Aug 23 - Jul 24

Thursday February 15th 2024. Llanbedr - Artro - Cwmnantcol. A party of 20 ramblers, on the walk led by Hugh, took the first morning train on the Cambrian line down to Llanbedr for the walk today, starting out variously from Pwllheli, Abererch, Criccieth and Porthmadog. This was a treat denied for some years by Covid, strikes and engineering works. It was a somewhat damp and gloomy day, but a good chance for a leisurely natter, with the added bonus of a free ride courtesy of the concessionary ‘bus pass’ on this winter half term holiday.

After a short step from Llanbedr station into the village, the walk headed north-east along a country lane, passing Penrallt , eventually reaching the hamlet of Pentre Gwynfryn on the road to Cwm Bychan. A turn onto the Nantcol road brought the party to Capel Salem, 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 taken across finely walled fields, descending to the grass meadows of the Nant Col Campsite, deserted at this time of year. A muddy and rocky path then led through the oakwoods of Coed Cefn Cymmerau up onto the moorland plateau.

There was a stop for lunch in a pleasant glade. Nearby, the Rhaeadr Nantcol Waterfalls were the main feature of the walk: a magnificent spectacle of white waters roaring and crashing over broad tiers of rock; always a popular spot and busy even in February. The path circled round passing other spectacular falls and deep gorges. The return route led back by easier paths and lanes through the lovely woodlands of Coed Aberartro.

Back in Llanbedr there was ample time to enjoy refreshments at the Victoria Inn before catching the impeccably timed late afternoon train back to Llŷn. This was an enjoyable day out in this lovely part of Ardudwy, rather grey, but mild and the promised rain was confined to a few light showers. The walk was about 6 miles over some 4 hours with about 1000ft of ascent. Noel Davey.

Sunday February 11 2024. Y Garn III. Today’s objective was Y Garn, a lesser known outlying peak of the Rhinogydd mountain group, known (by this Club at least) as ‘Garn III’. Ten ramblers, led by Gareth and Eryl, met at the village of Ganllwyd on the road to Dolgellau. It was a mostly cloudy day with some brighter periods and a few showers midday.

The walk set out past the striking black corrugated iron clad community hall, taking a delightful path up into the Cwm Camlan gorge through the Coed Ganllwyd National Nature Reserve. These wonderful ancient oak woods are the richest site for mosses and liverworts in north west Europe. The path led through rocks and trees magically festooned in fronds of green to the roaring sound of tumbling waters. There was a pause to gaze at the remarkable spectacle of the great falls of the Rhaeadr Ddu, in full spate after recent rain. The route then climbed across Fridd Bryn Melyn, reaching a more exposed area of upland heath. Here, extending south below the ridge of Craig y Cae, there are extensive relics of the Cefn Coch gold mines, in operation mainly in the C19th until 1914.

Skirting south round Bryn Bedwog, a sometimes steep but fairly easy path was followed alongside an impressive boundary wall climbing north-west to the summit at a little over 2000ft. The cloud level was high enough to capture views down to Dolgellau, the Mawddach Estuary, Llyn Trawsfynydd, as well as Rhobell Fawr to the east, but the higher summits of Cader and the Rhinogydd remained hidden in mist. Temperatures at the top were close to freezing, but a sheltered spot was found for lunch just below the summit. A circuit was made to the east of the peak, before rejoining the outward path hugging the boundary wall back down. The route diverged to the east through the Berthlwyd mine area, taking a wooded path through Coed Berthlwyd. This area is all part of the Dolmelynllyn Estate, now managed by the National Trust, its modest house developed by William Madocks (of Tremadog) around 1800, but later a more pompous Victorian hall and later a hotel.

The final leg of the walk crossed the A470, taking the noble wooded track from Tyn y Groes through Coed y Brenyn on the eastern side of the Afon Mawddach. A footbridge then took the party back over the river directly to the car park at Ganllwyd. This proved an excellent February day out on a varied route, combining woodland, waters and mountain scenery, covering 6.7miles and 2200ft of ascent over about 5.5 hours. Noel Davey.

Thursday February 1st 2024. Aberdaron-Porth Ysgo. A brisk dry and sunny day brought out 25 ramblers to Aberdaron to walk to Porth Ysgo, one of the best and least known sections of the Wales Coast Path on the Llŷn. Ann Jones kindly stepped in as the leader at short notice. The walk started from the National Trust car park and visitor centre of Porth y Swnt in the centre of the village, turning onto the Coast Path at the old corn mill, a listed building which is under a programme of restoration. The first section followed the narrow valley of the Afon Daron through pleasant green meadows on some presently very muddy paths.

At the junction with an overgrown path to Bodrwdda, a footbridge took the route over the Daron, across fields and straight across the road from Rhiw at Morfa. Further field paths through kissing gates led above the fast eroding cliffs of Aberdaron Bay to the rugged headland of Trwyn y Penrhyn. The bright sunlight picked out a natural arch (Ogof Ddeuddrws) here, one of many rocky features and caves that line the plunging coastal cliffs. The path runs north-east at an elevation of about 200ft, providing glorious views of the coast and sea stretching towards Penarfynydd. The offshore stack of Maen Gwenonwy, a conspicuous rock reachable at low tide, has dubious but tantalising links to the sprawling mass of Arthurian legend through Arthur’s sister’s name and a claimed site at nearby Porth Cadlan of his last and fatal Battle of Camlann.

Further on, near Cadlan Isaf, a rhythmic thumping betrayed the site of a traditional hydraulic ram, a simple method of pumping water endlessly without any external power source other than the energy of the stream above. Horses grazing on the clifftop had turned a wide section of the path into an arduous quagmire near here. At last the party reached the lovely cove of Porth Ysgo in high time for lunch in the now warm sunshine. Half the party made the descent to the beach by the 150 steps recently well restored with AONB funds. The lovely long spout of the waterfall here was in full flow. The walk now turned back inland to Ysgo Farm, taking field paths via Cadlan Uchaf and one awkward stile to the Rhiw road which was followed about 1.5 miles back to Aberdaron. This was a great walk of some 6.5 miles and 1450ft of ascent over almost 5 hours, quite slow and strenuous given the terrain and often muddy conditions. Noel Davey.

Sunday January 28 2024. Beddgelert-Blaen Nanmor. Hugh Evans led a party of 11 on a delightful circuit in the heart of Eryri. The day was seasonally mild and much of it sunny. The walk started from the Colwyn Bank carpark in Beddgelert, heading through the village and then south past Gelert’s Grave across meadows on the west bank of the Glaslyn. Crossing to the east bank, the walkers then edged carefully along the narrow walkway of the thrilling Fisherman’s Path that leads though the Pass of Aberglaslyn, hedged in between the raging waters of the river maelstrom below and the vertical cliffs of Craig y Llan above. Fortunately, the river level had abated somewhat from its recent storm levels and the stone path was less slippery than sometimes.

At Pont Aberglaslyn, the venerable bridge at Nantmor Village, the route turned east, heading through the tranquil wooded valley of Nanmor. A lovely site was found for lunch in the now quite warm sunshine beneath mossy oaks accompanied by the soothing sound of rushing water. Near the slate quarry of Blaen Nanmor, the route joined the narrow country road past Gelli Iago for half a mile or so. A boggy upland path then climbed gently north to about 600ft, passing the conspicuous prominence of Bryn Castell. Nearby, the lonely cottage of Hafod Owen is remembered as the home of pioneering rock climbers.

