Aug 20 - Jul 21
Sunday 25 July 2021. “Yr Ysgwrn”, Trawsfynydd. I had undertaken this walk initially by invitation from a friend with connections to “Yr Ysgwrn”, Trawsfynydd, which is now a shrine to the celebrated Welsh poet, Hedd Wyn, who won the Chair at the National Eisteddfod at Birkenhead in 1917. By the time the chairing ceremony took place, the poet had been killed in action in the trenches in France and the chair was draped in black and was thereafter known as “Y Gadair Ddu” (The Black Chair).
The original walk was a joint Historical/Archaeological effort, the history mainly being of Hedd Wyn and local places whilst the archaeology covered the bronze age, the roman era and more recent times.
It was a beautiful summers day as the party of 15 set off from Yr Ysgwrn retracing the route taken from the A470 by car, to reach a property Bryn Goleu where a footpath sign pointed left. A good 400 yards along a substantial mediaeval farmhouse property was reached, Plas Capten, the one time homeof Capten John Morgan, a royalist supporter during the 17the century civil war. At this stage it was sharp right and over a small stone bridge and hindered by overgrown tree branches to gain a stile and into a field with the waymark directing us diagonally to the south-east. After gaining the corner it was along a farm lane to emerge onto a small road which turned out to be the old main road to Dolgellau as evidenced, as we went left, on an old milestone, that indicated it was “Dolgelley 11 miles”. This road was followed for a good mile and some historical information given until a chapel, Capel Penstryd, was reached, a good spot for a morning cuppa. I had been to this area when undertaking my 2 years of National Service in 1955 when the area was a military training ground and the Royal Artillery practiced firing their 25 biggest guns. We then went left off the tarmac onto a rough track and steadilly uphill until after a mile or so we reached a small lake/reservoir (Llyn Gelli-gain). The path continued anti clockwise around the lake perimeter for 400 yards and then started to climb to reach the summit of a small hill, Craiglaseithin, at 1550 feet, the highest point of the day, where lunch was taken. From here there were magnificent panoramic views in all directions as indeed there were all day on this most beautiful of days with just a gentle breeze. From here it was merely a further mile and a half back to the cars across a pathless area, Ffridd Ddu, where at times we were able to follow the tracks of a farm vehicle. The last half mile was downhill and the walk distance approximately 6.5 miles. A pleasant walk taken at a pace in keeping with the hot weather experienced on the day. Dafydd Williams.
Sunday July 18 2021. Llanllechid Circular. On one of this summer’s warmer days 9 club members met at the layby on the old A5 near Talybont. Daffydd Williams led an easy circuit of some 8 miles length in the attractive countryside stretching south to Llanllechid. The walk set off, soon crossing over the A55 and leaving its roaring traffic behind. A green lane crossed fields and skirted the wooded area of Marianywynllan. The path climbed steadily into open country, crossing the shoulder of Moel Wnion at about 1200ft elevation. There were fine views from here to the west towards Elidir and other peaks above the Penrhyn quarry, while the plains of Arfon and Ynys Môn stretched to the north. The route then turned west, descending to the ruins of a slate quarry at Bryn Hall. Here there is a deceptively picturesque quarry pool, its murky depths concealing a cache of redundant wartime armaments. It is well known to divers as a dangerous spot, though sadly the slate plaque commemorating a fatal accident here has disappeared. The interesting and rather grand graveyard of the Victorian parish church of Llanllechid provided a comfortable spot for lunch with shade from beeches and yews. The homeward leg of the walk included pleasant wooded sections close to the Afon Ogwen and its tributaries which helped take the edge off the afternoon heat. After a brief roadway section on the A5 at Halfway Bridge the route passed Cochwillan, the most important complete medieval house of the area. The forbidding gateway of Penrhyn Castle and the nearby estate houses in Llandygai were a reminder of the Pennant family’s troubled sway over the area’s economic and social history. The final section of the route followed a temporary inland section of the Coastal Path pending the outcome of a protracted negotiation with the Penrhyn estate for a more suitable path on the coast. This proved an interesting and relaxed walk through pleasant countryside, well suited to the warm weather. Noel Davey.
Thursday July 15 and July 22 2021. Mynydd Carnguwch. This popular walk up Mynydd Carnguwch was repeated on consecutive Thursdays. There were 11 on the first walk led by Kath Spencer and Megan Mentzoni and a further 8 on the second led by Jean Norton and Annie Andrew. There should have been more, but 5 pulled out on account of the unusually hot weather. The walk started from the Mount Pleasant carpark above Nant Gwrtheyrn and took the familiar path towards Tre’r Ceiri, pausing to examine the granite topograph displaying the visible peaks. The route then turned south across the Llithfaen road. A pleasant country lane was followed, circling anti-clockwise round the foot of Carnguwch to a point at the south-east corner from where a relatively easy ascent could be made, arcing gently across the contours. This left a relatively short section of steep climb through the heather and bilberries, approaching the summit from the north-east. The exposed ascent of some 650ft from the road in the unfamiliar heat of a blazing sun was hard work, needing regular water stops, but the reward was a fantastic viewpoint right across the peninsula from shore to shore. The peak, at 1200ft, is crowned by a huge manmade cairn, a conspicuous feature probably dating from the bronze age. The twin peaks of Yr Eifl and Tre’r Ceiri dominated to the north, a spectacular sight of vivid purple heather and bright green bracken topped by brooding grey rocky scree. The Carnguwch cairn was the point for lunch on the first walk, but the shade of a hedgerow at the bottom of the mountain was sought on the repeat to give some relief from the heat. The descent was made by a more direct and steeper path alongside a straight boundary wall. Country lanes were followed back to the village of Llithfaen before a final leg across the grassy plateau via Tir Glyn. These were rewarding walks of some 6.5 miles length and 1400ft of cumulative ascent, taking in one of the Llŷn’s prominent, yet not at all well known, peaks. Noel Davey.
Sunday July 11th 2021. Moel Eilio. Today 10 club members found themselves amongst the old quarry tips at Bwlch y Groes at the end of the metalled road, 700 feet above Waunfawr, ready for a walk up Moel Eilio led by Hugh Evans. The day was cloudy, but quite pleasant and dry till rain set in after lunch. The walk started with the main climb of the day, heading steadily south up the ridge to the peak at 2400ft elevation. The cairn at the top provided refuge from a cool wind for a morning cuppa. The 360 degree panorama of mountains from here was a spectacular amalgam of slopes of every shade of green and the mysterious profiles of peaks looming out of the clouds. The middle section of the walk was a ridge made up of an undulating succession of dips and hills, including Bwlch Gwyn and Bwlch Cwm Cesig, Foel Gron and Foel Goch. There were glimpses of Llyn Dwythwch down in the large cwm to the east, reputedly a haunt of the Tylwyth Teg. A steep descent brought the party down to the relative shelter of Bwlch Maesgwm where abandoned telegraph poles provided a perch for lunch. As the promised rain arrived, the afternoon leg took the relatively easy and recently upgraded gravel track down Cwm Maesgwm towards Llanberis, now part of the Slate Path linking to the Ranger route up Yr Wyddfa. Regular stops were needed now to don or adjust wet weather gear. Despite the weather, there were more good views towards Elidir Fawr, Llyn Padarn and Yr Wyddfa, where the railway trains clanked up and down offering visitors a somewhat disappointing experience of the mountain today. At Maen Llwyd Uchaf the route turned off north-west, climbing over a col back to Bwlch y Groes. This proved an excellent outing on one of Eryri’s most rewarding peaks, covering about 7.5 miles and 2200 feet of ascent in under 5 hours. Noel Davey
Thursday July 8th 2021. Mynydd Cilan. Annie Andrew and Jean Norton led a group of 10 ramblers on a circuit from Sarn Bach onto Mynydd Cilan. It was a dry and bright day, very pleasant in the sunshine. The walk crossed fields past the caravan site at Pant Gwyn Farm up to the hamlet of Bwlchtocyn and by a network of recently upgraded paths across to the western side of Mynydd Cilan. The route provided fine views over the great bight of Porth Neigwl towards Mynydd Rhiw and down the coast to Ynys Enlli. There was a panad stop beside a splendid silver Airstream caravan parked near the unexpectedly named ‘Greenland’. The walk then joined the Coast Path, climbing to the trig point on Cilan at just under 400ft elevation. This was a lovely spot for lunch looking across the vivid fresh purple of the heather, soon to be joined by the gold of gorse to provide an extraordinary colour combination characteristic of the headlands of Llŷn in late summer. To the east the misty outline of the Cambrian mountains could be seen sweeping south round Bae Ceredigion. The walk then backtracked and descended by a rocky path to the pebbly beach at Hell’s Mouth. The route finally headed back inland across the fields near the lost village of Penygogo and climbed the track to Ty Newydd Farm back to the start point. This was a pleasant and much enjoyed ramble of some 6 miles and about 900ft of ascent over 3-4 hours. Noel Davey.
Sunday July 4 2021. Llyn Trawsfynydd. A while ago rain cancelled this popular circuit of Llyn Trawsfynydd. It rained again this time, but mercifully in fewer sharp showers interspersed with sunny periods to dry off. Dafydd William led 15 walkers, a trial increase in maximum numbers as vaccines hopefully reduce the risks of the epidemic. The walk started from the lake café in an anticlockwise direction, passing the towering bulk of the power station, for ever busy with decommissioning. At the dam there was a pause to view the huge pipes feeding down to the hydro turbine at Maentwrog below the ancient woodland of Coed Llenyrch and the spectacular gorge of the Afon Prysor. The path on the western side rose gently to 1000ft, passing through the Coed y Rhygen National Nature Reserve, part of the Celtic rainforest noted for its rare bryophytes – liverworts, mosses and lichens. Further on, the route entered more open country, passing the mountain rescue centre and cutting across the south-eastern corner of the lake by means of the 400m long footbridge, thankfully repaired to assuage the rather alarming glimpses through the decking of the cold waters below. This brought the party past Garreg yr Ogof to the village of Trawsfynydd, a place of solid granite houses and memories of the bard Hedd Wyn, its most famous son. The route back along the eastern shore required a forced march along the A470 in pouring rain, running the gauntlet of deluges of spray from passing vehicles. The final wooded path was a welcome relief, but best of all was a well deserved tea at the friendly community café after a rewarding outing of some 8 miles length. Noel Davey
Thursday, July 1st 2021 Miners Paths, Nantlle. Tecwyn Williams led eleven walkers from the car park at Talysarn On to Miners /Footpath to the foot of Mynydd Cilgwyn. This was a scenic route but unfortunately it was very misty and it was impossible to see further than a hundred yards. The route brought walkers to Y Fron the old school that is now a café and shop. Some had coffee and ice cream and it became a perfect place to have lunch. The mist dissipated after lunch and the views improved so that Pen yr Orsedd quarry with its huge deep cavity could be seen in all its glory. The greenery and flowers were magnificent, making the area with its slate tips mellow and worthy of being nominated as a World Heritage site.
