Aug 19 - Jul 20
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. Noel. 22/09/20
Thursday March 12th 2020. Criccieth Hinterland. The Club held its 41st AGM in Capel y Traeth in Criccieth attended by 44 members. The present 3 standing officers and 8 other committee members were re-elected unanimously for a further year. There was a discussion of the uncertain future of the Club Holiday and proposals for fund-raising walks for the Eisteddfod and Children in Need.
After lunch at the Chapel, Dafydd Williams led 36 members on a 3.5 mile walk in the hinterland of Criccieth in bright blustery sunshine. It was good to see a number who nowadays only walk occasionally with the Club. The route went past the Lion Hotel and along a field path, skirting the town and turning up Lôn Fel to Bryn Awelon. Now a nursing home, this recently received a purple plaque recording it as the home of Megan Lloyd George, daughter of LG and the first female MP in Wales. The walk continued along the long pleasant back lane towards Llanystumdwy, turning off on a somewhat overgrown path through the derelict woods and shrubberries of the Bron Eifion Hotel, a Victorian mansion built by the Greaves family. After crossing the A497, the ramblers headed to the coast past the Girl Guides centre and campsite at Ynysgain. The walk beside rough seas on the Coast Path provided fine views of Criccieth and the Rhinogydd beyond. There were signs of recent storm damage to the path. After passing the controversial rebuilt ‘grand designs’ house of Cefn Castell, the party soon reached the Western Promenade, cutting back past the rocky mound of Dinas to complete a leisurely social walk with refreshments at various cafes. Noel Davey
Sunday March 8th 2020. Quarrylands of Manod, Cwm Teigl and Cwm Penmachno. There were two walks today exploring the slate quarrylands between Manod and Cwm Penmachno on a figure of eight route. Apart from rain over the last mile it was a dry and often bright day, chilled by a gusty south westerly. There was a good turnout of 24 club members who set out together eastwards from Cae Clyd near Manod village by a familiar path across fields. There was then a climb of 1300ft by moorland paths and quarry tracks around the western side of a mist shrouded Manod Mawr, reaching a height of 2000ft above the vast pit of Graig ddu quarry. After this strenuous ascent the party gathered for a panad at the gates of the dank and dripping caverns famous for safeguarding the National Gallery pictures during the Second World War. These are part of the Manod Quarry which is still worked by Welsh Slate. From here Dafydd led a group of 6 back down via Cwm Teigl, completing a 5-6 mile circuit, The 'A' Walk: while Noel took 18 walkers on a further and more strenuous 5 mile loop to the east, eventually joining the same Cwm Teigl route. The eastern loop first headed north along a level, but often waterlogged track past the abandoned tips of Blaen y Cwm and Cwt y Bugail Quarries, circling east down across exposed and trackless moorland with glimpses below of the green fields in the remote valley of the Machno, a tributary of the Conwy river. There was a stop for lunch in the shelter of the pine forest above the valley. A steep descent to the hamlet of Cwm Penmachno on the valley floor at 700ft was immediately followed by a steep ascent of 600ft (never a good idea just after lunch) through a fascinating jumble of inclines, tips and pits remaining from the Cwm Penmachno Quarry. This section forms part of the new Slate Trail leading up past waterfalls and rapids flowing from a collapsed dam which once powered quarry mills. A forest track brought the party into the remote upland basin occupied by the impressive and sprawling ruins of the Rhiwbach Quarry. This was one of the more extensive local slate operations, eventually with 8 levels underground and connected by 1861 to the Ffestiniog Railway by a 3 mile tramway. A mill and steam engine house and chimney are still conspicuous. The large barracks were the last in Wales to still house slate workers when the quarry closed in 1952. A last surprise for the party was a dauntingly steep 150 ft climb up a well preserved incline to reach the col of Bwlch Carreg y Fran leading to the road down Cwm Teigl. This at last provided easier walking, though in the teeth of the wind barrelling up the valley. The final leg cut across a gentler landscape of fields and ancient walls via Caecano Mawr to regain the outward path from Cae Clyd. This proved a strenuous day of walking over about 10 miles in 6 hours through an intriguing but little known landscape created by our unique industrial heritage. The Pengwern Arms provided a well deserved final stop to recuperate before the journey home. Noel Davey
'B' Walk: Report on its way. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday February 27th 2020. Llanelltyd. A bright and sunny, but cold day saw 21 club members take the road to Llanelltyd near Dolgellau for a pleasant walk led by Nick White. The originally planned route was changed on account of trees felled by recent storms and very muddy conditions. Starting by the old bridge over the Mawddach in Llanelltyd, the walk took the lane south-east to the golf club, passing the site of the 18th century mansion of Hengwrt; this once housed a famous collection of Welsh manuscripts which were fortunately donated to the National Library before the house burned down in the 1960s. After about a mile the route followed a wooded bridleway running north-east through Coed Pen y cefn. A prominent wooded hill to the north was the site of Castell Cymer, an early Welsh castle perhaps built 900 years ago, though the visible ruins are probably more recent. Near Pandy bach the walk turned north into land of the Nannau Estate up a track which has recently been adopted as a permissive path linking to the New Precipice Walk. This climbed gently through a delightful wooded landscape to over 700ft to reach the beauty spot of Llyn Cynwch, a reservoir and fishing lake stocked with trout, nestling between the hillforts of Foel Offrwm and Foel Faner. Lunch here coincided with brief showers of sleet, but the view of the glistening snows on the mountains to the south were magnificent, stretching from Cadair Idris to the Arans. A circuit of the lake was then made by an easy path before a return by the outward route and another lane. On the way down there were good views of the evocative ruins of Cymer Abbey, a 12C Cistercian foundation which shared the common fate of monasteries in the Tudor Dissolution. This proved an enjoyable walk of just under 6 miles over 3-4 hours in the lovely countryside north of Dolgellau which looked splendid in the February sunshine. Noel Davey
Sunday February 24th 2020. Beddgelert-Blaen Nanmor. Hugh Evans led a group of 11 on a great day out in the heart of Snowdonia. In a welcome respite from recent storms the weather was predominantly sunny with relatively light winds. While it was dry overhead, the pace was slowed by the wet and slippery conditions underfoot, every stream swollen by floodwaters. The walk started in Beddgelert, leading through the village and climbing up across the Welsh Highland Railway onto the heights above the western side of the gorge of Aberglaslyn. The route passed the relics of copper mines near Bryn Felin and the squat conical tower at the viewpoint of Bryn Du from where there were grand views to russet slopes and silver mountain streams opposite and down to the distant waters of the Glaslyn Estuary. There was a steep and difficult descent down rocky paths through the magnificent Aberglaslyn Woods to Pont Aberglaslyn. After crossing the scenic bridge at the hamlet of Nantmor, there was a stop for a panad at the nearby National Trust carpark. The path then ran north-east through the wild and delightful wooded valley of Nanmor. A lovely spot was found for lunch in dappled sunshine beneath mossy trees with the sound of rushing water in the background. Near the slate quarry of Blaen Nanmor, the route joined the narrow country road past Gelli Iago before turning off west across boggy moorland skirting north of Bryn Castell. The route passed the lonely cottage of Hafod Owen, celebrated by rock climbers as the home of Colin Kirkus and later of John Menlove Edwards who ended his life here in the 1950s. At a watershed around 600ft, the view opened up towards the soaring grey flanks of the Snowdon massif opposite and the placid green waters of Llyn Dinas nestling below. A descent through woodland brought the party down to the lake for an easy walk along the familiar riverside path back to Beddgelert. The Tanronnen Inn provided a final stop for well deserved refreshments after a superb walk of some 9-10 miles over about 6 hours. Noel Davey
Thursday February 13th 2020. Y Foryd. Following the cancellation of last Sunday‘s walk 28 members were eager to turn out in a quiet interlude between Storms Ciara and Dennis for a walk led by Judith Thomas along Y Foryd on the shores of the Menai. The day was mostly cloudy, but dry and not too windy. The walk started from Fron Goch Garden Centre, recently dubbed the best in the UK. The route headed west via Tyddyn Alice and Cefn y Coed across pleasant rolling fields dotted with trees with views towards the Menai and Ynys Môn. Conditions were often muddy and a number of awkward stiles and gates made the going slow. The walk passed Pen y graig Chapel, now beautifully restored for residential use. There was a stop for coffee at the remarkable medieval church of St Baglan, standing in a lonely walled churchyard overlooking the Menai. This simple building, now under the management of the Friends of Friendless Churches, dates mainly from the 13th century, but a 6th century stone above the porch attests to a more ancient origin. The graveyard is the burial place of Antony Armstrong-Jones (Lord Snowdon). The route then turned north-east following a long stretch of exposed open road, now part of the Coast Path, running right alongside the choppy waters of Y Foryd Bay towards Caernarfon. This provided a fine panorama stretching from the mists of Yr Eifl, across the low terrain around Dinas Dinlle and Fort Belan, Llanddwyn Island and Newborough Warren, to the castle walls and more modern developments of Caernarfon. There was evidence of extensive flooding across the road in recent storms. The party stopped for lunch in a convenient park at Coed Helen. The walk continued across the Seiont over the Aber swing bridge, skirting beneath the soaring battlements of Edward’s castle and down past the slate quays past the newly built Welsh Highland Railway terminus. The wooded Lôn Eifion cycle path then took the party alongside the railway, back across the Seiont and soon back to Fron Goch for refreshments in the excellent café. This was a most enjoyable and easy walk of some 6 miles over flat terrain. Noel Davey
Sunday February 9th 2020. Garn Dolbenmaen. Walk cancelled due to Storm Ciara.