The descent to Llyn Dinas was tricky, but brought fine views of the majestic flanks of Yr Wyddfa opposite and Llyn Dinas nestling in the Nant Gwynant valley below. By now, conditions were turning murky and a fast pace was made along the easy riverside route back to Beddgelert, beating the first spots of rain. This was a lovely day out in good company, covering about 9 miles in 6 hours. Noel Davey.

Thursday January 19th 2024. Llanystumdwy Circular. 25 walkers convened at the village car park for a short “D” 4 mile circular walk led by Dafydd Williams on a cold and frosty sunny day. Turning right from the car park, the route passed the popular nearby Feathers pub, now in community ownership. Opposite stands the former cobblers shop, the boyhood home of David Lloyd George, prime minister during the 1st World War and immediately thereafter the Museum. Before reaching the bridge over the River Dwyfor it was 90% left along a solid track for some 200 yards before the busy A497 was crossed and a concrete drive followed through the immaculately kept Aberkin Farm.

The path then continued to the coast and alongside the bank of the River Dwyfor to the river estuary and onwards. At this point the walkers had marvellous unrestricted views across Tremadog Bay to the Rhinogydd Mountains and down along the coastline to Aberdovey and beyond. Following a break for tea/coffee the party continued on the coastal path above the rocky shoreline until a renovated house Cefn Castell was reached. This was rebuilt some 10 years ago following, according to reports at the time, an arson attack, and is forecast to be in danger of collapsing into the sea. At that time it was given a maximum term of 60 years before this happened. It was then northwards and inland initially on a solid path which quickly deteriorated having been the resting place for a flock of sheep which has transformed it into a muddy morass. Having passed underneath the Porthmadog-Pwllheli railway line, the A497 was reached and crossed onto a footpath where it was west for some 150 yards until the drive leading to the Country Hotel, Bron Eifion was reached. This manor house was once the country home of a Mr J.E.Greaves, reputedly the owner of one of Blaenau Ffestiniog’s numerous slate quarries. The uphill path turns left before reaching the hotel and after negotiating a wet/muddy section outside the former estate farm a lodge was reached on the minor Criccieth - Llanystumdwy road.

Lunch was enjoyed in the sunshine with the shapely stones forming the estate driveway entrance used for sitting/leaning purposes. Turning again left, the quiet road was followed before passing the entrance drive to Ty Newydd, a substantial house where Lloyd George died in 1945. As an 8 year old I attended his funeral with my father! Just before arriving back at our start point and high above the river Dwyfor stands his final resting place where a group photograph was taken. Whilst this was a relatively short walk it befitted the time of year and was appreciated by the walkers on this beautiful winter’s day. Dafydd Williams.

Sunday January 14th, 2024, Clynnog Hills. A group of 16 led by Noel met at Rock Cottage, Tanygraig, near Trefor, for a day in the Clynnog Hills. The first section of the route was in the way of an inaugural walk along a former quarry tramway path which AONB/AHNE volunteers have recently waymarked and cleared of the dense thickets of bracken, brambles and gorse which had made it virtually impassable for some years. The path follows the 300-350ft contour across the northern slopes of the Clynnog Hills mainly in open access land just below the workings of the Gyrn Ddu and Tyddyn Hywel granite quarries which operated for almost century until their closure in 1947. Some interesting relics of this activity survive. While there are some rocky and uneven sections, the route is now relatively easy and gives some fine elevated views down to the coast, Yr Eifl and adjacent hills. The path then skirts Ystymllech across fields, coming out onto the A499 at Pont y Felin after some 2.3 miles.

The walk continued by a rough track into the delightful, wooded valley of Cwm Gwared drained by the Afon Hen below the northeastern slope of Gyrn Goch. This is an area of private woodland once owned by the Glynllifon estate and now an SSSI. There was a stop for coffee under the trees near the river. At this point 4 of the party took the easier ’C’ route back along the Wales Coast Path which runs alongside the A499 and the old road. The remaining ‘A’ walkers continued to the top of Cwm Gwared by a steep path awash with plummeting streams flowing through temperate rainforest and mossy banks of wood sage. A kissing gate led onto the open grassy slopes of Bwlch Mawr at 800ft. Sheep were followed first north to meet a rough track used by farm quad bikes coming up from the Clynnog bridleway. This provided a reasonably gradual ascent past rocky outcrops to the summit stile below the trigpoint at 1669ft. Up to now the day had stayed reasonably dry, calm and mild with some sunny periods, allowing increasingly impressive views down to the coastal plain. However, a late lunch at the top was rudely interrupted by mist rolling bringing squalls of sleety snow and a numbing drop in the temperature.

A hasty retreat was made south through the mist over the featureless exposed grassy plateau. The party thankfully soon reached warmer and brighter conditions on the east-west Coastal Community Path. Now there were vistas of the hills of Pen y Gaer, Moel Bronmiod, Carnguwch and Tre’r Ceiri and glimpses of the southern coast of Llŷn glinting in the sun. The track west took the party back through impressive, but muddy sheepfolds, beneath the slopes of Gyrn Goch and Gyrn Ddu, past Fron Heulog and down the ‘zig zag’ quarry track back to Rock Cottage. This proved a rewarding and strenuous outing of some 9 miles over 6 hours, with about 2250ft of ascent, offering a range of challenges in respect of weather and terrain. Noel Davey.

Thursday January 4th 2024. Wern Manor. Today’s walk was a 4-mile circular in the lovely stretch of countryside to the west of Moel y Gest near Porthmadog. Twenty members were led by Jean Astles in bright sunny and calm weather. The walk started from the impressive country house of Wern Manor, built in Jacobean style in 1892 for the mining engineer RM Greaves of Llechwedd slate quarry, later a military hospital, then a nursing home and now available for large group holiday lets.

After crossing the A497 the route took a track and paths southwards under the crags of Bron y Foel and Moel y Gest. The unaccustomed winter sunshine was dazzling. There were lovely views westwards over woods and fields towards the coast with Criccieth commanded by the ruins of its prominent castle. At the junction with the main route up Moel y Gest, an often muddy path was taken westwards to Tyddyn Adi, overlapping with the direction taken on the recent walk from Borth y Gest. The lonely house of Ty’n y Mynydd again provided a convenient stop for lunch with a great view towards Ardudwy and the Rhinogydd across Tremadog Bay. Paths then circled north over scenic fields facing towards the cliffs of Craig y Gesail above Porthmadog.

From there the pleasant narrow country lane serving Morfa Bychan was taken back to Wern. This was a pleasant and relatively easy walk over 3.5 hours with modest ascent, but muddy conditions and a few awkward stiles made it perhaps a bit harder than the advertised ‘D’ grade. Noel Davey.

Sunday December 31st 2023. Mynytho-Garn Fadryn. On New Year’s Eve a party of 9 ramblers met at Foel Gron in Mynytho for a welcome outing to recover from the Christmas festivities. Annie Andrew led a linear ‘there and back’ walk to Garn Fadryn of some 8.5 miles length. Contrary to the forecast, it proved a dry day with extended sunny periods, though very windy at times. The route followed sections of the Llwybr Morwyr, the cross-Llŷn ‘Mariners’ Trail’, based on old paths sailors used to take between Nefyn and Llanbedrog/Abersoch. The walk took the track along the western edge of Mynytho Common, giving fine views towards Sarn and Mynydd Rhiw.