The party meandered along the distinctive paths down to the valley passing all kind of overgrown, derelict structures and making a slight detour to see the flooded quarry Twll Mawr that is now an impressive “Blue Lake” Dorothea was eerily quiet as the accessibility for vehicles has been prevented by sturdy gates at either end of the territory. Before the end of the area nearby stands Plas Talysarn the derelict abode of the owner of the quarry Thomas Robinson now a very dilapidated ruin just about showing what had been a grand house with its stables and kennels. It is ravaged by weather, woodland and graffiti.
The last lap was over reclaimed shallow banks that seemed to becoming attractive flower meadows. The walk seemed to be a success after the misty start and everybody was glad to see old friends and greet new members. Tecwyn Williams.
Sunday June 27th 2021. Cwmystradllyn-Moel Ddu-Bryn Banog. Half a dozen club members met at Llyn Cwmystradllyn for a circuit led by Noel Davey around the lake taking in the peaks of Moel Ddu and Bryn Bannog. It was a pleasant sunny day with a brisk north-easterly wind. The group set out from the reservoir dam, taking the footpath to the Ynysypandy Slate Mill along the track of part of the former Gorseddfa horse-drawn tramway. These industrial remnants were a recurring theme of the day, recalling the area’s spectacular slate quarry enterprise of the 1860’s which closed after just 8 years of loss-making production due to the poor quality of the slate. The slate mill is unquestionably the star of the development, a massive windowed structure standing in lonely grandeur, a remarkable piece of industrial architecture reminiscent of monastic ruins like the abbeys of Tintern or Rievaulx. Apart from the tramways and the impressive tiered levels and masonry of the quarry itself at the head of the valley, a later stage of the walk took in the remains of the deserted village of Treforus built for the quarry workers. The walk continued west along a farm track past Ereiniog and Ynys Wen, climbing steadily through open access grazing land and later indistinct paths, to reach the twin peaks of Moel Ddu at around 1800ft. From here the views were glorious, while it was high time for a panad in the shelter of the narrow natural trough set between the summits. A steep descent brought the party down to the fringes of the quarry, ready for another very steep ascent of 500ft up the sharp edge of Bryn Banog. At the top a wall provided a good spot for lunch overlooking the lake below, while the precipitous screes on the eastern side of Moel Hebog loomed above. The route continued north for half a mile along a fine ridge offering more superb views down to Beddgelert and across to the heart of the mountains of Eryri. The walk then crossed marshy ground at the head of Cwm Cyd and down a steep stream gulley to the rough ground high above the lake. Sheep tracks crossing broken walls eventually brought the group to the neatly laid out streets of Treforus and back down to the main quarry track. Tea at Ty Mawr was a final treat of the day and a chance to recover from a strenuous, but rewarding hike of some 7-8 miles and 2750ft of climbing over about 6 hours. Noel Davey
Thursday 24 June 2021. Chwilog-Llangybi circular. 11 members met in the vicinity of the Madryn Arms, Chwilog for a seven mile walk led by Meri Evans and Elspeth Roberts. It was a murky and damp day from the outset in keeping with recent days. Most of the walk was on tarmacked country lanes, there and back from Chwilog to Llangybi and visiting Ffynnon Cybi, a well known local landmark. From and behind the Well there was a steep climb, initially through the trees until open fields were reached where the gradient increased until the summit of Garn Bentyrch at 400 feet was achieved. Three of the walkers had decided to lunch after having reached the fields whilst the remainder lunched at the summit. Then the weather relented slightly and having regained the tarmac through St. Cybi’s churchyard it began to brighten up and be positively the time to discard our waterproofs. A pleasant enough walk had the weather been kinder and we were also thwarted on our return to Chwilog when we discovered that the Madryn Arms was closed, hence no refreshments! Dafydd Williams.
Sunday 20 June 2021. Criccieth-Treflys-Black Rock. B walk alternative.
The 10 mile B walk with 4 members present on a pleasant day started from the Blue China teashop on Criccieth’s east promenade. The weather forecast up to a day or two previously had been rather threatening but had mellowed considerably,
The route went east along the promenade, to the rear of Dylan’s the popular restaurant and continued east alongside the railway line until the site of the old Black Rock railway halt was reached. Crossing the railway line we went south to the aptly named Black Rock where with the tide being out it allowed us to turn back east, clamber over a rocky section for a short distance and reach a grassy footpath going uphill. This brought us onto a lane leading to a white house “Tripp”, overlooking Black Rock sands swarming with cars and people bent on enjoying themselves. Some 200 yards on we joined a small tarmaced road leading to the beach but we went left and after some 400 yards uphill we reached Treflys, Church where we had a morning break for tea/coffee, the numerous flat and ancient tombstones providing convenient tables.
Returning to the road we went north on the tarmac for close on two miles until Wern railway bridge was reached and we had to take our lives into our hands and sprint across the busy road, the A497 At the back of the bridge there is a footpath, west and uphill initially but soon levelling out and after three quarters of a mile came to a cross road of paths, straight on to Dolbenmaen, north to south Penmorfa to Pentrefelin, an ideal spot for lunch. This spot was in the trees with no views but it gave us time to contemplate what a nice walking day it had become with the countryside following recent rain at its best, we were so fortunate.
Having lunched we went left and within a mile reached the cenotaph at Pentrefelin village on the A497 and trudged westwards for 200 yards before turning right and northwards up Tabor Hill where after some 300 yards we called on club members Jack and Christine First where we enjoyed being shown around the shrubbery, abundant vegetable section and the solid greenhouse. We continued up hill before going left after another 200 yards and passing the home of today’s A walk leader. From here it was steeply uphill until we reached Braich y Saint farm. After another half mile we went left and south onto the old Criccieth Golf Club where as a past long standing member I am aware of the shadows of golfers from many years ago! Reaching the old club house it was right and uphill to reach the summit of Moel Ednyfed surrounded by a number of large boulders proclaiming it was the site of an ancient fort. The views were stunning in all directions, this indeed is a superb viewing point where in my time it was utilised to view eclipses and similar occurencies. It was then down the west facing side to Plas Ednyfed and down the drive to the Criccieth/Caernarfon road, the B4411 and left through the council house estate to Bryn Awelon and on down the leafy lane to the Criccieth/Pwllheli road, the A497. Crossing this, again at our peril, it was down to and along the Marine parade, up towards and past the Castle and finally down castle hill and back to the Blue China. An extremely enjoyable 10 mile walk to remember in good company over five and a half hours. Dafydd Williams.
Sunday June 20th 2021. Capel Curig-Llyn Crafnant-Llyn Cowlyd. 'A' walk. Just two ramblers were able to join Eryl Thomas for a satisfying circuit of 12.5 miles in the delightful lakeland north of Capel Curig. An earlier weather forecast almost cancelled the walk, but it improved to light cloud, sunny periods and dry conditions, ideal for walking. The route started from roadside parking near Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre, taking the Ogwen path looping round via Gelli to Jo Brown’s and then across the A5 east and north into open access land, climbing steadily past Crimpiau to the Cwm Glas Crafnant National Nature Reserve. At a bwlch around 1000ft, high above the narrow cleft of the wooded Crafnant valley, there was a coffee stop to take in the fine views of the lake. A track then descended along the northern shore with glimpses of the lake through the trees. Road access from Trefriw meant this was the busiest section of the route with many out for a Sunday stroll or picnic in in this pleasant spot. At the northern end of the lake the route climbed north and west onto high moorland. There was a stop for lunch at a site near Lledwigan, providing a magnificent panorama over a wide area, including the lush farmland of the Conwy Valley with the Denbighshire Moors and the Berwyns beyond; nearer to hand, the relics of the ‘Klondyke’ lead and silver mine could be seen, together with the tip of Llyn Geirionydd, while a red kite circled watchfully over the valley below. The track now continued across a more austere and empty landscape, reaching a high point at about 1650ft, before descending to Llyn Cowlyd. This much quieter lake was developed initially as a reservoir for north coast towns, but was later also used to generate hydro power for the aluminium works at Dolgarrog until their closure in 2007; following rehabilitation the system now feeds renewable energy into the national grid. The party crossed the large dam, past the large black pipe snaking off to the turbine far below, and followed a level path for two miles along the north shore of Cowlyd’s deep and chilly waters, hedged in between the steep slopes of Pen Llithrig y Wrach above and the crags of Cregiau Gleision opposite. At the end of the lake there a was a last ascent, past the prominent rock of Maen Trichwmwd, and then a steady path back to Capel Curig. This was a rewarding day out taken at a good pace over relatively easy terrain with a cumulative ascent of some 2350ft. Noel Davey.
Thursday 17 June 2021. Harlech-Llanfair. On a sunny June day Gwynfor led a party of 11 walkers for a circuit around Harlech and Llanfair. The group met at the Min y Don car park situated in the middle of the St David’s Golf Club. On the short leg to the beach, we passed an unusual seat constructed to appear as (or maybe recycled from?) the upended prow of a small rowing boat. Shortly after we were on the wide-open beach. Mid-morning and mid-week of course there were only a few sunbathers plus of course the usual dog walkers and we enjoyed a flat easy walk to the south largely on firm sand.
The next stage of the walk was up a zigzag of steps leading to the main road, a task undertaken with frequent stops to admire the view. Just before the main road there was an open area where a panad was taken with a further opportunity to enjoy the view over the dunes behind the beach and a vista stretching from the Cnicht to the far tip of Lleyn.
From that point on there was no choice but to use the main road briefly. Our route continued south towards the village of Llanfair but where the main road turns away to by-pass the village, we continued on through it. The church (St Mary’s) is in these covid days open for private prayer on a Wednesday, but it may be worth a visit when things change. Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerallt Gymro) mentions a church here when he (and the Archbishop of Canterbury no less) stayed here to preach and recruit for the third crusade in 1188.
The Rector from 1711-1734 was Ellis Wynne. His home at Y Lasynys Fawr, Harlech is (or at least was pre Covid) open to the public occasionally. He wrote many hymns and Plygain carols but is best known for his work loosely translated as The Visions of the Sleeping Bard.