Thursday January 30th 2020. Porthmadog Circuit. An impressive turnout of 39 club members met in the Lidl car park for a varied and most interesting ramble around Porthmadog led by Tecwyn Williams. The day was damp and cloudy, but there was no significant rain. The initial leg was the most arduous, requiring a steep 300ft ascent through the woodlands on the shoulder of Moel y Gest. The path passed the lushly vegetated site of the first small quarry dug out from the hillside. From a col, high above the town, there were good views south across to Borth y Gest and the Glaslyn Estuary. A slippery path led back down to the Tyddyn Llwyn caravan site, across the busy Morfa Bychan road and along a path locally known as ‘Lovers’ Lane’. The route then turned north along the upper road into Port, lined with fine 19th century houses. There were views down to Cei Ballast and the modern developments at the harbour which was reached by a long flight of steps. The prominent rock behind Ty Moelwyn gave a bird’s eye view of the great cob built by Madocks 1805-11 to drain and cross the Traeth Mawr. There was a chance to inspect the holes of one of many curious ‘rock cannons’ made by quarrymen for public celebrations in Victorian times. A metalled path was then followed along Cob Crwn, where a long low parapet provided a good perch for lunch with more views across the Glaslyn. This brought the walk into an interesting industrial area criss-crossed by the tracks of three of the four railway lines for which Port is famous. The route then followed a muddy track past the prosaically named Farm Yard Farm onto the A498 and along Tremadog High Street. The final leg led south via Pensyflog across the Cambrian railway to the leisure centre where refreshments were found at the café. This was a great walk of some 5.5 miles which took in some hidden corners of Porthmadog. Noel Davey
Sunday January 26th 2020. Trawsfynydd Hills. Gwynfor Jones led 10 ramblers on today’s walk starting from near Trawsfynydd Power Station. The weather forecast was again spot on with rain and wind for the first hour or two, soon giving way to brighter and dry, if not sunny conditions. The walk set out west alongside the choppy waters of the lakeshore past the power station, now nearly 30 years in decommissioning, but hopeful of a revival as a site for small modular reactors. This brought the party to the impressive structure of the main dam at Llyn Trawsfynydd, originally built in the 1920s to feed the still working Maentwrog hydro electric power station, but raised in height in the 1960s to provide cooling water for the nuclear power plant. The route continued west alongside a fast flowing leat feeding into the lake. Close to Nant Ddu the path turned north, then north-west across rough open ground crossed by crumbling stone walls, with fine views towards the Manod and the Moelwyns. The path then turned eastwards, entering Coed Llennyrch, an area of Atlantic woodland acquired by Coed Cadw/Woodland Trust in 2015, managed alongside Coed Felenrhyd which is owned by the National Trust. This wonderful tract of protected ‘Celtic rainforest’ is remarkable for its ancient gnarled oaks festooned with mosses and ferns. Deep inside the forest the party came to a large clearing at Cae’n y Coed, featuring a large pond and a nascent arboretum commemorating pets in the grounds of an isolated holiday house. The route continued east skirting above part of the deep wooded gorge of Afon Prysor. This led back to the lake dam and the road back to the lake car park. After an excellent walk of 8.5 miles and 1000 foot of ascent over 4-5 hours, the final treat of the day was tea at the Llyn Trawsfynydd community café. Noel Davey
Thursday January 16th 2020. Abersoch - Y Clawdd Mawr. 21 club members met for today’s walk, a circuit of about 5.5 miles from Abersoch led by Gwynfor Jones. It was a day of dark clouds and boisterous winds, but the rain at least held off for the first hour and was then not too intense. The walk started at the village hall car park next to the village school which is again now threatened by closure. The route continued over the bridge, past the scenic harbour and then down to Traeth Castellmarch through the sand dunes of the National Trust’s Tywyn y Fach. A high tide and choppy seas with a strong onshore wind made for a splendidly bracing tramp along the long stretch of sands. The tide forced the party to clamber up steps to reach the right of way through the lines of plush lodges of the Warren Holiday Park which occupies a large swathe of the dunes backing the beach. The Park has recently opened a new restaurant/café here in an attractive timber building. Across the A499 the party walked up the long drive leading to the fine historic house of Castellmarch built in 1625 by Sir William Jones, Chief Justice of the King’s Bench. The route climbed a track behind the house to Muriau and then descended to a muddy crossing of the Nant Fawr valley and a field path passing the distinctive Finnish log cabins at Braich Farm. The next section was the 400m path along the top of the Clawydd Mawr, an impressive double-ditched field boundary embankment of uncertain date. The Llŷn Ramblers path volunteers cleared this important right of way about a year ago after it had become virtually impassable. The walk then descended to the pretty village of Llangian, pausing for lunch in the shelter of the porch and lych gate of St Cian’s church; a 6th century stone with a Latin inscription in the graveyard attests to the antiquity of this Christian site. The route continued over the Bontnewydd, a long causeway and crossing of the Afon Soch. A steep muddy path then took the walk up again to the highpoint of Pen y Gaer, the site of an iron age fort. This provided misty views looking back down to the meanders of the Soch and the expanse of flooded fields behind the thundering waves at Porth Neigwl. A track and narrow lane then soon brought the party back down to Abersoch village after a varied and sociable outing which all enjoyed despite the poor weather. Noel Davey
Sunday January 12th 2020. Rhyd-ddu Circular. Dafydd Williams led 17 ramblers on a walk in the Beddgelert Forest from Pont Cae Gors, near Rhyd Ddu. The improved network of relatively easy paths and forest tracks has made this a popular destination for the club’s winter walks. It was a bright and dry day with light winds, fortuitously tucked in between the present run of stormy weather. The route first headed north across the main Beddgelert road on a new courtesy path to Fridd Uchaf, climbing gently to the junction of the Snowdon Rhyd Ddu and Bwlch Cwm Llan paths at about 1000ft elevation; while subject to current improvement works, the path was very boggy in places. Yr Wyddfa was in the clouds, but there were attractive views of Yr Aran, Mynydd Mawr and the sharp buttress of Y Garn at the eastern end of the Nantlle Ridge. The party then turned west and descended a steeper path to Rhyd Ddu where the Welsh Highland Railway station waiting room provided a convenient stop for coffee. The route re-crossed the main road at about 600ft, following the excellent multi-use amenity path of Lôn Gwyrfai and then turning off on a higher path which steadily climbed south-west to Cwm Marchnad, back at around 1000ft. There were good views looking down to Llyn y Gader, a shallow lake memorialised by the famous local poet T.H. Parry Williams. The whole area was awash with running water after the previous night’s rain and an unbridged stream crossing posed a minor challenge. Soon after the path entered the main part of Beddgelert Forest, following a sequence of broad tracks through the pinewoods. There was a stop for lunch in a pleasant clearing. The walk then descended gently to Llyn Llywelyn, circling round the southern side of this picturesque little lake and pausing for a break on its tranquil eastern shore. From there the track descended alongside the Afon Hafod Ruffydd Isaf, rejoining the Lôn Gwyrfai and crossing the 18th century coach road bridge near the confluence with the Afon Colwyn. The start point near Cae Gors was soon regained after a pleasant and rewarding walk of some 7.5 miles over about 4 hours. Noel Davey