After passing the spring of Ffynnon Sarff, field paths and a track led down the wooded flank of Nant Saethon, past Pandy and across the Afon Horon by the Inkermann Bridge (Pont Llidiard y Dŵr), which commemorates a scion of the Nanhoron Estate family lost in the Crimean War. A new right of way replacing the one absorbed by the Nanhoron Quarry was followed north to Penbodlas and eventually to Garn Fadryn, the commanding peak of central Llŷn. The party made short work of the steep path up which was quite busy on this fine holiday. It reached the broad plateau at 1000ft where heather conceals remains of the extensive settlement of iron age hut circles. The panoramic views from the 1200ft summit were as breathtaking as ever, but the strong winds discouraged any temptation to linger.

Descending to the bwlch the route crossed to the minor peak of Garn Bach where there was more shelter for lunch. This gave an opportunity to enjoy the view down to the St Tudwal’s Roads and the great bight of Porth Neigwl, its hinterland part covered in sheets of floodwater. A striking new feature in the nearer landscape below was the brown hues of extensive stretches of reed-like miscanthus or elephant grass. This newly planted perennial crop on the Nanhoron Estate grows to 10-12 feet height and will be cut annually for at least 20 years, initially for commercial use as horse bedding throughout North Wales.

At Pen y Caerau there was a turn westwards along a grassy track, recently subject to a judicial review to reconfirm its legal status as a right of way. The walk back now retraced the outward route, diverging to cross the heathland of Myntho Common by the central route and finally climbing the steep but modest rounded hill of Foel Gron, to savour one last vista of the coast and countryside. This was an easy and enjoyable walk over about 5.5 hours, well-suited to the time of year. Noel Davey.

Thursday December 21st 2023, Borth y Gest Circuit. The busy run up to Christmas brought 15 ramblers led by Noel to Borth y Gest for a familiar walk in this attractive coastal area. The day was lightly clouded and mild with a few showers and sunny periods. The relative shelter from NW winds meant little threat from the forecast 40mph gusts. The walk took the steps up to the lookout point on the edge of the oakwoods of Parc y Borth 300ft above the picturesque village. From here there were misty views of Moel y Gest and across the bay to the hills of Ardudwy. The route then went down and crossed the Ffordd Morfa Bychan, passing the llamas and ponies at the trekking centre. Climbing again, there was a stop for a panad and festive mince pies on the garden wall of the lonely pink house of Ty’n y Mynydd, another fine vantage point overlooking the lovely tract of upland heath below the jagged Moel. The path continued over muddy ground with fine views towards Criccieth Castle and the Llŷn, reaching the somewhat messy surroundings of Tyddyn Adi Farm and Caravan Site. From here a track led down to the sprawling maze of bungalows and chalets that comprise the popular coastal village of Morfa Bychan. A controversial 80ft high 5G communication mast is soon planned to be added to this urban landscape.

The long Beach Road brought the party to the broad tract of sands and dunes at Black Rock for an exhilarating tramp eastwards along the beach as far as Ynys Cyngar. This small rocky headland commemorates an early saint and features the Cwt Pwdr (Powder House) where explosives shipped in for the slate mines were once safely stored. The cove below provided a pleasant lunch spot out of the wind. The path skirted the greens of Porthmadog Golf Course and joined the delightful wooded section of the Wales Coast Path clinging to the cliffs above sandy coves along the Glaslyn Estuary. A short detour to the Samson Rock, a glacial erratic, provided a lovely view of the coastal scene. From here it was a short step via the Pen y Banc Nature Reserve back to Borth, its pretty little bay looking its best as high tide approached. This was a good walk for the time of year of some 5.5 miles length and 800 feet of ascent over nearly 4 hours with a welcome finale at the hospitable village Seaview café. Noel Davey.

Sunday December 17th, 2023. Llanystumdwy. Today Kath led 16 members on a circuit through the reliable and well trodden countryside of Eifionydd. It was a grey overcast day with a damp feeling and quite windy on the coast, but rainless and mild. The walk started from the village carpark at Llanystumdwy, leading through the village past the Lloyd George Museum and, opposite, Clough William Ellis’ striking Moriah Chapel, now being carefully restored as a residence by its new owner. Turning north off the A497 at the cemetery, a track led to Glyn Dwyfach and crossed the fast rushing river by a precarious footbridge. A muddy path continued via Ysgubor Hen and joined the celebrated leafy trackway of the Lôn Goed, leading south to the hamlet of Afon Wen. There was a stop for a morning panad with fruit cake by the railway bridge near the coast. From there the walk followed the Wales Coast Path westwards, hugging the rocky shore, pounded today by grey choppy seas in the gusty winds. The route skirted the Hafan y Môr Holiday Park, now an immense enterprise, born out of the Butlins holiday camp, offering innumerable lodges and caravans. Another major extension project is under way, including coastal protection and a new restaurant, presently taking the path through a muddy building site. Beyond Porth Fechan, the walk rounded the modest, but exposed headland at Penychain, turning off inland into the more sheltered area of Hafan’s golf course.

The large and empty railway station platform at Penychain provided a convenient sheltered spot for lunch. The route now followed a section of the old A497 road westwards past Llymgwyn Farm, then taking the lane inland along the boundary of Broom Hall, an impressive late 18C house in extensive parkland, once the largest estate in Eifionydd. Further on and more visible, Penarth Fawr is an important medieval hall-house dating from the 15C. Here the a field path cut across fields to Penrhyn Bach, rejoining the road all the way through Chwilog and eventually regaining the outward section of the Lôn Goed. This was followed north-east for a mile or so, turning onto a lovely country lane, recrossing the Dwfach and leading past the richly wooded grounds of Plas Talhenbont and Cabin Wood, and soon back to the village of Llanystumdwy. This was another good, fast paced and sociable walk on mostly flat terrain of some 13 miles length over more than 6 hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday December 3rd, 2023. Aber Ogwen-Porth Penrhyn-Moel y Ci. A dozen led by Noel met at Aber Ogwen on the coast to the east of Bangor for a circuit billed as an ’A’ grade for length (11 miles), but a ‘B’ in respect of terrain (mostly flat and paved). There were no takers for a shorter option offered via Llandygai. While sun was in short supply it remained a more or less dry and calm day with temperatures of 4-6C. The walk first headed west along the beach. At the mouth of the Afon Ogwen the path joined the official route of a new section of the Wales Coast Path skirting about 2 miles round Penrhyn Castle. This has taken many years to open, but is now a pleasant woodland walk on a good gravel surface, apart from a quarter mile section of very muddy conditions, still awaiting a solution. Inland across green fields there were glimpses of the towers and bastions of the neo-Norman castle built in 1840 by the Pennant Family with profits from Penrhyn slate and Jamaican sugar plantations. Through the trees there were fine views north across the Llafar sands to Ynys Môn and the dark bulk of Puffin Island and the Great Orme. Coming out at Porth Penrhyn, the route followed the Lôn Las Ogwen, now a paved amenity route for walkers and cyclists running south on the track of the former Penrhyn Railway which brought the slate from Penrhyn Quarry to the port. There was a short diversion along the A5 at the start as two bridges were being rebuilt. Otherwise, the route offered a fast walk along the Afon Cegin through attractive woods with golden leaves lingering on some of the beeches. The route had a rural feel, despite passing the urban outskirts of Bangor. A short detour across the river provided a coffee stop. The track continued under the massive sandstone viaduct carrying the Holyhead Railway, a concrete underpass below the roaring A55 and a striking green footbridge over the A4244.