In the middle of the village, we turned up past the gable end of Ty Bychan and crossed a field. We were faced with a slate tip but followed a woodland path skirting it’s bottom. From there we briefly followed a minor road leading to the Llanfair Slate Caverns a small tourist attraction. A courtesy path led us through another wooded area coming out, after a slightly overgrown section, past the well-tended lawns of Penyrallt Farm.
Having come in by the tradesman’s entrance as it were we left the farm complex by the main drive, passing a camping field before leaving the tarmac again to gain a footpath now leading pretty much to the north. We ate our lunch admiring another open vista including the village of Llanfair and Llandanwg below, typically for the area both set in a patchwork of small fields enclosed by stone walls. Beyond the Artro estuary is Mochras (Shell Island) and the Llanbedr airfield considered by some as a potential site for Wales’ first spaceport!
By now heading back to Harlech we followed a series of footpaths some with wide open views others sheltered by gorse and interspersed with a number of tricky stone stiles. In due course we started our descent into Harlech initially looking down onto the castle.
In the town the group split up some queuing to partake of refreshment in the Cadw café attached to the Castle before (presumably) tackling the descent of what is still labelled the steepest street in the world. Others proceeded straight back to their cars to complete a circuit of some 5.5 miles taken at a moderate pace in sunny but not overwarm conditions. Gwynfor Jones.
Sunday June 13 2021. Mynydd Cennin. A full dozen Llŷn Ramblers met at Bryncir on this warm and sunny day of early summer. Kath Spencer led a lovely circuit in a not so well known part of the upper Dwyfach Valley. The walk headed north from the old Bryncir station along the Lôn Eifion recreational route, following the track of the former railway from Caernarfon to Afon Wen, a victim of the Beeching cuts in 1964, but now a valuable asset for walkers and cyclists. The route crossed the Afon Dwyfach twice near Derwyn Bach and the site of Pen Llystyn Roman Fort, built prior to AD80 as part of the Roman offensive to subdue northern Wales. Further on, a westwards path past the prosperous farm of Derwyn Fawr, underneath the high voltage power lines from Trawsfynydd and a trio of wind turbines. The prominent grassy hill of Y Foel, an area of common land, provided a fine vantage point at 715ft for views of the surrounding countryside and a morning panad. Near Bwlch Derwin a loop of broad tracks took the party through a large area of coniferous forest managed by Tilhill. A long straight rising section of country road led to Cae Gors and via a broken wall onto the open access area of Mynydd Cennin. At 860ft this was the highest point of the day and time for lunch at the summit trig point. While hardly a ‘mynydd’, a fine area of elevated grassland offered superb views in all directions, towards Ynys Môn in the north, Mynydd Graig Goch and the peaks of Eryri to the east, the Clynnog Hills of the AONB to the west, and the lush fields and woodlands of Eifionydd stretching to the coast of Llŷn to the south. Descending south to Hendre Cennin, the route followed a northern section of the Lôn Goed; this stretch of the celebrated trackway is delightfully wooded, though somewhat overgrown and less used than further south. The final leg followed a country lane east through the farms of Llecheiddior where open cast gravel works are temporarily despoiling the countryside. This was a most enjoyable and easy walk of some 9 miles over 5 hours, with a cumulative ascent of about 1000ft. Noel Davey
Thursday June 10th 2021. Porth Ysgo - Penarfynydd. This walk of 5 miles from Porth Ysgo took place entirely in the mist. Visibility never reached 100 yards over 4 hours. Nevertheless, 10 walkers led by Judith Thomas still managed to have an enjoyable ramble with ample time for chat. While the air felt damp, like the grass underfoot, it was relatively warm and there was no rain. The glorious views from this part of the coast had to be left to the imagination, but the murky shapes of looming rocks and the sound if not the sight of the sea were atmospheric. The walk set out from the field car park at Ysgo Farm, descending the steep path and many steps to the lovely little cove at Porth Ysgo. The cliffside was a delightful patchwork of wild flowers - marguerite daisies, sea campion and thrift – a frame for the plummeting stream of the Ysgo waterfall. The black rocks on the beach were a reminder of the old manganese workings nearby. The linking coast path section to Penarfynydd above Porth Alwm and Port Llawenan to the east is still under development, so the route took an inland path across fields which presented a few challenging stiles. There was a stop for a panad at Penarfynydd Farm with entertainment from a lifelike plastic pig and two inquisitive and hungry goats. Further on, grazing wild ponies complemented the menagerie. The walk continued to the wild tip of Mynydd Penarfynydd for more tantalising virtual views, returning via the trig point at the 580ft summit. Lunch followed in sheep folds near Graig Fawr. Mist muffled the shouts tested at the ‘echo rock’ of Carreg Lefain. The walk back to Ysgo followed the track past Ty Croes Mawr and the country road passing the isolated church of Llanfaelrhys. The party stopped to visit this little gem which is kept open and in immaculate condition. Of medieval origin, the single celled building has more recent links to the poet RS Thomas, and the Keating sisters of Plas yn Rhiw who are buried in the churchyard. A strange but memorable outing! Noel Davey.
Sunday June 6th 2021. Porthmadog-Penmorfa-Black Rock circular. A fine and sunny day brought 9 club members to Porthmadog for an interestingly varied circuit led by Hugh Evans around the wide hinterland of the town. The walk set off by back streets and paths to the harbour, busy with leisure craft. Across the Stryd Fawr and the tracks of the Welsh Highland Railway, a wooded path skirted Ynys Tywyn, a small rocky knoll owned by the National Trust at the western end of The Cob, the great embankment built by Madocks over 200 years ago to reclaim the Traeth Mawr from the sea. The sluices and lagoon mark where the waters of the Afon Glasyn were diverted and managed as part of this remarkable engineering enterprise. A level path continued through a seedier commercial area on the town periphery, then heading across floodplain fields around the aptly named ‘Farm Yard’. From here the route turned west along the main road through the elegant square of Tremadog. After the hospital, a wooded bridleway led to Penmorfa under the steep cliffs of Alltwen. A pleasant old track led south through the old Wern Manor estate. This dates back to the 16th century, once owned by the powerful Wyn family, but the house itself was remodelled in Arts and Craft style in the late 19th century for the engineer RH Greaves of Llechwedd quarry. Following later life as a nursing home, it is now under renovation, offering holiday accommodation in its many outbuildings. A country lane to the coast ran through woods and passed the tiny isolated church of Sant Mihangel, Treflys, where the graveyard, perched above Morfa Bychan, provided a pleasant lunchstop with good views of Moel y Gest and the sea. The route next headed west across the enormous low-tide expanse of Black Rock Sands, blemished by the usual invasion of holiday makers’ motor vehicles. Rounding Ynys Cyngar, the path led above Samson Bay and beside Porthmadog Golf Course. A loop inland climbed into the wilder terrain on the lower slopes of Moel y Gest as far as the old post road at Tyn y Mynydd. There was a welcome tea stop under a May tree, arousing the curiosity of a couple of llamas at the nearby trekking centre. The last mile or so took the party down to the attractive village of Borth y Gest huddled round its little bay and then back along the coast to Porthmadog. This was a lovely day out, offering easy walking for 13 miles over 7 hours with mostly gentle climbs and total ascent of 1150ft. Noel Davey.
Thursday June 3rd 2021. Bwlch y Ddwy Elor. A group of 10 ramblers gathered at Pont Cae’r Gors near Rhyd Ddu (another unfortunately missed the walk, mistaking Cae’r Gors at Rhosgadfan, the childhood home of author Kate Roberts, as the start point). Dafydd Williams led the circuit of some 6.5 miles through the Beddgelert Forest, climbing about 1200ft to the pass leading to Cwm Pennant. The weather started quite cloudy and cool compared with recent days, but it stayed dry and brightened up later. The walk set out westwards along a serious of often confusing broad forest tracks, requiring reference to the helpful forest route numbers. The walk climbed steadily to Bwlch y Ddwy Elor (The Pass of the Two Biers) at about 1400ft, reputedly so called from the practice of carrying the dead, often victims of quarry accidents, between Cwm Pennant and Rhyd Ddu, and handing over the body to another team at the top of the pass for the load down. This lonely and exposed spot opened up fine views down Cwm Pennant to the Llŷn coast extending down to St Tudwal’s Roads. A cross-wall here provided shelter for a morning panad. The party then picked their way carefully down paths and inclines, twisting through the fascinating ruins of the Prince of Wales Quarry. This large enterprise closed in 1886 after just 13 years of unprofitable operation. A rough rocky path took the walk east through the Bwlch Cwm Trwsgl, skirting the massive outcrop of Y Gyrn. After struggling down across a sombre wasteland of recently cleared forest, it was some relief to reach a proper track and stop for lunch. The increasingly sunny afternoon followed pleasant and gentler tracks and paths through the trees, with occasional views towards the clouded slopes of Yr Wyddfa across the Colwyn Valley and the prominent peak of Yr Aran in the foreground. The shore of the peaceful and secluded Llyn Llewelyn provided a delightful tea break. It was good to see a number of family groups out and about, sharing the pleasures of this little known spot. At Hafod Ruffydd Canol, the route joined the excellent Lôn Gwyrfai multi-use recreational path between Beddgelert and Rhyd Du, crossing the Afon Cwm Du by the elegant 18C stone bridge on the old coach road to Caernarfon. This was a most enjoyable walk with a few challenging sections over about 5 hours in good company. Noel Davey
Sunday May 30th 2021. Criccieth-Rhoslan Circular. This being a warm, sunny and exceptionally busy bank holiday, it was decided to keep the walk ‘local’. Dafydd Williams led 10 club members on a delightful ramble from Llanystumdwy, combining the attractive inland countryside of Eifionydd and the coastal path from Criccieth. The route followed the well trodden but always magical path up the Afon Dwyfor past Lloyd George’s grave and through the riverside woods which looked their spring best with bright green beech and breathtaking carpets of wildflowers. There was a pause for coffee at Pont Rhyd y Benllig on the B4411, busy today with farm and holiday traffic. The walk then turned off on less familiar paths around Cefn Isaf, a fine, restored traditionall farmhouse which the owner is presently raffling for £5 per ticket, thus opening it to all buyers whatever their means, following the successful sale of the adjacent house of Cwellyn by the same novel approach. This is a more open plateau area of inland Llyn at about 300ft elevation, characterised by open walled fields and ancient settlement, as attested by the Neolithic burial chambers at Rhoslan and Ystumcegid. The modern intrusion of electric fences posed the walkers some difficulty, but meant at least no encounters with the many grazing cattle. A long rickety footbridge and some awkward stiles brought the party back across the upper reaches of the Afon Dwyfor for a lunch stop beside the cromlech with its great flat capstone near Ystumcegid Isaf. After a section of country road, the route followed a track across the former Criccieth golf course, passing the old clubhouse building which the owners hope to rebuild to accommodate family reunions and other group events. A similar approach is now followed at the nearby 18C country house of Ednyfed Mawr, where Margaret Owen lived before she married Lloyd George. A short climb of Mynydd Ednyfed, at 450ft more a hill than a mountain, brought some glorious views of Criccieth and the Rhinogydd across the bay. The final section of the walk cut down to the coast via Lôn Fêl, Muriau and the shady track known locally as ‘Lovers’ Lane’. The busy coast path took the party once again along the Dwyfor near its mouth where there is sadly still no clear prospect of a pedestrian footbridge. Back in Llanystumdwy via Aberkin Farm, the reopened community owned Feathers pub was a welcome sight, crowded with seated outdoor drinkers enjoying the accompaniment of a live band. This relatively easy and varied 10 mile walk was an excellent choice for a warm holiday Sunday. Noel Davey.