Thursday January 2nd 2020. Harlech. The first walk of the new year brought 21 club members to Harlech for a rewarding and varied circuit around the town’s hinterland led by Colin Higgs. It was an overcast day with a brisk and cold southerly wind, but apart from a brief shower the rain held off till late afternoon. The walk started from Bron y Graig in the upper part of the town, with a strenuous climb up the hillside by a sequence of narrow paths, country road sections and field paths emerging onto the open coastal plateau of Ardudwy at an elevation of about 850ft. This is a remarkable landscape of intricate stone walls, ancient field systems and many traces of prehistoric settlement dating back at least to the Bronze Age. There were fine views, rather muted in today’s gloom, down to the town and castle of Harlech and across Tremadoc Bay to Portmeirion and a mist-shrouded Llŷn. Beyond Rhyd Galed Uchaf the path skirted Foel Senigl across a number of traditional stone stiles. At a road junction the route turned south-west along a lonely upland road, passing a cross roads marked by the isolated Engedi Baptist Chapel, known locally as ‘the bread and cheese’ chapel because the scattered congregation were fed when attending services. Further on an ancient site known as Muriau Gwyddelod (Irishmen’s Walls) was a reminder of the larger population the area once supported. A walled enclosure, probably a sheepfold, provided useful shelter for lunch. The path continued down to the coast, crossing the main road near Llanfair. The route then joined the Coast Path, descending steep steps down to the Cambrian Railway and onto the wide and empty sweep of sandy beach stretching north. The wild shore, hedged by rolling sand dunes and marram grass, provided an exhilarating fast paced tramp for a mile and half. A path then cut inland through the dunes past the Golf Course to the lower town of Harlech. A steep twisting road (but not the newly recorded steepest in the world) brought the party up to the brooding castle and to CADW’s excellent new café and visitor centre. All enjoyed this outing of some 7 miles and 1400ft of ascent over about 4 hours. Noel Davey
Sunday December 29th 2019. Moel y Gest. An old club custom to ascend Moel y Gest around Christmas was resumed today. Judith Thomas led a good turnout of 16 members eager to walk off some of the seasonal excesses. It was a mostly grey day, but it remained dry and mild, and the promised wind proved light. The walk started from the village of Borth y Gest, made particularly attractive by the morning’s high tide. After skirting the bay the route headed inland along a very muddy path bearing signs of recent heavy use, then crossed the Morfa Bychan road past Saethon and through the well screened caravan site of Tyddyn Llwyn. A moderate climb brought the party into the open access area and to a path junction on a wooded col from where the main ascent of the Moel ridge could begin along a rough and rocky path running westwards. The easterly peak (231m) was soon reached, offering a break for a morning panad and the first of some fine though fairly misty views over the coastal plain of Morfa Bychan and across the Glaslyn estuary. To the north slopes formed by extensive quarry excavations fell precipitously to the ribbon of development along the corridor of the A497 west of Porthmadog. The next section of the ridge path up to the higher westerly peak (262m) proved tricky because of the broken terrain and slippery rocks which required some effort to scramble over. The reward at the trig point was more views in all directions. There are the remnants of an iron age fort here. The descent was made towards the south-west by an easier, mostly grassy path, continuing along the track of an old ‘post’ or coach road past some supercilious llamas and other assorted animals at the trekking centre. The last leg followed a muddy path back towards Borth y Gest. There was an essential detour to the large white rock which commemorates David Owen, a blind harpist who traditionally composed the haunting tune of the famous folk song now known as Dafydd y Garreg Wen (after the farm where he lived) as he lay dying at the age of 29 in 1741;. he is buried at Ynyscynhaearn nearby. This was a good walk for the time of year, its 4.5 miles in as many hours and 1200 foot of ascent proving deceptively challenging. As a finale there were refreshments at the Sea View café in Borth y Gest. Noel Davey
Thursday December 19th 2019. Llanbedrog - Rhydyclafdy. Jean Norton and Annie Andrew led 19 club members on a pleasant circuit of over 8 miles from Llanbedrog. The day started fine and sunny, but light rain set in from lunchtime. The walk first went down to the beach, taking the steps up to the Coast Path and then turning inland through fields to Crugan Farm and a scenic track as far as Wern Fawr. This is a rather fine 300 year old house, the ancient plasdy of Penyberth, with links to the Love Jones Parry family of Madryn. There is a surviving estate of 75 acres including woods and guinea fowl. A stop was made for coffee and mince pies generously supplied by the leaders, it being the walk before Christmas. The route continued past Coed Cefn Llanfair, crossing a stream near Penrhyndyn, and soon reached the road into the small village of Rhyd y Clafdy (the ‘clafdy’ may recall that this was once the site of a leperhouse). Shortly beyond the Twnti pub (Tu Hwnt i’r Afon), the walkers took a south-easterly path across open fields featuring a number of old, sometimes hidden, metal gates and some muddy sections. There was a stop for lunch with good views down to the sea towards Pwllheli. The path went on past Gellidara, joining the country lane near the chapel in Penrhos. After crossing the busy A499 the route led through Pwllheli golf course, rejoining the Coast Path along the track running below the sand dunes back to Pwllheli. This was once a horse-drawn tramway built by the entrepreneur Solomon Andrews at the end of the 19th century to bring visitors from Pwllheli to his newly opened art gallery at Plas Glyn y Weddw. The Plas remains to this day a valuable cultural hub for the Llŷn. As the rain was by now getting heavier, the walkers were glad to step up the pace around Carreg y Defaid and get back for refreshments in the Plas café after an enjoyable few hours on the paths. Noel Davey.
Sunday December 15th 2019. Porthor - Porth Gwylan. Today’s walk was led by Meri Evans on a lovely section of the Coast Path between Porth Oer and Porth Gwylan. A group of 8 set out at 9.30 sharp in pleasant sunshine, heading north above Whistling Sands and along the string of attractive coves either side of Porth Iago. There was a high tide and the seas were choppy. The constant crashing of foamy waves onto the jagged rocks of the coastal cliffs was an amazing sight in the strong light. En route, the party saw a variety of wildlife including a few bobbing seals, a wealth of seabirds including cormorants, and a couple of groups of exotic black-clad surfers riding the waves. After a coffee stop near Porth Ferin, the route turned east and the rain came in from the south-west for an hour or so on the section past Porth Widlin and Porth Ty Mawr. However, it remained light and stopped altogether in time for lunch on the rocks above Porth Colmon. The path along the long bay of Traeth Penllech mostly kept to the top of the cliff, but came down to cross a stream near a waterfall. High water prevented a route along the beach and a detour up a deep stream valley was needed to regain the official Coast Path. Most of the paths were in fair condition, but often muddy after recent rains. Erosion of the fragile and deeply gullied cliff slopes here is a patent problem. In the afternoon we were treated to two dramatic whirlwind storms, combining within a few minutes violent squalls of rain and hail, gale force gusts, a thunderclap and then strong sunshine with a wall to wall rainbow. Eventually the path reached the cove of Porth Ychain and the clifftop leading to Porth Gwylan. A turn inland brought us to a farmyard where cars were waiting to ferry us back to the start point. This was a deceptively strenuous, at times bracing, and most enjoyable day, memorable for the variety of weather conditions which showed off the fine coastal landscape in a range of conditions. The 9 mile walk took about 5 hours and involved some 1750ft of ascent. Noel Davey
Monday 16th December 2019. There is sad news that Rene Hayes has died. Rene, together with her husband Harold, was a founder member of Llyn Ramblers 40 years ago. She was a remarkable lady in her mid-90s and kept in close touch with other members of the Club, making regular visits to Llyn and joining us on one of the Club holidays just a few years ago. It was only recently we learnt that she had moved into a home. Our condolences to Lynda, her daughter. Noel.
