Aug 22 - Jul 23
Sunday 30th July 2023. Cadair Idris. Walk postponed due to bad weather conditions. It is planned to reschedule the walk on 20th August 2023, but this eill need to be confirmed.
Thursday July 20th 2023. Moel Bronmiod. On a fine and sunny day a party of 24 ramblers led by Judith Thomas met at Llanaelhaearn for a walk in the lovely Clynnog Hills. The route led round the church and through the village, taking the country lane climbing east through the rural tranquillity of Cwm Coryn. After 1.5 miles, at the end of the road, a track was climbed northwards, leading to a short, but steep ascent of Moel Bronmiod. This distinctive outlying peak of the Clynnog Hills with an elevation of 1365ft was the main objective of the day. Its prominent boss of rocky boulders provided a splendid vantage point for lunch, affording far-reaching views southwards across the Llŷn lowlands to the misty outline of the Cambrian mountains across the bay.
The route then took a gentle descent of the northern slope of the mountain, making for a stone step stile, one of two new structures recently installed under a Llŷn AONB project to improve and integrate amenities for walkers in this dramatic but little known protected landscape. This new stile performed its role as intended, allowing easy crossing of the formidable six foot boundary wall which otherwise divides the Hills. The party was soon able to reach the Coastal Community path which crosses the central grassy plateau, running westwards under the jagged peak of Gyrn Ddu. From here there were more fine views towards Yr Eifl and Mynydd Carnguwch. At Fron Heulog, where two remote farmhouses are being slowly restored, the path turned off south, detouring round Maes y Cwm, and continuing through Penllechog farmyard and fields to reach the main road back at Llanaelhaearn. All enjoyed this excellent walk of some 5.6 miles length and 1160ft of ascent over 4.25 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday July 16th 2023. Llanfachreth-Coed y Brenin. The walk this Sunday was a 10 mile circuit from Llanfachraeth to Coed y Brenin enjoyed by a select group of five led by Hugh Evans. The day featured intermittent showers from saturated clouds, but it gradually became drier and sunnier later. The walk started from the interesting upland village of Llanfachreth which was historically connected with the Nannau Estate, based near the conspicuous hill of Moel Offrwm to the south. A good track was followed north, climbing steadily onto heather moorland at 1250 feet. A boggy section traversed Bwlch Gwyn between the hills of Cerniau and Moel y Llan. The indistinct waterlogged paths here made the going tricky.
It was a relief to reach a forested area and enjoy a morning coffee on huge cushions of bright green moss under the conifers. A steep and muddy forest path led down to an easier section and the first of several crossings over the Afon Wen. A smallholding at near Cae Poeth featured donkeys, a tree house and a small pond hosting ducks and geese. Nearby, a pleasant woodland glade was a good site for a picnic lunch during a dry spell. The walk now entered the southern part of the Coed y Brenin, formerly the Vaughan Forest, developed by the Forestry Commission for planting in the first half of the 20C, one of four UK forests to be renamed in 1935 to commemorate the silver jubilee of George V. The area is now managed by Natural Resource Wales as a popular recreational area for both walkers and mountain bikers, providing a delightful but bewildering maze of tracks and paths winding across a hilly landscape through the trees and beside the many rivers and streams. A number of other walkers and cyclists were now encountered for the first time in the day. Current forest operations had closed a few paths, requiring some diversion from the original walk plan.
The route taken followed tracks west and south, skirting the small hills of Moel Dôlfrwynog, Bryn Coch and Bryn Merllyn. There was a short detour up Mynydd Penrhos to a fine lookout point high above Ganllwyd, looking across the deep wooded Mawddach/Eden Valley, the route of the busy A470, framed by peaks of the Rhinogydd rising to the west. A couple of enormous swarming ant hills built from conifer needles were a curiosity here. The final sections of the walk descended to cross the Afon Wen now close to its confluence with the Mawddach. A short but steep zig zag ascent through lovely oak and beech woods followed, soon reaching the road back to Llanfachraeth. This was a good 6 hour walk with an ascent of about 2000 feet through the lovely, peaceful countryside of southern Meirionnydd. Noel Davey
Thursday July 6th 2023. Afon Wen-Penychain. Nia Parry led 26 ramblers on a circuit from Afon Wen Farm on a day of pleasant sunny periods. The route led past the main farm buildings and by private tracks over open fields of barley to the coast at Sŵn y Don. From here a track ran westwards close to the railway, passing caravans and the site of Gorsaf Afon Wen, the now closed station on the Cambrian line. After circling back to the A497 roundabout in the hamlet of Afon Wen, there was a short section along the main highway and the former back route to reach a lane off to the left to Penychain railway halt, once the gateway to Butlins Holiday Camp and still serving its successor, the vast site of Hafan y Mor Holiday Park.
The road continued past the substantial listed buildings of Penychain, built by the Glynllifon Estate in the mid-19C as a model farm. Across the greens of the Park’s 9 hole golf course, the walk reached the wilder rocky terrain of Penychain headland, jutting out into choppy seas. From the trig point, all of 75ft above sea level, there were grand views west down the sweep of Abererch beach to Pwllheli and the coast of Penllŷn. A chairlift operated here until 1998 to bring holiday campers down to the shore. The small cove at Pont Fechan nearby provided a good location for lunch in the company of a few sea bathers.
The walk now took a new gravel section of the Wales Coast Path along the rocky shore, well screened by bushes from the luxurious Hafan y Mor lodges. Further on, works were going on to upgrade older parts of the site including protection of the eroding shore and building of a new café. The tide was now low enough for the walk to continue along the sandy beach, eventually regaining Sŵn y Don and the outward route. This was an easy and relaxing walk of under 6 miles over 3-4 hours on predominantly flat terrain. Noel Davey.
Sunday 2nd July 2023. Cilan - Machroes. A party of 8 led by Debbie Lucas enjoyed a circuit on the Wales Coast Path around Mynydd Cilan and Cim near Abersoch. It was dry and bright, but a brisk westerly made it feel cool on exposed sections of the path. The walk set out early from the car park at Porth Neigwl, where surfers were already gathering to tackle the sizeable waves. An anti-clockwise path was followed along the low dune cliff above the beach, passing Ty’n Don where a wind turbine was being erected close to the path. There was then a climb up to Mynydd Cilan by a relatively steep path with a broken footbridge needing attention. The route followed the broad grass tracks circling over the moorland plateau close to the cliffs, reaching about 300ft at the highest point. Looking back, there were grand views across the great 4 mile sweep of Hell’s Mouth to Mynydd Rhiw and Garn Fadryn.
Eventually, the path turned north in time for a coffee stop near the remains of a neolithic burial chamber overlooking the impressive headland crags of Trwyn Lech y Doll. The next section plunged down to a stream crossing at Muriau, climbing back up past the earthworks of an iron age fort and above the towering cliffs of the Pared Mawr. From here there were spectacular views down to the deep bay of Porth Ceiriad and the mountains of Eryri beyond. Another climb took the walk up from the bay to the gusty heights of Trwyn yr Wylfa. Another switchback led down to Pistyll Cim and up again. A rocky outcrop provided shelter for lunch overlooking the lighthouse at St Tudwal’s Island West. Below, the rough seas pounded the black rocks and swirled in and out a dark cave. A lone yacht tacked valiantly into the wind, but after a while this fine sight was rudely interrupted by the arrival of five jet skis leaping noisily over the waves, a thrill for the riders but no one else. The path eventually led down for a brief stop at Machroes at the southern end of the Porth Fawr. All around there were many reminders of the 19C metal mines which operated here.
The route followed the straight level track of the ‘Lon Haearn’, a horse-drawn railway which once took the ore between Sarn Bach and the old wharf at Penrhyn Du. The last leg followed the valley track through Ty Newydd Farm and across fields to the outward route along the Porth Neigwl dunes. This was a rewarding and relaxed day in some of the best coastal scenery on the whole Wales Path, covering 10 miles in about 6 hours, but including a deceptively strenuous 2500 feet of intermittent ascent. Noel Davey.
Thursday June 22 Aber Ogwen. Kath Spencer led 11 Club members on a pleasant circuit from Aber Ogwen along the coast east of Bangor and back over the hills behind. The weather was sunny and warm. The walk set out from the small car park on the coast overlooking the striking sunlit prospect of Traeth Lafan at low tide, a vast expanse of intertidal mud and sand, stretching towards Beaumaris on the Anglesey shore opposite. This is a Special Protection Area and Nature Reserve on account of its rare ecosystem and the large numbers and range of waders and wildfowl attracted by its fish and crustaceans.
The Wales Coast Path closely hugged the shoreline for about two miles, eventually reaching Morfa Aber, where there was a stop for a panad and birthday cake under a mature and still healthy ash tree. A road was then followed inland under the A55 and past St Bodfan, Abergwyngregyn, a 19C church designed by Pugin. A path climbed steeply above Crymlyn Oaks to reach open access moorland at just under 1000ft elevation just below Moel Wnion, an outlier of the Carneddau. This was a fine vantage point for lunch, looking down to the green fields of the coastal plain with the distant roar of traffic on the A55 and the spectacle of the Anglesey shore beyond.
In the afternoon the route joined the North Wales Path, a somewhat neglected 60 mile upland trail from Prestatyn to Bangor. A good undulating track crossed areas of fridd, skirting stately stands of conifer woods at Nant Heilyn and Coed Ty’n yr Hendre. At Bronydd Isaf a metalled lane took the party down steeply through deep glades and eventually across the A55 and lowland fields back to the coast. A final section along the beach cut through the Spinnies North Wales Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve, a series of wooded lagoons close to the Ogwen Estuary providing a valuable habitat for birds. This lies close under the walls of Penrhyn Castle where coast walkers are soon to enjoy a new route to Bangor. This was a most enjoyable day out in a not so well known area, covering 8 miles and about 1500ft of ascent over 4-5 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday June 18 2023. Llanfairfechan-Drum. Today’s walk in the Carneddau was a repeat of one made last November on a day of poor weather. This time Kath Spencer led a party of 10. The weather was at first promising, warm with sunny periods and light winds, but misty and wet conditions set in by afternoon. The walk started from the delightful Nant y Coed nature reserve at the end of Valley Road, 500ft above Llanfairfechan.
A steep climb through fields led up onto the moorland of Garreg Fawr at around 1200ft elevation. From here there were the first of the day’s fine views down to the busy coastal plain and across Conway Bay to Penmon and Puffin Island at the south eastern tip of Anglesey. Broad tracks continued south to meet the historic upland route running east-west across the plateau between the ‘fridd’ slopes to the north and the Carneddau foothills to the south. From here two of the party took the most direct path up to Drum, while the main group took a more circuitous route for a mile east along the old Roman Road before turning up for a long plod up the ridge of Drosgl, past the rocky outcrop of Carnedd y Ddelw. The two groups eventually converged at 2500ft at the summit of Drum in time for lunch together in much milder conditions than last time. The peak is also known as Carnedd Penyborth Goch and is the site of a bronze age cairn, somewhat degraded after rebuilding as a refuge for walkers over 40 years ago.
By now the views over the higher Carneddau and towards the Conway Valley were beginning to mist over, prompting a descent on the track to the north-west, past herds of the iconic Carneddau ponies. Near Blaen y Ddalfa most of the party detoured over the ridge further west formed by the modest hills of Pen Bryn-Du, Yr Orsedd and Foel Ganol. Great clouds of mist funnelled up from Cwm Afon Anafon and soon the heavens opened in a thunderous deluge, obliterating the view and soaking the walkers. Fortunately this was shortlived, soon replaced by a light, but warm drizzle for much of the rest of the walk. Interesting variants on the outward route eventually brought the party back to Nant y Coed just in time to avoid further stormy downpours. The day was strenuous but rewarding, covering some 10.7 miles over 6.5 hours with a cumulative 3100ft of climb. Noel Davey.
Thursday June 8th 2023. Cwm y Glo. Elsbeth Gwynne guided 20 ramblers on a pleasant and interesting walk in the hills above Cwm y Glo. The sun shone warmly yet again. After parking at the community Menter Fachwen site, the first stop was to learn from a memorial plaque about a catastrophic explosion in 1869 of two cartloads of nitroglycerin (intended for the slate quarries) which sadly killed six and threw debris half a mile away.