Thursday May 27th 2021. Abererch eastern circuit. Megan Mentzoni led 10 ramblers on a pleasant 7 mile circuit from Abererch. It was a warm sunny day, a welcome change from the recent rains which led to the truncation or cancellation of last week’s walks. The party first headed eastwards along the splendid and almost deserted sands of Abererch beach. About half way along, a large, stubby and presumably ancient standing stone came into view, perched on a ledge on the sand dunes just above the beach; once perhaps sited inland, coastal erosion has now made this a striking feature of the shore. At the trig point on the jutting promontory of Penychain there was a pause for a panad and to enjoy the magnificent panorama of the mountains of Eryri, panning from the Nantlle Ridge in the west to the Moelwyns in the east either side of the grand centrepiece of Yr Wyddfa. Nearby a large metal plate, probably the remnant of a WWII gun emplacement, was a reminder of the site’s wartime use before it morphed into Butlins and more recently Hafan Holiday Park. The walk turned inland following wide grassy paths across Hafan’s new golf course, passing a few of the Park’s modern up market lodges. Crossing the main road, the walk followed narrow wooded lanes, their verges a delightful sight of spring wildflowers. These led past the rare 15C medieval hall-house of Penarth Fawr; CADW had not yet re-opened the hall, but it was possible to admire its fine external features. The route continued on lanes right around the boundary of Broom Hall, once the largest estate in Eifionydd. Dense screens of trees in extensive parkland hid any sign of the reportedly impressive late 18C house. There were glimpses of the smaller but immaculate 18C house and garden of Plas Hendre from the track of a restricted byway (still open to any surviving horse and carts) which lead back to the main road at Abererch. This was a relaxed and sociable amble through attractive coastal and wooded countryside with at most gentle ascents. Noel Davey.
Sunday May 23rd 2021. Llyn Trawsfynydd. Cancelled due to bad weather.
Thursday 20 May 2021. Mynydd Nefyn (lower slopes).
The walk did take place despite the gale and the torrential rain. Miriam led the group of eight on the walk but cut it by 2-3 miles! All returned apparently in ‘good spirits'.
Sunday 16 May 2021. Around Yr Eifl. Alternative B walk. There were nine walkers on this 6 mile B walk led by Dafydd Williams which started from the church car park in Llanaelhaearn, it was in addition to the A walk led by Noel Davey ascending the Clynnog Hills starting from the same place. It was a reasonably bright day at the outset and despite some threatening rain clouds appearing occasionally, the rain kept away and it was a good walking day with the ground still firm despite the higher than usual amount of rain for May.
The first half mile was up hill on the B4417 the Llithfaen road until the route went right through a kissing gate and followed prominent way marks which was not the case the last time the Club walked this way. After approximately half a mile two fields were crossed and a small tarmaced road was reached where the route went left for a short distance before taking a track to the left contouring the lower reaches of Yr Eifl. After close to a mile a path coming uphill from the direction of Trefor was reached which is where the hard work of climbing steeply following a line of telegraph poles for half a mile before thankfully reaching Bwlch yr Eifl. The steep ascent, despite two stoppages, did not encourage anybody to take in the outstanding views in all directions. We then followed the wide gravelled path downhill towards the car park at Mount Pleasant and some half a mile short of reaching it we branched off onto a grassy path contouring eastwards and gradually upwards crossing at least two paths leading to Yr Eifl’s summit. Shortly after the path became steeper we lunched at a point which gave us extensive views of both the north and west facing coasts in the distance. Still climbing steadily we were within half a mile of Tre Ceiri’s summit and took a path on the right which continued to contour before it went right and became somewhat obscure. It continued downhill through the heather before reaching a stile and followed the wall on the left through two fields prior to regaining the B4417. From here it was some 800 yards back to the start point. An extremely enjoyable day and despite it being only 6 miles there were steep uphill sections to tax the lungs. Dafydd Henry Williams.
Sunday May 16th 2021. Clynnog Hills: Bwlch Mawr and Pen y Gaer. Today, 9 club members ventured into the Clynnog Hills, one of the little known jewels of the Llŷn AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). The day was mostly sunny with light winds and the threat of showers never materialised. After some delay, the walk set out from the car park behind the church at Llanaelhaearn, climbing gently by field paths and tracks through Penllechog, where some evasive action was needed to avoid cattle penned in the farmyard. Beyond Maes y Cwm the party eventually reached Fronheulog at 900ft, joining the broad track, now designated a Coastal Communities path, which runs right across the wide grassy plateau, skirting between the hills of Gyrn Ddu and Moel Bronmiod. The area features a remarkable network of long, well preserved walls, elaborate sheepfolds and the ancient Clawdd Seri. After a couple of miles the group branched off NE along sheep tracks, gradually climbing to a recently erected stile which gives access to the rocky summit of Bwlch Mawr, at 1700ft the highest point of the day. This was time for lunch and a chance to drink in the spectacular views of mountains and sea in all directions. The route south back to the central track was the most difficult section, requiring a clamber over and around jumbles of large boulders. The walk then cut across a pathless stretch of open access country which is soon to be made more accessible by an AONB project to fund some stiles and waymarks. The destination was the prominent conical hill of Pen y Gaer, which is crowned by the remnants of a small prehistoric hill fort, reached by a steep but short ascent to 1300ft. There was a stop for tea on this lofty eyrie high above the Bryncir valley. The final section of the walk followed the bridleway running gently down Cwm Coryn, affording magnificent views over ancient walled field systems and the forests of Glasfryn. A final section of country lane took the party back down to Llanaelhaearn after an excellent 6.5 hours of walking over 10 miles with a cumulative ascent of some 2000ft in this quiet and wonderful piece of countryside . Noel Davey
Thursday May 13th 2021. Mynydd Mawr/Uwchmynydd/Western Llŷn. A group of 8 ramblers ventured down beyond Uwchmynydd to the western tip of Llŷn to enjoy a circuit of just under 6 miles through the wild and wonderful coastal landscape of this remote spot. This was a welcome repeat of a walk led by Judith Thomas last November between the ‘firebreak’ and the second long ‘lockdown’. Milky cloud and a light wind provided bright and reasonably warm conditions and later rain held off till the end of the walk. The walk initially followed the Wales Coast Path in a south-easterly direction, affording a fine view across the Swnt to Ynys Enlli. Some tried to scramble down the slippery path to the fresh water pool of Ffynnon Fair (St Mary’s Well), nestling in the rocks of Trwyn Maen Melyn, but on this occasion the correct route proved elusive and the party had to be content with a more distant view from the path circling Mynydd y Gwyddel (The Irishman’s Mountain?) further on. The walk continued over a series of magnificent headlands riven by deep coves. The clifftop paths were ablaze with a variety of colourful spring flowers including thrift, spring squill, marguerites, sea campion and gorse. Earthworks and remnants of hut circles on Trwyn Bychestyn were a reminder that there has been activity in this area for millennia. At Pen y Cil the path turned northwards, hugging the cliffs above Hen Borth, Porth y Pistyll and Porth Cloch. Views opened up along the coast towards Aberdaron and the twin (Seagull) islands of Gwylan Fawr and Gwylan Fach. After lunch on Craig Cwlwn, the route turned inland across fields passing the farms of Bodermid Uchaf and Isaf. At the end of this lovely walk half the group made a final ascent of Mynydd Mawr, at 535ft the commanding viewpoint of the area and the site of the former coastguard station and the remains of wartime defences. Noel Davey.
Sunday 9th May 2021. Llanystumdwy Circuit. Kath Spencer led a group of 9 club members on a pleasant ramble through the Eifionydd countryside, starting and finishing in Llanystumdwy. The arrays of wild spring flowers in the hedgerows and verges of the many wooded paths and lanes looked their best after recent rain. The day was mostly cloudy with sunny periods and just a few brief showers. The route headed first through the village over the Afon Dwyfor bridge, past the Rabbit Farm and across the fields of Gwynfryn. Here the imposing shell of Plas Gwynfryn, built by the MP Ellis Nanney in 1876 and formerly a hotel, now awaits planning permission for conversion to holiday apartments. One of several awkward stiles took the route into woodland, a fine sight of wild garlic above the Afon Dwyfach. The path continued by a footbridge across the river up past Betws Fawr, eventually coming out onto the broad track of Y Lôn Goed. This 6 mile route was built in the 1820s to serve inland farms and deserves to be better known. Today the walk followed its broad avenue of bright green beeches for about 2 miles to its southern terminal at Afon Wen. After a brief stop for a morning panad under the railway bridge, the walk joined the coastal path, skirting the plush lodges of Hafan y Mor Holiday Park. This started life in 1940 when Billy Butlin built the HMS Glyndwr training camp here for the Admiralty, converting it to the famous holiday camp after the war. The exposed and windy headland at Penychain provided fine views down the coast, but the shelter of the railway station nearby proved a better bet for lunch. Suitably revived, the walkers recrossed the A497 and headed inland through the fields of Bryn Bachau now given over to a well concealed solar farm which has been churning out renewable energy from its 4.5MW array for the last 5 years. On reaching Chwilog, the route continued down the main street, passing a smart new housing estate near completion and the Madryn pub under renovation by new local owners. About a mile of the Lôn Goed was retraced before a turn down past Ysgubor Hen and across the Dwyfach again by another footbridge. This brought the walk to Glyn Dwyfach and the cemetery at Bont Fechan, leaving just a short step back through Llanystumdwy village. This was a most enjoyable outing of some 12.5 miles over about 6 hours. Noel Davey
Thursday 6th May 2021. Rhostryfan-Moel Tryfan-Moel Smytho. Mary Evans led a group of 12 walkers on a 7 mile walk starting at Rhostryfan station on a now defunct section of the North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway. This was originally built to help transport the area’s slate to port, and part of it became the Welsh Highland Railway we know now.
