Aug 17 - Jul 18
Thursday February 15th 2018. Maentwrog Circular. There was a good turnout of 24 for this interesting and varied walk of about 5 miles led by Tecwyn Williams from the Oakeley Arms at Maentwrog. It was a fine sunny day which showed off the broad Vale of Maentwrog and the wooded hills either side at their best, despite a strong cold wind. The first leg of the walk followed the drainage dykes zigzagging across the flat estuary floor alongside the broad meanders of the Afon Dwyryd; these are rarely walked and not formal rights of way, but they offer a unique view of the valley. After crossing the A487 at Bryn Mawr (home of the astrologer Russell Grant), the party climbed up through gardens to the great house of Plas Tan y Bwlch, built in the 19th century from slate wealth by the Oakeley family, but now an environmental studies centre run by the Snowdonia National Park Authority. The picnic tables on the grand terrace in front of the Plas provided a superb site for lunch with commanding views across the valley, landscaped and remodelled by the Oakleys. The route then ascended paths in the grounds behind the Plas through fine groves of Japanese Red Cedar, soon reaching and circuiting the magical setting of Llyn Mair. The last leg of the walk followed forest tracks and paths, somewhat disrupted by recent forest clearance, through Coed Ty Coch beneath Y Garnedd and the Ffestiniog Railway. A steep descent brought the party back to the Oakley Arms where coffee and cake rounded off a most enjoyable day. Noel Davey.
Sunday February 11th 2018. Llanystumdwy. Dafydd Williams and Jean Norton took over to escort 11 walkers on this lengthy but worthwhile jaunt through the pleasant countryside inland from Llanystumdwy. The route followed a 12 mile figure of eight on a network of relatively flat paths, retracing in reverse direction part of a recent Thursday walk notable for its muddy conditions. Mud was again the main theme of the day, but regular sections of road gave intermittent relief from the ankle-deep rural mudbath and fortunately the weather was dry, apart from a short sharp hail shower, with some sunny periods but a cold wind. The party first headed west from Llanystumdwy village past the cemetery, crossing the Dwyfach and joining the southern end of the Lon Goed just beyond Ysgubor Hen. After walking down to the A497 at Afon Wen and pausing for coffee, the ramblers passed through the large new well screened solar farm at Bryn Bachau to Chwilog, where the (child-free) playground provided a useful spot for lunch. From here there was an easy road section heading north-east before a plunge back into the mud past a fishing lake to rejoin the Lon Goed. The walk followed this stately tree-lined old track northwards, passing Rhosgyll Fawr and turning off along an east west path after a couple of miles near the intersection of the old track of the Bryncir-Afon Wen branch railway line. The return leg south took a road section and then a lovely woodland path skirting the east bank of the Dwyfach, eventually crossing fields through Gwynfryn and back to the village at Llanystumdwy. Conversation rarely flagged throughout the day, suggesting that few were put off by the walk’s challenges. Noel Davey.
Thursday February 1st 2018. Mynytho - Llanbedrog. Jean Norton took over at short notice to lead a group of 22 on a good walk from Mynytho to Llanbedrog. The weather stayed dry and sunny, but there was a cold northerly wind. The choice of paths was limited both by muddy conditions and overgrowth, and once again the leader spent some time cutting back brambles and ivy before the walk. Even so, there were plenty of waterlogged and muddy sections encountered on the network of paths leading east from the start point at Foel Gron. The route skirted the eastern edge of an area of boggy common land, past Gadlys and caravan sites at Ty Hir and Bodwrog, and cut through the garden at Erw. The way then led down through fields and an enchanting wooded path alongside the nant rushing steeply down to the A499 defile set between two lofty iron age forts. From here there was a steady ascent to the 400ft+ summit of Mynydd Tir-y-Cwmwd in time for lunch. Most found sheltered spots behind boulders nestling out of the wind in the heather and gorse to enjoy both the picnic and the spectacular sunlit views south across the bay to Abersoch, Cilan and the St Tudwal Islands. The toposcope here, repaired after recent vandalism, provided an interesting guide to the distant hazy peaks of Snowdonia. After lunch some of the party inadvertently took a longer route round the edge of the Headland, rather than the more direct route due east to the next fine viewpoint featuring the iconic ‘Iron Man’; this is the third statue to be erected on this site since Solomon Andrews first placed a ship’s wooden figurehead here. Eventually, the party regrouped near Plas Glyn y Weddw, having descended either to the beach by the steep steps or by the easier gradients through the wooded Winallt. The walkers then made their way back to Mynytho mainly on the same paths as the outward route. This pleasant walk of over 6 miles was taken at a relaxed pace, but was for many a strenuous outing. Noel Davey
Sunday January 28th 2018. Llanuwchllyn & Afon Dyfrdwy. This excellent walk of 10 miles from Llanuwchllyn along the Afon Dyfrdwy near Bala was last tackled by a small group on Easter Sunday 2016, but was definitely worth a revisit. This time ten walkers led by Hugh Evans set out in a south-westerly direction though pleasant countryside on the southern side of the valley, following a newly upgraded path, now part of the 28 mile Mary Jones trail, celebrating her heroic efforts as a girl to lay hands on a bible in 1800. A tree marking the site of a Roman Camp provided a good spot for a coffee stop, though not much evidence of any Roman remains. Near Pant Clyd the route crossed the busy A494 and the track of the former railway linking Dolgellau and Bala. There was then a steep 600ft ascent by a mossy forest path up Carreg y Hebog which proved the most strenuous part of the walk and all were ready for lunch in a forest clearing near the top. After that the walk continued by an easier forest track, crossing the Dyfrdwy and skirting open access land at the foot of the craggy Moel Caws. The return leg encountered some less frequented paths and plenty of mud, but fortunately the leader had carried out some vegetation clearance on the most difficult sections in advance of the walk, the third time this has been needed on programmed walks in as many months. The weather was cloudy with a blustery mild wind and increasingly damp later, which muted the views somewhat, but this was a good day of walking in this pleasant and little known corner of Gwynedd, crowned with a visit to the White Lion in Bala on the way home. Noel Davey