Thursday 5th December 2019. Llanystumdwy circuit. Kath Spencer led 21 club members on a walk in the hinterland of Llanystumdwy. The day was cloudy, but when the rain came about midday it was light and did little to dampen spirits. After walking through the village and across the old Dwyfor bridge, the party took the lane north, soon turning off into fields alongside Cabin Wood. The route passed the ruins of Plas Gwynfryn, a castellated mansion built around 1876 by MP Ellis Nanney who was narrowly and famously defeated by Lloyd George in 1880. It later became a wartime hospital, an orphanage and a hotel but was gutted by fire in 1982. Further on, the path followed the delightfully wooded banks of the Afon Dwyfach. This section featured a number of awkward narrow stiles, slippery in the damp conditions, which made the going slow. After crossing the river, the party followed a country lane westwards, turning south onto a section of the beautiful Lôn Goed near Plashen Farm. This scenic tree-lined track running inland from the coast near Afon Wen, immortalised by the poet R.Williams Parry, was built by a local estate in the early 19th century to help bring in lime to improve farm fields. The huge trunks of trees felled by recent storms provided a convenient spot for lunch. After about a mile the route turned east onto a muddy track past Ysgubor Hen, a fine gentry house dating from 1700. The path then re-crossed the Dwyfach, reaching the main road near the cemetery and the way back into Llanystumdwy. This was an enjoyable and leisurely ramble of some 6 miles over 4 hours in the pleasant countryside of Eifionydd. Noel Davey
Sunday December 1st 2019. Betws-y-Coed to Llyn Sarnau. A bright, crisp day brought 10 ramblers to Betws y Coed for an excellent walk led by Dafydd Williams in the hills of the Gwydir Forest to the north of the town. The walk set out west from the venerable Pont y Pair (‘bridge of the cauldron’) which dates from around 1500, following a popular path upstream along the Afon Llugwy through woods and water meadows. This led to the famous Miners’ Bridge, a crossing once providing a route for workers in the area’s numerous lead and zinc mines. From here the route took the road above the river, turning uphill at the junction just above the Snowdonia Society’s centre at Ty Hyll (Ugly House). A steep climb passed Cae Hydgyll and a viewpoint at Tynllwyn, eventually reaching Llyn Sarnau at around 800ft elevation. This is one of several reservoirs in the area which were originally built for the mines. A project to strengthen some of the dams, arising from safety concerns, has now resumed following the demise of Dawnus, the engineering company originally in charge. Early misty conditions in the valley had now given way to sunshine in time for a pleasant lunch on picnic tables beside the reedy waters of the lake. A short detour was made to see the Conwy Council’s outdoor pursuits centre and a converted chapel at Nant yr Haearn, together with the impressive chimney of the engine and boiler house of the former Llanrwst lead mine. The route then turned southwards along a forest track, offering glimpses of a frosty Moel Siabod. Near Coedmawr, the ‘blue’ route was followed downhill, at times steeply, on some delightful paths through mossy oak woods, eventually bringing the party back to the Miners’ Bridge and the riverside path to Betws. This was a lovely day involving a walk of some 8 miles and 1100ft of ascent over 4.5 hours. It left enough time before a splendid sunset for refreshments at the popular Siabod Café and a magic trip home through the heart of Snowdonia in the lingering dusk. Noel Davey
Thursday November 21 2019. Mynydd Nefyn. 22 club members met at the Stryd y Plas car park in Nefyn for a bracing circuit led by Maureen Evans into the picturesque hills to the east of the town. It was a fine, sunny day but the chill factor of a strong northerly wind brought the feel of the temperature down to freezing. The route first followed an ancient narrow path between cottages to the outskirts of the town, passing Old St Mary’ Church, now housing the excellent Maritime Museum. There was then a steady climb past Tyn y Mynydd and small walled fields up to a large tract of open access land at an elevation of 700-800ft, extending across three prominent hills. The walk used a network of recently improved grassy paths to make three loops, radiating from Tyddyn Ffynnon: first, north up a slope to the superb vantage point of Gwylwyr, which provided fine views down to Nefyn and Porth Dinllaen; then south around the remains of one of several local 19C granite quarries which opened up a panorama across the lowlands of central Llŷn; finally, north-east around the conspicuous ‘echoing’ crag of Carreglefain, looking across to the hills of Yr Eifl and Carnguwch. The walk then descended back to Nefyn, following a long straight track and a steep path where recent improvements had been seriously damaged from flash flood erosion. This was a lovely walk of some 5 miles and 1400ft of total ascent. The superb views on a bright day made braving the chilly conditions well worthwhile. After the walk, most of the party were glad to repair to the warmth of the Nanhoron Arms for refreshments. Noel Davey
Sunday November 17th 2019. Clynnog Hills (A/B walk) & Tre Ceiri (C walk). There were two walks today, both starting and finishing at the same time at Llanaelhaearn. Dafydd Williams led 4 on an easier walk around Yr Eifl. Noel Davey led 8 on a harder walk into the Clynnog Hills. It was a cloudy day with mist on the peaks, at times down to quite low levels, but it remained dry, while there was a cold wind in areas exposed to the north and east.
A/B walk. The harder walk started through the churchyard at Llanaelhaearn, crossed the A499 and took a pleasant footpath alongside a stream up through a number of field gates to Penllechog farm. The route then crossed a field into open access land and climbed a grassy slope alongside stone walls to the summit of Moel Penllechog, a rarely visited hill just above 1000ft elevation. The party then descended south some way to the ruins of an old farmbuilding where there was an early stop for a panad with good views over the lowlands of Eifionydd to the sea and towards the St Tudwals islands. A path north across rough fields soon joined the new Coastal Communities Path which crosses the Clynnog plateau at around 1000ft. The route turned off after half a mile to ascend a further 700ft by sheep tracks to the summit of Gyrn Ddu. The great tumble of slippery black boulders forming the final 100ft top of the mountain peak looked forbidding in the mist and was given a miss today. Instead, a route was taken across the ‘bwlch’ immediately to the east, descending north-east across rough grass, and then following a wall up to the top of Gyrn Goch, the third peak of the day at about 1625ft. In spite of the efforts of a pale sun above, the mist continued to thwart us of the glorious views in all directions which can be seen from this vantage point on a good day. Lunch was taken just below the summit in a sheltered spot. The route back crossed southwards across a pathless grass moor, regaining the Coastal Communities Path via one of a number of useful gaps where the otherwise sturdy walls have crumbled. This was followed west for about a mile, the views across the Llŷn making a welcome return. At a couple of old farmhouses under restoration at Fronheulog, the route tuned off down a track to Maes y Cwm and then the Cwm Coryn road back down to Llanaelhaearn. This was a good walk for a damp and misty November day, covering some 7 miles in 5 hours with a cumulative ascent of nearly 2000ft. The early start meant that there was ample time to stop at the Tyddyn Sachau café for a sociable tea afterwards. Noel Davey
C walk. This was an alternative “B” walk, led by Dafydd Williams, to the programmed A walk led by Noel Davey which ascended 3 tops in the Clynnog Hills. Both walks commenced simultaneously from the car park adjoining Llanaelhaearn Church, the parties going in opposite directions, the A going east and the B west.