After about 6 miles, the walk turned off to Fferm Moel Ci, one of the UK’s first community farms, offering a variety of public amenities including allotments and an excellent café, where the walkers were able to access picnic tables and fresh coffee for lunch. The afternoon leg continued on the Lôn Las through Tregarth and the impressive Twnnel Pendinas (Tynal Tywyll), a 297 yard railway tunnel built in 1884 as part of the LNER line from Bethesda to Bangor for slate and passengers. This closed in 1961, but reopened as part of the Lôn Las in 2017. At Pont Coetmor the route crossed the Afon Ogwen and climbed back by steps to take a delightful lane high above the river. This came out on the busy A5 at Halfway Bridge, crossing directly onto a field path via Cochwillan. In Talybont village, the path followed an earlier route of the Wales Coast Path across fields, soon reaching the lane back to Aber Ogwen. Despite the distance, this was an easy outing over about 5 hours including stops, making it one of the Club’s fastest paced walks ever. It was well suited to the time of year and gave ample chance for chatting, for many the main object of the exercise. Noel Davey.

Thursday November 23rd 2023. Cwmystradllyn. Colin Higgs guided 19 ramblers on a figure of eight circuit across the remote upland plateau of Cwmystradllyn. It was mostly cloudy but stayed dry, while mist clung to Moel Hebog and the other high peaks to the north and east. The walk started from the dam at the lake which provides much of the Llyn’s water supply. Water levels in the reservoir were back to high levels after the recent rain. A waterlogged path was taken south to Ynys Wen, skirting the lower foothills of Moel Ddu. A track continued to Cae yr Eithin Tew, turning west via Maes y Llech, eventually reaching the narrow road coming from the A487. An even narrower and twisting road was followed back eastwards from Cefn Coch isaf. A small well-restored traditional cottage was admired at Ty Newydd near Llyn Du.

A pocket of stone banks and walls provided a good site for lunch, giving time to study the interesting string of hills overlooking Porthmadog and running south from Moel Ddu. There were signs all around of ancient settlement including standing stones, hut circles and homesteads, amply documented on the OS map. Back at Ynys Wen, a second loop was taken on a track Wen via Ereinig to the ruins of the Ynysypandy Slate Mill beside the Afon Henwy. This magnificent 3-storey abbey-like structure is a poignant reminder of the speculative ambition of the slate industry and its often spectacular commercial failures: the mill operated for barely a decade in the 19C before the nearby Gorsedda Quarry it was built to serve closed, bankrupted by poor slate quality. The route back followed the line of the old rail track linking the quarry and the mill, turning down to the lake dam at Tyddyn Mawr. This was a pleasant walk on relatively level terrain at 600-700ft elevation in quiet and open grassy landscape, featuring interesting relics of both prehistoric and industrial archaeology. It covered 6 miles over nearly 4 hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday November 19th 2023. Coed Cae Fali-Rhyd-Llyn Mair-Tan y Bwlch. A poor mountain forecast led to the substitution at short notice of a more sheltered walk in Dyffryn Maentwrog. Hugh Evans led 13 on this circuit starting from the large layby at Coed Cae Fali on the A487. This proved a wise decision as the route was largely sheltered from the forecast strong wind gusts and light drizzle was confined to the first couple of hours. Most of the rest of the day remained gloomily overcast, but dry and mild. A steep track was taken through autumn woodlands up to the Ffestiniog Railway, never far from today’s route. It was followed westwards by twisting paths, dipping down where the rail track crosses the Afon Cae Fali ravine on a massive masonry embankment. The route then joined the trail coming up from Rhiw Goch and Penrhyn, heading north-east via Pen yr Allt through dank conifer forests planted around the former lead mines. This led out into more open marshy grassland, eventually reaching the small village of Rhyd on the B road from Garreg. From here a loop was taken to the north across the headwaters of the Afon Rhyd near Ty’n y Ddôl. An elevation of over 600ft was reached near Ogof Llechwyn where the walk joined the narrow mountain road from Croesor, descending along the forest margin south-eastwards towards Maentwrog.

A path took the party down to Tan y Bwlch Station which, though closed today, provided a hospitable setting of tables and chairs for a late lunch. The afternoon route followed woodland tracks winding down past the still waters of Llyn Hafod y Llyn and the deserted picnic sites around the magical Llyn Mair. A circuitous network of paths continued via the Plas Halt above Plas Tan y Bwlch, eventually climbing (a proverbial sting in the tail) to a high open vantage point near Y Gysgfa. Coinciding with brightening skies and shafts of sunlight, this gave the best views of the day down along the Afon Dwyryd, past the slate quays to the Briwet bridge, and out to the broad estuary waters commanded by Ynys Giftan and the salt marsh of Glastraeth. The walk then made a steady descent through woodland, taking in a charming (nameless) little reservoir lake and rejoining the outward route. Today’s outing made the best of the weather, keeping mostly to sheltered wooded paths in a lovely, if muted, autumnal setting and covering about 9 miles in 5 ¼ hours with some 1700ft of ascent. Noel Davey.

Thursday November 9th. Mynydd Tir Cwmwd - Llanbedrog Headland. There was a good turnout of 27 for a walk on Llanbedrog Headland (Tir Cwmwd) led by Meri Evans. It was a day of sunny periods, strong winds and short intermittent showers, including a squall of hail. The start of the walk was enlivened by the presence of Gerallt Pennant and his cameraman to make a short snippet for the evening’s ‘Heno’ programme on SC4 on the role of Rhodwyr Llŷn in keeping the over 65s (and some younger) fit. After brief interviews and some filming, the party set off along Traeth Castellmarch. This lovely long and broad beach is better known as the Warren after the Holiday Park and its ever more elaborate ‘caravans’ in the dunes that fringe it.

After a mile or so there was a stop for morning coffee near the ‘Quarry’ beach, where the remains of a jetty survive from where granite setts from the local quarry were shipped till after WW2. A beach lane led inland to steep and rough steps climbing 200 ft to the top of the headland of Tir Cwmwd, a wild and wonderful plateau of gorse and heather. A very wet, muddy and windy coast path was followed through the gorse around the edge of the headland, providing fine views across the St Tudwal’s Roads. This led eventually to the ‘iron man’ statue overlooking Llanbedrog and the art gallery at Plas Glyn y Weddw, now boasting its striking new shell-shaped cafe. A narrow path was then taken to the summit of the headland at 436ft elevation in time for lunch in the sunshine with glorious panoramic views of the hills and sea all around. A track past Mount Pleasant and lanes led to the Warren beach again and a fast trek back to the start point at Trwyn y Fach. In spite of the sporadic showers this was a most enjoyable walk of about 6 miles over 4 1/4 hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday November 5th. Yr Ysgwrn, Trawsfynydd. . Today’s outing circled Yr Ysgwrn, near Trawsfynydd. This was the home of Hedd Wyn, the celebrated young Welsh poet who won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod in 1917. He was killed in action in France before the ceremony, so the empty Chair, now kept in a memorial museum at Yr Ysgwrn, was draped in black and known after as ’Y Gadair Ddu’ (the Black Chair). Dafydd Williams led a group of 17 on a day of sunny periods and showers, not as warm as the July day when this was last walked in 2021, but still pleasant enough. The circuit first led north and west, turning south at Bryn Goleu along a narrow lane which was once the main road to Dolgellau, closely following the route of Sarn Helen, the road built by the Romans two millennia ago. There was a stop for a panad near Capel Penystryd. A brief search for two Roman tile kilns under nearby mounds of gorse proved elusive.