The first part of the walk largely followed the old track through a maze of small fields enclosed by stone walls, a surprising number of them used for grazing horses. Near the small settlement of Bryngwyn we turned in a more easterly direction onto a maintained road. Having left the main rail bed our route became steeper and we were glad to rest for a brief coffee stop at the top of a small knoll to enjoy panoramic views over Caernarfon and its castle, the Menai Strait, Llanddwyn and beyond.
Suitably refreshed we continued climbing towards Moel Tryfan quarry. Although shown on the maps as disused there was clearly some activity with large machinery operating. A left turn took us to the corner of the quarry’s spoil tip. We followed the edge of the tip upwards steeply, many of the walkers being reminded of the relative flatness of their lockdown walks, until we came to a large quarry dug deep into the ground. A path leftwards took us to the summit of Moel Tryfan a rocky outcrop in a largely moorland setting.
Despite the magnificent views to the North mentioned above most of the party chose to lunch in the shelter afforded looking South to views of the imposing Nantlle Ridge and a white capped Wyddfa. After a group photo alongside a plaque recording Darwin’s expedition to the area, onwards over the moorland to our second minor peak Moel Smytho, and our descent from the moorland by now overlooking Waunfawr. On the descent we noted a group of small fields enclosed by stone walls seemingly more cultivated than the surrounding moorland and a house. It appears this was the setting of the TV programme Snowdonia 1890 when two modern day families were filmed trying to eke a subsistence livelyhood from quarrying and farming the land. This area was above Rhosgadfan childhood home of the renowned Welsh author Kate Roberts, many of whose works described the hardships of life at the turn of the century for a people who, in the author’s words ”haven't reached the bottom of that poverty, they are struggling against it, afraid of it.”
Our route then swung in a westerly direction to the Tryfan Halt on the modern Welsh Highland Railway before rejoining the defunct branch line bringing us back to our starting point at Rhostryfan. A most enjoyable walk in an area new to many of us. Diolch Meri. Gwynfor Jones.
Sunday May 2nd 2021. Dolwyddelan-Lledr Valley-Castle. Hugh Evans led a party of 7 ramblers on a lovely 10 mile walk through the enchanting Lledr Valley on this mostly bright Bank holiday Sunday. The walk started from Dolwyddelan railway station, taking a pleasant elevated woodland track downstream on the south side of the valley reaching a height of about 700ft. After about 2.5miles the walkers turned down to a scenic path following back in the direction of Dolwyddelan, close to the river bank and the Conwy Valley railway line to Blaenau Ffestiniog. En route the path passed Lledr Hall, built over century ago as a holiday home by a wealthy shipping magnate, but now a residential activity centre owned by Salford Council. Further on, perched dramatically above the river at the ‘head of the rapids’ at Pont y Pant, came the quirky ‘castle’ of Plas Penaeldroch, originally built as a hunting lodge by a quarry owner and recently refurbished as a hotel and café. Making way for lost sheep, the party then crossed to the north bank of the Lledr by a footbridge and took a path above the A470 via Foel Cynnud, site of a former slate quarry, which led back down to Dolwyddelan village. A short scurry along the A470 coincided with one of a number of short showers which brought the temperature down sharply, but it cleared enough for lunch in a spectacular spot beside the conspicuous square keep of the great stronghold of Dolwyddelan Castle, built in the early 1200s by Llywelyn Fawr who was born nearby. This site provided superb views of the rugged slopes of Moel Siabod and the surrounding countryside. A cart track continued westwards reaching about 800ft, eventually joining a road down to the Pont Rufeinig (Roman Bridge), taking the route back across the Lledr to follow the river a few miles back to Dolywyddelan by another attractive path. The day provided about 5 hours of excellent walking in a predominantly pastoral setting with relatively gentle gradients. Noel Davey
Thursday April 29th 2021. Abererch circuit. Rhodwyr Llŷn ramblers were delighted to get back to organised (covid-safe) club walks after being confined to four months of independent walking on increasingly familiar local paths and lanes. On a bright and sunny day Kath Spencer led a party of 10 on a most enjoyable circuit of about 7 miles from the beach car park near Abererch station. The route first went inland through the picturesque and quiet main street of Abererch village, then climbing the lane past the smartly refurbished Hen Ficerdy and Plas Llwyn Hudol to the Caernarfon road. The party turned off right after 200 yards to follow a pleasant country road lined with spring flowers that wends its way to Denio. At Penrallt, a narrow path took the group through scrub up to the rocky trig point of Y Garn for a welcome bite of lunch in the sunshine. From here there was a splendid bird’s eye view over the town of Pwllheli laid out below, and a wider panorama stretching up and down the coast and across inland Llŷn. The walk then descended past Coleg Meirion Dwyfor into the town, past the railway station, along the waterfront of the Inner Harbour and through the colourful Hafan Marina at Glan y Don. There was a chance to admire the impressive new RNLI Lifeboat Station which took possession of its new Shannon Class lifeboat, ‘Smith Brothers’ just a week ago. The path skirted round the harbour channel, looking across to Carreg yr Imbill (Gimblet Rock), site of a quarry which once fed the demand for granite setts to pave the streets of England. There were signs here of activity related to current dredging work, ever needed to keep the harbour channel and basin open. The final leg of the walk was a gentle saunter beside the dunes and across the broad sands of Abererch beach. The day proved an excellent start to the latest phase of club walks. Noel Davey
Covid-19 Wales lockdown period. 19/12/2020 until 26/04/2021. No walks organised.
Thursday December 10. Borth y Gest Circular. Today’s walk was a pleasant and interesting 5 mile ramble led by Tecwyn Williams from the picturesque village of Borth y Gest. It was a reasonably bright and dry day. The party of 10 first took the steep flight of steps leading up north from the harbour, in the nineteenth century a busy scene of ship building for the coastal trade. Further on, there was a stop at a lookout point with fine views and a mysterious large wooden pillar of uncertain origin. Here, the leader generously provided the walkers an unexpected but most welcome treat of pre-Christmas mince pies. Thus fortified, the group continued down through the lovely oak woods of Parc y Borth which are managed by the Woodland Trust in partnership with NRW and the local community. The route crossed the Ffordd Morfa Bychan, passing inquisitive llamas at the trekking centre and continuing north-west on a long grassy track via the lonely house of Ty’n y Mynydd. To the north, slopes of bracken and gorse rose to the imposing rocky peaks of Moel y Gest. Near Tyddyn Adi, now one of many local caravan and camping sites, the path turned south. There was a stop for lunch overlooking the long stretch of Morfa beach backed by the serried rows of static caravans at Greenacres. The way led through the Garreg Goch site and then crossed the Porthmadog Golf Course, joining a delightful undulating section of the Wales Coast Path which hugs the coast of the Glaslyn Estuary above small sandy coves back to Borth. A rewarding detour was made to the rocky headland at the Samson rock, a prominent glacial erratic, from where there was a good view across the bay to Y Cwt Pwdr, once used to store explosives shipped in for the quarries. A little further on, another hidden path took the group to a striking natural arch in the rocks above the water. The walkers soon reached the nature reserve at Pen y Banc and regained the village past the old pilot houses near the harbour mouth. The walk provided a most enjoyable few hours of relaxed exercise and conversation. Noel Davey.
Sunday 6 December 2020, Llanfrothen Circular, B Walk. With two members withdrawing the previous day, five us met in the parking area in the front of the village shop in Llanfrothen on a beautiful December morning following a sharp overnight frost and consequently the occasional slippery spot. After mid- day it deteriorated and became rather hazy by the time the walk was completed. The village of Llanfrothen of course is where the renowned architect (amongst other things), Clough Williams-Ellis lived and his home “Bron Danw” and adjoining gardens is on the outskirts.
The walk started in the direction of Beddgelert on the A4085 and after some 400 yards turned right in the Croesor direction and just after passing Bron Danw, a tarmac road hairpins on the right uphill for a short distance before hairpinning again but this time left. Initially the tarmac continues but it soon becomes an uphill forestry track emerging after a mile and a half on to a minor road where the route goes right towards Tan y Bwlch. After a mile and just before a house on the left, Ogof Llechwyn, the route goes right through a gate and into the field corner to a footbridge, quickly followed by another one with the path then continuing alongside the River Rhyd. It leads down to Ty’n Ddol House where it is 90 degrees right and the well- marked path is followed to Tyddyn Gwyn where we enjoyed our lunch despite the by now rather hazy conditions. From here and a distance of a mile it is across three fields and over two awkward stiles before reaching Wern farm- house which dates from the 16th century and is the former home of at least two learned Welshmen. The walk passes to the front of the house and down a tarmacked road for 200 yards before going right and becoming an uphill track through the trees and crests a hill from where the village is visible below. At this point a path goes right and up a hill to a tower, the plaque above the door reads:” This outlook Tower was subscribed for as a wedding present to Clough Williams-Ellis and his bride Amabel Strachey in 1915 by his brother Officers of the Welsh Guards. In the Second World War it was prepared as a local military strong point to repel the expected German invasion”. It was well worth a visit and from here it was merely down- hill to re-join the outward route close to Bron Danw and back to the start point. An extremely pleasant 6.5 mile walk over some three and a half hours in good company. Dafydd Williams.
