream crossings made the descent past Llyn Gafr quite challenging. However, the party were soon in gentler terrain, reaching the Gwernan Lake where the hotel/pub was open for some relaxed refreshments. A pleasant footpath along the lake, through woods and across fields soon brought the walkers back to Ty Nant. Though quite a short walk of about 5 miles, the cumulative ascent of 2100ft and cold gusty winds made it quite a strenuous and rewarding outing. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 8th 2018. Garreg - Mynydd Anelog. On a cloudy and increasingly wet day 18 walkers met at Carreg Plas in western Llyn for a brisk 4 mile circuit led by Anne Jones. The party walked down to the nearby coast past the remnants of old workings for the distinctive red rock known as jasper. The route then followed a section of the Wales Coast Path, deserted today except for grazing sheep, south for a couple of miles past the twin islands of Dinas Fawr and Dinas Bach and the cove of Porth Orion, eventually climbing gently past Mount Pleasant to the top of Mynydd Anelog at about 600ft. In spite of the weather, there were good views of the rocky coastline and crashing waves, while from Anelog a fine panorama opened up towards Ynys Enlli, Aberdaron and across lowland fields to Mynydd Rhiw. There was a lunch stop in a sheltered spot below the hill beside the workshop of an ingenious local blacksmith featuring an array of quirky ironwork. The route then turned back northwards following field paths. This was a welcome breath of fresh air in this lovely area of the peninsula, but the party, by now quite soaked, were relieved to get back to Carreg. Noel Davey
Sunday November 4th 2018. Northern Rhinogydd. A good turnout of 14 ramblers met at the remote disused quarries near Cefn Clawdd at the end of the narrow road running west of Trawsfynydd for an excellent hike into the Northern Rhinogydd, led by Roy Milnes. The weather was better than forecast, mild and calm, the lowering grey skies remaining dry most of the day and affording at least limited views over the nearby countryside. This area is remarkable for its fantastic maze of rocky architecture, jumbled slabs and blocks interspersed with huge characteristic outcrops described on the map as ‘piles of stones’. The route climbed steadily north-west to the highest points of Moel Penolau and Moel Ysgyfarnogod at about 2000ft, then turning south past Llyn Du, a good stop for lunch. Although technically a ridge, there was a series of short but tricky ascents and descents and the going was often tough on the slippery rocks. After skirting the ominously named Craig Ddrwg, the party reached Bwlch Gwilym and, in view of relatively slow progress, opted to give the final detour up Clip at the end of the ridge a miss, instead descending steeply to cross the wide expanse of boggy ground around Afon Crawcwellt back to the waiting cars. This was a deceptively strenuous and enjoyable outing of just over 6 miles with a cumulative ascent of about 1800ft. Noel Davey
Thursday 25th October 2018. Betws y Coed - Llyn Elsi. Maureen Evans led a party of 22 on a pleasant walk in the lovely wooded hills to the south of Betws y Coed. It was a calm, dry autumn day with light cloud. The walk started from the ancient Pont y Pair in the centre of this bustling holiday village, taking the popular scenic path along the north bank of the Afon Llugwy as far as the Miners’ Bridge, once used by workers in the quarries and lead mines in the Gwydir Forest. After crossing the bridge and the A5 the route followed paths and tracks through mossy woodland, climbing gently past abandoned mine and quarry workings to around 800ft, eventually reaching the monument on the shores of Llyn Reservoir commemorating its opening as a town reservoir in 1914. This was a good spot for lunch, offering extensive views of the lake and the fine autumn colours. There was then a circumnavigation of the lake before the return via the Jubilee Path; this was steep in places and led through areas of recently cleared forest. This was an enjoyable excursion of about 5.5 miles length in a most attractive patch of countryside. Noel Davey
Sunday 21st October 2018. Rhyd Ddu to Beddgelert. 16 club members met at Rhyd Ddu for an 8-10 mile linear walk to Beddgelert led by Dafydd Williams. The weather was mild but damp with low cloud and mist which restricted views for much of the day. The party headed east up the route of the Snowdon Rhyd Ddu Path, soon branching off on a track climbing steadily to Bwlch Cwm Llan at about 1650ft. There was a break for coffee amidst the surviving ponds, pits and tips of the Hafod y Llan slate quarry dating from the mid-19th century. Four walkers of questionable sense opted to make a detour from the Bwlch to the top of Yr Aran (2450ft) immediately to the south, returning by the same route; they saw little beyond the challenges of the steep and slippery path underfoot. The main party took the recently improved path down to the Afon Cwm Llan, eventually joining the Snowdon Watkin Path and stopping for lunch at the Gladstone Rock. The lunchless mountaineers took a similar route, joining the level section of the old quarry tramway and passing the magnificent Cwm Llan waterfalls. The two groups reunited at the ever reliable community café at Bethania, before a leisurely stroll back to Beddgelert along the southern shores of Llyn Dinas. Now at last the increasingly bright afternoon sunshine revealed the full glories of the surrounding mountain landscape. Noel Davey
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