Thursday January 18th 2018. Around Garn Boduan. Maureen Evans stepped in at short notice to lead 26 members on an enjoyable 7 mile walk on a varied network of paths between Nefyn and Porth Dinllaen. Apart from a brief flurry of hail it was a dry day with some sunshine but a bitingly cold wind. The walk started southwards from the Stryd y Plas car park on a newly upgraded Coastal Communities Fund path across the Black Prince’s jousting ground, turning north across the B4417, past the large community duck pond to reach the coast. The route then turned west along a fine section of the Coast Path as far as Port Dinllaen, offering good views across the bay and back to Yr Eifl. The path here is at constant risk from erosion and subsidence of the underlying fragile cliffs and a section has now been lost to an inland diversion. After a spell along the beach, the outdoor picnic tables at the famous Ty Coch pub provided an excellent spot for lunch with some shelter from the wind. The return route across the exposed Golf Course to Morfa Nefin was rather colder. The walk then rejoined the Coast Path back into Nefyn, passing the excellent Amguedd Forwrol/Maritime Museum in Old St Mary’s Church. A good outing. Noel Davey
Sunday January 14th 2018. Around Llyn Trawsfynydd. A forecast of fair weather and a relatively easy route brought out 27 ramblers for an excellent 8.3 mile circuit led by Judith Thomas around Llyn Trawsfynydd. This beautiful lake is a manmade reservoir first developed in the 1920s for the still working hydro-electric station at Maentwrog; it was extended in 1965 as a source of cooling water for the Trawsfynydd nuclear power station which closed in 1991 and is likely to remain in decommissioning for a century. The local amenities have been enhanced by the recent completion of a cycle and footpath around the lake, offering a relatively flat and hard surface. The route taken went anti-clockwise, starting from the lakeside café westwards past the remaining hulk of the power station to the main dam at the north-west corner of the lake. From there the path turned south with a modest climb alongside the Coed y Rhygen Nature Reserve. Following a coffee stop on the southern dam, the party crossed the long footbridge, skirting Garreg yr Ogof, into Trawsfynydd village where the playground and seats in front of the Hedd Wyn monument and the Llys Ednowain Heritage Centre and Hostel provided good places for lunch. Since the right of way is missing on a short section of the shore north of the village, the route took a muddy footpath for a mile or to the east of the A470, regaining the lakeshore for the last leg back to the start point where the community café rounded off the day nicely. Throughout the day the chilly winter sunshine enhanced the views of the lovely setting of the lake nestling beside the Rhinogydd mountains. Noel Davey
Thursday January 4th 2018. Llanystumdwy. Kath Spencer led 19 club members on a good circular walk of 7 miles in the lovely wooded countryside inland from Llanystumdwy. The day was mostly sunny with just one period of blustery showers. The trees gave good coverage from some very strong winds, the tail end of Storm Eleanor, but many sections were notable for very muddy conditions underfoot and a number of slippery and awkward stiles. The route led through the village and up a steep lane, continuing north across muddy fields past Gwynfryn Farm and the burnt out ruins of Plas Gwynfryn, and crossing the Afon Dwyfach near Betws Fawr. A section of metalled lane gave some relief from the mud, before the route turned west along another soggy path where some shaded mossy stones provided a welcome lunch spot. On reaching the Lôn Goed, the party turned south to follow this imposing tree-lined track built in the 18th century to serve estate farms. The last leg of the walk circled past Plas Talhenbont, re-crossing the Dwyfach at Glyn Dwyfach and reaching the path alongside the main A497 near the cemetery at Bont Fechan, which soon brought the party back to Llanystumdwy. This was a very pleasant walk over about 4 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday December 31st 2017. Clynnog Hills. New Year’s Eve brought out 14 ramblers for an 8.5 mile circuit in the Clynnog Hills, led by Noel Davey. It was a day of bright sunny periods and the odd shower, but also brisk westerly winds. The party started from the former Y Beuno pub in Clynnog Fawr and headed straight uphill by a steep road and a very wet bridle way which eventually led out into open fields and open access land on the northern slopes of Bwlch Mawr. The steady ascent from here to the summit (1690ft) by sheep tracks through grass and low gorse was quite a slog, but everyone made it in time for a mid-morning panad. The party were able to make use of one of two recently installed stiles (erected at the behest of and with some volunteer assistance from members of Llŷn Ramblers) to gain access across the high walls to the summit trig point. From here there were fine misty views north towards Ynys Môn and the Menai, south across Eifionydd to Tremadog Bay and west over the chain of mystic hills down the Llŷn. The route then tracked south across a dry grassy plateau to reach the main east-west path across the Clynnog Hills, soon to be adopted as part of a Coastal Communities Path. On this westward stretch of the walk there were a number of decrepid and very slippery stiles to negotiate and some very muddy fields. Around midday there was a brief period of stinging rain and buffeting winds which mercifully soon abated with sunshine returning in time for a picnic in the shelter of a wall overlooking Cwm Coryn. The walk continued along the track through ancient walled field systems and soon descended the zig zag path down towards the coast and the A499 below. Before reaching the road near Rock Cottage, the route turned north-east, skirting the northern edge of the Clynnog Hills, following a rough but level path which once served the former Tyddyn Hywel granite quarry workings on the slopes of Gyrn Ddu. After a detour around Ystymllech farm a woodland path brought the party out onto Pont y Felin in Gyrn Goch, from where it was a short walk back to Clynnog by the cycle track alongside the main road. This was strenuous walk but a good antidote to the Christmas excesses before gearing up for the New Year festivities. Noel Davey.