The route now turned north-east into wilder grassy open access land, previously used by the MoD as a firing range. A track led up to Llyn Gelli Gain, a small reservoir where a Dwr Cymru notice warns any foolhardy swimmer of multiple perils including the risk of blue-green algae causing leptospirosis. A further climb took the party up a small hill, at 1550ft highest point in the area, which the OS map seems to identify as Craiglaseithin. This was the place for lunch. There were delightful views towards the south and east towards the Arenigs, Rhobell Fawr and the Cadair range. The orange and brown of the moorland landscape were etched by shafts of bright sunlight alternating with the deep shadows of clouds. The last leg led back down by boggy paths across the Fridd Wen and Fridd Ddu, eventually regaining the gentle landscape of fields around Yr Ysgwrn. This was a leisurely and congenial walk of 6.5 miles and some 1200ft of ascent lasting about 5.25 hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday October 22 Moel Wnion - Moel Faban. After the ravages of storm Babet, the walk today was blessed with dry and sunny weather with a crisp feel and good visibility. Fifteen ramblers met at the roadside layby near Talybont for a walk led by Annie in the hills on the north-western flanks of the Carneddau. The route crossed over the A55 and climbed alongside Marian y Winllan, turning east past Plas Uchaf towards Bronydd Isaf at around 1000ft elevation. The coniferous trees here had been substantially cut, opening up wide-ranging views down to the coastal plain and across the shallow flats of the Llafar Sands to Ynys Môn. After a couple of miles the path crossed under the high voltage cables and began an ascent of the grassy slopes of Moel Wnion. At 1500ft, near a ruined structure, there was a pause for a panad and to savour the widening vista. A further strenuous climb brought the party, ready for lunch, to the summit cairn and trig point, at 1900ft the highest point of the day.

There was now a magnificent panorama of the Carneddau mountains to the south, from Llwytmor and the Beras, above the Aber valley, past Drosgl and Gyrn Wigau, to Sarn Elen and Carnedd Dafydd. The whole of the isle of Anglesey spread out to the north with a distant glimpse of the hills of the Isle of Man beyond and the ghostly web of offshore wind turbines crowding off the coast to the north-east. The route continued south across a wide grassy basin dotted with Carneddau ponies and the odd walker. The next target was the prominent rocky peak of Gyrn (1776ft), its northern flank hugged by a large intricate cellular sheepfold, dating from at least the 18C but well maintained. Across the deep trench of Bwlch ym Mhwll-le, overlooking Rachub and Bethesda, Moel Faban (1340ft) was the last of the day’s peaks. This is crowned by a complex bronze age cairn cemetery, attesting to the area’s ancient pattern of settlement.

From here the walk at last turned back homewards, taking a moorland track skirting north-east across the lower flanks of the hills. This passed the conspicuous ruins of a slate quarry at Bryn Hall, crossing the outward route and descending a steep narrow lane alongside a wooded torrent. Another bridge over the A55 near the historic farm of Ty’n yr Hendre brought the now weary walkers back to the start point. This splendid and strenuous day out in the Carneddau foothills, covered some 10.6 miles and 2850 ft of ascent in 6¾ hours. Noel Davey.

Thursday October 11th 2023. Bryncir-Mynydd Cennin. About two dozen members joined a walk led by Kath Mair from Bryncir. The day was calm and sunny and warm enough in the sunshine. The group set out northwards on the flat and straight Lôn Eifion, a metalled 8 mile multipurpose cycle track (no cycles today) following the route of a section of the former Afon Wen-Caernarfon railway. After about a mile, near Derwyn Fawr, the walk turned off west onto field paths, passing the looming towers of wind turbines and high transmission pylons, part of the unlovely but necessary modern infrastructure crammed into this narrow corridor between the protected landscapes of Eryri to the east and the Llŷn AONB to the west. Here the group encountered the first of many obstructions on the walk, mainly locked or stuck farmgates blocking the little used public footpaths. Though slowing the pace, these challenges fortunately posed no undue problems for the group.

The route then climbed the anonymous hill of Y Foel where its modest summit at 715ft provided a great viewpoint over coffee towards Moel Hebog and Graig Goch at the southern end of the Nantlle Ridge. At Bwlch Derwin an easy country lane was followed south past managed coniferous woodland. A grove of startlingly large and red mushrooms was encountered here flourishing under a stray roadside spruce. There was then an ascent of the grassy slopes of the ambitiously named ‘Mynydd’ Cennin, at 860ft the highest point of the walk. It was time for lunch on the boulders scattered around the trig point on the flattish summit. From here there was a splendid 360 degree panorama, stretching to the south along the sparkling sea coast from Moel y Gest to Cilan and west towards the mysterious peaks of the Clynnog Hills. Further south the path reached Hendre Cennin, the northern terminal of the Lôn Goed, stretching 6 miles down to the Eifionydd Coast at Afon Wen. This lovely wooded track was followed for about half a mile before turning east onto a pleasant country lane leading back to Bryncir via Plas Llecheiddior. This was an enjoyable, sociable walk in a little known patch of countryside covering about 7 miles and 1300ft of ascent over 5 hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday October 8th 2023. Talybont/Conwy Valley - Dulyn and Melynllyn Reservoirs. An unseasonably warm and bright October day brought a group of 11 ramblers to the village of Talybont in the Conway Valley for a lovely walk led by Eryl Thomas in the foothills of the Carneddau. A convoy of shared cars drove up to the end of a steep, narrow country road leading onto the broad upland valley occupied by Llyn Eigiau at 1200ft elevation. It was a surprise to find the place already crowded with parked vehicles, reflecting its convenience as a gateway to the mountains from the east. The walk set out northwards across a wide grassy basin flanked by outliers of the Eastern Carneddau, continuing north to Pant y Griafolen. A tunnel here takes water south into the Eigiau reservoir system. There was a stop for morning coffee near the modern pumphouse of a small hydro-electric scheme. The route then followed the contour south-west above the Pant, avoiding marshy ground where possible. This eventually led to the lonely site of the Dulyn bothy at the head of the cwm. This well maintained stone refuge was clearly in lively use, judging from the spent bottles. It provided a delightful spot for lunch, basking on the nearby rocks in the unaccustomed warmth of a breeze blowing direct from the Sahara.