A steep narrow lane led past pretty houses to the upper part of the village and then onto a maze of paths festooned with spring growth, linking the characteristic small walled fields on which local families once depended. These featured numerous original iron gates, many no doubt dating from the 19C, as well as many less well preserved wooden ladder stiles. The route continued past Bryn Bras Castle, a Regency country house built in the style of a medieval castle, now well screened by trees and partly in use as holiday apartments. Higher up, the path led onto open access moorland covered in bilberries, heather and invading bracken. The OS map shows extensive evidence of prehistoric settlement here 1000 feet up on the slopes of Garreg Lefain.
A stop for lunch provided a great spot to take in the fine panorama of the plains of Arfon and Ynys Môn stretching below. A well screened caravan site and a placid lake lay closer by. The only blemish was the nearby line of high transmission cables aloft their monstrous but structurally elegant pylons. The walk descended on field paths via Bwlch, eventually rejoining the outward path back to Cwm y Glo. This was an enjoyable and relaxed walk of 4.5 miles length in about 4 hours, more difficult than it may sound with the pace slowed by the steep ascent, the many gates and stiles, and the dense growth along the paths. Noel Davey.
Sunday June 4 Bethesda-Nant Ffrancon. Fifteen ramblers led by Annie travelled to Bethesda for a walk in the Nant Ffrancon Valley on yet another beautiful day in a long run of remarkable spring weather. The walk set out from a temporary ‘park and ride’ carpark organised by local initiative to ease visitor congestion in Eryri.
The route initially followed the west bank of the Afon Ogwen, crossing the river at Ogwen Bank, where there is an offtake for the local community hydro scheme. A short climb through the pleasant woodlands of Braichmelyn led out onto open elevated moorland on the eastern side of the valley. There were lovely views of the patchwork of green fields neatly manicured by grazing sheep in the flat valley bottom. The rugged wall of Carnedd y Filiast and Mynydd Perfedd reared up steeply on the opposite side of the valley. This was also a good vantage point to view the workings of the giant Penrhyn Quarry and watch the trucks toiling up dusty tracks to launch their intrepid passengers on the fabled Zipwires across the vast quarry caverns. The party continued up the ridge of Cefn yr Orsedd, joining the advance group for a leisurely panad near sheepfolds at about 1200ft. From here there were spectacular, crystal clear views to the east of the main Carneddau peaks, including Carnedd Dafydd and Yr Elen.
A gentle descent crossed the busy A5 at Ty Gwyn onto the valley floor, where a large slab of rock near Maes Caradoc provided a convenient perch for lunch. The afternoon leg followed the country lane back on the western side of the valley via Tai Newyddion, following the Slate Trail. A wooded section approaching Bethesda provided some shade from the increasingly warm afternoon sun. This was an easy and enjoyable walk of about 7 miles length in less than 5 hours with some 1500ft of ascent. Noel Davey.
Thursday 25th May 2023. Capel Garmon. Today’s circular walk led jointly by Annie Andrew and Jean Norton started and finished at the iconic Waterloo Bridge in Betws y Coed, with 15 walkers. The club last undertook this walk some 10 years ago and were blessed with excellent weather on this occasion as they took an old very steep path, to the left of the Ty Gwyn Hotel. This thankfully started to level out after half a mile or so, passing Gelli Lynnon and Pant y Pwll before reaching the charming secluded village of Capel Garmon. A tour of the village was undertaken which disclosed all the requisites of a proper village a church and perhaps more importantly, a pub!! The White Horse.
The route then went south along a lane for half a mile before passing a farm, Maes-y-Garnedd, almost immediately afterwards you turn right and down the entrance to Ty’n-y-coed farm before reaching on your left the excellent Bronze Age Burial Chamber. Lunch was taken in the warm sunshine and the spot also offered excellent views of the Glyder and Carneddau ranges.
The track then went left meandering through meadows full of colourful wild-flowers before joining a downhill farm track which led to a small tarmacked road. This continued downwards for some 300 yards before reaching and turning right onto the busy A5 at Conway Falls. Walking through the car park, in the corner, a difficult path with steep stone steps, runs parallel to the A5. After a short distance the path improved at a point where the old A5 was routed and is now woodland with a deep gorge to the left. Further on the path widens and allows views of Moel Siabod to the left and Dinas Mawr rising to the right and reaches the entrance to Fairy Glen. Arriving at the A470 it was left over Beaver Bridge and immediately right onto a minor road which in a mile or so leads back to Betws-y-Coed and the starting point at Waterloo Bridge. This was quite a challenging walk of some 6 miles over 4 hours with a steep section at the start. Dafydd Williams.
Sunday 21st May 2023. Maentwrog – Bryn Cader Faner. Hugh Evans led a party of eight walkers on a circular walk starting off from close to the Maentwrog Power Station, visiting Nant Pasgan-mawr Bryn Cadre Faner and Llandecwyn. The weather was ideal, sunny and warm with a gentle breeze. A steepish but firm track took us up through dappled sunlight in the ancient woodland at Coed Cae’n-y-coed in the Llennyrch Gorge.
We emerged from the woodland and walked on southwards on fairly level terrain, across grassland and rough grazing until we reached the conduit (leet) which empties into Llyn Trawsfynydd. There we had our morning break in the warmth of the sun looking northeast along Ceunant Geifr. Then it was onward SW along Nant Ddu, past Nant Pasgan Mawr and Nant Pasgan Fach.
The next stage took us up a fairly steep and sometimes wet path to join the south-westerly path on the lower slopes of Diffwys, Foel Penolau and Moel Ysgarfarnogod. This path had its boggy moments which necessitated a diversion or two but thanks to some recent dry weather, it was passable and enable us to get to the Bryn Cader Faner cairn in time for lunch. This bronze age round cairn is 8.7 metres in diameter with 18 thin jagged pillars which jut upwards from its circumference. It is thought to date back to the late third millennium BC.
After lunch, our route took us northwest past Y Gyrn and Caerwych down to Llyn Tecwyn Isaf. En route there were some breath-taking views over the Dwyryd Estuary and the mountain ranges beyond. There was a brief visit to the church at Llandecwyn, which enabled us to cool off, then onward along the north-westerly shore of Llyn Tecwyn Uchaf through the Coed Felenrhyd forest and finally down a very uneven track through Coed Cae’n-y-coed back to our cars. This walk gave us excellent variations of scenery: forestry, woodland, moorland, lakes, and mountains, and the weather enabled us to get the views. It was 9.5 miles in length with 2180ft of ascent and took us 5 hours 38minutes. Hugh Evans.
Thursday 11 May 2023 Walk Report. Lôn Gwyrfai. Today’s walk led by Dafydd Williams was a sponsored walk to raise funds for the Club to make a contribution towards the cost of the National Eisteddfod of Wales which is being held this year on our home patch, the Lleyn Peninsula. Purposefully a relative short and easy walk was chosen so that no one was excluded and 27 walkers turned up at Beddgelert, one non-member being a friend of Dafydd’s. On a lovely day the party travelled by bus up to Rhyd Ddu and dismounted at the Snowdon Railway station where use was made of the convenient facilities. Dafydd in outlining what was to follow, being a five mile walk along the excellent Lon Gwyrfai footpath back to Beddgelert, welcomed back to our midst Jos Marien, our loyal member from Flanders whom we had not seen previously this year. The path runs mainly downhill initially on the northern bank of Llyn y Gadair from where there were outstanding views of the surrounding peaks, to the east, Yr Wyddfa, Yr Aran, Y Lliwedd and Moel Cynghorion and above us to the west, the Nantlle Ridge. The path runs alongside the railway track and is a pleasure to walk on, it was opened some 12/15 years ago when a number of footpaths were joined up and new paths created where necessary, quite rightly it also caters for cyclists and horse riders.
A steady pace was maintained through the forested area and the railway line was crossed for the first time at Cae’r Gors, followed by a downhill section to Hafod Ruffydd Isaf. Having turned 90% right and uphill the railway was crossed once more prior to reaching Hafod Ruffydd Uchaf where there are two benches located enabling fine views of the afore mentioned Eryri range. Apart from a short section the second half of the walk was down hill with the summit of Moel Hebog towering above us to the north and Moel Lefn and Moel yr Ogof close by. Approaching Beddgelert, the farm-house Cwm Cloch (Bell Valley! is passed. Where did that name come from?) and the railway line was crossed and re-crossed three times before emerging on to the Beddgelert-Rhyd Ddu road travelled on in the bus earlier. From there it was a mere 200 yards to the car park. A number of the walkers partook of afternoon tea at the nearby Saracens Head Hotel to round off a thoroughly enjoyable short walk which allowed ample time for animated conversations. A grand total of £360.00 was raised in sponsorship, a tidy sum! Dafydd Williams.
Sunday May 7 2023. Tarren Hills. Gareth Hughes took a party of 13 ramblers from Abergynolwyn into the remote and rarely walked Tarren Hills. The Club last did this walk from here 14 years ago. The promise of morning fog proved wrong, cloud soon giving way to pleasant sunshine with a light breeze. The walk set out on a steep lane leading south out of the village, soon turning onto a path climbing up the deep and narrow wooded gorge of the Nant Gwernol, a delight of tumbling waters beside mossy banks alive with bluebells, white stitchwort and other flowers of early May. The Nant Moelfre took the party higher, reaching a broad forest track which was followed for a further mile skirting west through coniferous forest, some of it recently felled. A little beyond Tarren Fach, the route cut 300ft up a steep and narrow rocky path to the ridge above, where there was a stop for morning coffee, a welcome pause before a long slog along the fence line 650ft up a steep grassy slope to the summit of Tarren Hendre. The plateau like peak at 2080ft was itself featureless, but there were lovely views down to the glistening Dyfi estuary to the south and the crags of the Cadair ridge, still shrouded in cloud to the north.
The walk continued along an open ridge, circling eastward over Foel y Geifr. A sheltered spot was found for lunch amid the heather and bilberries. Arcing round a salient of forest, a second ascent was made to the crumbling stone trig point at the top of Tarren y Gesail, at 2200ft the highest peak of the day. Some trekked directly up the steep 800ft grassy slope to reach it, while others took a longer but more gentle route zigzagging along an unexpected gravel cycle track. Two of the party, perhaps wisely, gave the second climb a miss, finding an easier escape route back. Again, the views from the summit plateau were spectacular, the wild hills of mid-Wales stretching seemingly for ever to the south and east beyond Machynleth in the valley below. A precipitous and painful grassy descent of 1000ft in less than a mile brought the party down to a stream and forest edge near the ruins of Pont Laeron. A difficult path eventually led to the ruins of Bryn Eglwys quarry, now a peaceful wooded haven, but a reminder of Abergynolwyn’s 19C slate industry heritage. The final section of the walk followed an easier track, rejoining the lane from the village. This was a strenuous but splendid day in these tranquil hills, covering just under 10 miles in 7 hours with 3450ft of ascent. Noel Davey.
Thursday April 27th 2023. Cwm Pennant. Annie Andrew stepped in at the last minute to lead a walk in the enchanting valley of Cwm Pennant. 17 ramblers met at the small car park at Beudy y’r Ddôl at the head of the valley, having shared cars from the church at the bottom junction for the narrow and winding trip 5 miles through gates to the start point. It was a lightly overcast day and the threatened rain held off. The route taken followed a figure of eight switching from either side of the headwaters of the Afon Dwyfor. The main climb of the day came first, 350ft NE up a path on steep boggy grassland to Cwm Trwsgl. At one of the many ruins surviving from the ill-fated Prince of Wales Quarry, the route turned south along the track of the railway which once took the slate down to Cwmystradllyn for milling and then to the wharves at Porthmadog.
The walk soon diverted onto a moorland path leading down to fields around Tyddyn Mawr where there was a stop for a panad. The party then joined the narrow road on the western side of the valley, following this at a good pace south past Plas y Pennant. Across Pont-y Plas the route turned north again on the metalled track up to Brithdir. Lunch was taken amid ancient walls and stones, a reminder of the long settlement history of this peaceful valley, attested by the remains of many house platforms, enclosures and hut circles. There was a chance to drink in the views of the sombre peaks soaring to over 2000 feet above, the line of Moel Hebog, Moel yr Ogof and Moel Lefn to the east and the great arc of the Nantlle Ridge circling the valley to the west and north. The walk then continued on less distinct paths, crossing a boggy moorland section and then taking a courtesy route leading back across the valley through green pastures, grazed by flocks of ewes and their lambs. From there it was a fast step back to the start point on the western road. This was a lovely walk in an area remarkable for its tranquil beauty, covering about 6.5 miles and an ascent of 1100ft in under 4 hours. Noel Davey
Sunday April 23rd 2023. Capel Curig-Llyn Crafnant-Llyn Geirionydd. On a day that turned out to be dry and bright Eryl Thomas led a dozen walkers on a popular circuit of the lakes in the hills to the north-east of Capel Curig. The walk started from the Bryn Glo layby on the A5, climbing 450ft by a steeped wooded path past Nyth Bran onto a more open plateau, the same route taken by a recent Thursday walk. The way from the top, however, turned west and then north along a recently upgraded and now easy gravel path along the Nant y Geuallt below Crimpiau and into the Cwm Glas Crafnant Nature Reserve. There was a stop for coffee on a prominent hillock looking down the deep and narrow wooded valley of Llyn Crafnant, several hundred feet below. The path followed a forest track on the western shore to the head of the lake where an obelisk commemorates its use as a reservoir for Llanrwst. A road connection here from Conwy makes this a popular weekend spot.