There were 4 members in the B party on a damp and misty day, the first half a mile went up hill on the B4417 towards Llithfaen, before turning right and north and contouring across a few fields before emerging onto a minor road. This was followed until we reached a gate on the left where very recently a small copse of trees had been felled, the footpath sign was also lying on the ground and we went a short distance out of our way. Back on track we contoured the north side of Tre Ceiri until, following a tea break, we reached the track which climbs steeply to Bwlch yr Eifl and then ascended towards Mount Pleasant. Whilst normally we could have had some excellent views from here, the mist and low cloud precluded it today. Some three hundred yards short of Mount Pleasant we took a well-worn path on our left which climbed as we continued to contour before lunch was taken within sight of Caergribin, a large rocky outcrop. At this stage the threatening mist which had been obscuring the summit of Tre Ceiri descended until we were enveloped in it. We continued upwards, now on the summit path and knew we had to go right and south, there are two paths, and it was the second we wanted which we found with some difficulty in the misty gloom. Thereafter it was downhill on a steep, heather clad and slippery path until we reached the safety of the B 4417 where a couple of walkers from another walking group we had seen ahead of us were being interviewed by what appeared to be a T.V. crew. We then merely had to walk downhill back to the car park after 6.5 miles of enjoyable walking. Whilst we were in the process of removing our boots the A group appeared and we joined forces in the café at Tyddyn Sachau, an excellent end for both groups. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday November 7th 2019. Coed y Brenin. Today’s walk was in Coed y Brenin. Nick White led a dozen on a delightful ramble in cloudy but bright and dry weather. The Forest Park was looking wonderful: a symphony of yellow and gold autumn colours, stately dark green conifers and deep, damp gorges riven by rushing waters in full flood after recent rain. The walk started at Ganllwyd, criss-crossing the Mawddach upstream by footbridges along wide forest tracks on either bank of the river. The route passed vestiges of the Gwynfynydd goldmine near Ferndale, closed since 1998, but now with prospects of reopening. The party eventually reached the magnificent twin waterfalls of Pistyll Cain and Rhaeadr Mawddach, an ideal spot for lunch above the crashing waters. An unobtrusive hydro-electric scheme is now in operation here in succession to a 19C scheme. This was an easy and very pleasant walk of some 5.7 miles, followed by a stop for refreshments at the Trawsfynydd Lakeside Café on the way back. Noel Davey
Sunday November 3rd 2019. Glyders-Red Dot Route & Capel Curig to Ty-hyll Circular. There were two walks today. Richard Hirst led a party of ten on a climb from Pen y Pass onto the Glyderau. Dafydd Williams took three members on an easier lower level walk from Capel Curig.
'A' Walk. Glyders-Red Dot Route.
The climbing group met near Pen y Gwryd and took the Sherpa Bus up the hill to the starting point of the walk at Pen y Pass. initial rain seemed to bear out the dismal damp and misty mountain forecast, but it soon dried up and the day featured quite pleasant conditions, including regular spells of sunlight and increasingly good views penetrating through the cloud. The walk ascended due north up to Glyder Fawr from behind the Youth Hostel, following the rarely climbed ‘Red Dot’ route. There are indeed still occasional faded splashes of red paint to be seen marking the indistinct path to the summit, but noone seems quite sure when or why these were put here. The route comprised mainly grassy paths with some rocky sections, but nothing of particular difficulty. The steady ascent of over 2000ft took about 2 1/2 hours including a short coffee break. At last the party reached the tumbled stones of the Glyder Fawr peak. The route then turned east across the weird boulder-strewn landscape of the Glyder plateau at an elevation above 3000ft, characterised by explosive piles of shattered jagged grey rocks. There was a stop for lunch in a sheltered spot near Bwlch y Ddwy Glyder. Mysterious sunlit glimpses of the slopes of Crib Goch, Lliwedd and Llyn Cwmffynnon loomed out of the mist. After passing Castell y Gwynt and Glyder Fach, the party reached Y Gwyliwr, the famous jutting ‘Cantilever’ rock and scrambled up for the mandatory photo line-up. The path then began a gradual descent, turning southwards to join the Miner’s Track. This brought now sunlit views of the massive feature of Tryfan rearing nearby, the green and gold slopes of Moel Siabod, and the Denbigh Moors, pocked with wind turbines, in the far distance. The path down was in many places streaming with watercourses and falls. The descent was slowed at times by difficult rocky or boggy sections and some encounter with cramp. The party eventually got back to the cars waiting in the layby on the main road below just as the vanishing daylight began to require use of torches. This was a rewarding, strenuous walk of some 6 miles over about 6 1/2 hours. Noel Davey
'B' Walk. Capel Curig to Ty-hyll circular. This Walk led by Dafydd Williams was arranged as an alternative to the more difficult A walk ascending the Glyders and being led by Richard Hirst. Initially it was a rather damp wet day and especially so as we motored past Pen y Gwryd, the starting point of the A walk, however having reached Dyffryn Mymbyr it improved a great deal. Only three turned up at the car park behind Joe Brown’s shop and we set off north on the old A5 before quickly turning sharply south west at Gelli before soon reaching and crossing the A4086. We then took the path between the eastern end of Llynnau Mymbyr and Plas y Brenin National Mountain Centre before turning left on a forestry track on the southern bank of the River Conway. This was followed through the woods strewn with rotting oak leaves to Pont Cyfyng, the river being in flood following the recent heavy downpours. It was then in the same direction on the tarmacked old A5 as far as Ugly House where we crossed the bridge on the A5 and went steeply uphill on the minor road leading to Llyn Cyfronydd. Turning left after some 400 yards the path took us through the forest and some very wet and muddy areas about three miles, parallel with our outward journey. Barely a mile short of Capel Curig we emerged from the forest to be met by the sight of Moel Siabod dominating the sky line. The eight mile walk culminated, as all good walks should, at a café, in this case the excellent Siabod café where two of us attempted to consume but failed, a small loaf sized scone each, accompanied by a cup of tea. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday October 25th 2019.Cwm Teigl / Cwm Cynfal. Tecwyn Williams led a party of 25 walkers from Cae Clyd in Manod village on a delightful amble through the lovely tract of countryside below Blaenau Ffestiniog. Bright sunny weather showed off the rich autumn colours of the oak and beech woods and the hillside bracken at their best. Early mist and a few very brief showers in the afternoon barely troubled the pleasant conditions. The walk started from the car park near the football ground, heading south-east around the foot of the imposing dome of Manod Mawr and crossing rough moorland at around 800ft elevation. At the 14th C cottage of Caecanol Mawr, there was a sharp turn onto a path towards the south-west via Teiliau Mawr which led down and across the disused railway from Trawsfynydd to Blaenau. This line was in use from 1964 to 1998 to serve the power station, including shipment of nuclear flasks; there was an abortive attempt to reopen the line in 2016-17, while a Heritage Trust still has dreams of restoring it to use. The lunch stop nearby provided fine views towards the towering bulk of the Moelwyns, the Stwlan Dam standing out clearly halfway up the mountainside, where its masonry is being repaired. After crossing the busy A470, the party descended into Cwm Teigl, following a beautiful wooded section of the river valley featuring spectacular torrents and falls. At a point where an old bridge had collapsed, the route turned north onto a grassy track, now part of the Slate Trail, passing the tall chimneys of Pengwern Old Hall, an important gentry house with Elizabethan origins. The final section entered Cwm Bowydd, following meandering paths across broken wooded countryside, eventually leading back to Manod. This was a most enjoyable walk of under 5 miles, taken at a leisurely pace suited to the numbers walking and the numerous stone step stiles to be navigated. At the end the leader organised an excellent tea at Seren in Llan Ffestiniog which was much appreciated. Noel Davey
Sunday October 20th 2019. Aber Falls / Carneddau. There were two walks today, facing some competition from the rugby international. Seven members joined the ‘A’ walk led by Annie Andrew and Jean Norton, making a welcome return to the lovely Aber Valley, which was visited for a Thursday walk just a few weeks ago. five others joined the lower level ‘B’ walk led by Dafydd Williams from nearby Talybont. It was a pleasant dry day with sunny periods.