Thursday December 21st 2017. Llanberis Waterfall. On the winter solstice fifteen walkers found the right car park beside Llyn Padarn in Llanberis for a most convivial ramble of just over 6 miles led by Tecwyn Williams. The route led inland through the scenic Coed Doctor community woodland and the western outskirts of the town. Then, passing under the viaduct bearing the Snowdon Railway, the party followed a slippery narrow path through a deep mossy-walled defile formed by the rushing Afon Ceunant to reach the foot of the spectacular falls tumbling down into a pool at the end, a memorable spot for a morning panad. Retracing their steps, the walkers then climbed up the hillside road for another fine view of the falls from the top. A pair of santas were encountered running aross the open fields and moorland before a lunch break in a site with good views back down to the lake and the tiers of slate on the slopes of Elidir above. After crossing the Ceunant and the railway, the way down joined the Snowdon Llanberis Path, before turning off through Coed Victoria. A detour was made to visit the distinctive round tower of Llywelyn Fawr’s Castell Dolbadarn. The Electric Mountain café provided a good tea stop before the walk back along the lake. Here the final highlight was the 20ft high sword sculpture (Llafn y Cewri - Blade of the Giants) newly erected to celebrate the area’s illustrious heritage from the time of the Welsh Princes. This was a most enjoyable and interesting walk in dry and mild, though cloudy, weather. Noel Davey
Sunday December 17th 2017. Friog Blue Lake & Arthog Waterfalls. Six slightly mad club members met at Morfa Mawddach for a very wet walk of 9.6 miles led by Nick White in the hills south of the Mawddach Estuary. A good pace was made over the first two miles in the teeth of stinging rain and buffeting wind along the straight, flat and exposed sea defence embankment running westwards towards Fairbourne. The party paused to regroup in the shelter of one of the beach chalets south of the town, before climbing 500 ft up to the former quarry of Golwern. This is the site of the magical Blue Lake, a deep pool surrounded by sheer cliffs formed by slate mining and now a magnet for abseilers and wild swimmers. Today it was deserted, but even on such a sombre damp day, the dark blue of the pool and craggy rocks gave this special place its uniquely evocative atmosphere. The cover of the low quarry entrance tunnel provided a good spot for lunch out of the rain. While the morning had been every bit as wet as forecast, conditions in the afternoon were drier. The route continued upwards to about 900 ft elevation, heading eastwards past Cyfanedd towards Cregennan. There was then a long slippery descent through magnificent beech woods alongside the tiers of impressively wild torrents comprising the Arthog Waterfalls. The final leg was an easy march along a segment of the Mawddach Trail. The weather made this walk a challenging experience and not one for views, but on the whole the party still seemed to relish the day exploring this lovely area of countryside. Noel Davey
Thursday December 7th 2017. Sarn Meyllteyrn. The walk today was a circuit from the village of Sarn Meyllteyrn through the lovely inland countryside of western Llŷn. Anne Jones led 23 ramblers on an interesting route of some 7.7 miles. The weather was sunny and dry, though increasingly windy. The party set out southwards from the village up a country road, soon turning off westwards onto a muddy footpath beside a raging stream past Ty Fair leading to Bryncroes. Here the well-kept churchyard of St Mary provided a good spot for a morning panad. The walk continued for a while on a minor road and then followed a wide hedge-lined bridleway past Pencraig Fawr, turning onto one of the many new farm tracks built to serve the modern dairy enterprise, including an outdoor milking carousel, on the Cefn Amwlch estate. A rocky outcrop on Foel Meyllteyrn provided some shelter from the increasingly chilly wind for the lunch stop. There were fine views from this vantage point across rolling expanses of rich grassland towards the sea at Port Neigwl and the distinctive line of hills from Foel Gron in Myntho Common to Garn Fadryn, with Yr Eifl in the background. Further farm tracks took the party onto some of the muddy field paths leading to Bryn Mawr which were fresh in Club members’ minds from the walk across Llŷn just a few weeks ago. The walk eventually descended the steep road back to Sarn after an invigorating four hour outing. Noel Davey
Sunday December 3rd 2017. Dolwyddelan, Ty Mawr Wybrnant. A party of 14 ramblers met at Dolwyddelan station for a good 6.8 mile walk led by Dafydd Williams. The route led north-east on woodland paths and tracks along the southern slopes of the Afon Lledr valley, pausing for a morning coffee at the old school at Cyfyng. The path then descended to the Afon Wybrnant, famed as the site of Ty Mawr Wybrnant, a 16th century farmhouse which was the birthplace of Bishop William Morgan, venerated as the first translator of the Bible into Welsh. This is now managed by the National Trust, though closed at this time of year. This idyllic spot with its elegant little arched bridge over the nant was an ideal spot for the lunch break. The main ascent of the day to about 1100ft and the worst of the many wet and muddy paths were saved till the afternoon. The route continued across an extensive area of plateau and deforested land, between Foel Felen and Drosgol, from where there were fine views of the snow streaked peaks of Moel Siabod, Lliwedd and Yr Aran. A steady descent down forest paths eventually brought the party back to Dolwyddelan where some enjoyed a well-earned tea at the nearby café at Plas Penaeldroch Manor. This was a most enjoyable late autumn day out in the pleasant upland country above the Lledr valley enhanced by mild sunny and dry weather. Noel Davey