A short climb brought the party up to the dark waters of the Dulyn Reservoir, dramatically hemmed in by the grey crags of Craig y Dulyn. A short way south the route reached the twin reservoir of Melynllyn. This was the site of a slate quarry which operated for about 40 years from the 1860s, exploiting a vein for very fine honing stones. Both reservoirs are now part of the Dolgarrog hydroelectric scheme. A pair of red kites were spotted near here. The walk now turned back north-east following a path along the Clogwyn Maldy at around 2000ft elevation. This brought wonderful views of the hills and the distant prospect of the Conway Valley and the white forest of the Gwynt y Mor wind turbines turning slowly off the coast. On reaching the elaborate sheepfold below Clogwynyreryr a rough path was taken south across the Eigiau valley floodplain as far as the remains of the ¾ mile long stone dam built in 1911 to supply water to power the aluminium works at Dolgarrog in the valley below; shoddy work led the dam to burst disastrously in 1925, flooding the village and causing the tragic loss of 16 lives. A flat gravel track led from near the dam breach point directly back to the parking site. This was a relatively easy walk of some 8 miles and 1700ft of ascent in a wild open landscape, little known to the Club. The unusually balmy weather added to the day’s enjoyment. Noel Davey.

Thursday 28 September 2023. Edern-Porth Dinllaen. This was the first of 5 D walks on the Club’s winter programme and was led by Megan Mentzoni on a dull day but the threatening rain did not fortunately materialise until later. 15 members met at the side of the chapel in Edern which was once under the stewardship of the prominent Welsh Methodist minister, Tom Nefyn Williams. Sadly it is now closed and sold and according to rumour, is to be converted into flats. From the parking site the route went back to the main road and right for a short distance before taking a track north which led to fields and eventually to the Nefyn Golf course. The footpath across the course was taken, disturbing the numerous golfers, and reached the coast guard hut at Porth Dinllaen, the extreme end of the peninsula. This is well known to a number of club members as they are volunteers manning the look out point, the leader being one of them.

It was then down the path to the Nefyn Lifeboat site where lunch was taken after a quick visit to see the lifeboat inside the building. An uneven rocky path was then followed at the base of the cliff for some 300 yards, thankfully terminating at the Traeth Coch pub which was well populated by drinkers and nearly as many dogs! From the back of the pub it was but a short distance uphill on the concrete path back on to the golf course, rejoining our outward route, and to the clubhouse and car park. A path at the rear was taken leading west on field paths, one field was occupied by a herd of not so pleasant looking bullocks which were given a wide berth! Edern was soon reached at its northern end and a gentle stroll through the village returned the party to the starting place. This was an excellent 4 mile walk over 3 hours which ticked all the boxes. Dafydd Williams.

Thursday September 14th 2023. Betws-y-Coed. The walk today was an enjoyable circuit led by Dafydd Williams in the scenic upper Conway Valley, following and criss-crossing the main river and its tributaries. 15 ramblers met at Pont y Pair in the always busy little tourist town of Betws y Coed. It was a pleasant day with light cloud, sunny periods, warm and dry. The route led first over the Afon Llugwy and through the town along the A5, turning off along a minor road running south through pleasant woodland to Beaver Bridge which takes the A470 across the Afon Conway.

A track was then followed past the so-called Fairy Glen, a famous beauty spot since Victorian times, in Welsh known as Ffos Noddyn (Chasm Ditch) reflecting the dramatic ravine where the Afon Lledr joins the Conwy. A steep wooded path led down close to the river and then back up to the Conway Falls Café, a work of Clough Williams Ellis, where there was a stop for morning coffee. The spectacular Falls (Rhaeadr Y Graig Llwyd) themselves are reached though the café grounds amid designated ancient native woodland laced with paths which needed more time to explore than could be afforded today. Thankfully, a large hydroelectric scheme proposed here in 2016 was refused on environmental concerns.

Further on the walk turned onto the B4406, re-crossing the Conway over the Bont Newydd where it runs in a dramatic narrow rocky gorge: intrepid abseilers were in the process of trying to cross. A right turn onto a country lane passed the Penmachno Woollen Mill, built in the 1830s as a fulling mill where cloth woven in local farms was brought to be beaten under hammers driven by a water wheel; later carding (disentangling the wool fibres), spinning and weaving processes were added. The were more splendid falls to be seen on the Afon Machno at Pont y Pandy. A lovely narrow arched bridge, lost in the undergrowth and dubbed the Roman Bridge, was probably a medieval packhorse bridge. The Pont ar Ledr provided one more delightful spot to enjoy another river scene over lunch, before the return to Betws along the outward lane. Some of the party then repaired to the Royal Oak Hotel for refreshments. This was an easy walk mainly on paved lanes in lovely scenery, covering almost 7 miles in about 4 hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday September 10th 2023. Clip, Moel Ysgyfarnogod and Foel Penolau. In the first walk of the new programme Adrian Thomas led a group of six on a strenuous circuit across the extraordinary rocky plateau of the Northern Rhinogydd. The day was warm and lightly overcast, with a few drops of rain which never amounted to much.

A clockwise route was followed from near Cefn Clawdd to the west of Llyn Trawsfynydd. This meant an initial 1.5 mile slog on an indistinct path across the dreaded Crawcwelllt bog which caught one walker up to his thigh. A rocky path then climbed steadily onto Clip, the most southerly peak of the plateau. From here the first of the day’s fine views stretched across Cwm Bychan to Rhinog Fawr and down the misty outline of Llŷn to Ynys Enlli. The route next crossed Bwlch Gwylim and over Craig Ddrwg, climbing a succession of characteristic steep walled mesa-like outcrops topped by platforms of smooth slabs of grey Cambrian grits and mudstones. These were an important source for local manganese mining in the Rhinogydd. On the map most of these features are anonymously designated as ‘piles of stones’.

The small lake of Llyn Corn-ystwc provided a good sheltered lunch spot. Continuing northwards, the route eventually climbed the grassier peak of Moel Ysygyfarnogod, where a trig point marks the highest point of the range at around 2000ft. A trough separates this from the slightly lower boss of bristly rock forming Foel Penolau. These peaks provided a splendid panorama of the Glaslyn estuary and Portmeirion, backed by the summits stretching from Yr Eifl through the heartland of Eryri to the Arenigs in the east.

The descent was relatively straightforward, soon reaching a gravel track which took the party back down to the level ground stretching to Llyn Trawsfynydd. This was a great day in this unique and little known landscape of southern Eryri. Just a couple of others were spotted tackling its challenges over the day. The route of about 7 miles was covered in 6.5 hours with 2450ft of total ascent. Noel Davey.

Thursday August 31st 2023 Tudweiliog Circular. The last walk in the current summer programme was a 5 mile circular around Tudweiliog led by Ruth Williams. Once again, the weather was better than forecast, with light drizzle in the first hour soon giving way to fine conditions with milky sunshine. There was an initial delay to allow half a giant static caravan to be towed out of the layby south of Tudweiliog where the walkers needed to park. The walk set out clockwise on a route mostly following one of 18 Coastal Community Paths established in Gwynedd when the Wales Coast Path was opened about 10 years ago.