'A' walk. The harder walk started at the village car park in Abergwyngregyn, climbing through the attractive village, past the turbine house of the Ynni Anafon community hydro scheme into the woods of the Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve. The party soon reached the famous Falls at the head of the valley, a spectacular sight following recent heavy rainfall. After crossing the Afon Rhaeadr Fawr, there was a stop for coffee below the Rhaeadr Bach waterfall. The route then branched southwest onto indistinct paths through bracken, fording the Afon Gam which was in full flood and climbing steadily upstream. Eventually a grassy track was reached, taking the party north, straight up to the summit of Moel Wnion at about 1900ft. This is marked by the remains of a large bronze age burial cairn, now a refuge for walkers with a former OS triangulation pillar planted in the middle. This vantage point for a chilly lunch provided splendid far-reaching views across the Carneddau, towards Anglesey and down to the coast where the forests of the Gwynt y Mor wind turbines could be seen marching close to the shore. From there it was all downhill, an easy descent on grassy tracks and a section of the North Wales Path which runs high along the western side of the Aber Valley. The final leg followed a track and field paths past Henffordd back down to Abergwyngregyn in time for an early tea at the community cafe. This was a good day out, involving about 7 miles and an ascent of 2000ft. Noel Davey.
'B' walk. This was arranged at the request of the A walk leaders Jean Norton and Annie Andrews as a back up to counter any bad weather which might have prevented them achieving their goal of summiting Moel Wnion. In the event their fears were ground-less as it turned out to be an excellent walking day with sporadic sunshine and light winds. The B walk led by Dafydd Williams started from a lay by on the old A 55 a mile or so east of Penrhyn- Castle and headed south to cross the new A 55 by means of a cattle walkway bridge at Tal-y-bont-uchaf. The path continued in a southerly direction uphill and around a wooded section at Tan-y-marian before going through the farm-yard at Plas Uchaf and reaching a B road. This went left and south east for a good half mile before we encountered the North Wales Path and enjoyed a brief stop for a coffee. We then went up-hill and southwards through fields and reached the Moel Wnion foothills from where we enjoyed excellent views of Anglesey and the Great Orme to the north east. The path then contoured on a grassy path before circling north westerly and joining a very muddy uneven and pot holed farm track down to Bryn Hall close to the site of a disused slate quarry. A quarry track followed which was initially down- hill before a tarmacked road was followed before we joined a field path which led us to the village of Llanllechid and lunch in the cemetery of the closed church which sadly is deteriorating badly. From the church it was westerly on lovely wooded paths alongside Afon y Llan until we reached the A5 at Halfway Bridge from where we walked the path to the north west alongside the River Ogwen until we reached the mill at Felin Cochwillan with its picturesque weir where we crossed the river by means of an iron pedestrian bridge. The route then went under the new A55 and north past Bangor Rugby and Cricket Clubs until we reached Llandygai and the main entrance to Penrhyn Castle. From here it was but a short distance back to our cars as we walked through the village and crossed the old A55 and through two fields. The members appeared to enjoy the walk taken at an acceptable pace together with the ready banter which prevailed. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday October 10th 2019. Nant Gwrtheyrn. In spite of rather damp and windy forecast conditions, there were 25 takers for today’s walk led by Noel Davey to Nant Gwrtheyrn, site of the Welsh Language Centre. The walk started from the car park near Mount Pleasant above Llithfaen. It headed south-west across the exposed rolling plateau to Ciliau Uchaf, continuing across fields muddied by cattle down to Pistyll. This section was taken at a good pace in the face of intermittent showers and a brisk south-westerly. There was a stop here for a first early lunch and a visit to St Beuno’s Church , a little gem, mostly dating from the 15th century, but on a 6th century site closely associated with the pilgrimage to Ynys Enlli; its simple and peaceful atmosphere is enhanced by its continued traditions of candlelight and floor rushes; the churchyard contains the grave of the actor Rupert Davies who played Maigret. The second part of the walk was more relaxed, being drier and more sheltered, though slippery in places. The route now followed the Coastal Path north-east, past the intriguing remnants of a medieval leper colony and climbing up to the old quarry on Penrhyn Glas headland. From here there were dramatic views, if rather austere today, down the long stretch of beach extending to Nant Gwrtheyrn, nestling below a wall of steep quarried hillsides. The path was briefly mislaid near Ciliau isaf, before a descent of Gallt Bwlch through oak woodland. After a stop for a second lunch, the walk followed the path along the shore, passing old quarry buildings and eventually climbed up to the Nant. Here the excellent Café Meinir was waiting with refreshments before the final steep ascent of 800ft on the panoramic switchback road back to Mount Pleasant, about half taking this on foot, half depending on a car shuffle. Most seemed to enjoy this 5-6 mile walk. Noel Davey
Sunday October 6th 2019. Dysynni Valley-Castell y Bere. Today’s walks took 10 members of the club to the lovely Dysynni Valley in the far south of Gwynedd. Hugh Evans led 7 on an ‘A’ walk of 11.5 miles and some 2800ft of ascent, while Nick White led 3 on a ‘C’ walk of 6 miles length. The day was dry with increasingly sunny periods, but brisk winds. Both walks started at the site of the 13th century Welsh castle of Castell y Bere, perched on a commanding wooded hill overlooking the valley. The initial route led north east past the chapel at Llanfihangel y Pennant from where around 1800 Mary Jones famously walked barefoot the 26 miles to Bala to buy a copy of the Welsh bible, a feat that inspired the founding of the British and Foreign Bible Society.
Grade 'A' walk. The longer walk then turned west along the northern side of the Dysynni Valley. After crossing Nant Caw at Bodilan Fach, there was a long steady ascent of about 1500ft on a grassy track leading up to moorland. Rather than continuing north to the hill called Trawsfynydd, the route cut west over rough ground, skirting Esgair Berfa. Lunch was taken at the top in a sheltered spot near some sheepfolds. There were misty glimpses of Ynys Enlli across Cardigan Bay. A gravel track and later a narrow paved road, also cycle route 82, then led down southwards with a turn onto field paths near Foel Tyr gawen. The gradual descent provided splendid views over the startlingly green and fertile fields of the flat Dysynni floodplain, stretching to Tywyn on the coast. The path then followed flood embankments and drainage dykes upstream along the river, heading for the imposing crags of Craig yr Aderyn, Birds’ Rock, so named apparently as the largest inland nesting site for cormorants in Wales. A detour to climb this 850ft summit by a relatively easy path was rewarded by more spectacular views. The final leg was an easy walk along lanes to the start point, leaving time for a quick look round the evocative ruins of Castell y Bere in the late afternoon sunshine after a first class day’s walking. Noel Davey.
Grade 'C' walk. As an alternative to the strenuous A walk as per programme Nick White at short notice arranged and led this C walk accompanied by two members. Briefly, the walk started from the Castell y Bere car park and after visiting the renowned chapel of Mary Jones in Llanfihangel y Pennant went on pleasant but very wet paths in places some three miles to Abergynolwyn where lunch was taken on a bench in the village square. The return route went most of the way alongside the road and river leading to Castell y Bere. This was a pleasant six- mile stroll in excellent weather and finished in grand style with tea and bara brith at Nick and Ann’s home in Dolgellau. Dafydd Wlliams.