Thursday November 24th 2017. Tomen y Mur, Trawsfynydd. Twenty club members met at the Canolfan Prysor lakeside centre just inside the Trawsfynydd power station grounds for a circuit of 4.5 miles via Tomen y Mur, led by Nick White. The day was fine and dry, providing good conditions for walking in this pleasant area of countryside. The walk first took a delightful path southwards skirting the north-east shore of the Lake, soon pausing for lunch following a scheduled midday start. After crossing the busy A470, the route climbed gently northwards by a muddy track - a familiar feature of almost every walk this autumn. The distinctive hillock of the Norman motte at Tomen y Mur soon came into view. The party, some for the first time, spent half an hour touring the important and fascinating remains of the Roman fort high on this bleak and windswept moorland area. The site is now enhanced by a number of informative interpretation panels describing the visible structures, including ramparts, an amphitheatre, bathhouse, guesthouse, parade ground and traces of the Roman Road of Sarn Helen. Everyone then climbed the ‘tomen’ for superb views down to the lake and the more distant Rhinogydd mountains before taking the return path down, across a surviving section of the Blaenau-Bala railtrack and past the roadside chapel at Utica. A very pleasant and sociable walk was rounded off with a panad and (for some) cake at the excellent, recently renovated café. Noel Davey
Sunday November 19th 2017. Across Llyn. Judith Thomas led a party of 14 on an heroic 11.2ml coast to coast expedition across the Llŷn from Tudweiliog to Abersoch. Some recalled the hallmark muddy fields and innumerable stiles from the last time the Club did this walk in 2004, but 13 years later the route had noticeably deteriorated, being obstructed with many stiles in a dilapidated state, wire fence barriers, almost no signage, ankle deep mud and overgrown paths – many thanks to Jean and Miriam for their efforts with loppers in clearing an impenetrable section as part of the essential extensive prior reconnaissance. The route headed out from the Lion in Tudweiliog, taking a country lane south-eastwards skirting Cefnamwlch, soon turning off into the mire across fields to Bryn Mawr and Trefaes and eventually reaching the road at Botwnnog. On the way the walk passed Capel Salem, a well-preserved listed Chapel built in 1879 and now cared for by Sister Serafina. The afternoon took the party onto one of the newly created circular walks funded by the Coastal Community Fund, but it was dismaying to find even here some stiles on their last legs. From Botwnnog the path passed Trewen, heading across fields towards the distinctive turret of the tiny church at Llandegwning, crossing Saithbont near Neigwl Ganol and eventually reaching the attractive village of Llangian. The last leg crossed the long Bont Newydd over the Afon Soch and climbed steeply up past the iron age fort of Pen y Gaer, providing good views back to the river meanders and flood plain fringing Porth Neigwl below. The walkers did well and were relieved to reach their destination in Abersoch with a good half hour to spare before dusk. In spite of the challenging conditions, this was a great walk through Llŷn’s lovely inland countryside which looked its best on an unexpectedly sunny, dry, calm and mild day. Noel Davey
Thursday November 9th 2017. Glan y Wern - Afon y Glyn - Soar. A party of 18 travelled by the Cambrian Coast railway from Pwllheli and points north, alighting at Ty Gwyn near Talsarnau, where they were joined by 8 others who came by car. This scenic rail trip is always a popular jaunt, all the more for bus pass holders who can travel free in the winter months. Fred Foskett led the walk from the station up through the lovely wooded valley of Afon y Glyn. The route cut down along a wooded dyke path to the Pont y Glyn, passing near Glyn Cywarch, the family seat of Lord Harlech. A footpath led initially along the east bank of the river, rising relatively gently to reach Llyn Tecwyn Isaf. This tranquil lake provided a pleasant spot for lunch in the autumn sunshine. The route back followed a narrow country road through Bryn Bwbach, below Coed Garth Byr and Soar, then turning off onto a path descending through the Black Wood on the west side of the Afon Glyn back to Glan y Wern. This brought the walkers back in good time to catch the 2.35 train home after a most enjoyable 6.4 mile walk in sunny weather in this magical stretch of countryside. Noel Davey
Sunday November 5th 2017. Coed y Brenin. 11 walkers had a good day in Coed y Brenin led by Noel Davey. The weather was better than forecast with only a few brief showers and plenty of sunshine to light up the autumn woodland colour left after recent storms. An anti-clockwise circuit of 9.5 miles was followed from Ganllwyd in the south, mainly following broad forest tracks above rivers rushing through deep valleys. The route crossed the Afon Mawddach and followed the river bank northwards past Ferndale to the magnificent falls of Rhaedr Mawddach and Pistyll Cain, both in full spate, near the confluence of the two rivers. The turbine house of the recently completed Clogau hydro-electric scheme provided a good spot for morning coffee. Traces remain at this site of an older hydro project in operation early in the 20th century, together with ruins of the former Gwynfynydd gold mine. From here a rocky path took the party high above the Afon Gain, crossing the river and then ascending further to 800-900ft from where there were more open views towards the Rhinogydd. Lunch was taken in the clearing of the Llwyn Du ‘Bloomeries’ (Gwaith Pwdlo), the remains of medieval charcoal ironworks. The route then crossed the main A470 at Gelli Goch, passing through open fields and a muddy woodland area. The way back was along a long track running south through coniferous forest parallel with the Afon Eden, and passing the former Coed y Brenin forestry headquarters, now a sign workshop. There was a welcome tea stop at a third impressive waterfall, the Rhaedr Ddu, just above Ganllwyd, where an inscription records a poem of Thomas Gray (in Latin and English, but sadly not Welsh) commemorating this beautiful woodland site. Relatively easy terrain and a leisurely pace kept the party cheerful and talkative throughout the 5 1/2 hour walk through this excellent amenity area, remarkable both for its landscape and interesting history. Noel Davey
