Aug 20 - Jul 21
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 26th 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.