Thursday September 26th 2019. Aber Falls. Jean Norton and Annie Andrews organised two walks from Abergwyngregyn to the Aber Falls. 23 club members met at the village car park. 5 were ferried a mile up the valley to the Bont Newydd, while the rest walked up along the pleasant road through this interesting village, renowned as the site of the llys of Llywelyn Fawr. The two parties then merged to continue along the gently ascending gravel path to the Rhaeadr Fawr at the head of the valley. This route passes several bronze age settlements, standing stones and cairns, reflecting an ancient tradition of occupation. After the last few days’ rain the Falls were an impressive sight in full spate, plunging down 120ft in an explosion of shimmering spray. At this point the ‘D’ walkers made their way back to the village by the same path. The ‘C’ walkers skirted west to the smaller falls of Rhaeadr Bach, where a lovely riverside spot was found for lunch. The route then headed back along the western side of the valley, following a fairly level path around 600ft elevation, in fact part of the North Wales Path. This provided extensive views back towards the two falls and the mass of the Carneddau mountains rearing up behind. Further on, as the path climbed and then descended fairly steeply, there were lovely views of the coast with Puffin Island in the foreground and soon the village of Abergwyngregyn, the prominent mound of Pen y Mwd, an 11C defensive motte, standing out clearly. This enjoyable walk of some 5 miles was enhanced by a pleasant bright day with only one short-lived hint of rain. The community café in the village provided its usual high standard of hospitality at the end of the walk. Noel Davey
Sunday September 22nd 2019. Moelfre-Bodafon. The walk today took 9 ramblers to Moelfre on the east coast of Ynys Môn for an interesting and varied circuit of 10-11 miles led by Dafydd Williams. The forecast was for rain, but this was confined to light showers in the late morning, warm temperatures and brighter conditions in the afternoon. The party set out westwards across fields towards Lligwy where the first port of call was the remarkable group of archaeological sites here, comprising a 4000 year old Neolithic burial chamber with a huge capstone, the 2000 year old Romano-British homestead of Din Lligwy and the remains of Hen Capel Lligwy, a ‘chapel of ease’ dating from the 12th century. After their fill of ancient stones, the walkers continued westwards via a woodland path maintained by the Silver Slashers (the Anglesey Ramblers footpath volunteers) and through an area of caravan sites which posed some route and Rights of Way issues. After a break for coffee, the route crossed heaths of heather and gorse, passed the church and vicarage of St Michael, Penrhoslligwy, and eventually reached the prominent rocky ridge of Yr Arwydd and Mynydd Bodafon. The 600ft summit provided fine views over the green heart of the island, extending south across the Menai to the mountains of Snowdonia. The party descended to the less exposed shelter of Tyn y Mynydd for lunch. The route now led north-east, crossing the main A5025 road at Brynrefail and turning at the Pilot Boat Inn onto a wide grassland track forming the Coast Path above the deep inlet of Traeth Dulas. The next section of the walk followed the Path south, skirting a lovely string of bays and rocky headlands. Points of interest included the offshore island of Ynys Dulas with its distinctive tower, a seal pup stranded on the beach and the new Moelfre lifeboat tearing out to sea on a mission. After a short break at Traeth Lligwy, the final 2.5 miles led past the many reminders of the tragic Royal Charter shipwreck, soon reaching the attractive seaside town of Moelfre. There was time for refreshments at the Kinmel Arms before the journey back to Llŷn after a very pleasant day out. Noel Davey.
Thursday September 12th 2019. Felin Uchaf, Rhoshirwaun. Miriam Heald organised an interesting outing near Rhoshirwaun, involving a short walk followed by a visit to the remarkable Felin Uchaf Centre nearby. This attracted 33 club members, despite the misty weather which limited the views. Starting from the car park at Felin Uchaf, the walk followed a footpath south through the grounds of Bodrydd, a farm that has been developed mainly into a holiday business. The route circumnavigated a number of newly created scenic fishing lakes and heather gardens. Two spinning wind turbines whirred overhead, rather spoiling the setting of this otherwise pleasant landscape beneath Mynydd Rhiw. A well maintained gravelled path brought the party to the local road and a short step back to Felin Uchaf. The site was created 12 years ago as a cultural and ecological centre, promoting traditional rural crafts and Welsh folklore in a sensitive environmental setting. The party enjoyed a stroll on network grassy paths through the 20 acres of planted trees. These were dotted with a number of lovingly constructed buildings made from carved oak, traditional cob walls and green roofs, including two Celtic roundhouses, a herb drying store, an observatory, a green toilet, a lofty oak trussed barn used for making furniture and boatbuilding, and a café and study centre under construction. After lunch in the observatory, the group were treated to tea in the larger round house, an atmospheric setting for a classic Mabinogion story engagingly told by Dafydd Davies Hughes, the charismatic owner and creator of this unique enterprise. This proved a stimulating day out with a difference. Noel Davey
Sunday September 8th 2019.
'A' Walk' Rhinog Fawr. Seven members found their way to the remote and enchanting valley of Cwm Bychan in Ardudwy for a strenuous ascent of Rhinog Fawr. Last time the club attempted this peak the climbers were driven back halfway up by 70 mph gusts. Today’s light winds and long dry sunny periods were a welcome contrast. The party set out from the idyllic Llyn Cwm Bychan, climbing 1000ft up the Bwlch Tyddiad by the so-called ‘Roman Steps’, though this ancient pass through the Rhinogydd probably dates back at least to the bronze age. A coffee stop was made at the top overlooking the path east down towards Trawsfynydd. The route turned off on a footpath through heather winding up to the aptly grim looking Llyn Du. From here the party took one of the many indistinct rocky routes up the steep north slope, requiring some scrambling to reach the summit at 2367ft. In spite of some ominous murky clouds floating over the summit at first, the visibility soon improved to give magnificent sunlit views in every direction: nearby to the south, the peaks of Rhinog Fach, Y Llethr and Moelfre, to the east the more distant Arenigs and Llyn Trawsfynydd, and to the west the arc of Llŷn stretching far out to sea to Cilan and Ynys Enlli. Revived by lunch, the party descended by a relatively easy path down the south-west slope, eventually turning north along ill-defined paths through heather on a wide and lonely plateau at about 1500ft. Further down the route crossed waterlogged ground to reach the still waters of Gloyw Lyn, the shining lake, a good spot for tea. There was then a short leg over the ridge behind, rejoining the outward route near an ancient stone footbridge. This was a splendid day on this wonderful quiet mountain, taking 6.5 hours to cover as many miles and 2500ft of ascent. Noel Davey
'B' Walk. Whilst a difficult A walk up Rhinog Fawr was being led by Noel Davey, an easier B walk led by Tecwyn Williams was arranged. In the event only Tecwyn and Dafydd Williams turned up for the walk starting from the Coed Gerddi Bluog car park in Cwm Bychan to climb up to Llyn Gloyw Lyn at 1300 feet. This involved quite strenuous walking of 5 miles in good walking weather when only two other walkers were encountered over a four hour period. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday August 29th 2019. Y Bala/Llyn Tegid. There were two walks today around Y Bala. Dafydd Williams led 12 members on the harder walk, taking over from Gwynfor Jones who devised the route, but was indisposed. The day was mainly cloudy and quite windy, but there were occasional bright periods and conditions were good for walking. The route started near the Leisure Centre skirting the northern shore of the Llyn Tegid which was busy with sailing boats coping with quite choppy waters. After crossing Pont Mwynwgyl y llyn the walk turned off into pleasant woods, climbing quite steeply through Coed Pen y Bont from about 500ft to over 1000ft elevation. Beyond Fridd Fach ddeiliog the path emerged into broken upland. There was a stop for lunch at a junction of paths near Cefn ddwygraig. The route then re-entered forested country and eventually came out into elevated fields, opening up fine views of the lake with the town of Bala nestling to the north and the ramparts of Arenig Fawr to the west. The path descended by an easy bridle way passing the former golf course and clubhouse, now a comfortable looking hotel. Beyond the remnant of a 13C motte and bailey castle and the terminus of the Bala Lake narrow gauge railway to Llanuwchllyn, the party crossed the outward route, turning off for an interesting loop alongside the complex waterways and weirs linked to the lake, including the River Dee and Afon Tryweryn. The final section passed unexpectedly under an arch of Pont y Bala, bridging the main road, and entered the back streets of the town leading back to the Leisure Centre. This proved a very pleasant walk of 6 miles involving about 1000ft of ascent. It was followed by refreshments at the lakeside Loch Café.
Nick White led 4 members on a shorter circuit of 3-4 miles circling to the west and north of Bala. Going down the hillside an amazing quarry was encountered, more of a cavern than an open quarry. Noel Davey.