Thursday October 26th 2017. Nefyn-Y Gwylwyr-Pistyll. 25 club members met at Stryd y Plas car park in Nefyn for an enjoyable 5 mile ramble to Pistyll led by Maureen Evans and Gwynfor Jones. The walk started with a steady 500 foot climb, taking advantage of recently improved paths up to the prominent hills of Gwylwyr and Carreg Lefain – the latter’s apt name borne out by testing the echo from its rocky crags. The elevated open access land around these peaks opened up a fine panorama of Nefyn and the north coast below and an unusual view of Yr Eifl rising above a cloud inversion. The route circled back down to the coast at Pistyll, passing the site of the former hotel and once second home of the Godard family, reaching the pilgrim church of St Beuno in time for lunch. This tranquil place is remarkable not only for its ancient building, but also for its leper window which served the spiritual needs of the nearby leper colony in the middle ages and the continued tradition of a rush strewn floor; the graveyard is also well known as the last resting place of actor Rupert Davies (Maigret) and his wife. The walk retraced its steps to Nefyn along the Wales Coast Path, skirting a former quarry and crossing some very muddy fields. Features on the last leg of the route included a community pond and picnic area and the refurbished Ffynnon John Morgan, possibly commemorating a 19th century London-based businessman with interests in Nefyn-built ships. Although the day was overcast, the rain held off till the last mile or so. This was a pleasant, gently paced walk which provided ample time for conversation. Noel Davey
Sunday October 22nd 2017. Nantcol-Bwlch Drws Ardudwy, Cwm Bychan. Hugh Evans led a party of 7 walkers on a challenging hike from Cwm Bychan via Nantcol, a distance of almost 10 miles, involving a cumulative ascent of about 3000ft. It was a day of blustery winds and intermittent showers, the tail end of storm Brian. Surface water made the rocky paths slippery, requiring constant concentration to keep one’s footing. The walk started from Llyn Cwm Bychan at the head of this magical valley penetrating deep into the wild Rhinogydd mountains. The route headed south-east climbing steadily up the slabs of the ‘Roman Steps’ through Bwlch Tyddiad, an ancient route used since at least the Bronze Age through medieval times. After pausing for a coffee out of the wind just beyond the col at the top, it was a relief to descend to the drier and sheltered paths through the forested area of the Rhinog National Nature Reserve below. The path then turned south-west for some 2-3 miles through the Bwlch Drws Ardudwy, a narrow valley running between the peaks of Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach, eventually descending to the remote farm of Maes y Garnedd in Cwm Nantcol. This early 17th century house is known as the birthplace of the regicide, John Jones, one of the signatories of Charles I’s death warrant. From here there was a steady ascent of over 1000ft by indistinct paths across a bleak expanse of heather moorland. The watershed at about 1700ft brought fine views of a sunlit Llŷn to the west and the more sombre hues of the jagged rocks of the Harlech Dome all around. Eventually, the path descended past the remote lake of Glowy Lyn and rejoined the outward route leading back into Cwm Bychan. Despite the tough conditions, this proved a rewarding day out in the mountains. Noel Davey
Thursday October 12th 2017. Round Moelfre. Fred Foskett led 13 club members on a favourite walk around the distinctive conical hill (just under 2000ft) of Moelfre in Ardudwy. It was a fine day with a fresh wind and sunny periods which made the most of this wild, depopulated and lonely upland tract and the superb views across the bay to Penllŷn. The walk started at a look-out point high above the Nantcol Valley reached by a narrow gated road lined by the remarkable stone walls that are a feature of this landscape, an adventure just getting there. The route went anti-clockwise, passing a well-known medicinal spring and traces of manganese mining. It followed a section of the old and now often very boggy trackway which was once an ancient drover’s road and later part of the coach road between Harlech and London, branching off over Pont Scethin. Lunch was taken on a small prominence marked by a buried cairn, close to the ruins of Ty Newydd on the southern slope of Moelfre, a well-used stop-over in former coaching days. Continuing along a better track towards the Llyn Bodlyn reservoir, the walkers soon turned off north, climbing over a grassy col at about 1400ft above sea level, with fine views of the Rhinogydd and Nantcol valley, and eventually regained the road leading back to the start point. Noel Davey
Sunday October 9th 2017. Round Llyn Tegid/Bala. The original plan was to walk all the way around Llyn Tegid as the Club did about 10 years ago, but a combination of the longer than expected length of the newly waymarked path and the short autumn daylight hours persuaded the Club, certainly now older and, perhaps, wiser, to switch to two separate walks, either side of the lake. Heather Stanton led 10 ramblers on a 9 mile walk from Bala to Llanuwchllyn on the SE side of the lake, while Dafydd Williams led a further 4 on a 7.5 mile walk from Llanuwchllyn to Bala on the NW side of the lake. These proved ideal walks for a dry and bright October Sunday.