The route now crossed the watershed to Llyn Geirionydd in the next valley, making a detour to the ‘Klondyke’ lead mine, so called from a short-lived gold rush which turned out to be based on a false rumour of a find. This was a lovely sheltered spot for lunch beside a tumbling stream close to the evocative ruins of mine buildings. At the head of the lake below stands the Taliesin monument commemorating the supposed birthplace of the famous 6th century poet and the holding of an ‘arwest’, a 19C precursor of the National Eisteddfod. The afternoon leg carefully navigated exposed tree roots on a path along the peaceful western shore of Geirionydd. At 3pm the peace was briefly interrupted by the nationwide mobile phone siren test, but only half the group got the call. The route back followed broad forest tracks past Llyn Bychan, eventually regaining the earlier path leading back down to Bryn Glo. There were lovely views of the mountains of Eryri, stretching from Moel Siabod to the Glyderau and the Pedol Yr Wyddfa. This was a relatively easy walk in the delightful landscape of the lakes, covering about 10 miles and 2000 feet of ascent over about 6 hours, a most enjoyable outing. Noel Davey.
Thursday April 12th 2023 Eisteddfa-Penmorfa. Today’s walk was in the attractive countryside around Pentrefelin. A party of 19 led by Jean Astles and Val Rowlinson met at the Eisteddfa Fisheries. The day was fine and sunny, but still occasionally chilly in the wind. To avoid some particularly muddy paths, the first section of the walk was along the busy A497 into Pentrefelin village. The old drovers’ road was then taken north-east, passing Llys Cynhaearn, a fine Arts and Crafts house built as the rectory by Clough Williams Ellis in 1913.
The route followed a pleasant broad wooded track past Y Boncyn, turning onto a path leading south-east to Wern Manor. This is a large country house, remodelled in Jacobean style at the end of the 19C for the successful mining engineer R.M. Greaves of the Llechwedd slate quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog. Later it was a wartime hospital, then a home for the elderly and now provides holiday accommodation. The path north led to the village of Penmorfa, once the first dry land for those crossing the muddy traeth before it was drained to build Porthmadog and Tremadog. The former school playing field, now equipped with picnic tables, provided an excellent lunch spot beneath the crags of Craig y Gesail. A loop was taken up into the village along a short section of the former railway built to bring slate down to the Porthmadog quays from the quarries at Cwmystradllyn and Cwm Pennant. The path back rejoined the drovers’ road, passing the interesting church of St Beuno.
Back at Pentrefelin, the walk took a detour to the south along the ancient causeway leading to Ynyscynhaearn, located on a former island in Llyn Ystumllyn, now waterlogged fields and marshland. The remoted walled churchyard here includes a number of notable graves. The path back led round Moel y Gadair and close to the Tudor house of Ystumllyn. Back at Eisteddfa, some of the walkers enjoyed refreshments at the excellent café after an interesting walk of 5.5 miles over about 3 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday 9th April 2023. Nantcol-Y Llethr-Rhinog Fach. On a bright Easter morning a dozen ramblers gathered at the remote hamlet of Nantcol in the heart of the wild Rhinogydd – or perhaps ‘Rhiniogydd’ in reference to the ‘rhiniog’ or threshold formed by the twin peaks of Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach which guard the gateway of the Bwlch Drws Ardudwy.
The day’s objective was a circuit of Y Llethr and Rhinog Fach. The party, led by Noel Davey, set off along the narrow road leading east towards the head of the cwm. After a mile or so, at Graig Isa, a track zigzagged steadily south and east 1000ft up the grassy slopes of Moelyblithcwm. A sturdy sheepfold a further half mile across trackless moorland was a welcome stop for a morning panad with Easter eggs in the sunshine. There were fine views back down the cwm, bordered by the rounded bulk of Moelfre in the foreground, the Ardudwy coast beyond and the misty outline of Llŷn across the bay.
From there a path hugged a boundary wall running straight north-east, joining the route coming over Crib y Rhiw from Diffwys. A short steep climb reached the bare grassy top of Y Llethr. At just over 2500ft this is the highest peak of the Rhinog group, but its summit is somewhat featureless, marked by a diminutive and easily missed cairn.
At the north-eastern corner a deeply rutted path dropped 500ft to the bwlch below where the mysterious dark waters of Llyn Hywel sparkled at the foot of the magnificent jumble of rocks and screes of Rhinog Fach rearing ominously opposite. Following a slow and careful negotiation of this tricky path, the final climb of 500ft took a steep, rocky and sometimes indistinct route, needing a good deal of clambering over rocks, close to the western side of another remarkable stone wall.
The eventual rewards for this effort were the spectacular panorama in all directions across southern Eryri from the main cairn of Rhinog Fach and an overdue lunch in the shelter of a wall from the now strong gusts of wind. The walk then crossed to the far peak at the northern end of the summit ridge to get a close up of the extraordinary slabs of riven rock on the slopes of Rhinog Fawr opposite. The steep path down taken to the south-west was relatively easy. The homeward route followed rough heather paths, eventually joining a mine track and tramway, relics of some of the extensive century old manganese workings in the Cambrian shales of the Harlech Dome. The local Rhinog and Graig Isaf mines produced about 10,000 tons of manganese ore for the steel industry between 1886 and 1894.
An easy descent eventually rejoined the outward route along the road to Nantcol. This was a strenuous, but rewarding day out on a fine and busy Bank holiday, covering just under 9 miles and perhaps 3000 feet of ascent over 6-7 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday March 30th 2023. Garn Boduan. Garn Boduan was the objective for today’s walk. 14 ramblers, led by Noel Davey, met at the Stryd y Plas car park in Nefyn. The weather was fine, but inclined to cloud and misty conditions with a fresh south-westerly wind. Most of the climb was in the first mile of the walk, starting with a steady ascent up Y Fron lane, leading into fields and then turning through an area of former coniferous forest, now largely replanted with deciduous saplings, on the lower slopes of the mountain. A forest track continued upwards turning onto a narrow and rougher path through heather and scattered pines. The last 150 metres of the route to the top angled round to the north by an indistinct path, crossing the rough stones marking the site of the north-east gateway through ramparts of the great Iron Age hillfort that crowns the Garn. The remains of some 170 circular stone huts, probably occupied from about 650BC and now mostly hidden by vegetation, are spread over a plateau of some 25 acres. The 915ft summit itself on a boss of rock rising above the plateau is occupied by a stone ramparted ‘citadel’ probably of later date. This may have been connected with the legendary 7th century figure of Buan that gave the place-name of Boduan, ‘the residence of Buan’. Two stone refuges erected on the summit, controversially disturbing the archaeology, provided convenient shelter for a panad and to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding countryside, somewhat muted today. The route then took rough heather paths winding across the plateau with glimpses of hut circles and reached the remnants of the south-east gateway. A gently descending track led down through a wooded area on the southern slope of the Garn, providing a sheltered spot for lunch. After a third of a mile along the main road towards Y Ffôr, a footpath was taken northwards through Ty’n y Mynydd Farm. This has recently been re-opened by volunteers working with the AONB unit, restoring a pleasant field route back to Nefyn skirting the eastern side of the Garn. This was an enjoyable 4 mile walk over some 3 hours, combining a moderately strenuous ascent of one of Llŷn’s most striking hills. Noel Davey.
Sunday March 26th 2023. Capel Curig - Cwm Tal-y-braich. The plan today was to visit the Glyder peaks, but the forecast was poor as borne out by low lying mist when the 8 walkers, led by Gareth Hughes, met near Penygwryd. So it was decided to save the peaks for another day and a lower level circuit from nearby Capel Curig was substituted at short notice. The party set off from the National Outdoor Centre at Plas y Brenin along the straight gravel track of Telford’s old A5 trunk route north-west towards Holyhead through the upper Llugwy and Ogwen valleys. After a well paced march of a couple of miles, the route turned east across the modern A5. There was a pause for coffee by a pair of stone clapper-type bridges crossing Afon Llugwy. A steep ascent was made from Tal y Braich Uchaf, a cottage now owned by the National Trust for holiday lets. This led to a ‘leat’, a channel bringing water from the source of the Llugwy to feed Llyn Cowlyd, the main reservoir for both the Dolgarrog hydro plant and a water source for coastal towns.
The party now took the easy level path, recently upgraded with multiple gates, alongside the clear rushing water of the ‘leat’ as it wound gently along the 420m contour. The bare brown grass of the bleak moorland terrain provided meagre grazing for a scattered herd of Carneddau ponies. By now, the mist was lifting fast and the sun appearing, providing lovely views of the arc of mountains all around, stretching from Moel Siabod over Pen Llithrig y Wrach to the jagged rocks of Tryfan and the more distant Glyder plateau. A stop was made for lunch on a modern concrete spillway taking the Afon Bedol south from Cwm Tal y Braich. At the junction of the path continuing to Cowlyd, by the curious natural stone erratic of Maen Trichwmwd, the route turned down south across often wet and muddy terrain leading eventually back to the A5. A narrow pavement along the busy main road soon took the party back into the pretty village of Capel Curig, rejoining the outward route. This was a pleasant and relatively easy walk of some 8.3 miles and just over 1000ft of ascent over 5 hours which made the most of the what had seemed earlier an unpromising day. Noel Davey.
Thursday March 23rd 2023. Harlech to Llanfair-isaf circular. Hugh Evans led a party of 8 ramblers on a circuit from Harlech. This had been postponed from the previous Thursday because of a poor forecast for that day. Today’s weather was much better, morning damp and wind soon giving way to increasingly warm sunshine. After some issue regarding car park payments, the walk set off from below the castle, climbing steeply by steps and winding lanes to the upper part of the town. A path then led up onto the open Ardudwy plateau, reaching over 500ft above sea level within about a mile. There was a well deserved pause for a panad in the shelter of a wall, giving sombre, misty views down to the town and across Tremadog Bay to the Llŷn Peninsula, as rain laden clouds scudded across from the south in gusty winds. The route continued south across the plateau, leading between characteristic whitish grey stone walls, reminiscent of the Peak District, many tracing the original prehistoric boundaries. These are the hallmark of a largely intact farming landscape dating from the Iron Age, comprising hutgroups, settlements and field enclosures known as Muriau Gwyddelod or ‘Irishmen’s Walls’. Further on Brwyn-Llynau is a fine example of another ancient settlement protected by two concentric circles of banks and walls.
By now, sunshine was opening up much brighter views of the coast at Shell Island, the flooded estuary of the Artro, and the ribbon of Llanbedr airstrip, Wales’ putative spaceport, visible beyond. The party then descended gradually towards the coast, stopping for lunch on a bank of slate waste from the open-cast and underground workings of Llanfair Slate Caverns, said to be one of the world’s oldest sources of slate and now a tourist attraction. The path criss-crossed the main coast road, passing the impressive 16C farmhouse of Llanfair Isaf. Steep steps at Allt y Mor, part of the Coast Path, zig-zagged down across the railway onto the magnificent sweep of sand lined by dunes stretching to the Dwyryd Estuary three miles to the north. Low tide allowed a fast pace across this flat expanse. The route eventually turned inland through the dunes, skirting Harlech Golf Course. This gave one of the day’s best views of Edward 1st’s spectacular 13C castle, a century later the headquarters of Owain Glyndwr’s uprising. The day proved an enjoyable and varied outing of 6 miles over 4 hours with 1000 feet of ascent. Noel Davey.