Sunday August 25th 2019. There were two walks today:
The A walk: Aran Fawddwy & Aran Benllyn. A perfect summer’s day – apparently the warmest August bank holiday ever – was the setting for a memorable day on the Aran mountains. A party of seven made their way to the remote hidden gem of Cwm Cywarch, running north from Dinas Mawddwy. This valley has an industrial past based on lead mining and an earlier reputation for banditry (the Cochion Cywarch), but is now very quiet and deeply rural, and just what the connection was to the hemp or cannabis in the name is a mystery. The walk started at about 500ft elevation at the farm of Blaencywarch, ascending fairly steeply 1000ft up a narrow valley with an alpine feel, skirting the rocky buttress of Glasgwm. Near the top some of the party were struck down by the unaccustomed heat and decided to retrace their steps. Four walkers continued north-east across the exposed grassy plateau aided across the boggy peat by numerous sections of board walks, many now sadly rotting away. The rocky summit of Aran Fawddwy, just 31ft short of 3000ft and the highest Welsh mountain south of Snowdon, now came into full view. The party eventually reached the top, hot and exhausted and more than ready for a late lunch. While conditions were hazy, there were spectacular views from this magnificent eyrie across the rolling green ridges of mid-Wales and down immediately below to Creiglyn Dyfi, the source of the Afon Dyfi. Since the 3-4 miles of ascent had taken as many hours, it was decided not to extend the walk further north along the ridge to Aran Benllyn, but looking back on the way down there were impressive views of the precipitous northern edge of the long Arans ridge and glimpses of Llyn Tegid beyond. The route down was relatively straightforward, curving south-east along grassy ridge of Drysgol and passing a solitary cairn marking the spot where an RAF mountain rescuer was killed by lightning. The party then turned south-west, picking up a gently graded path that contoured the slopes of Pen yr Allt Uchaf down into the deep U-shaped valley of Hengwm back to Cwm Cywarch. It was good to see a number of walkers about, but these little frequented mountains were an ideal place to avoid the bank holiday crowds. This excellent though strenuous climb was led by Hugh Evans, with Noel Davey deputising part of the way, and covered some 7.6 miles and 2850ft of ascent. Noel Davey.
The B walk: Mallwyd. Hugh Evans who was leading an A walk up Aran Fawddwy decided he wanted an alternative B in case the weather conditions were against ascending the mountain. In the event the weather was the complete opposite and it was left for Dafydd Williams to lead the B walk accompanied by five other members on a sweltering hot day. The walk of some 8 miles started from the Brigand Inn, Mallwyd and immediately went east and climbed up a minor road and continued to climb steadily but after Ysgubor Wen the tarmac became a farm track and then a footpath running parallel with the B458 in the direction of Welshpool. Towards the end of the outward 3.5 miles the path was difficult to follow and then became totally blocked by a six feet high fence to keep the young pheasants being bred in their hatchery surroundings. There were literally hundreds of these birds around, being bred to be shot, it makes you despair of the mentality of people who enjoy this kind of sport. We turned north before reaching another minor road on which we walked for a short distance and enjoyed our lunch by a farm gateway before taking a path through the farmyard. We then emerged on to the same minor road before climbing steeply up hill and crossing the B458 and continuing up hill on the tarmac. Then we passed several extremely dilapidated farms and dwellings over a distance of some 1.5 miles before taking a path down hill through a field and emerging on yet another minor road where we paused for a short period before crossing a ford on a wooden bridge. Once more we went uphill and experienced some difficulty in detecting in the bushes a rickety stile crossing a brook followed by having to force our way up hill through bushes and ferns for some 30 yards to regain the path. We were now in sight of the petrol station adjoining the Brigand Inn which we reached on an easy track. Whilst the heat at times was stifling, a comfortable pace was maintained and it was enjoyable but on this occasion, due to the steep sided valley, views were at a premium but the tea and cakes at The Inn were extremely well received. Dafydd Williams.
Thursday August 15th 2019. Bwlch y Ddwy Elor. On a pleasant fine sunny day 25 members and guests met at Pant Cae’r Gors near Rhyd Ddu for a walk through the Beddgelert Forest led by Dafydd Williams. A local resident fancying a walk joined the group for part of the way. The group headed west across the Welsh Highland Railway along forest tracks past Moelfryn and Parc Cae cra. After a couple of miles the route turned south climbing to about 1400ft through the lonely Bwlch y Ddwy Elor, supposedly recalling the historic use of this mountain pass to carry the dead on biers between Cwm Pennant and Beddgelert. The path then descended through the impressive relics of the Prince of Wales Quarry. Like many local quarries this was a heroic failure, being abandoned in 1886 after just 13 years of unprofitable operation. There was a stop for lunch on slabs beside a deep quarry pit with spectacular views down the inclines and tramway running through Cwm Pennant to the sea in the distance near Porthmadog, the rocks of Moel Lefn soaring above on one side of the valley and the great arc of the Nantlle Ridge hedging the other side. The walkers then struggled back up by a rocky path through the Bwlch Cwm Trwsgl, entering wastelands of a recently felled part of the forest. The rest of the walk followed good forest tracks pausing at the wooded shore of the charming Llyn Llywelyn. The final section of the route joined the Lôn Gwyrfai, passing Hafod Ryffydd Ganol and Isaf. This was a most enjoyable 6.5 mile walk over about 4 hours. Some of the party made another stop at Beddgelert for further refreshments. Noel Davey
Sunday August 11th 2019. Llanfairfechan. Kath Spencer led a party of 9 ramblers on an excellent 12 mile circuit from Llanfairfechan. The route mostly followed the ancient green trackways which cross the plateau above at 1000-1400ft elevation, circling Tal y Fan in an anti-clockwise direction. It was a damp cloudy day with persistent outbreaks of short showers, but initial mist gave way to clearer conditions and even the odd shaft of sunlight, opening up good views across the surrounding landscape. The walk started at the small car park above the Nant y Coed Nature Reserve, first descending towards the village and then climbing steeply up a shoulder to the top of Garreg Fawr. The path then joined the east-west route of the Roman Road passing through Bwlch y Ddeufain. This is packed with ancient monuments including standing stones, circles and cairns, but is also sadly blighted by high voltage transmission lines. A number of overflowing streams across the track were a challenge after the rain, but eventually the party reached the small car park at the head of the road up from Rowen. The route turned off northwards near Cae Coch where an old barn in a sheepfold provided a dry sheltered spot for lunch. There were splendid misty views down the Conwy Valley, including a distant glimpse of the tents of the Eisteddfod site at Llanrwst, and later Conwy Castle, the sprawl of Llandudno hedged in between the twin Ormes and, out to sea, the maze of white sentinels of Gwynt y Mor. The walk then turned westwards along the broad prehistoric trackway, now part of the North Wales Path, running above the quarries of Penmaenmawr. This brought the party to the remarkable ring of 30 stones known as the Druid’s Circle (Meini Hirion) which dates to Neolithic times, as well as another smaller circle on the slopes of Cefn Coch and Moelfre. At last the route began to climb back down towards Llanfairfechan, giving more views of the coast backed by the Carneddau Mountains. This brought the party back to the tumbling waters and delightful woodland of Nant y Coed and a short climb back to the car park. Despite the weather, this was a grand day of walking in the lovely open grassy uplands above the coast. Noel Davey
Thursday August 1st 2019. Beddgelert-Cwm Bychan. A warm sunny day brought 25 club members to Beddgelert for one of the classic walks of central Snowdonia. Maureen Evans led this triangular walk of some 6.3 miles walk with assistance from Dafydd. The walk first headed south down the wonderful Pass of Aberglaslyn, taking the narrow and rocky fishermen’s path that clings precariously to the edge of the wooded gorge just above the thundering white waters of the river, in full spate after recent rain. At Pont Aberglaslyn the path turned east then north, climbing over tree roots to an open glade where convenient picnic tables prompted a stop for a morning panad. There then followed a steady ascent through of the wilder heather country of Cwm Bychan from less than 100ft to almost 1000ft at the col near Bwlch y Sygun and Grib Ddu. Since some were struggling in the heat there was a stop for lunch about halfway up in a spot with fine views south down to the Glaslyn Estuary and eastwards to some of the Snowdonia peaks. Higher up the valley the route passed the striking line of iron pylons which once supported an aerial ropeway to transport ore from the copper mines higher up the valley down to a processing mill. Relief at reaching the col was soon dashed by the steep knee wrenching descent by a gravel path and steps to the shores of Llyn Dinas lying placidly far below. The final leg of the triangle south-westwards back to Beddglert followed an easy, level path through thickets of bracken where the even more thuggish rhododendron had been cleared. The party then dispersed for refreshments, some at a local café and some courtesy of a resident walker. This was a delightful walk as ever, enhanced by the splendid weather and taken at a leisurely pace suited to both the heat and the terrain. Noel Davey.