The A walk headed south out of Bala, climbing steeply through the pleasant woodlands of Fridd Fach-ddeiliog and reaching about 1500ft above sea level in the open access land of Mynydd Cefn-ddwy-graig and Isafon. From here splendid views opened up of the lake below dotted with sailing dinghies and, beyond, the impressive backdrop of the Arenigs. A circuitous upland route, some of it waterlogged, led through an area of coniferous woodland, still with traces of earlier farming settlement, and then followed the Afon Glyn down in the direction of Llangower on the lake. The wooded site of a small hydro weir near some falls provided a good spot for lunch. A series of paths connecting farms and some further ascents took the walk around the lower slopes of Cefn Gwyn, eventually descending through gentler fields to the village of Llanuwchllyn, nestling at the southern end of the lake. Here the way passed through the terminus station of the surviving lakeside heritage railway. This was sadly not operating on this autumn Sunday, so a waiting car provided transport back to Bala. This was a most enjoyable outing, offering a rich variety of scenery, a range of terrain and a cumulative ascent of almost 2000ft. Noel Davey
The B walk, as indicated above 4 walkers led by myself experienced an exhilarating day’s walking in this scenic part of North Wales with the town of Bala, rich in history and Llyn Tegid adjoining, flanked on both sides by green pastureland rising on the NW side in particular to moorland and mountains. Leaving the village of Llanuwchllyn behind and after some 400 yards we meandered our way along farm lanes passing the remains of a Roman Fort and encountered the extremely wet conditions underfoot which was a constant feature throughout. A derelict tractor trailer provided a good lunch stop site albeit surrounded by mud and you know what! Pressing on we then passed through a good half mile of slippery marshland, however, fleeting sightings of the lake to our right were much appreciated until we reached a caravan site and a short break. After a further half mile we turned south and descended through woods to the road running alongside the lake which we followed for the last mile stopping at the lakeside cafe for a welcome cup of tea and scone. In the main street I encountered a club member, Jane, who with a partner had attempted to ascend Arenig Fawr but had been thwarted by the low cloud whilst we, a few miles away had enjoyed a relatively dry sunny day. Returning to the car park we discovered that the A walkers had already collected their cars and disappeared. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday September 28th 2017. Rowen - Pen y Gaer. 14 members of the club met at Rowen for a most enjoyable ramble in the Conway Valley in a welcome return to warm sunny weather. This very thoroughly reconnoitred walk of just under 6 miles was led by Jean Norton and Miriam Heald. The route led south from the village through a pleasant pastoral landscape and across the Afon Roe, pausing for lunch in bright sunshine at picnic tables courtesy of ‘Ye Olde Bull Inn’ in Llanbedr-y-Cennin. There was then a climb to over 500ft on the lower slopes (Ochr Gaer) of Pen y Gaer, site of a large iron age fort and bronze age cairns (the summit was saved for another day). From here there were fine views across the Conway Valley. The walk wended through the garden of Cae Asaph by permission of the owner, Peter Barnes, whose interesting range of sculptures feature in the wooded grounds. The route back was through further wooded fields, lanes and riverbanks dotted with fine country houses. The afternoon was rounded off by a substantial tea with scones at the nearby Conway Water Gardens. Noel Davey
Sunday September 24th 2017. Barmouth - Tai Cynaeaf. Dafydd Williams led a party of 10 with assistance from Nick White on a linear walk from Barmouth to Bontddu, a distance of 9.3 miles including a cumulative ascent of 2000ft. The route led steeply up from Barmouth past Cell-fechan, Craig y Gigfran and the extensive remains of manganese mines, eventually reaching Bwlch y Llan at about 1100 ft. It was dry for the first hour or two, allowing some fine misty views over the magnificent Mawddach Estuary towards Cader Idris and across to the Llŷn Peninsula; but then a fine drizzle set in for the rest of the day, limiting visibility and making the going on wet and slippery paths sometimes quite difficult. The walk continued at high level on the slopes of Llawlech, past the few surviving stones of the bronze age stone circle of Cerrig Arthur and an ancient milestone with a faded inscription marking the junction of the old coach road from Harlech and Talybont leading down from Bwlch y Rhiwgyr. Further on, the route climbed again to follow an old tramway which served part of the Clogau gold mine, eventually descending through the dripping woods of a nature reserve to the main road and cars waiting at Bontddu. This was the fourth wet club walk in a row, but the otherwise mild and calm conditions helped to make this a good day out, crowned by a most welcome and generous tea at Anne and Nick’s house nearby. Noel Davey