Sunday December 6th 2020. Pentrefelin-Craig y Gesail. Eryl Thomas led 12 walkers on an historically interesting and scenic walk, comprising three loops through the pleasant countryside around Pentrefelin. The walk started at the leader’s house to the north of the village, heading first south past Cae Gwenllian, above Eisteddfa Fisheries and through the Mynydd Du caravan site across the A487. A path was taken skirting Moel y Gadair which was the site of a 19thC copper mine. This led to the lonely church of Ynyscynhaearn, one of two visited today looked after by the Friends of Friendless Churches. It was originally the parish church of Porthmadog which is reflected by the impressive box pews reserved for local notables, a massive pulpit and a fine organ. In the graveyard there is a wealth of memorials, including those of the locally famous Jack Black, James Spooner (builder of the Ffestiniog Railway), Dafydd y Garreg Wen and other local bards including Ellis Owen of Cefn y Meusydd Isaf and Robert Isaac Jones (Alltud Eifion) of Tyddyn Iolyn, both farms close to the route of the walk. The next section headed back to Pentrefelin on the causeway track and continued north-east through wooded countryside past Llys Cynhaearn and Garreg Felen, both fine houses worked on by Clough Williams Ellis. Near Penmorfa the party visited the interesting church of St Beuno, where a massive stone lychgate, tumbled graveyard and simple exterior leads into an elaborate interior with medieval stained glass and fittings associated with the Willams-Ellis family. After this came a steep ascent to the 900ft summit of Craig y Gesail for a well deserved lunch and a magnificent panorama of Porthmadog and Moel y Gest. Nearby are a number of striking stone towers, thought to have been usurped and embellished by visitors using stones from much older cairns at the site. A more gentle descent looped round the western end of the hill, passing the important 16th C house of Gesail Gyfarch with links to the Wynn family of Gwydir from the 14th C. The final loop of the walk took a turn past Wern Manor, built for the Greaves of Llechwedd quarry, and through the derelict woodlands of the Wern Estate south of the main road. On the way back there was a final brief detour to visit the site of the house where Jack Black once lived. This was a first class walk of over 10 miles length and 1600 ft of ascent on another sunny December Sunday. Noel Davey.
Sunday November 29th 2020. Nant Gwynant Loop. A bright and calm autumn day was the perfect setting for a low level walk in the heart of Snowdonia around the two iconic lakes of Llyn Dinas and Llyn Gwynant. Roy Milnes led 12 walkers on this delightful circuit of 10-11 miles length involving some 1250ft of ascent. The walk started at the National Trust car park at Craflwyn Hall to the east of Beddgelert, crossing the Afon Glaslyn at Sygun copper mine and following the river to the southern shore of Llyn Dinas. Halfway along the lake the route branched off up a hill path, past the lonely house of Hafod Owen, a former home of pioneer rock climbers. There was a stop for morning coffee in an open spot at about 500ft elevation from where there were stunning views down to the Nant Gwynant valley and across to the jagged peaks of Lliwedd, the ridge of Crib y Ddysgl and the commanding grey mass of Yr Wyddfa itself. Shafts of sunlight piercing though tendrils of mist picked out the vivid greens and browns of the hillsides. The route turned northwards and gradually descended through oak and pine woods. Soon, the completely still mirror of the waters of Llyn Gwynant came into view, giving astonishing reflections of the surrounding hills and woods. Skirting the marshy northern end of the lake, through a now deserted campsite, a rocky path continued through trees up to the conspicuous prominence known as Elephant Rock (Penmaen Brith). There was a stop for lunch on this splendid vantage point perched above the lake. A good path and road then took the party through the National Trust farmland of Hafod y Llan to Bethania, the jumping off point for Snowdon’s Watkin Path. The route today crossed back over the Afon Glaslyn and led back along the southern shore of Llyn Dinas, regaining the outward path. This was a memorable and most enjoyable walk through a breath-taking landscape. Noel Davey.
Sunday 29th November 2020. Circular walk to Rhyd. The walk started from the 2nd layby on the left halfway between Penrhyndeudraeth and Maentwrog on the A487 and was led by Dafydd Williams. There were 11 members present on a beautiful autumnal morning but by 1.00 p.m. it had become rather hazy. From the layby we walked some 200 yards towards Penrhyndeudraeth and crossed the road to a signed footpath and after a further 200 yards we went to the right and immediately left and east until a tarmacked minor road was reached. This used to be the main road connecting Maentwrog to Penrhyndeudraeth in the 18th century before Traeth Mawr was drained and the Porthmadog Cob built by William Maddocks. Soon we passed the farmhouse Bryn Dwyryd alongside the road and turned right onto another signed footpath and 150 yards further on we reached a stile in the field corner. After a further 100 yards the path went half left and up an embankment and from its top there was a footpath sign to be seen on the stone wall facing us. This took us down quite steeply through the trees for some 250 yards until we reached the A487 once again. Directly opposite was the entrance to the Blaen Cefn caravan park where the footpath is on its southern perimeter and goes in the direction of Penrhyndeudraeth and emerges on a tarmacked road. After 100 yards the path goes right and upwards by means of intermittent steps until it reaches the main Penrhyndeudraeth to Llanfrothen road where we stopped for a welcome cup of tea/coffee using three convenient benches alongside the Ffestiniog Railway. The route then goes north with the railway on its right to Rhiwgoch and onwards on a forestry track for three quarters of a mile before emerging onto very wet fields and arriving on a road on the outskirts of Rhyd. By going left we followed paths circling the village and re-joining the same road to the east of Rhyd with the last 200 yards being on extremely swampy ground. It was then left for 200 yards and right onto a forestry path where tree felling was in progress, an ideal spot to enjoy lunch in the warm sunshine. Then it was forward through the forest for a mile and a half on good paths, with occasional fine views above the trees, and passing Llyn Hafod y Llyn, one of the Tanybwlch estate lakes. Conveniently the path emerged from the forest onto the layby next to where our cars were parked. It appeared that all the members had enjoyed this 6.5 mile walk over three and a half hours at a moderate pace. Dafydd Williams.
Sunday November 22nd 2020. Dyffryn Maentwrog. A dry, bright and sunny day with light winds was an ideal setting for a lovely 10 mile walk in the wooded hills above Dyffryn Maentwrog. Hugh Evans led a party of a dozen walkers from the large layby on the A487 at Coed Cae Fali. The group set off, climbing fairly steeply north-east through autumnal woods, soon crossing the Ffestiniog Railway, out of action today, and then turning westwards along a track parallel with the railway on the 300ft contour. After crossing the Afon Coed Cae Fali, the route joined the track from Penrhyn northwards past Pen yr Allt through the forests shrouding the 19C lead mineworkings at Bwlch y Plwm. Coming out into an open marshy area, there was a stop for a morning panad in a pleasant sunny spot. On reaching the small upland village of Rhyd on the lower slopes of Moelwyn Bach, the walk continued on scenic field paths past Ty’n ddol, turning south-east along the narrow road from Croesor. Further woodland paths circled the small reservoir of Llyn Hafod y Llyn and brought the party to a delightful lunch site in the sunshine beside the popular beauty spot of Llyn Mair. Both lakes form part of the amenities and water systems of the great park originally developed by the Oakley slate mining family at Plas Tan yr Bwlch. Further on the walk passed the pipes of the modern hydro-electric project revived by the Snowdonia National Park Authority from its 19C original. The last section of the walk followed woodland tracks and path westwards. An ascent of the hill of Y Gysgfa, at 768ft the highest point of the day, was something of a ’sting in the tail’ , but the walkers were rewarded on the steep way down by the superb panorama of the Dwyryd estuary, its meandering ribbon of silver waters shining brightly in the late afternoon sun. This was a great day out and deceptively strenuous with a cumulative ascent of over 2000ft. Noel Davey.
Sunday November 22nd 2020. Tomen y Mur - Trawsfynydd. 10 members headed south from the Llyn Trawsfynydd Café car park led by Dafydd Williams on a lovely autumn day. The path runs along the lake side and through the woods before emerging after about half a mile and going left to reach and cross the busy A470 to a track opposite and then past Llwyn-crwn. Soon, the path turns north and climbs steadily, initially, on an old walled farm lane and then through fields where we enjoyed great views of the lake below and the nearby Rhinog mountains. Soon we were approaching our first objective, the conical Roman hill fort of Tomen y Mur which is visible from all directions. The whole party bravely ascended to the top but unfortunately in descending one member took a nasty fall and we decided to wait so he could collect himself by having a cup of tea / coffee. We then headed west down the tarmacked road for about 400 yards before taking a footpath on our left through a field in a westerly direction before emerging on the A470 and crossing it once again, at Utica Chapel. A few yards to the south and we joined another footpath again heading west and, in about 200 yards we passed behind a farmhouse and after that it was very wet as we crossed a swollen stream before reaching a T-junction. Here we turned right along a lovely old tree-lined path and a mile further on and just short of a tarmacked road, the path almost made a U turn before emerging on open fields. About 300 yards further along we turned left before reaching a farm gate, up a drive to a farmhouse but now derelict and passed right and up the field and through a kissing gate into the woods. The forest track which was as straight as an arrow was wet and muddy in places, especially after half a mile when we had to leave it by going left for the last 200 yards. We emerged from the woods through a kissing gate onto the lake shore and within a hundred yards of the New Dam built in 1992. From here, it was only a matter of walking some 1.25 miles along the lake side on the tarmacked road back to the start point after approximately 8 miles over 3.5 hours Despite the member’s injury, from which he made a quick recovery, this was an exhilarating walk in excellent weather, a shame the usually welcoming café was closed. Dafydd Henry Williams.
Thursday November 19th 2020. Eisteddfa-Pentrefelin. Val Rowlinson led a pleasant ramble of 4-5 miles in the attractive countryside around Pentrefelin. Apart from one or two brief showers, including some hail, it was a day of sunny periods, though quite chilly. Ten walkers met at the Eisteddfa Fisheries car park. First of all there was a circuit of one of the peaceful fishing lakes. There were a few well-equipped fishermen on the banks, intent on the potential catch from their ‘swims’. The walk next headed north up a lane, past the well screened Eisteddfa caravan site and the house at Garreg Felin. There were good views across to the prominent hills and scarps of Moel y Gest, Craig y Gesail and Alltwen with Moel Hebog rising behind. At Cefn y Meusydd Uchaf there was a break for a panad, before the party turned south on paths through woods and fields past the ruins of old farm buildings into the outskirts of Pentrefelin. The route continued through the village, passing the conspicuous 10ft high Treflys standing stone right on the main road, and then turning down the ancient causeway track to Ynyscynhaearn, located on a former island in Llyn Ystumllyn, now waterlogged fields and marshland. An interesting 19C church with much older origins stands here in a remote walled churchyard where notable gravestones include those of John Ystumllyn, locally known as Jack Black and said to be the first slave brought to Wales, and of David Owen, the poet, harpist and composer of ‘Dafydd y Garreg Wen’. The walkers enjoyed their lunch in this enchanting spot. The route then took a path south of Moel y Gadair back to the main road and made a final detour to take a look at the fine Elizabethan house and garden of Ystumllyn. All enjoyed this leisurely walk in fine weather. Noel Davey.
Sunday November 15 2020.