This led through fields and lanes to the coast at Porth Ychain, then turning north-east to follow the coast for about 2 miles. This is a lovely section of path along low cliffs lying above a string of small shallow coves. Jagged rocks of ancient geological origin form intricate spits and platforms of striking colours and striation jutting out into limpid seas. A lone seal was spotted amongst the rocks. In many places the cliffs are exposed to erosion and soil creep, forming unusual rippling terraces on steep grassy slopes. Bunds have been built on top apparently in an attempt to arrest the erosion; the path over stream gullies tends to be muddy and steep. The hinterland, part of the Cefnamwlch estate, is generally flat, providing far-reaching views towards inland and northern Llŷn, notably the prominent hills of Yr Eifl and Garn Fadryn. Out to sea, the outline of Caergybi mountain was faintly visible. The promontory at Porth Ysgaden soon came into view with its landmark of a solitary remaining gable wall of an 18th century cottage once used by a customs officer to watch out for smugglers and apparently sometimes collude with them. Porth Ysgaden has a stone walled storage compound for fishing boats, tackle and lobster pots, recently repaired with AONB funds. It is now a quiet spot, but was once an important gateway for local trade, exchanging herring for imported coal, fertiliser and supplies. The pretty cove of Porth Lydan nearby provided a lovely spot for lunch.

The walk continued past Porth Ysglaig, occupied by a long-established encampment of seasonal touring caravans. At Towyn the route turned back inland past a large static caravan site and the newly rebuilt Cwt Tatws café. This led back to the village of Tudweiliog, returning to the start point by field paths near the school. This was an easy and enjoyable walk lasting about 3 hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday August 27 2023. Yr Eifl (B+ walk). Nine ramblers met at Trefor for a climb of Yr Eifl led by Annie Andrews. The day was cloudy with a forecast 50% chance of rain. The walk started from the harbour carpark and circled westwards along the shore of Trwyn y Tâl on the Wales Coast Path, past the pier and the islets of Ynys Bach and Ynys Fawr. The sea was grey and choppy in the gusty north-westerly wind. The view was increasingly dominated by the massive excavations of the Yr Eifl Quarry, the basis of Trefor’s economy from 1850 to the 1960s, as a producer of granite setts for urban paving and the smooth stones for the game of curling. Now a huge derelict crusher building stands high on the hewn cliffs like some ancient castle – indeed hearsay is that it stood in recently as part of a set for filming of the next House of the Dragon production.

Next came a long haul up to the top of the Bwlch yr Eifl at about 1000ft with a welcome pause for a panad at the foot of what remains after all the quarrying of Garn Fôr, the smallest of the Eifl group. The climb then continued on a steep rocky path to the main peak (Garn Ganol) at 1850ft. Fine views along the coast of Arfon, across to Caergybi and south to Port Dinllaen vanished as the party reached the mist lurking across the summit. The last 100ft were a scramble across large tumbled boulders. At the trig point there was time for a quick group photo and to ponder, not for the first time, the meaning of the inscrutable metal ‘4AH’ sign.

The path down through the heather and bilberries was tricky on account of rocks made slippery by the damp. Soon, however, across the intervening marshy col, the striking ramparts of the iron age hillfort of Tre’r Ceiri (Town of the Giants) came into view. The two rings of walls, up to 10ft high, enclose some 150 round stone houses, many with walls still 3ft high. The path led up to the site through a narrow gateway on the NW side. The long narrow summit is crowned by a large round cairn covering an Early Bronze Age cremation burial which predates the defences. A sheltered spot for lunch was found just below here.

The first spattering of rain brought precautionary donning of wet weather gear, but this never led to much. The route out of the fort through the SW gateway circled on down to the B4417 running from Llanaelhaearn to Llithfaen. From here easier paths across fields and through country lanes skirted the steep eastern side of Yr Eifl, passing a mobile phone mast at Gallt y Ceiliog and eventually returning to Trefor village. Despite the unpromising weather, this proved an enjoyable and strenuous day in these lovely hills, covering 7.5 miles and 2500ft of total ascent over 6.25hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday 27 August 2023. Around foothills of Yr Eifl & Tre Ceiri. This was an alternative to the main walk (above) which took in the summits of both Yr Eifl and Tre Ceiri. Eight members congregated at the 1st lay bye on the right on the B4417 road from Llanaelhaearn to Llithfaen. The weather was cool and dampish with mist circling the upper reaches of the summits. As a result, Dafydd Williams, the leader, having climbed Snowdon 3 days earlier, decided to curtail the length of the walk as the weather forecast for the afternoon was for conditions to deteriorate when the walkers would have been not far short of the summit of Tre Ceiri.

The walk commenced by taking the path northwards from the lay bye and crossing two fields grazed by cattle including a bull which thankfully kept its distance! The path has been improved by virtue of red topped marker poles and in the third field it goes steeply downhill and in the slippery conditions the leader and at least one other resorted to sliding on their backsides! A narrow road was then taken westwards for half a mile before turning left on to a south westerly path heading towards the line of pylons running from Trefor up to Bwlch yr Eifl. Difficulty was encountered before the path met up with the Trefor route, the former route being inaccessible, and the detour was through dense shoulder high ferns and finally up hill to join the correct path. From there it was but a short distance steeply uphill to Bwlch yr Eifl where lunch was taken.

It was then merely a short mile down to Mount Pleasant where a car had been left to ferry the drivers back to the start. Two of the walkers decided to complete the walk and, after encountering some mist, they were able to complete it safely. Despite the murky conditions, which obscured the magnificent views normally to be seen in this beautiful countryside, it was an enjoyable 4 mile walk over 3 hours. Dafydd Williams.

Thursday August 24 Yr Wyddfa/Snowdon. A few weeks after his 87th birthday, Dafydd Williams once again made an annual pilgrimage up Yr Wyddfa on the Ranger Path, accompanied by 12 other members of the Club. It was a bright and dry day, though cloud lingered over the summit till early afternoon. Starting from the car park at Llyn Cwellyn, a good pace was made on the easy gravel path over the first two miles, passing the junction of the newly improved path down to Llanberis via Bwlch Maesgwm. There was a mid-morning stop for a panad at Bwlch Cwm Brwynog above the reservoir of Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas, about halfway in terms of distance.

Progress slowed over the next 1500ft of steeper ascent on more rocky and eroded paths over the Clogwyn Du’r Arddu. At last the party reached the path junction by the Snowdon Railway at about 3200ft elevation, now moving into the mist and joining the hordes coming up from Llanberis and Penypass. The congestion at the top, inflated by the reopening of the railway and café in May after 3.5 years of closure for Covid and maintenance, made the going difficult and quite unpleasant on the last section to the summit. After over 4 hours of climbing and in now quite chilly conditions it was high time to stop for lunch in a sheltered spot amidst the crowds trying to squash into the heaving café or get their photo opportunity at the still viewless summit. Soon after, however, the mist began to lift, opening up spectacular views of Crib Goch and the winding steps of the Pyg Path. After the triumphant bustle of the peak, it was a relief to regain the relative calm of the Ranger Path.

The leisurely 3 hour descent was a magnificent experience in bright afternoon sunlight of startling clarity, giving time to savour the grandeur of the landscape: the route circled down into Cwm Clogwyn, dotted with silver lakes and hedged in by the jagged cliffs of Bwlch Main and Llechog; Llyn Padarn and the lowlands of Arfon and Môn stretched out below to the north; a wall of peaks rose opposite to the west, from Moel Hebog to Mynydd Mawr, extending over the green slopes of the ‘Carousel’ to Moel Eilio; while across the sea in distant Llŷn the glinting outline of Mynydd Cilan and St Tudwal’s Roads could be picked out. A successful day covering 8 miles and 3250ft of ascent over 8 hours was celebrated with refreshments at the Cwellyn Arms. Noel Davey.