Thursday September 14th 2017. Llyn Tecwyn Isaf - Bryn Cader Faner. Nineteen club members met at Llyn Tecwyn Isaf for a lovely 5.5 mile walk up to Bryn Cader Faner led by Dafydd Williams. The day was punctuated by many sharp and wintry showers, but the intervening sunny periods provided brighter conditions and opened up some fantastic views. Starting from the lakeside, the route climbed steadily about 1000ft, first by a steep wooded country road (where an ivy-laden tree crashed to the ground alarmingly as we passed), continuing via Caerwych and onto very boggy open moorland. The highlight of the walk was the remarkable bronze age cairn circle of Bryn Cader Faner, famed for its dramatic setting commanding the ancient upland trackway and its unusual ring of thin angled slabs from which it is often known as the ‘Crown of Thorns’. This was a good vantage point for lunch, offering fine views towards the Moelwyns. The route down past Y Gyrn led through more traces of ancient settlement and provided a spectacular panorama of the Dwyryd Estuary, Portmeirion, Moel y Gest, the hills of Penllyn stretching out below into the Irish Sea, and finally the iconic outline of Harlech Castle. This was strenuous walk for a Thursday with very wet conditions both underfoot and overhead, but the magnificent landscape and good company made the effort well worthwhile. Noel Davey
Sunday September 10th 2017. Penmachno Circular. On this persistently wet Sunday Tecwyn Williams led 10 people on a 7 mile walk in the remote Bro Machno, a new area for the club - at least for many years. The route started in the interesting village of Penmachno and followed mainly wide tracks and some country road sections within Cwm Penmachno and the tributary valley of the Afon Glasgwm. The walk first took a loop eastwards, passing the 16/17th century house of Hafod Dwyryd and then crossed to the west of the Afon Machno. Next there was a climb to about 1000ft around the foot of Moel Pen-y-Bryn through the Gwyryd Forest Park, an excellent leisure amenity run by National Resource Wales and shared by walkers, horse riders and mountain bikers. A useful shelter provided by the Park management was chosen for an early lunch. Descending to the Glasgwm valley, the walk then followed the river back to Penmachno. A highlight was a stop out of the rain for coffee and cake in the hospitable surroundings of the café at Plas Glasgwm. This is another fine grade II listed house with a courtyard setting, built in in the mid-16th century by John Gwynne, son of John Wynn ap Maredudd of Gwydir and ultimately a descendant of the Welsh Princes. Despite the rain and gusty wind, it was quite warm and this was a sensible walk for the day’s conditions which everyone enjoyed. We hope to return to this attractive valley on a brighter day. Noel Davey
Friday, 1st September 2017. Snowdon. Ian, Dafydd, Tecwyn, Gwynfor and 3 others made a successful, not to say heroic, ascent of Snowdon - Ian in celebration of his recent 80th birthday; Dafydd to consolidate last year's feat, now he is 81; Tecwyn for the first time in 3 years now he is near full recovery from his drawn-out illness; and Gwynfor, possibly the first time to the top. This time the sun shone and it was dry, the mist lifting steadily as we ascended and clearing briefly from the summit around lunchtime to provide stunning views. Congratulations all on a brilliant effort! Roll on next year! Noel Davey.
Thursday August 31st 2017. Tanygrisiau Resevoir. Tecwyn Williams led 27 club members on a good ramble around Tanygrisiau The route first circled north and east, below the impressive layered ‘steps’ of rocky cliffs which possibly give the village its name, and then by a network of interesting paths through the outskirts of the village, passing the birthplace of the late Gwyn Thomas, scholar, poet and literary figure. Persistent rain for the first two hours bore out Blaenau’s notorious reputation, but after a damp lunch near a scrapyard, the weather dried up and the sun came out for the second half of the walk. This involved an anti-clockwise circuit on paths through bracken and heather around Tanygrisiau Reservoir (Llyn Ystradau) which now forms the lower reservoir for the Ffestiniog pumped storage hydroelectric scheme. Together with the larger scheme at Dinorwic, this plays a vital part in the National Grid by supplying short bursts of electricity at times of peak demand; the massive dam at Llyn Stwlan, the upper reservoir for the scheme, loomed high above. The path on the western shore crossed the Ffestiniog Railway, busy today with holiday steam trains, leading through the remnants of the Moelwyn Mine and passing the power station itself on the route back. The remains of an older dam at the south of the lake provided a good stop for tea in the sunshine, while most repaired to the excellent Lakeside Café for more sustenance at the end of the walk. The wet and slippery conditions and some steep and rocky sections demanded constant attention and a sensibly slow pace, belying the length of some 4.5 miles of this enjoyable walk. Noel Davey
Sunday August 27th 2017. Cnicht - Gelli Iago. On this sunny Bank Holiday 27 club members and friends met at Croesor for two walks in this ever popular area. 18 took the A walk up Cnicht, led by Roy Milnes. Dafydd and Tecwyn led the other 9 on a shorter B walk which avoided the mountain and the worst of the boggy sections.