Walk around Trawsfynydd Lake. 11 members were present at the Trawsfynydd Lake car park on an extremely overcast morning to be greeted at the entrance with a sign “Café Closed”. We set off at a brisk pace in a southerly (anti clockwise) direction hugging the lake on our left and passing the power station to our right. The damn was soon crossed and shortly we branched left onto the splendid walking and cycling track heading south and, approximately a mile further on, the path climbed to reach the highest point of the day at 1000 feet. Despite the poor visibility we were able to make out in between heavy showers of rain and hail the not too distant Moelwyn mountains. Following a short break for a welcome cup of tea/coffee we continued and reached the tarmacked narrow road which we followed until it went left and north, prior to climbing an embankment on our left to gain access to the footbridge and as we started to cross a heavy shower of hail descended and persisted until we gained the sanctuary of the eastern shore on the outskirts of the village. A number of the walkers suffered from the cold and wintry conditions, the elements were not in our favour! We continued to the village centre for lunch which afforded us much needed relief and we made use of a number of convenient benches whilst gazing at the chapel opposite. There stands a statue of the celebrated Welsh poet, Hedd Wyn, who was killed in the trenches in WW1 before he could claim the Chair he had won at the National Eisteddfod in 1917.Leaving the village we headed north on the pavement alongside the busy A470 for approximately a mile before going left on a footpath heading towards the lake before continuing northwards for a mile or so and completing the 8 mile circuit in three and a half hours with a real sense of achievement. Dafydd Henry Williams.
Nantlle Ridge Alternative Pwllheli/Abererch Hinterland. A forecast of heavy rain and strong winds put paid to the planned walk on the Nantlle Ridge today and led to adoption of Plan B, an easier low level circuit from Abererch in the hinterland of Pwllheli. This proved a wise decision, as even down on the coast the winds were strong, but it was a day of bright sunny periods with only one or two short-lived showers. A party of 8, led by Meri Evans, set out westwards along a 1.5 mile stretch of Abererch beach where a high tide and stormy conditions created a spectacular sight of pounding and foaming waves. On reaching Glan y Don, the party passed the striking if controversial silver rotunda of Plas Heli and the new lifeboat station, circling by the shore path opposite Gimblet Rock and alongside the forest of masts in the Marina. The route then turned west along the quayside of the Inner Harbour which was a fine sunlit sight at high water. A large wooden gazebo on the quay provided a convenient stop for a panad. The walk continued through the familiar streets of Pwllheli town, climbing the steep Penrallt past Coleg Meirion and off up a narrow path through gorse to the look-out point on a small hill with first class views of both the town laid out below and the rural hinterland to the north. A short way along Lleyn Street, near the Fynnon Felin Fach, a pleasant grassy path provided a sheltered lunch spot before taking the group down past Plas Penmaen to the Nefyn Road. A marshy path from the Ala Road junction crossed the Afon Rhyd-hir by an old stone footbridge and led on through the Golf Course to join the coast path at Talcymerau. Here the route turned back east along the grand though now somewhat faded West End promenade, passing interesting housing developments of various vintages. The walk finally turned along the Cob, past the War Memorial, to rejoin the outward route along Abererch Beach. This was a rewarding and varied walk of some 9 miles over 4.5 hours and (surprisingly) almost 1000ft of ascent, combining interesting urban features with marine and rural landscapes. Noel Davey.
Thursday November 12 2020. Mynydd Mawr/Uwchmynydd/Western Llyn. It was a relief to get out in company for a good outing led by Judith Thomas after almost 3 weeks of restricted walks from home during the covid ‘firebreak’. Where better to go than the magical land’s end of Western Llŷn at Braich y Pwll. A dozen club members met on the grassy slopes below Mynydd Mawr, having negotiated the narrow lanes stretching beyond Aberdaron via Uwchmynydd. Initial showers soon gave way to a bright and sunny, but blustery day. The walk set off down to the cliffs above Trwyn Maen Melyn, from where the fresh water spring of St Mary’s Well (Ffynnon Fair) could just be made out in a cleft in the rocks below, together with the now virtually lost site of the St Mary’s Chapel above. In the days of pilgrimage this was the final jumping off point for the perilous crossing over the sound to Ynys Enlli, to be avoided on days of rough seas like this one. The route continued up and around Mynydd y Gwyddel, climbing above the deep inlet of Porth Felen, along the clifftops to Mynydd Bychestyn above Parwyd and out onto the headland of Pen y Cil. This was a splendid vantage point for views of the waves crashing onto the rocks all along the coast. Continuing northwards along the coast path, a sheltered site was found for lunch in the sunshine above Porth y Pistyll. Then the route turned inland, passing the farms of Bodermid and eventually joining the lane back to the start point, a distance of about 4.5 miles. Four walkers finally made an ascent of Mynydd Mawr to enjoy the wonderful panorama across to Bardsey, looping back through heather another 1.5 miles via the coast path. This was a most enjoyable and invigorating walk in a unique coastal landscape. Noel Davey.
Thursday October 22nd 2020. Mynytho circular. A dozen members took the opportunity of a last club walk before the onset of the 17 day covid ‘firebreak’. This was an interesting circuit of almost 6 miles around Myntho, devised and led by Megan Mentzoni with assistance from Jean Norton. The day was bright with sunny periods and just a hint of rain. The walk started from the car park at Foel Gron, circling the conical hill past the school and along the western scarp of Mynytho Common, an amenity area of great character. This offered fine views across Nanhoron to Mynydd Rhiw and Garn Fadryn. The path passed Ffynnon Sarph - thankfully no serpents were to be seen today - one of a number of ancient wells restored by a project of the Llŷn AONB. The walk then turned east onto the ‘back’ road running up from Capel y Nant, passing the small hills of Carneddol and Saethon; frustratingly, these remain inaccessible to the public, even though Saethon, crowned by an iron age fort, is an island of designated open access land. The group then made the short ascent of the 600ft hill managed by the National Trust, variously known as Foel Fawr, Foel Felin Gwynt and the ‘Jampot’ after its conspicuous tower, the restored ruin of a former windmill. This vantage point was the obvious site for lunch, providing a lovely vista in all directions, down to the shimmering bays at Abersoch and Porth Neigwl, across Llŷn, and further afield to the mist shrouded mountains of Snowdonia. The route continued south, following a loop on the lower slopes around Mynytho in the vicinity of Gadlys and including a section of recently upgraded path linking to Haulfryn near the main A499. The final leg crossed some fields at Caer Towyn by means of difficult stiles to reach the straight narrow lane back to Foel Gron. A most enjoyable and leisurely few hours. Noel Davey
Sunday October 18th 2020. Garn Dolbenmaen circuit. Eleven members of Llŷn Ramblers met at Garn Dolbenmaen village car park for a walk led by Kath Spencer. The day was mostly overcast, but there were sunny intervals, little wind and it was dry. The party headed north through the outskirts of the village by interesting lanes and paths running amid the characteristic patchwork of small walled fields. After skirting Gors Graianog, the route took a narrow walled path section which had benefited from clearance by the footpath volunteers last year and emerged onto a wide tract of open access moorland extending across the southern slopes of Mynydd Graig Goch. This impressive mountain, recently reclassified as a 2000ft peak, forms the western terminus of the Nantlle Ridge. The exposed landscape features rough heather clad terrain, often devoid of paths other than sheep tracks. In places the heather had been burnt off to reveal bleached stones and meagre grassland. The group climbed gradually, following the line of long straight walls to an elevation of about 1300ft. From here there were commanding views across Eifionydd and down the peninsula to Cilan and the St Tudwals Islands. The walk then turned south to follow the headwaters of streams that eventually join the Afon Dwyfor in Cwm Pennant and the Afon Dwyfach near Bryncir. There was a welcome stop for lunch at a large sheepfold. Further on there was a brief stop at Cae Amos, a lonely formerly derelict cottage adopted in 1967 by the Leeds Mountaineering Club and handed over in 2015 to the Mountain Bothy Association to provide refuge to passing walkers. From here the route followed a track along part of Bwlch y Bedol, eventually regaining the civilisation of Garn. This was a fine, well-researched walk of some 7 miles length. Noel Davey
Sunday October 11th 2020. Yr Elen. A party of 12 met at Pont Abercaseg in Bethesda for an ascent of Yr Elen in the Carneddau led by Roy Milnes. The day was mostly sunny and not as cold as forecast on the tops, despite a brisk wind and mist at times. The route out soon left the wooded paths close to the town and took Cwm Caseg, climbing steadily east into exposed grassy moorlands, keeping to an elevated and drier path on the northern side of the valley, well above the boggy terrain along the Afon Caseg itself. As mists lifted the conspicuous peak of Yr Elen came into view. After about 3 miles, the path forded a tributary at around 1600ft elevation, turning south past Carreg y Gath and entering the narrow upper reaches of the valley deep between craggy walls which soar above the small lake of Cwm Caseg. There was a welcome stop for lunch in this relatively sheltered spot at about 2500ft elevation. The final steep assault took the less commonly used eastern route up Yr Elen to reach the summit at 3156ft, making it the ninth highest of the Welsh peaks. Here commanding views opened up westwards towards the peaks of Carnedd Dafydd and Elidir Fawr and to the north across the lowlands of Arfon, the Menai and Ynys Môn. The route down took the relatively easy grassy shoulder westwards into Cwm Llafar, crossing Foel Ganol and Braich y Brysgl. The path across boggy terrain closer to Afon Llafar became indistinct in places, but eventually reached the scenic lower reaches of the river close to Bethesda. This was a quite strenuous but most rewarding day out, involving some 8.5 miles over almost 7 hours and a cumulative ascent of about 2750ft. All did well, especially those venturing into the mountains for the first time for several months. Noel Davey