Sunday August 20th 2023.  Cadair Idris. The Club last climbed ‘Cader’ 5 years ago on a very wet day, reprogramming for this summer only to have it postponed by stormy weather 3 weeks ago. Third time lucky, today’s weather on the mountain proved to be much better with plenty of sun and views, despite an uncertain forecast.  Nine led by Noel Davey   made the trip to Minfordd for the climb from the south-east side of the mountain.   The first section comprised a steep ascent by steps through the delightful wooded gorge of Nant Gadair, in full spate after recent rain. After about half a mile at 1000ft elevation the rocky path levelled off somewhat onto more exposed terrain, skirting west to the sombre Llyn Cau, hedged in by the great arc of cliffs forming the Cadair massif, an iconic view made famous by Richard Wilson, the 18C father of British landscape painters.

A stop was made for a morning panad at a perch high above the lake at about 1700ft.   The path continued steeply via cairns, passing Craig Cau Amarch and giving splendid  views south down to Talyllyn.  Graig Cau brought a tricky and irritating loss of height above the  plunging drops down Bwlch Cau. Finally, the route joined the busier Pony Path coming up from Dolgellau and reached the summit cairn of Penygadair at just under 3,000ft (893m) after about 3 hours of climbing from Minfordd.  At this stage there was still mist enveloping the tops, curtailing any views, but the SW winds were warm enough to allow lunch on the nearby rocks without recourse to the substantial refuge hut. A lone scrawny sheep nuzzled the group, transfixed by the scraps of food on offer. The sun came through soon after, providing spectacular views on the easy walk east along the wide grassy plateau ridge to Mynydd Moel. The small town of Dolgellau nestled below to the north, the Mawddach snaking  west to the rail bridge at Barmouth, bounded by the mountains of the Rhinogydd. To the south and east, the rolling scarps  of the Cambrian mountains stretched gloriously across mid-Wales.

In order to avoid the tortuous direct descent down the eroded scree path (thankfully now being slowly paved with steps) , a short detour was taken further east by indistinct sheep paths through heather and bilberries. This regained the main path down through the National Nature Reserve, rejoining the outward route at Pont Nant Cadair. This was a strenuous but rewarding day on one of the great southern peaks of Eryri, covering 7 miles in length but some 3700ft of cumulative ascent over just over 6 hours.    Noel Davey

Thursday August 17 2023. Parc Glynllifon. Megan stepped in at short notice to lead a party of 10 on an easy walk in Parc Glynllifon in warm sunshine. The enormous Plas itself, the ancestral home of Lord Newborough, is now closed and steadily decaying as it waits for the new owner to decide how to redevelop it. The Agricultural College manages the estate farm and some of the buildings, but the former listed historic garden and pleasure grounds are managed by Gwynedd Council as a Country Park open to the public. After a period of neglect these grounds are now being revived. They comprise woodland with a wide selection of fine trees, fountains, cascades, follies and sculptures, connected by a network of shaded paths, offering much of interest for a good walk. The walkers lingered to inspect features of particular note including a pet cemetery with a hermitage (Capel y Cwn) and art installations such as Gwerin y Gwaith, commemorating the Penrhyn Lockout of 1900-1903. The charming amphitheatre, fronted by arches of struggling yew, provided a sunny spot for lunch in the sunshine, while others preferred the shade of picnic tables under the trees. On the way back there were detours to see the small boating pool at the Childrens’ Mill, and Coed y Teras, a group of carved oak pillars telling the story of Cilmyn Droed-ddu, a mythological ancestor of the Glynllifon family. The Black Cat Café provided a welcome tea to round off a leisurely and sociable stroll of some 2.5 miles over as many hours. Noel Davey.

Sunday August 13 2023. Lôn Goed. Dafydd Williams led 21 ramblers on a walk up and down the full length of the Lôn Goed, the well known lane of Eifionydd named after the oaks and beeches which line either side over a distance of about 5 miles. This track was built in the 1820s between Afon Wen on the coast running north to Hendre Cennin mainly to transport lime and peat to fertilise inland fields of Llŷn. It was famously celebrated in R.Williams Parry’s poem ‘Eifionydd’ which praises the beauty and ‘perfect peace’ of the Lôn Goed. This was a particularly apposite choice of walk at the end of the Llŷn and Eifonydd Eisteddfod week, since this year’s fine Eisteddfod chair was carved from a 200 year old Lôn Goed oak saved at Tyddyn Heilyn after it fell in Storm Darwin in 2014. The walk started from the small carpark alongside the Chwilog back road, first going down to the main road at Afon Wen, the proper start point. A previously muddy section near here has now been sympathetically regravelled to improve access. A good pace was made throughout the day in pleasant dry sunny periods with stops for coffee and lunch. The going was easy with dry conditions underfoot and an almost imperceptible gentle ascent, totalling some 630ft over the whole walk, a perfect backdrop for some good conversation. The lane looked delightful in its summer cloak of verdant leaves and grass, lush after recent rains. The total length of around 10 miles was covered in just over 5 enjoyable hours. Noel Davey.

Thursday 3rd August 2023. Llyn Padarn. An overcast, but fine day found 14 ramblers heading for Llanberis for a circuit of Llyn Padarn led by Annie Andrew and Jean Norton. The walk started from the Slate Museum, first visiting the sturdy round tower of Castell Dolbadarn, standing proudly (despite a recent vandal attack) on the isthmus between Llyn Padarn and Llyn Peris. This was probably built by Llywelyn Fawr in the 12th century to guard the Llanberis Pass. The route then followed the promenade along the southern shore of the lake through the Padarn Country Park, passing the now sadly closed Electric Mountain Visitor Centre, soon to revert to community grassland.

The metalled track continued past an area reserved for kayaking and through a tunnel to Pen y Llyn, where the old bridge provides an iconic view, celebrated by artists such as Turner, right down the lake to the castle perched under the peak of Yr Wyddfa. The route now turned along the north shore, climbing steeply up a wooded lane through Coed y Clegyr to Fachwen. Here there were a few well-kept, modest cottages with lovely views through the trees down to the lake and to the mountains beyond. After a mile or so, a path was taken down through delightful oak woodlands. There was a stop for lunch in an enchanting glade beside a tumbling rocky stream crossed by a rustic footbridge. A steep rocky path along the wooded clifftop of Alltwen, 300ft above the lake, eventually led down to the Old Quarry Hospital. This is now a well presented visitor centre, vividly illustrating the medical treatment of injured quarry workers in the 19th century, often gruesome yet ahead of its time.

The walk continued down to the centre of slate heritage at Gilfach Ddu, past the deep blue pool of the Vivian Quarry, a well known diving site, and across the tracks of the Llanberis Lake Railway where tiny steam engines puff visitors 2-3 miles up and down the northern shore. This was an attractive and interesting walk of some 6 miles over 4.5 hours in this deservedly popular magnet of the National Park. Noel Davey.