The two groups initially followed the same track northwards for about a mile. The A group then turned off to climb Cnicht, reaching the prominent rock and level ground 300ft below the summit in time for coffee. The final tricky ascent coincided with the annual run from Croesor up and down Cnicht. Fortunately the 60 or so impressively agile runners were well able to avoid getting mixed up with the slower climbers. From the iconic peak at some 2300ft the walk then continued north east along the ridge, affording spectacular views either side towards the Moelwyns , the peaks of northern Snowdonia and the jumbled rocks above Croesor etched with purple heather. Near Llyn Adar the party descended to the north, taking a less frequented path across extensively waterlogged ground past this lake and Llyn Llagi with its impressive backdrop of steep cliff and long sinuous waterfall. Lunch was taken in a fine position overlooking Snowdon and the Glyders. Eventually the party reached ‘dry land’ at the road near Gelli Iago, but the relief was short-lived as the route soon turned back south and up, climbing steeply 750 ft past a prominent hill known as Castell. From there yet more boggy land was encountered, though the route thankfully diverged from the right of way marked on the map right across an unnamed shallow lake, soon rejoining the outward route. Those who had time rounded off a delightful walk of just over 9 miles with tea at the Community Café in Croesor . Noel Davey
*** Notwithstanding that the Secretary’s description of the B walk read as follows “an easy 7 mile B walk”, the following is my description of the nearly 8 MILE walk which I, Dafydd Henry Williams led together with my friend Tecwyn Williams! As stated above the walks initially followed the same route northwards and after separating, the B walk continued northwards over very wet ground passing to the left of the small nameless lake through the middle of which the path is shown on the map with the forbidding Yr Arddu towering above us. A knee jarring descent to Gelli Iago followed where lunch was taken alongside a bunk house and an interesting old water wheel. The road at Blaen Nanmor was nearby and here we turned left, southwards, and in the direction of Nanmor but after a short distance we went over a stile on our right continuing southwards parallel with the road on a very boggy path in parts. After a mile or so we entered woodland at Coed Caeddafydd and continued downhill until we once again reached the minor road turning left and east along it passing Bwlchgwernog and uphill steeply on an old road/track which at one time apparently going back to the stage coach days was the main route from Beddgelert to Dolgellau. This was the sting in the tail as the track was uphill and downdale but mainly up until after a mile or so we reached Croesor and enjoyed a welcome cup of tea and bara brith at the Café but only after a lengthy wait due to the Bank Holiday hordes. A far from easy walk according to the participants but it was enjoyable! Dafydd Williams.
Thursday 15th August 2017. Aberffraw, Porth Cwyfan, Llangwyfanisaf. John Enser led 22 club members on a delightful walk of 5.3 miles from Aberffraw in the SW corner of Ynys Môn. The day was fine and bright with a keen wind. The route crossed the fine 18th century hump-backed bridge on the outskirts of the village and followed the coast path southwards down along the Afon Ffraw, reaching the sea at Porth Lleidio. From here the path skirted a series of spectacular rocky bays, notable for their very ancient pre-Cambrian geology. Following lunch on the sands at Porth Cwyfan, the party visited the remarkable little lime-washed church of Llangwyfan, ‘the church in the sea’ , one of the oldest stone churches in Anglesey dating back to the 12th century and superbly located on the island promontory of Cribinau reached by causeway at low tide. From there the path turned inland past the former army camp of Ty Croes, now a motor racing circuit, and then across fields back to Aberffraw. A very pleasant outing was completed with a sociable tea at the Llys Llewelyn Tearooms, a reminder that Aberffraw was once the foremost royal court of the Princes of Gwynedd. Noel Davey.
Sunday 13th August 2017. Moel Siabod. Eleven club members, all starting from Pwllheli, met at Bryn Glo near Capel Curig for a first class walk up the distinctive isolated peak of Moel Siabod (the shapely hill?). The weather was bright with sunny periods and light winds, just right for this strenuous mountain walk led by Roy Milnes. The route first crossed the Afon Llugwy over the venerable Pont Cyfyng, passing above the impressive waterfalls. It continued south along a relatively flat moorland track, turning westwards through the Clogwyn Llwyd Forest. Then began a steady ascent over rough and boggy paths through heather and bilberries, with a pleasant stop for coffee, up to the hanging valley occupied by Llyn y Foel at around 1650ft. The serious scrambling began here with an ascent of about 1000ft up the Daear Ddu, a steep ridge bristling with chaotic rocks marked by bubble-like pits and pockmarks suggestive of the area’s volcanic geological history. A late lunch at a spot just below the peak at 2850ft was the reward, affording superb views south across the Llugwy Valley to Dolwyddelan and Penamnen, and further towards the Arenigs and all the ranges to the south and east. The return route took the ridge heading north-east, providing more wonderful views of the Snowdon massif, Tryfan, the Glyderau and the Carneddau. The party kept up as high as possible over the massive slabs of rock which provided a thorough work-out for the knees, eventually descending by a tricky scree path and grass tracks to rejoin the start point near Pont Cyfyng. A lovely day of 7.5 miles walking over 7 hours was rounded off by a hard earned panad at the Bryn Glo café. Noel Davey
Thursday 3rd August 2017. Nefyn. Miriam Heald led a group of 22 members on a circular coastal walk from Nefyn to Porthdinllaen, a distance of approximately 7 miles. The weather was mostly bright and sunny, apart from one very brief shower. The group first of all headed east on a few very little used footpaths, before turning westwards to join the main, much improved coastal path. A short coffee stop was taken overlooking Nefyn Bay, to take advantage of the fine weather to appreciate the stunning views, before continuing along the beach to Morfa Nefyn, where lunch was taken outside the Ty Coch Inn, watching holiday makers enjoying themselves in the sea and on the beach. The walk then continued around the headland to Lifeboat Bay, where members visited the fairly new Lifeboat and Station and many commented on how immaculate the Lifeboat was kept. The next part of the walk was over the headland towards the Porthdinllaen Coastwatch Station, where there was an invitation to go inside and learn a little of the work carried out there as part of the Search and Rescue Organisation. There was a fairly cold wind at this point, so little time was lost in continuing along the path through the Golf Course, where another stop was taken at the newly refurbished Porthdinlaen Caffi, to enjoy either a cup of coffee or an ice cream. The walk then resumed back to Nefyn along the coastal path. Miriam Heald.