Sunday March 12th 2023. Penmaenmawr and the Druid's Circle. Annie Andrew and Jean Norton set out with a group of 11 ramblers on a walk from Penmaenmawr over the moorlands on the eastern slopes of the Carneddau. After a brief cold snap the weather was positively balmy, 9-10C, with a gusty southerly which had banished much of the heavy snowfall from the slopes, while leaving local drifts. The walk set out through the upper part of the town, taking a long steep path climbing south past Graiglwyd Farm. Deep pockets of slushy snow lingering on the path and detours through the heather made the going difficult. A wary eye was kept out for a party with gundogs hunting foxes. After about a mile and a 1000ft climb the more level terrain of the plateau was at last reached. There was a stop for a well deserved panad and to take in the splendid views down to the town on the coast, nestled between the steep headlands of Penmaen Mawr and Penmaen Bach; across the bay the outlines of the Great Orme and Puffin Island off Ynys Môn were visible. The walk now took the ancient trackway running east-west, reborn as sections of the Wales Coast Path, the North Wales Path and the Pilgrim Path. A loop westwards took a higher path up to Clip y Gorsedd at around 1300ft, turning back at elaborate sheepfolds to the main track. Carneddau ponies dotted the great expanse of open moorland. The backdrop of the Carneddau peaks streaked with sunlit snow was affine sight.
The track eastwards led through the remarkable monumental Bronze Age landscape of stone cairns, circles and burial mounds. The centrepiece of this complex of now long-lost ceremonial function is the so-called Druid’s Circle, an evocative ring of massive stones perched on a prominent site above the trackway. A sheltered spot by a stream just below was a good place for lunch. The area was busy with other walkers out on a fine Sunday. The afternoon route continued past the bulbous stone of Maen Crwn, circling northwards to the heather and bilberry-clad conical hill of Foel Lûs. A broad gravel track soon led to the summit from where there was a splendid outlook in all directions. To the east Conway Castle could be made out, while to the west there was a good view of the terraced Graiglwyd granite quarries, gouged out of the Penmaen headland. It was decided not to circle the Foel by the narrow Jubilee Path as originally planned in view of risks from slippery conditions and increasingly strong winds. It was a relief to reach Mountain Road and the tranquil conditions of the valley. The path passed by Graiglwyd caravan site and estate, soon reaching the outskirts of the town. This was an excellent walk of some 7.5 miles and 2300ft ascent over just under 5 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday March 2nd 2023. AGM & following Criccieth walk. The 43rd Annual General Meeting of Rhodwyr Llŷn Ramblers was held at Capel y Traeth, Criccieth on March 2nd, 2023. There were 40 members present. Hugh Evans, Noel Davey and Dafydd Williams were re-elected as Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, respectively, together with 7 other standing committee members.
Following the meeting and lunch, Dafydd Williams led a group of 25 on a short 3.3 mile walk around Criccieth. The walk headed east along the promenade as far as Dylans Restaurant, turning inland across the railway and main road. The route than followed Criccieth FP#11, a path running due north to the former Golf Course. This path has recently been restored after a long dispute over suitable boundary crossings. There are now two tall and fine oak ladder stiles over stone walls, a departure from the usual policy of replacing stiles with kissing gates, which are more durable and easier for walkers, but perhaps less elegant and less suited to wall crossings. The path is now an easy, gentle ascent up the shallow valley of Nant y Wyddan. Near Gloddfa the path turned west past the old golf clubhouse. Most of the party now climbed the modest grassy hill, known grandly as Mynydd Ednyfed Fawr, to enjoy the spectacular 360 degree view from the 450ft summit. By now afternoon sunshine cast a milky glow over the landscape, framed by the bold peaks of Eryri to the north and east, and the gentle lowlands of Eifionydd and the hills of Llŷn to the west. Below to the south lay the town of Criccieth, commanded by its celebrated castle and lapped by the glinting waters of Tremadog Bay. Descending past the Ednyfed Fawr Country House, the party re-joined those who had taken an easier route round the hill. The next section followed the road south, soon turning past Bryn Awelon down the pretty Lon Fȇl. At Muriau the walk cut through neat housing estates and under the verdant hillock of Dinas to get back to the start point near the Maes. This was an easy two hour stroll which gave ample chance to catch up with those who had not been out on walks for some time. Many sampled the local cafes to round off a pleasant outing. Noel Davey.
Sunday February 19th 2023. Arenig Fach. For today’s walk (rescheduled from February 26) it was the turn of Arenig Fach, the often spurned twin of the more popular Arenig Fawr. It was an overcast but dry day, with mist and strong winds on the peak. Gareth Hughes led a dozen members of the Club. The walk started from the Cae Garnedd car park on the shores of Llyn Tryweryn (aka Celyn), taking the track opposite up to a farm. The route continued through a gate to climb north-weswtards on grass tracks across the heather moorland of Bryn Du, eventually following a steep and narrow path hugging the fence line, leading to the summit trig point at 2260ft. The remains of the bronze age cairn of Carnedd y Bachen lie a few yards to the south, probably substantially robbed to build the drystone refuge at the top. Misty conditions limited the views at the top, but a bit lower there was a brighter vista to the north of the desolate moors of Migneint, a huge expanse of blanket bog extending beyond the Afon Serw to Ysbyty Ifan in the headwaters of the Afon Conwy. To the east the rather featureless bulk of the Carnedd y Filiast massif reared up across the Afon Gelyn valley.
The descent was made on pathless tracts of heather moor over Creigiau Bleiddiau, now too remote even for the wolves. A small lonely conical stone hut evidently provided a vital shelter for shepherds stranded by the mountain weather. The route then came to the waters of Llyn Arenig Fach, nestling below the mountain’s eastern crags at about 1500ft. There was a short stop for lunch amid somewhat sheltered rocks nearby. The afternoon leg followed the eastern shore of the lake across increasingly broken and boulder strewn terrain. Squally gusts whipped up the waters and buffeted and bowled the walkers about struggling through the heather. A sharp chill factor made the going tough. It was a relief to rejoin the relatively easy outward track and enjoy sunlit views across Llyn Tryweryn to Mynydd Nodol on the opposite shore. The walk was just about 5 miles over 4 hours, but a cumulative ascent of some 2300ft and difficult walking conditions on some sections made it quite a strenuous outing, yet worthwhile for a February day. Noel Davey.
Thursday February 16th 2023. Cilan. Today’s walk was on Mynydd Cilan south of Abersoch. Ann Jones led the party of 21. It was a predominantly misty day, which precluded the fine views that are the glory of this headland, but it was bright, dry and mild and pleasant enough for a good social outing. The walk started from the rough patch of ground designated a National Trust car park near Tyddyn Twlc in the northern part of the remarkable elevated moorland forming Cilan, an area of open access and more of a plateau than a mountain. The route took the broad grassy track to the western edge, joining the Wales Coast Path near Trwyn y Ffosle and following this south, well back from the cliffs, past the trig point and the Dwr Cymru top-up water tank at about 300ft, the highest point on the headland. The gently undulating track curved round east, then north across grass and heather moorland, eventually reaching the spectacular cliffs at Trwyn Llech y Doll. Just off the path here there is a simple fallen capstone marking the site of a neolithic burial chamber.
After dropping down to a footbridge over a stream and falls at Muriau, the path climbed again and passed close to mounds which are the remains of an iron age promontory fort high above the precipitous Pared Mawr cliffs at the western corner of Porth Ceirad. Now the grand sweep of this lovely wild cliff-lined bay came into view. After a long descent by a double fenced path on the top of the eroding cliffs, the party reached the grass headland above Porth Ceiriad, ready for lunch as the sun at last struggled to penetrate the mist. From there an inland route led past Nant y Big, across fields and back along lanes to the start point on Cilan. This was a pleasant and easy walk of about 5 miles. Noel Davey.
Sunday February 12th 2023. Mynydd Mawr, Anelog, Porth Meudwy circ. In a change to the original programme Hugh Evans led 17 ramblers on a great circuit along the Wales Coast Path from Uwchmynydd in the far west of Llŷn. The weather conditions for walking were good, bright and sunny, dry and mild with good visibility. Throughout the day there were splendid views of seagirt cliffs and heather and gorse-clad hills rolling down to the green fields of the Pen Llŷn lowlands. Further away, there were the hazy outlines of Caergybi to the north and the Cambrian mountains stretching far to the south The walk set out from the grassy expanse below Mynydd Mawr, climbing 200ft to the summit for the dramatic sight of the ‘Land’s End’ of Wales at Braich y Pwll. From here the striking peak of Ynys Enlli rose just a couple of miles across the choppy Swnt. The route then followed the Coast Path northwards up and down on cliffs high above deep coves, caves and waterfalls, past Port Llanllawen and skirting Mynydd Anelog on the seaward side. Just before Porth Orion a field path was taken inland to Capel Carmel. The Siop Plas here has been brilliantly restored as a community café, retaining the form of its original red sheet cladding, while a further black hut is soon to open as a display of local history. There are plans to restore the chapel house as holiday accommodation, and eventually the tiny chapel itself. A muddy field path southwards brought the party again onto the lower slopes of Anelog, where it was time for lunch with great views across to Aberdaron and the twin islands of Ynys Gwylan; and, further north, to the whaleback of Rhiw and the jagged grey screes of Garn Fadryn.
The afternoon route passed by Cwrt and down to the cove of Porth Meudwy, where Colin’s Bardsey ferry and other vessels were drawn up, awaiting the return of safe weather and the summer visitors. The steep steps up were quite a pull so soon after lunch up onto the magnificent undulating clifftop path high above Porth Cloch, Porth y Pistyll and Hen Borth, eventually reaching southernmost headlands of Pen y Cil and Trwyn Bychestyn. Here earthworks testify to extensive prehistoric settlement. The final leg northwards took the less precipitous path east of Mynydd y Gwyddel, passing above the site of St Mary’s Chapel, the last stop on the historic pilgrimage before the hazardous crossing to Bardsey itself. The walk was also something of a memorable pilgrimage through this magical landscape, about 9 miles and some 2300ft of ascent in just over 5 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday February 2nd 2023. Capel Curig. Sixteen ramblers met at Bryn y Glo near Capel Curig for a circuit in the Llugwy Valley. Annie Andrew with assistance from Jean Norton stepped in at short notice to lead the walk. It was a bright sunny day, mild and sheltered from a gusty wind. The walk led up directly northwards from the car park by a steeped wooded path past Bryn Brethynau, a secluded stone barn used as a climbing hut by North London Mountaineering Club. After passing Nyth Bran the walk reached a more open plateau at about 900ft. A well-made gravel track was taken eastwards through forest, looping north near Llyn Goddionduon. Clearings offered good views of Moel Siabod and the woodlands stretching to Betws y Coed.
After a couple of miles a scenic path was taken back down to Tŷ Hyll/The Ugly House. This quirky stone cottage is said to have been a ‘Tŷ Unnos’, a house built between sunset and sunrise which traditionally gave the builder title if there was smoke from the chimney by dawn. It is now run by the Snowdonia Society as a tearoom with a bee-friendly garden. Nearby, an imposing timbered mansion was formerly the Towers Outdoor Education used by Wolverhampton schools, but has been owned since 2022 by the Active Learning Group, a specialist outdoor company. Across one of Telford’s bridges on the A5, the route turned west along the Afon Llugwy along a delightful lane, once the original coach road. In a broad bend of the river a large open field was the 4 acre site of Caer Llugwy, a Roman Fort built in AD90, though there is now little left to see. A pleasant riverside spot was found for lunch on mossy tumps beneath knarled oaks. Some shaggy highland cattle with fearsome horns were a further attraction. A fast pace was then made along the lane passing Capel Tan y Garth and the interesting old quarry hamlet at Pont Cyfyng. From the packhorse bridge the waters of the Llugwy tumbling through rocks and chasm were a fine sight at the end of the route. This was a great walk in varied and lovely countryside, easy apart from the initial climb, covering 5.25 miles over 3 hours with 800ftof ascent. Noel Davey.
Sunday January 29th 2023. Eifionydd Circular. Kath Spencer guided 16 ramblers on a long walk in Eifionydd. This retraced some of the route followed on a recent Thursday walk, but it is always a pleasure to revisit this pleasant tract of the peninsula. The day was mild, dry and calm, bright in the morning, but tending to cloud over later. The chief hallmark of the route was the inevitable mud underfoot in this season. The walk set out from Llanystumdwy village west along the A497, turning inland by the cemetery on a path past Glyn Dwyfach and across the river, then through Ysgubor Hen to the lovely trackway of the Lôn Goed. This was taken SW for half mile before a turn down a lane to Afon Wen Farm. A loop across fields led to the coast at Sŵn y Don with a stop for a morning panad on convenient boulders around a seasonally empty caravan site. A field nearby is believed to be the site of a limekiln where limestone shipped in by sea was processed for lime then carted up the Lôn Goed to fertilise inland fields in the 19C. The trackway was then retraced from Afon Wen for a mile or so. A path NW led through Chwilog Fawr Farm. A feature here is a small tranquil lake where picnic tables and fishing platforms provided a relaxing spot for lunch.