Thursday October 8th 2020. Y Fron circuit. via Moel Tryfan and Mynydd Cilgwyn. Derek Cosslett lead a dozen walkers on a figure of eight circuit of about 6 miles from the upland village of Y Fron through the interesting quarrylands of Uwchgwyrfai Common. It was a mostly cloudy day with intermittent showers, but there were some good views. The route headed north-east across the expansive moorland plateau beneath Mynydd Mawr, passing the deep pits and piles of waste remaining from the workings of the Alexander and Moel Tryfan slate quarries. These are now again, controversially, back in production and machinery was at work collecting waste from the tips as the group passed. The route circled round to climb Moel Tryfan, a prominent rocky hill of some 1400ft elevation, the highest point of the walk, providing fine views both across Arfon as far as Caergybi and towards the Nantlle valley and ridge. This site (an SSSI) is of national geological importance because it is one of the best places in Wales to study the 530 million year old rocks of the Lower Cambrian. A plaque records that Charles Darwin, originally a geologist, paid a visit in 1842 which influenced development of his theories. The route turned back along the western edge of the quarries, passing the head of the Bryngwyn incline, a narrow gauge railway, once a branch of the Welsh Highland Railway, which ferried the slate down to the Porthmadog wharves. The walk continued through the characteristic patchwork of small fields and a scattering of isolated cottages of modest scale. There was a stop for lunch on the bank of a small stream sheltered from the wind by a garden wall. After lunch, the walk made a loop around Mynydd y Cilgwyn to the south of Y Fron. The quarry at Cilgwyn was closed in 1956 and converted in 1974 to a landfill site. The latter closed in 2009 and filled in; there was an interesting view of the pipes draining off methane used to produce electricity, as well as discharge waters for treatment. Despite the indifferent weather this was a rewarding and leisurely walk through a fascinating historical landscape. Noel Davey
Sunday October 4th 2020. Criccieth-Pont Dolbenmaen. Dafydd Williams led a group of 10 on a repeat of a popular 12 mile circuit through a delightful pastoral area north of Criccieth with much of visual and historical interest. Early rain gave way to a pleasant day of dry sunny periods. Underfoot, though, it was often wet and muddy. The route started from the clinic and took the familiar Lôn Fêl , passing Bryn Awelon, once home of Lloyd George and his daughter Megan, but now a nursing home. A footpath skirted Mynydd Ednyfed Fawr, a house of 16th C origin, now offering self catering accommodation. After crossing the defunct golf course, the way turned north, past Braich y Saint farm, another fine listed 16th C building. The route joined a country lane for a while and then turned off on a path running below the small hills of Bryniau Ystumcegid and Bryniau’r Tyddyn. Here a now indecipherable mound comprising the ruins of Cefn y Fan, a medieval hall house, was probably the Llys of Ieuan ap Maredudd ap Hywel and said to have been burnt by Owain Glyndwr in 1403. Further on the party encountered a frisky herd of cattle without mishap. An apparent large lake ahead turned out to be the waters of the Afon Dwyfor which had flooded over a large tract of low-lying grassland after recent rain. This meant that the intended tricky section along the south bank of the river had to be abandoned for a half mile march along the verge of the busy A487. Before that, the parapets of the old bridge at Pont Dolbenmaen provided a pleasant spot for lunch above the raging floodwaters of the river. Along the main road the party passed the newly built Dŵr Cymru works handling the water from Llyn Cwmystradllyn which supplies much of Llŷn: their design blends in well with the landscape. The route then turned south, requiring something of a paddle to reach a footbridge recrossing the Dwyfor. Field paths linked three farms of Ystumcegid, including the house at Ysumcegid ganol which has been abandoned since 1935. At Ystumcegid Isaf there was a stop for tea beside the fine Neolithic burial chamber, prompting speculation on how its builders raised the great triangular slab to roofit. The walk continued past Gell Farm, turning at Trefan Farm onto less frequented paths down to the A497. The final leg took the party down to the coast at Ynysgain, passing the Girl Guides centre, along the Coast Path past Cefn Castell and back through Muriau. All enjoyed this lovely day in the countryside of Eifionydd. Noel Davey
Thursday October 1st 2020. Moel y Ci circuit. Sue Tovey led a group of 11 walkers on a relaxed 6.5 mile walk in pleasant sunshine, starting from the community enterprise of Moel y Ci near Tregarth. The route headed east, then south by a network of pretty paths through fields and woods, skirting Waen y Pandy and Sling. There were good views towards the town of Bethesda tucked under the bulk of the Carneddau mountains behind. South of Bryn Eglwys the walk followed a delightful path through a deep and narrow valley of oakwoods and rushing waters. This woodland area had been presented to the community by the Penrhyn Estate for a nominal sum. There was a stop for lunch in a sheltered garden nearby, courtesy of the walk leader. The route continued through the quarry village of Mynydd Llandegai which is distinguished by two parallel rows of semi-detached quarrymen’s cottages built in the 19c for workers of the massive Penrhyn Quarry nearby. These feature a conspicuous grid of long and thin one acre strips which were provided to feed each family. Turning west, the walk entered a more exposed upland area, with fine views towards the peaks of Mynydd Perfedd and Elidir Fawr. En route, the group admired a beautifully refurbished Neuadd Goffa and an impressive new water works. A track was followed north around the hill of Moel y Ci at an elevation of over 1000ft, providing a vista of the lowland fields and villages of Rhiwlas and Pentir. A gradual descent finally took the party north-east across rich walled and wooded pastures to regain the start point at Moel y Ci. Some rounded off a most enjoyable walk with refreshments at the excellent community café. Noel Davey
Sunday September 27th 2020. Nantlle Ridge (Cwm Silyn - Mynydd Tal-y-Mignedd). Today’s walk was a circuit of 8.5 miles led by Noel Davey, taking in the central section of the Nantlle Ridge. A group of 9 walkers met at Maenllwyd at the end of a narrow lane east of Llanllyfni on the border of the open access area at about 900 feet elevation. It was a beautiful sunny day, quite cool at first, but with moderating winds. The walk initially headed east by a broad moorland track, turning south after about a mile to climb the long grassy shoulder of Cwm Silyn. This took the party above the steep crags of Clogwyn y Cysgod and onto the ridge path, reaching the rocky summit cairn at 2400ft, the highest part of the ridge, in time for a well deserved morning panad. The views from here and throughout the day were spectacular, stretching down to the Glaslyn and the Llŷn to the west, to the mountains of central Snowdonia to the south and east and to the lowlands of Arfon and Ynys Môn in the north. The descent of 750ft down Craig Cwm Silyn by winding and often vanishing rocky paths was in many ways the most difficult section of the walk. It provided tantalising glimpses down into Cwm Pennant far below and a majestic panorama of the verdant ridge snaking ahead in the distance. The respite of reaching the level col at Bwlch Dros-bern soon gave way to a steep and craggy 500ft climb onto the plateau of Tal y Mignedd. At the summit, the conspicuous obelisk, commemorating Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee, was the ideal spot for lunch in the sunshine. The route back headed north-west down a gentle grassy shoulder with fine views down to Llyn Nantlle and the tiers of old slate quarry workings beyond. After negotiating boulders to ford the Afon Craig Las, the walk continued south-west across moorland, mostly following sheep tracks close to the 1000ft contour. At a ladder stile, the party turned south though heather and bilberries to reach the twin lakes of Llynnau Cwm Silyn which nestle under the towering grey cliffs of Craig yr Ogof, a popular haunt of mountain climbers. There was a pleasant stop for tea on the lakeshore. The final leg passed some interesting ruins of uncertain origin, rejoining the morning track back to the cars after about 6 hours. This was a rewarding day out in this wonderful piece of Snowdonia, involving a total ascent of some 2500ft. Noel Davey
Sunday September 13th 2020. Moel Goedog - Bryn Cader Faner. Today’s walk took a small group to the uplands of Ardudwy in Meirionnydd for an 8 mile walk under the leadership of Derek Cosslett. The morning weather brought mist and drizzle which limited the views but failed to dampen spirits. The walk started from a lonely roadside spot near Merthyr Farm, heading north-east along the ancient Bronze Age trackway below Moel Goedog, climbing gradually past Llyn y Fedw and Llyn Eiddew on a section of the Ardudwy Way, a recently opened high level trail connecting Barmouth to Llandecwyn. The track entered an area of increasingly rich archaeology, peppered with ancient stones, cairns and hut circles, a reminder that this was a relatively well populated and developed area three millennia ago. Soon the spectacular cairn circle of Bryn Cader Faner came into view high on an isolated rocky mount, a ring of tall angled stones jutting out like rays of the sun, also known as ‘the Crown of Thorns’. To quote ‘A Guide to Ancient and Historic Wales’ ( F.Lynch), ‘It is a monument of simple but effective design, placed with sophisticated precision in its dramatic setting so as to achieve maximum impact on travellers approaching from the South. It is arguably the most beautiful Bronze Age monument in Britain’. The party stopped for lunch in a sheltered spot nearby. In the afternoon the skies brightened, opening up tantalising views across Cardigan Bay to Portmeirion and down the Llŷn. The route back followed a grassy track along the northern flank of Moel Goedog. Despite the poor weather this was an enjoyable walk in a remote and intriguing landscape. Noel Davey.
Sunday September 6th 2020. Cilan - Porth Ceiriad. On a fine sunny day Jane Logan led a lovely 9 mile walk near Abersoch featuring superb views of the coast and mountains and much of local historical interest. The walk started at the rough patch of ground of a National Trust carpark on Mynydd Cilan, heading down above Nant Farm to Llanengan. There was a pause for coffee beside the imposing chimney, a restored 19C relic of the extensive lead mines hereabouts. The route continued through the hamlet of Sarn Bach, now enveloped by a rash of exposed caravan sites, following a line of the old horse-drawn tramway which once carried mine ore to a wharf at Penrhyn Du. The Traeth Mawr at Abersoch, busy with Bank Holiday crowds, was a fine sight. Other reminders of the area’s mining heritage included cottages and a chapel built for migrant Cornish tin miners and a plaque recording a serious mine accident. The walk then turned onto the coast to follow the Wales Coast Path along the spectacular clifftops at Cim, passing the St Tudwals Islands. Trwyn Wylfa provided a splendid lunch spot overlooking the cliff lined bay of Porth Ceiriad. A school of dolphins was sighted in the waters below. The route next ascended the sheer wall of the Pared Mawr, past the remnants of an iron age hillfort. There was a detour to inspect the single massive stone surviving from the Neolithic burial chamber of Llech y Doll. Tracks through heather across the top of Cilan brought the walkers back to the startpoint and the final treat of tea in the leader’s garden to round off a memorable day out. Noel Davey.
Walk Reports September 2020. Way back in March Rhodwyr Llŷn Ramblers had no sooner held their AGM and launched a new spring/summer programme of walks than the maelstrom of the epidemic whirled in on us. During the lockdown many club members started pounding their local footpaths in solitary ones or twos, gaining an intimate knowledge of their 5 ‘milltir sgwar’. We were privileged to have this unusual opportunity to savour our wonderful and virtually deserted landscapes in the spring sunshine. These tranquil walks were a godsend to stave off Covid anxieties. As restrictions lifted, the Club cautiously began a rolling two week programme of walks prebooked for groups of typically 6-8 and requiring social distancing and care at gates. What a relief to get out in company into some of the wilder parts of Gwynedd! Since then we have enjoyed some 16 walks mostly in areas avoided by the returning crowds of holiday visitors. Reports on a couple of these walks follow.