A country lane from Chwilog then took the party back near Plashen Farm yet again to the Lôn Goed to enjoy another saunter through the delightful avenue of beeches running north for another mile. Near Maes Gwyn Uchaf, close to the crossing of the former Afon Wen-Caernarfon railway, an overgrown and muddy path led east to a lane south past Betws Bach, a listed mid-17C farmhouse of some distinction. The final leg followed a scenic path with tricky stiles back over and high along the bank of the Afon Dwyfach into the broad fields of Gwynfryn. The grand but derelict Plas now lurks invisibly in the trees, awaiting permission for holiday flats to be built within its walls. From there it was a short step past the Rabbit Farm back to Llanystumdwy. This was a good, long and sociable walk on easy terrain of some 11.5 miles over 6 hours, a sensible choice for a mild January day. Noel Davey.
Thursday January 19th Lôn Goed. A cold but bright sunny day and the promise of a walk without hills brought a party of 32 to Afon Wen Farm for a walk through the lovely Eifionydd countryside. Nia Parry led with assistance from Eryl Thomas. The first feature of the walk was a couple of miles along Y Lôn Goed This celebrated tree-lined trackway runs northwards from Afon Wen to Hendre Cennin. It was built in the second decade of the 19C under the direction of John Maugham, steward of the nearby Talhenbont Estate, to help transport lime from the kiln on the coast to fertilise inland farms. The logic behind the trees was to help drain the land. Traffic diminished following opening of the railway branch from Bryncir in 1867, but this was closed and dismantled in 1964 in the Beeching cuts, leaving its trackway and some buildings visible where it crosses and curves west near Rhosgyll. Now the Lôn Goed provides a delightful walking route in any season. Today’s route turned off westwards along a pleasant country lane near Plashen Farm. This passed the site of the former railway station at Gorsaf Llangybi, leaving little trace. There was a stop for lunch by stone walls at Ty’n y Fron. The great snow-covered dome of Moel Hebog glistened in the sunshine. A path was then followed south over muddy fields near the headwaters of the Afon Wen, eventually coming out at the well-tended cemetery in Chwilog, where the grave of the poet Eifion Wyn (1867-1926) was inspected. The walk continued along the main road through the village and down to the coast at Afon Wen. From here the leader took the party on private farm tracks passing the junction of the dismantled railway branch and, close to Swn y Don, the site of Gorsaf Afon Wen, the now closed station on the Cambrian line. The route across broad open fields, featuring large ponds, brought the party back through the farmyard to the cars at Afon Wen Farm. This was a pleasant and interesting walk of 7.7 miles over 4.25 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday January 15th 2023. Cnicht. A dozen turned out today for an ascent of Cnicht, a Club favourite, led by Gareth Hughes. The forecast was not promising with low cloud and mist all day, but it was not as wet, cold or windy as feared. The walk set out from the interesting village of Croesor, once a magnet for literary figures. A steep road led north onto the increasingly rocky paths climbing the south western flank of the mountain. The snowline was reached at about 1800ft creating slippery, but not icy conditions underfoot. The party were glad to reach the small plateau and prominent outcrop just below the summit for a rest and panad. The scramble up the last 200ft to the peak at 2260 ft presented no major problems. Sadly, today there were few views to enjoy. After a brief stop, the walkers continued north-east along a ridge for about a mile, passing Llyn y Biswail, enjoying the light flurries of snow brightening the landscape as hints of the sun broke through.
At the larger lake of Llyn yr Adar, a cross-country path struck off south-east across increasingly boggy terrain and skirting Llyn Cwm Corsiog. After slipping, sliding and squelching on the slushy paths, the party eventually reached the impressive ruins of the Rhosydd Slate Quarry. A surviving wall of the former workers’ barracks provided shelter for a late lunch, kept brief as fingers began to freeze in in the low temperatures. The route then climbed over a col above Rhosydd, crossing the sturdy remains of the Llyn Croesor Dam built to supply water to the quarry in 1859. This led down to Croesor Quarry where an adit was inspected leading into a maze of tunnels through the old workings. It was a relief to reach the firmer gravel track leading down the southern side of Cwm Croesor. This was the route of the Croesor Tramway which transported slate . from the higher quarries down to the wharves at Porthmadog . At last there were misty views of this lovely green, U-shaped valley bound to the north by the steep scree slopes of Cnicht. Cold and snowy conditions made this a strenuous, but still rewarding winter day out in the hills, covering 7.3 miles and some 2400ft of ascent over 5-6 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday 5th January, 2023. Nefyn - Pistyll. Annie Andrews and Jean Norton guided 16 ramblers on a circuit from Nefyn. It was a grey day, mild, with occasional light rain. The walk started from the Stryd y Plas carpark, heading steeply uphill towards Mynydd Nefyn. At 700ft elevation a lane continued north-east and then a green track up to Chwarel Moel Dywyrch, one of the half dozen small quarries on the slopes here producing granite setts for the streets of England between the 1830s and 1930s. Today they are conspicuous by their massive jumbles of grey stone waste. The ruins of a brick quarry building provided a spot for a panad with fine misty views over the town and bays of Nefyn and the long narrow peninsula of Porth Dinllaen beyond. The rocky outcrops of Gwylwyr and Carreglefain crowned the bracken covered slopes just to the north.
A narrow path then led down to the country lane along Bwlch Gwynt. Coming out onto the Nefyn-Pistyll road the party passed the historic Capel Bethania, also known as Capel Tom Nefyn Williams in memory of the poet and preacher; it is now being renovated as a holiday home after the community were sadly outbid in its sale. The route then turned off towards the coast to follow the Wales Coast Path back to Nefyn. There was a stop for lunch on the walls of the monastic fishpond which nestles in a wooded hollow next to the remarkable little church of St Beuno, founded here in the sixth century. Further on the route passed the controversial holiday development of Nature’s Point which was built on the site of the demolished Plas Pistyll hotel and former holiday home of the Goddard family (of metal polish fame). The final sections of the Coast Path hugged the foot of the quarries and offered some fine views over the sea. This proved a congenial outing of some 5.5 miles and 1300ft of ascent over about 4 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday 1st January, 2023. Clynnog Hills. A party of 14 turned out bright and early for a New Year’s Day walk on the Clynnog Hills. Noel Davey led. It was a bright day of sunny periods and just one heavy shower, quite mild with a gusty south-westerly. The walk started briskly from the church carpark at Llanaelhaearn, taking he country lane eastwards for about 1.5 miles up Cwm Coryn. At the end of the metalled road a track was taken climbing through open access land to the summit of Moel Bronmiod at 1367ft. There was a stop for a morning panad here in the shelter of the prominent outcrop that crowns the peak. There were fine views in the milky sunshine across to Pen y Gaer and the lowlands of Eifionydd stretching to the sea.
The walk continued to a new stile, recently installed with support from the AONB, to cross a high boundary wall here into the wild boggy moorland basin to the east. Following a descent past sheepfolds, a track was followed north, eventually climbing over Clipiau to the central trackway running east-west across the open Clynnog plateau. The remnants of an early medieval earth dyke known as Clawdd Seri cross here, possibly once marking a boundary of monastery lands. Another remarkable feature straddling the trackway is a long-walled sheepfold enclosure. At its western end the route now turned off to climb steadily 500ft up the shoulder of the eastern peak of Gyrn Ddu – a long slog made more arduous by a short sharp shower of stinging rain gusting in the wind. The party were glad to reach the shelter of a wall at the top, welcoming back the sunshine in time for lunch.
After crossing the wall with some difficulty, the path was followed across a high plateau to the base of the main peak of Gyrn Ddu at 1620ft. This is crowned by a huge pathless jumble of jagged black igneous rocks. It was decided not to make the difficult final 100ft scramble on this occasion because of hazardous slippery conditions after the rain. Skirting to the south, the route followed a winding path back down to the central trackway at Fron Goch. There were stunning views of the north coast, Trefor, Yr Eifl, and the wider Llŷn countryside beyond. The final section took waterlogged tracks through fields to Maes y Cwm, re-joining the Cwm Coryn road back to the start point. This was a good day out for a moderately easy walk of 7.1 miles and over 2000 ft of ascent in 5 hours. It was blessed by sunshine and good visibility which showed off this gem of the AONB countryside at its winter best. Noel Davey.
Thursday December 22nd 2022. Borth y Gest. Tecwyn Williams led a party of 17 on a leisurely pre-Christmas circuit from the pretty holiday village of Borth y Gest. It was a misty, damp-feeling day, but relatively mild. A steep and narrow flight of steps led up from the village between houses to a look-out point (missing the views today) where the leader generously supplied everyone with festive mince pies and mulled wine – a promising start to the walk.
The route continued through the pleasant community woodland of Parc y Borth, descending to Ffordd Morfa Bychan. After a quarter mile, another wooded path was taken southwards past Carreg Wen into the maze of Greenacres Haven, an elevated and well-landscaped caravan park. A path hiding behind lodge A24 led down to the clubhouse at Porthmadog Golf Course. The walk crossed the links, skirted some large houses on the edge of Morfa Bychan village and then followed a road past rows of static caravans to Morfa Beach. A trek across this broad expanse of dunes and sands, unusually devoid of visiting vehicles, was quiet on this winter day apart from the distant dull roar of the waves almost out of sight on the edge of the Glaslyn estuary channel.
It was time for lunch amid the craggy rocks below Ynys Cyngar. Named after an early saint, this promontory is better known for the Cwt Pwdr (Powder House), now a small renovated holiday home, where gunpowder for the slate mines was once unloaded to avoid the risk of accidental explosions in Porthmadog Harbour. From here the route followed the Wales Coast Path, a picturesque route hugging the sandy coves of the estuary shore. Steep steps and narrow paths climbed through blackthorn decorated with fronds of bright green lichen. Detours were made to viewpoints by the Samson Rock, a prominent glacial erratic, and a deep cove featuring a natural rock arch. Beyond Pen y Banc the tall pilot houses of Borth soon hove back into view after a most enjoyable and relaxed paced ramble covering some 4.6 miles over 3-4 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday 18th December 2022. Yr Eifl. Postponed due to bad weather.
Thursday 8th December 2022. Y Ffôr Paths. 26 walkers met at the Hufenfa De Arfon creamery car park (by kind permission of the owners) to partake in a walk inspired by Megan Mentzoni along the paths surrounding Y Ffôr. Unfortunately, Megan contracted the covid bug a few weeks before the walk and was extremely grateful to Kath Spencer, Annie Andrew and Jean Norton for their sterling work in reconnoitring the walk which they did with their usual thoroughness.
Having crossed the narrow bridge over the Afon Erch the party turned north opposite the creamery entrance heading first towards Penarth Uchaf and then along a delightful rural lane heading generally Northeast and emerging just below Plas Du. This late medieval farmhouse boasts two fine chimneys and several old trees including at least one Yew. The family claimed descent from Collwyn ap Tangno the 11th century Lord of Eifionydd, Ardudwy and part of Llyn. Unfortunately for them they found it very difficult to accept Henry VIII ‘s rejection of “the old faith” and creation of a Protestant Church. Thomas Owen, despite being High Sherriff was imprisoned in Caernarfon castle for refusing to attend Protestant services. His brother Hugh spent most of his adult life in exile in Antwerp having been involved in an early plot to assassinate Elizabeth I and probably later on in the gunpowder plot itself.
The party then followed the road towards Pencaenewydd, turning up past the chapel, through a few fields, to gain the road leading to Sardis. A left turn along a farm track to Tan y Bryn lead then to a path through wet fields leading westwards. A narrow copse of trees was encountered, access to, and from, which was gained by two very precarious and slippery log bridges. When these were successfully negotiated by all it was but a short step to a delightful lunch spot on the southern shore of Llyn Glasfryn. This is apparently a well-known spot in bird watching circles and we did glimpse in the distance what we presumed to be wild geese.
After lunch we proceeded to reach the access drive to Glasfryn house itself, but turned south back for the road and again through the compact, if linear, village of Pencaenewydd. There is a mix of older properties, and a few new builds, and though by now lacking a shop the chapel provides a thriving community hub.
In due course we returned to Plas Du and the lane and farm road leading to our starting point, enjoying a view down over the latest development at the much-extended Creamery site. This concluded a five and a half mile walk under a largely overcast sky. No rain troubled us but there was a chill in the air which proved to be a portent of things to come for the next few days. Gwynfor Jones.
Sunday December 4th 2022. Cae Amos - Cwm Ciprwth. Eryl Thomas led 16 ramblers on a walk in the magical valley of Cwm Pennant and on the lower flanks of Garnedd Goch and Mynydd Graig Goch above. It was a day of light cloud and sunny periods, dry but with a cold easterly which made it feel freezing. The walk started from a gated bridge beside a river pool close to the head of the valley. A fairly steep path climbed through woods past a mine adit and sheepfolds, coming out onto moorland at around 750ft elevation. Here beside Ceunant Ciprwth there is a remarkable survival of a large iron water wheel serving a copper mine in the second half of the 19th century. The relics were restored some years ago, comprising the 25ft diameter wheel from Cornwall and an associated flat wooden rod mechanism which pumped water from a shaft and turned winding gear. After a pause to admire this structure, the walk continued to climb across grassy moorland alongside stone walls and rocky outcrops, reaching a ridge on Graig Llwyd at a height around 1200ft. From here there were fine views of the Nantlle Ridge and the hills of Llŷn. Shafts of silver sunlight picked out the mountain scenery all around and the sea at Tremadog Bay to the south. A grassy track was then picked up which took the party south, carefully avoiding the extensive boggy ground. This passed the ruin of Llwyn y Betws and a small stone barn recently restored for use as a refuge. The large and well maintained mountain bothy at Cae Amos nearby provided a welcoming cosy shelter for lunch. The afternoon route followed paths and tracks, partly though woods on the western side of Cwm Pennant, passing Pont y Plas and Plas y Pennant close to the headwaters of the Afon Dwyfor. The route continued across stream crossings at Ford Gilfach and Ford Ciprwth, soon reaching the start point after a walk of some 6 miles over about 5 hours. This was an excellent and moderately easy outing, well suited to a winter Sunday. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 24th 2022. Mynydd Rhiw. This fine walk on Rhiw was a repeat of one made in poor weather last June. The forecast was again adverse, borne out in the first half hour by an onslaught of heavy rain, hail, thunder and gales. Remarkably, conditions then improved to brighter skies, sunshine and dry weather for the remainder of the walk, justifying the improbable optimism of the dozen who persevered led by Judith Thomas. The outward path south from Plas yn Rhiw through woods and open moorland gave glimpses through the driving rain of frothing waves pounding the fragile cliffs of Porth Neigwl far below. By the time the party had reached Rhiw village and climbed via Conion to the summit of Mynydd Rhiw, the wonderful panorama from this lofty vantage point at 1000ft had opened up across the whole of Penlŷn. It was still windy, so the party descended past the communication mast and elusive site of the neolithic axe factory for lunch lower down on the more sheltered eastern flank of the mountain. There were lovely views from here across the basin of green fields stretching from Sarn to Botwnnog, backed by the line of hills stretching from Garn Fadryn to Mynytho. The route continued south past the ruins of Capel Galltraeth through formerly forested areas, reaching the traditional cottages managed by the National Trust near Bryn y Ffynnon, one with a garden still looking immaculate in late November. Some stone step stiles and a steep and muddy path took the party down to the coast at Treheli from where it was a short step along the old road back to Plas yn Rhiw. The party were grateful to be able to enjoy this great walk of some 5.5 miles over 3.5 hours in unexpectedly mostly fair conditions. Noel Davey.
Sunday November 20th 2022. Llan Ffestiniog-Ceunant Llenyrch-Toman y Mur circ. Hugh Evans led a dozen walkers on a good circuit between Llan Ffestiniog and Llyn Trawsfynydd. It was an autumnal day of bright periods with intermittent light showers over a couple of hours. The walk started from Llan’s venerable Pengwern Arms, heading south-west down a steep muddy path into the deep rocky gorge of Ceunant Cynfal. This is one of several spectacular wooded valleys carrying swirling rivers down to the Dwyryd Estuary, together part of the rich biodiversity of the Meirionydd Oak Woodlands National Nature Reserves managed by Natural Resource Wales. The route climbed back up across pleasant fields, pausing for a morning panad at a pretty spot by the Afon Llechrwd. There was a quick dash across the busy bends of the A487 onto a path leading through the front gardens of a row of cottages into the village of Gellilydan. After a further mile or so across more open country, recently cleared of coniferous trees, the party reached Ceunant Llennyrch, following a lovely path through ancient woodland high above the Afon Prysor where it thunders over the Rhaeadr Ddu. Forest paths continued south to the shore of Llyn Trawsfynydd and past the brooding hulk of the power station, now several decades into its interminable process of decommissioning. The lakeside provided an attractive, but rather damp spot for a late lunch with misty views across the waters to the surrounding hills. The route now turned back northwards, back across the main road and under the disused branch railway line from Blaenau. A delightful path led through Tolkien-like mossy woods, continuing past the remains of the Roman Fort at Tomen y Mur and the conspicuous hillock of the later Norman motte. Brightening weather and higher ground of open moorland brought fine sunlit views of the Moelwynion and Blaenau and westwards to the hills of Llyn. There was another chance to savour the magnificent Cwm Cynfal, including a short detour to gaze at the plunging waters of the Cynfal waterfall in full spate. A gentle climb brought the party back to Ffestiniog a short while before sunset after a carefully timed walk of some 10 miles and 1750 ft of ascent over more than 6 hours. This was a rewarding day of moderately easy walking in delightful countryside. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 10th 2022. Coed y Brenin. Nineteen ramblers, including some faces not seen for a while, met at Ganllwyd for a 6 mile circuit in Coed y Brenin led by Noel Davey, standing in for Nick White who was indisposed. It was an overcast day, but it remained fine and calm in the shelter of the forest valleys, despite forecasts of 90% probability of rain all day and 40mph gusts. The walk turned at the elegant and recently restored black CI sheet village hall, climbing the lane through oakwoods alongside the torrents of the Afon Camlan. This led to the majestic spectacle of the Rhaeadr Du falls, an astonishing maelstrom of crashing water after recent rain. At the viewpoint overlooking the falls there is a fading plaque recording a verse in praise of the view from Thomas Gray’s Alcaic Ode (in Latin and English, but not Welsh). The walk continued to climb gently, following a long broad track northwards for about 2 miles through the forest on the western side of the Eden valley. This eventually led down and across the busy A470, turning onto the eastern side of the valley north of the old bridge of Pont Dol-gefeiliau (a more direct footpath underpassing the road was spotted too late to use). Half the party had their lunch on the bridge, while others enjoyed refreshments at Coed y Brenin’s excellent Visitor Centre. The afternoon route followed an easy, scenic track southwards close to the eastern bank of the Eden. The final leg turned east to cross the upper Mawddach at Cae’n y Coed before recrossing the river lower down beyond its confluence with the Eden near Ganllwyd. The party watched a group of kayakers here braving the rushing white waters. Throughout the day the autumn colour was a delight, especially the golden beech and birch and russet bracken. This proved a pleasant walk on easy tracks over some 3-4 hours, providing plenty of opportunities for conversation in beautiful surroundings. Noel Dave.
Sunday November 6th 2022. Llanfairfechan - Drum. Today’s walk ventured into the north-eastern area of the Carneddau mountains. Annie Andrew stepped in at short notice to lead a group of 8 on a day of unpromising weather. The walk started from a small car park in the wooded Nant y Coed Nature Reserve at the top of Valley Road, 500ft above Llanfairfechan. A field path was taken past Hengae Farm, climbing by broad green tracks onto the open moorland plateau of Garreg Fawr at around 1200ft elevation. After 2 miles this led to the ancient trackway running east via Bwlch y Ddeufain to the Conway Valley, a route used since the neolithic, once a Roman Road, now the North Wales Path and the host to a brutal line of giant high voltage pylons. There was a choice of route here, depending on the appetite for climbing and the weather risk. Two of the party turned west and guided themselves down the Afon Anafon to the Aber Valley and the coast path back to Llanfairfechan*. The main party went east, heading a further mile or so along the trackway and then turning south to climb the long shoulder of Drosgl, past the rocks of Carnedd y Ddelw and eventually reaching the peak of Drum (meaning ‘ridge’ in Welsh and also known as Carnedd Penyborth Goch) at over 2500ft high. This was a long, but steady climb on a relatively easy path. However the walk’s first two hours of fine weather now gave way to intermittent squalls and sharp stinging showers.
The party were thankful to gain a modicum of shelter in the ancient cairn on the summit for a brief finger-freezing lunch. Visibility, however, remained good and there were spectacular views down to the Afon Conwy and across the Carneddau. The way down followed a good track towards the north-west, turning off onto a rough path to climb three modest outlier hills, Pen Bryn-du, Yr Orsedd and Foel Ganol. These were something of a psychological ‘sting in the tail’, but each involved a climb of only about 100ft and together they formed a ridge, providing wonderful views over the deep Anafon valley with its lake and snaking silver stream, and the broader plateau to the north-east extending from Talyfan to the hills above Penmaenmawr. The moors here were dotted with groups of wild Carneddau ponies, looking just as chilled and sodden as the walkers. Eventually the path rejoined the outward route, as rainbows and blue skies broke through, opening up the fine spectacle of the coastal plain and Ynys Mon, looking across the Lafan Sands and the Menai, towards the Penmon peninsula punctuated by its lighthouse and Puffin Island. After about 6 hours, some 10 miles and 3500ft of ascent, the party were glad to get back to Nant y Coed, having enjoyed a damp and strenuous day in the hills. Noel Davey
Two of the party - brief report: Yes we turned west following the North Wales Path downhill until we reached Bont Newydd, where the NW Path turns south in the direction of Aber Falls. There we followed the road NW alongside Afon Aber down towards Abergwyngregin. What should we come across, but Caffi Hen Felin. We thought of our colleagues struggling up towards Drum through the freezing wind and rain and decided to nip in for a lovely warm coffee. Very nice and warm. However we couldn't linger as lunch was calling. We crossed under the A55 and over the Bangor-Llanfairfechan railway track and reached the Wales Coast Path beyond. Lunch was taken at a sheltered spot just off the path looking out over the Menai Strait to Anglesey and Puffin Island. We turned off the coastal path at Llanfairfechan turning SE through the town, following roads and footpaths, mostly alongside Afon Llanfairfechan, until we got back to the carpark at Nant-y-Coed. The main group joined us some 25 minutes later. It was an excellent walk which kept us out of the worst of the weather. Hugh Evans.
Thursday October 27th 2022. Penrhyndeudraeth Circular. This popular and interesting circuit of Penrhyndeudraeth attracted 33 walkers led by Tecwyn Williams. It was a mostly cloudy, but fine and quite warm day. The walk started from the car park in the centre of the town, taking a footpath south-east through a small industrial estate, across the main A487 and past Hafod y Wern. This brought the ramblers to the area known as Gwaith Powdr, formerly Cookes Explosives Limited and for 130 years the economic backbone of Penrhyn, employing up to 500 workers. Since the works closure in 1995, it has become a National Nature Reserve, a pleasant area of woodland with a network of paths linking the many fascinating relics of its industrial heritage as a producer of wartime munitions and mine explosives, especially nitroglycerin as part of ICI. The reserve’s remote location, steep-sided valleys and rocky outcrops gave some natural protection from the explosive risks entailed.
The northern part of the reserve is more open, providing splendid views of the broad Dwyryd Estuary, Porthmadog and the hills behind. There was a fine site for lunch near a small lake just south of the intriguing pendulum installation designed to tested the force of explosives. The route then took the road westwards along the Dwyryd and across the Cambrian railway onto a wide expanse of estuarine marshes. These are dominated by the enormous pylons carrying high transmission lines, now in the process of a costly project to place them underground and restore the visual beauty of this unique landscape of the Snowdonia National Park. Paths were then taken northwards back into Penrhyn, recrossing the railway and main road, and negotiating a number of stiles, a slow process given the large numbers on the walk. The route went through Penybryn, passing some interesting houses, including one adorned by monkeys. Narrow wooded paths climbed to Penybwlch, crossing the Ffestiniog Railway and providing good views of the lower town. This was a great walk of 5 miles over 4.5hours taken at a relaxed pace and offering plenty of chance to socialise and enjoy the many and varied points of scenic and historical interest in this unique little town. Noel Davey.
Sunday October 23rd 2022. Carnedd y Cribau. A group of 14 club members met early at Pen y Gwryd for a walk led by Dafydd Williams in the hills and moorland to the south around Carnedd y Cribau. Luckily, there was parking space despite it being the English half term. The forecast for the morning was poor, but the walk escaped with only a couple of brief showers; the cloudscape was often dramatic, winds light and visibility good. The walk set off south-eastwards from the Roman Camp, crossing expansive and often very wet moorland on intermittent paths. Not for nothing is this area infamously known as the ‘Land of a Thousand Bogs’! The stream of Nant y Llys was in full flow, but easily crossed. At coffee time half the party made a short detour to climb the modest rocky peak of Cefn y Cerrig. The route continued over Clogwyn Bwlch y Maen and Bwlch Rhiw y Maen, and then climbed further onto the rocky ridge of Carnedd y Cribau, reaching a highpoint of 1820ft. For much of the way the path followed close to the county boundary line between Gwynedd and Conwy.
There was a gradual descent via Bwlch Maen Pig and Clogwyn Pwll Budr to Bwlch y Rhediad, astride the valleys of Nant Gwynant and Edno/Lledr. This was the place for lunch, giving time to drink in the wonderful panoply of muted autumn colours: the bright orange, yellow and browns of the grassy moorland, the russet of dying bracken on the hillsides and the ever changing shades of green on the steep cloud-shrouded mountain peaks all around. After lunch most of the party squelched on a detour to visit the site of an Aer Lingus plane that crashed on the night of January 10th 1952 with the sad loss of all 23 aboard. This desolate spot is now marked by a memorial plaque and a solitary willow. Then, in warm afternoon sunshine, a rough and slippery path was taken down to the Gwynant Valley, passing through groves of skeletal ash trees, sadly ravaged by die-back. The final leg of the walk crossed the main road, descending to the valley floor and then climbed gradually 600ft up a long track via Hafod Rhistl and Gwastadanas back to Pen y Gwryd. Ground conditions made this quite a long and strenuous walk, but it was a memorable day out in the heart of Eryri, involving some 7 miles over 7 hours and a cumulative ascent of 2000ft. Noel Davey.
Thursday October 13th 2022. Dolwyddelan-Cwm Penamnen-Castle. Dafydd Williams led a group of 17 members on an excellent circuit from Dolbenmaen. It was a brilliant sunny autumn day with blue skies and just a light breeze. The walk started from the station car park and followed Sarn Helen, a Roman road running due south up the valley of Cwm Penamnen. The road was once the main link between the Roman forts of Caerhun in the Conwy valley and Tomen y Mur near Trawsfynydd, but any traces of its origins are long buried in history and under recent tarmac. This was a pleasant and easy section between steep thickly forested hillsides rising to the bulk of Y Ro Wen to the east and Clogwyn Benar to the west. The route passed the excavated ruins of Tai Penamnen, the 15C home of Meredydd ab Ieuan, the ancestor of the powerful Wynn family who dominated the Conwy valley in succeeding centuries. At Tan y Bwlch, there was a steep 700 ft climb up a hillside path westwards through areas of cleared forest onto Pen y Benar. This ascent gave the walk its grade C+ status and was taken at a gentle pace with plenty of pauses to gain breath.
The grassy moorland at the top provided a welcome respite for lunch, affording magnificent open views of the massif of Yr Wyddfa and the crisply sharp ridges of Crib Goch, Crib Y Ddysgl and Lliwedd, radiating from the main peak. Beyond, part of the Glyderau mountain group could be seen. The route down was easier, entering a delightful section of woodland in the lower reaches of the Afon Hafod-llian before its confluence with the Afon Lledr. Across the A470, a country road took the party past Roman Bridge station, over the railway and up past Pen y Rhiw. A track led back down gently, bringing into view the great square tower of Castell Dolwyddelan. This fine native Welsh castle was built at the end of the 12th century by the father of Llywelyn the Great. Its commanding position in the Lledr Valley made it one of the Prince’s main strongholds. The fall of Dolwyddelan to Edward I in 1283 is generally accepted as signalling the end of Welsh resistance to the English king. Today it is a peaceful vantage point with superb views of the valley and the slopes of Moel Siabod just to the north. From there it was a short step back along the main road, passing the 500 year old church on a site founded by St Gwyddelan (the little Irishman) after whom the village is named. The good weather was the icing on the cake for this enjoyable walk of some 6 miles over 5 hours or so. Noel Davey.
Sunday 9th October 2022. Trearddur Bay -- Pont-rhydbont. Today's expedition was to Holy Island/Ynys Cybi in the far north-west of Ynys Mon to walk a section of the Coast Path from Trearddur Bay to Rhoscolyn. 17 club members were led by Gwynfor Jones. The weather was cloudy, mostly fine and quite warm, but very windy. The party found some roadside parking near the beach, thus saving the rather hefty fee demanded at Trearddur's public carpark. The route led south close to the shore above Porth Diana and past a multitude of white painted holiday homes dotted about the exposed clifftop landscape, a mix of white rocky outcrops and grassland. The most striking feature was the thundering roar of the waves battering the rocks and the white spume whirling in the air. This was driven by thrilling 40mph wind gusts blowing onshore from the south. Beyond a large caravan park at Porth y Garan, the path crossed an expanse of wilder terrain with stunning views of two natural rock arches, Bwa Du and Bwa Gwyn. A seal was briefly sighted here. After Port Saint, the path rounded Rhoscolyn Head and came across St Gwenfaen's Well, an ancient stone feature named after a 6th Century saint from the Isle of Man. An offering of two white pebbles cast into the well was said to be a sure cure for mental illnesses.
Another feature here was the well appointed Coastguard Station, now manned by volunteers and a sister of the one at Porth Dinllaen. This provided a superb view right down the arc of Llyn's north coast from Yr Eifl to Mynydd Mawr. Just to the south the conspicuous sentinel of Rhoscolyn Beacon stands on Ynys Gwylanod, once a refuge for shipwrecked sailors floundering in the treacherous rocks. The path descended to the beach at Borthwen, passing several rocky coves before reaching Traeth Lydan/Silver Bay. This was an hospitable spot for lunch, offering picnic tables and loos. The dark silhouette of the Nantle Ridge and the hazy outlines of the Carneddau mountains were a dramatic sight across the waters. It was a relief to get away from the buffeting wind as the way turned inland. This still followed the 'Coast Path' where it detours far to the north, there being no direct crossing here to continue down the coast. The route skirted a forested area and then took a seasonally restricted courtesy path through the Bodior estate, much improved by the volunteer 'Silver Slashers'. This came out onto a road which was followed north to Four Mile Bridge/Pont Rhydbont, then west, soon bringing the party back to Trearddur. This was a lovely walk of some 10 miles along an exhilarating coastline taking a bit over 5 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday September 29th 2022. Llyn Gwynant. A group of 22 ramblers met at Bethania for a circuit of the lovely Nant Gwynant valley in the heart of Eryri led by Annie Andrew and Jean Norton. After a few early showers it was a day of sunny periods and quite warm by the afternoon. The walk took an anti-clockwise direction, climbing at a good pace about 400ft up a country lane beside the Afon Llynedno. At Hafodydd Brithion, the route turned onto a track leading north-east through a mossy, but rather neglected stretch of coniferous forest. After a tricky crossing of a stream swollen by recent rain, the path came out into more open landscape and twisted down to Llyn Gwynant in the valley below. It was soon time for lunch at a tranquil spot in the sunshine on the northern shore of the lake, looking down the long narrow sheet of gently rippling water, hemmed between the steep wooded hillsides either side. The afternoon leg negotiated boulders and roots along a woodland path up to the fabulous viewpoint of Elephant Rock or Penmaeth Brith, a conspicuous stone buttress jutting out 200ft above the lake. The path eventually led down to the pleasant walled pastures of Hafod y Llan, the main farm of a 4000 acre estate owned by fourteen generations of the Williams family, but taken over by the National Trust 25 years ago. Back at Bethania, after an excellent and convivial walk of over 6 miles and 1000ft of ascent over 5 hours, many of the party enjoyed refreshments at the local cafe. Noel Davey.
Sunday September 25th 2022. Rhobell Fawr. Today’s outing was to Rhobell Fawr, a peak last climbed by the Club five years ago. Gareth Hughes led a good turnout of 17 walkers. The day was mostly cloudy, but fine with good visibility. The route started from the pretty village of Llanfachreth, much influenced over the centuries by the controlling Nannau estate. A pleasant green track was taken north from the village school, passing a number of sturdy farmhouses. This led to Bwlch Goriwared at about 1400ft elevation from where a relatively easy path climbed steadily to the summit of Rhobell Fawr at 2430ft. The top provided a fine vista of all the neighbouring mountain ranges – the Aran, Arenig, Rhinogydd and Cader Idris – as well as a bird’s eye view down the broad Mawddach Estuary to the sea. Lunch followed with more fine views in the shelter of a wall some way below the peak. A steep and rocky path made the descent of the south eastern flank quite tricky until it reached a relatively level and well-made track running south-west. This skirted a forested area and passed an area of old mine-workings, perhaps for gold, on the slopes of Moel Cors y Garnedd. The fading colours of moorland heather and gorse were a delight. Eventually the path reached the gentler richly wooded fields in the upland valley around Llanfachreth. This was an excellent and moderately easy walk up and around this rarely visited peak, covering about 10 miles and 2200ft of ascent over 6 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday September 15th 2022. Waunfawr. Kath Spencer led 14 ramblers on a walk from Waunfawr in Cwm Gwyrfai. This was the western loop of a longer Sunday walk made in January 2022. It was a mostly cloudy day with occasional sunny periods and the odd shower. The party set out from the Tafarn Snowdonia Parc, climbing fairly steeply about 500ft up a rocky path through pleasant woodland, the most strenuous section of the day. This skirted Parc Dudley, a somewhat neglected local nature reserve on the site of a former granite quarry. The path came out onto an open moorland of colourful heather and gorse, passing the ruins of an abandoned settlement at Ty’n y Graig. There was a further gentle climb to the modest summit of Moel Smytho at about 1125ft elevation. A pause for coffee here, interrupted by a sharp shower, provided good views over Arfon towards the conspicuous outlines of Holyhead in the north-west of Ynys Môn, nd Yr Eifl and the Clynnog Hills, marking the gateway to Llŷn in the west. Moel Eilio and the western flank of Yr Wyddfa behind stood out across the Gwyrfai valley. The route then crossed the plateau southwards, skirting coniferous forest around Hafod y Wern to the east and extensive slate tips on the slopes of Moel Tryfan to the west. A path turned down beneath the soaring butressess of Mynydd Mawr, descending to the village of Betws Garmon. A grove of oaks amid rocky outcrops made a delightful spot for a late lunch beside the rushing waters of the Afon Gwyrfai. After crossing the river by a footbridge, the walk went on through the neatly laid out Bryn Gloch caravan site and skirted the graveyard of the small Victorian church of St Garmon. The final section crossed pleasant river meadows, reaching the interesting narrow urban paths through the village of Waunfawr. This proved an enjoyable and relaxed ramble of some 5-6 miles in just over 4 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday September 11th 2022. Moel Hebog. Today’s objective was Moel Hebog, the prominent 2500ft high rounded peak commanding Tremadog Bay when seen from the southern coasts of Llyn. Noel Davey led a group that had grown to 13 by the morning of the walk. It was fine, but rain was promised later, so the party set off at a good pace from Cwmystradllyn Lake, heading past the ‘Lost Village’, a remnant of the valley’s ill-fated Victorian venture into unprofitable slate quarrying. A steady climb up the long grassy shoulder on Hebog’s south-western flank achieved the summit in well under two hours in time for coffee. The views were good, looking down to the Glaslyn estuary and Porthmadog, and across to the Nantlle Ridge and numerous other peaks in the heart of Eryri. A short but steep descent by grassy and rocky paths to Bwlch Meillionen brought the striking knob of Moel yr Ogof into prominence, leading to discussion of where exactly Glyndwr’s elusive cave hiding place was sited. After an early lunch there was now a choice of route back to Cwmystradllyn around the base of Moel Hebog : either the easier western route through Cwm Pennant or east through Cwm Meillionen and Cwm Oeddwr, the harder route requiring at least a couple more hours and more climbing. The party were divided, but in the expectation of rain opted for the first. A sometimes boggy path wound down Cwm Llefrith past remains of the Moel Hebog copper mine, eventually crossing a footbridge to join the trackbed of the short-lived narrow gauge railway built in the 1870s to carry slate from the quarries at the head of Cwm Pennant down to the wharves at Porthmadog. This now provides a flat and easy walking route through this lovely valley, though there are a few tricky stream crossings where bridge structures have gone. The walk covered about 7.5 miles and 2000ft of ascent over 5.5 hours, allowing time for coffee and cake at the accommodating garden café at Ty Mawr just as the afternoon’s light drizzle at last set in. Noel Davey.
Sunday Sept 4th 2022. Aran Fawddwy. Today’s walk across Y Ddwy Aran was a case of third time lucky after two previous attempts had been postponed by poor mountain weather. But it was worth the wait and how fortunate the gang of six who made the walk were; there were bright sunny periods almost all day and exceptional visibility, giving stupendous views of what seemed like every mountain in half of Wales. Gareth Hughes led the walk, but others took turns where the paths were easy to follow. The route started from Blaencywarch at the head of the magical Cwm Cywarch, a remote valley buried in the deep folds of towering green hillsides. The first section was a fairly steep 1000ft ascent through bracken and heather alongside a plummeting brook. This brought the party to an open and exposed grassy and often boggy plateau. The imposing rocky mass of Aran Fawddy came into view, still a couple of miles distant, but eventually the summit just shy of 3000ft was reached. The panorama from the top was breath taking, stretching from the Carneddau in the north to the Brecon Beacons in the south and from the hills of Llyn and Pembroke across Cardigan Bay to the Clwydian and Shropshire hills to the east. Closer to hand, the sharp profiles of the Rhinogydd, the Cader ridge and the Arenigs stood out. Once lunch was over it was 2 pm, leaving enough time to make the 2 hour return excursion to the twin peak of Aran Benllyn along the by no means easy ridge path north, passing a modern sentinel cairn near Erw y Ddafad Ddu. This summit gave a bird’s eye of Llyn Tegid and Bala far below. A few walkers were encountered who had made the ascent from the Llanuwchllyn, seemingly the only others on the mountain. The return route skirted along the fence line around Aran Fawddy, eventually reaching the easy grass path down across Drysgol, past the lonely cairn commemorating the sad loss of a mountain rescuer from lightning over 60 years ago. A tea break gave a chance to gaze at the awe inspiring parapets of the eastern scarp of the Arans, soaring above the waters of Creiglin Dyfi, the main source of the Afon Dyfi. The final leg was an easy gradual descent of 2000ft down a narrow path perched on the hillside above the long and deep Hengwm valley. The party were relieved to get back to the cars waiting in Cwm Cywarch for the long drive back to Llyn after an unforgettable day in the mountains, covering over 10 miles and 4100 ft of ascent over 8.5 hours. Noel Davey.
Thursday Sept 1st 2022. Porth Ysgo - Penarfynydd. This was a repeat of a circuit from Porth Ysgo which took place in dense mist in June last year. This time the sun shone providing the 14 walkers led by Judith Thomas with glorious views over the coast and countryside of this part of Western Llyn. The walk set out from the field car park at Porth Ysgo, now offering a cabin with self-service coffee. The path led down past the old manganese mines, giving tantalising glimpses of the deep blue waters and the coast stretching past the rock of Maen Gwenonwy to Ynys Enlli. Summer drought had reduced the waterfall to a trickle, but the rocky cove was a delight, well worth the long flight of steps down which half the party took, while the others relaxed at the top. An inland path across fields avoided cattle and awkward stiles, bringing the party onto the headland of Penarfynydd which was covered in its seasonal tapestry of golden gorse and purple heather. Lunch was taken at the wild rocky tip looking across to Cilan and the Cambrian coast stretching down to Pembroke. The final treat of the walk was a visit to the small, plain and simple and immaculately kept church of Llanfaelrhys. After a relaxing ramble of some 5 miles most of the party continued to Plas yn Rhiw for tea. Noel Davey.
Sunday August 28 2022. Dinas Emrys-Cwm Llan/lower Watkin Path. On a warm and sunny August Bank Holiday Dafydd Williams led 10 ramblers on a circuit from Craflwyn, near Beddgelert. Fortunately, the party were early enough to find parking despite fears of the crowds invading this popular area of Eryri. An anticlockwise route was followed, crossing the Afon Glaslyn at the Sygun copper mine and then taking the delightful path along the southern shore of Llyn Dinas. The lake displayed its usual beautiful mirror smooth conditions, reflecting the wooded slopes either side and attracting wild campers and swimmers. The group made short work of the flat and easy path, passing the National Trust farm at Llyndy Isaf and soon reaching the busy terminal of the Snowdon Watkin Path at Bethania. The path up through woodland past Castell was shared by the crowds, most heading as far as the magnificent Cwm Llan waterfalls. There were fine views of Lliweddd and Gallt y Wenallt immediately above and, further away, the prominent peak of Moel Siabod. At the old quarry incline just below the falls, the route turned south-west onto a quieter National Trust path. This climbed gently to about 1200ft elevation at Bwlchau Terfyn before descending by a trickier rocky section as far as old mine workings in Cwm Bleiddiaid. An impressive ruin provided a suitable spot for lunch here. Another path took the walkers down past Hafod y Porth for a detour to the modest hill of Dinas Emrys, wrapped in its blanket of luxuriant woodland. This required a rocky climb to the summit at 450ft from where there was a lovely vista of the Nantgwynant valley towards Beddgelert and the mass of Moel Hebog immediately behind the village. The hill retains some indistinct vestiges of Vortigern’s 5C ‘castle’, but its main significance lies in the seminal myth of Wales where Emrys woke the dragons sleeping below to fight, leading to the victory of the Red (Welsh) dragon over the White (Saxon) dragon. It was then a relatively short descent back to Craflwyn, passing a wonderfully carved dragon seat and the magical woodland pool and falls at Afon y Cwm. Here a couple of the walkers absconded for a wild swim upstream. Following a chance to inspect the colourful CADW presentation of local myth and history at Craflwyn, half the party braved busy Beddgelert to quench their thirst after an increasingly sultry day. This was a most enjoyable and relatively easy outing of some 7.5mls and 1200ft of ascent over 5 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday 14th August 2022. Moel Druman & Yr Arddu. Hugh Evans lead a group of 11 walkers on a clockwise circuit of the fine horseshoe of mountains west of Dolwyddelan, an extension of the Moelwynion, walling in the headwaters of the Afon Lledr. It was another in a string of wonderful hot sunny days with temperatures in the high 20s C and excellent visibility. The route started at about 600ft near the head of a remote valley beyond Roman Bridge with a moderate climb in a southerly direction. After a mile or so the Conway Valley railway line crossed the track and soon disappeared into a 2.5 mile tunnel built in the 1870s to serve the slate mines of Blaenau Ffestiniog. There was a coffee stop in the shade of a turret above one of the deep ventilation airshafts. The route circled round Mynydd Dyrnogydd, following the level track of a former quarry tramway and passing close to the main road over the Bwlch y Gorddinan/Crimea Pass at around 1200ft elevation. There was then a steep climb over Iwerddon and a long and sweaty pull up to the summit of Allt Fawr, at 2290ft the highest point of the day. The party were more than ready for a late lunch at the top, enjoying a refreshing breeze which compensated for the lack of shade. There were glorious views south from here down to Blaenau and beyond to Trawsfynydd and the mountains of Meirionnydd. In the far distance, parts of the Llyn jutted out as though floating in the sky. With energy restored the group continued, now circling west, then north, passing round rather than over Moel Druman and making their way past small lakes across Ysgafell Wen and stony paths over the long ridge of Yr Arddu. The sharp peak of Cnicht and the route across to Rhosydd lay to the west. Now, the great mass of Yr Wyddfa increasingly dominated the view, seeming so near, but its swarming crowds such a world away from the peace and quiet of today’s route with barely another soul in sight all day. At last the path descended towards a forest area on the flanks of Moel Siabod, joining a track back via Coed Mawr to the start point. This was a rewarding walk, tiring and strenuous on this warm day, covering over 10 miles and some 2650ft of ascent over 7.5 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday 7th August 2022. Celebratory Ascent of Yr Wyddfa. A special walk today. On the occasion of his 86th birthday Dafydd Williams was accompanied by 18 Club members and friends on an ascent of Yr Wyddfa by the Ranger path, sustaining quite a tradition that has become established over the last seven years. It was a perfect day for a climb: warm sunshine all day, dry with good visibility and a moderate breeze. The awe inspiring landscape of Snowdon looked its best, a reminder what a remarkable mountain this is, deservedly attracting and somehow accommodating the crowds that flock to its summit. An early start ensured space in the car park at Llyn Cwellyn. The first two miles were easy, not too steep and much improved by the upgraded gravel path. A stop for coffee at Bwlch Cwm Brwynog above Llyn Ffynnon y Gwas, marked the halfway point in distance and a third of the climb. The next 1500ft were much steeper, ascending the Clogwyn Du’r Arddu by a rough stony path. At last, after 3-3.5 hours the party reached the railway at Bwlch Glas. Here the crowds on the path thickened as three of the other Snowdon paths converged. It was then a short hike to the summit at 3560ft. While the queues for a photo opportunity at the crowning viewpoint were not as long as they sometimes are, the party opted instead for lunch just beyond the café building, perched out of the wind on the steep slope overlooking Cwm Llan and the Watkin Path and the glorious vista to the south. As the opportunist gulls swooped around, there was a bird’s eye view of a mountain rescue in action just below the crags of Lliwedd. A helicopter circled for ages and then, hovering like a bird of prey, winched up a thankful casualty to be whisked off to Ysbyty Gwynedd. As often happens, the route down by the same path seemed longer and more arduous on legs already shaky from the earlier ascent. But the party eventually regained the lakeside, safe and sound, after more than 7 hours on the mountain, having covered some 8 miles and 3100ft of ascent. A memorable day was rounded off with well deserved refreshments at the Cwellyn Arms. Noel Davey.
Thursday August 4th 2022. Two Bridges over the Menai. Tecwyn Williams led a party of 26 on a fascinating ramble along the Anglesey shore of the Menai between the two bridges over the Strait. This was an easy walk of some 4 miles full of historical and visual interest. The walkers started from the carpark of the vast Pringles emporium in Llanfair PG, following a group photo under the town’s famously long, unpronounceable and lucrative name emblazoned on the railway station. The route first followed a stretch of the A5, passing one of Telford’s tollhouses, later home to the first Women’s Institute in Britain. A path down to the hamlet of Pwllfanogl on the Menai shore passed Min y Mor, the pretty house where the artist Kyffin Williams lived for the last 30 years of his life. A wooded path leading east, part of the Wales Coast Path, then hugged the shore, reaching the Nelson Monument, in part a navigation aid, erected by Admiral Paget of nearby Plas Llanfair. Cutting inland through St Mary’s churchyard, the next stop was to view up close two of the ‘fat lions’ guarding the entrance to Stevenson’s great Britannia Bridge. While these sculptures are hidden from the thundering modern road deck above, added after the 1970’s fire, they can be glimpsed by rail passengers from the original deck below. The next section followed another delightful wooded path through Coed Mor, eased by boardwalks. This offered many glimpses across the Swellies to the island of Ynys Gored Goch, named after 16C fishing weirs, and the lush tree-lined Gwynedd shore beyond. An idyllic open spot was found for lunch in the sunshine, providing a wonderful panorama of both the Britannia Bridge and the older, even more spectacular and graceful structure of Telford’s suspension bridge. A short elevated section along the A5 then brought the party down across the causeway to Church Island, notable for its tiny 13C church of St Tysilio and a large graveyard, where the poet Cynan is buried. A lookout point at the War Memorial provided yet more fine views to the west. Next came the Belgian Promenade, built by refugees in WW1 in appreciation of their warm local reception. Finally, the walk came to its climax under the soaring masonry of the northern pier of the pioneering suspension bridge, the longest span in the world at the time of its construction in the 1820s. After a relaxed social saunter over some 4 hours most of the party took the bus back for browsing and refreshments at Pringles. 8 opted to retrace their steps on foot to savour the route again at a faster pace. Noel Davey.