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Not Bwlch Sych – Long Mynd instead


Img_2961Those of you who read my e-mail (see below)  concerning the recce for this walk will realise that we didn’t go up the hills to the north of Lake Vyrnwy but we did have a good day on the Long Mynd.

We arrived at the musical loos in Stretton and set out up the Burway and then down into Carding Mill Valley. Weather improving as we climbed to near the top, then a bit of cross county to join the Portway and down to the cattle grid at Duckley Nap for some refreshments. Then a loop round across the shoulder of Haddon Hill and on to the Shooting Box – now just a car park with a bit of a mound, not a tin roofed building that used to be a good waymarker in misty conditions. Then a good step up to the Pole Bank Toposcope (516M) with improving views all round. It was on this rise that we saw a group of 25 ish birds wheeling and calling above us: even Len the Bird man was a bit flummoxed. These turned out to be Golden Plover – a real joy.

Pole Bank is the high point of the Long Mynd so everything from here on should be down hill – well it nearly is. It was then on to Pole Cottage and a left turn onto a small sheep track that joins the path, locally known as Ashes Ridge, that skirts Round Hill and Grindle and down into Small Batch.  We stopped for lunch in the shade some hawthorn bushes overlooking Callow Hollow and enjoyed the total silence that the Long Mynd can offer.

We then plunged down into Small Batch and past the camp site at the bottom in Little Stretton. Bit of climbing from here on, over the ridge to The Owlets and down through the woods to the Ludlow Road and back to the cars.  Before the start I had estimated 8 miles or so, but with a bit of measuring after we got back it was around 10 miles.

Thanks to all who came and all who drove.  minibootprint

Previous e-mail:

Hi all  –  Just got back from the recce for the 3rd April Walk – Bwlch Sych above Vyrnwy. Could be a good walk but not at the moment.  The first half was fine: forestry tracks a bit of open hillside, lots of snow, but reasonable underfoot. The second half was dreadful.  The guide book says ” … the paths are a little faint and the ground can be wet at times …”  Biggest understatement.  No paths at all, just very wet knee high tussocks,  two river crossings not mentioned as a problem – I ended up paddling.  Also the footpaths lower down on the way out just stop with very high barbed wire and impenetrable undergrowth – climbing over and round was not good.  Suffice to say I will not be leading this walk on Sunday – but will be leading something else, not sure what, but it will be the same start time and distance etc.  I will send out another mailing when I know what I am doing.


Over the hills and far away


Walking towards the lunch stop – picture by Annie

A linear walk – the start and finish miles apart – thank you Annie and Yvonne for leading this walk and organising the “taxis” at the other end.  The route is a sort of straightish line from Pennal to Bryncrug across the hills at the back of Aberdyfi.

An 8 o’clock start got us to Pennal just after 9 with Annie and Yvonne waiting in the car park of The Riverside Hotel on a day with much promise of a clear sky and glimpses of the sea. Suited and booted we set off down the drive to Plas Talgarth on the Welsh Coast Path and up on to the hill overlooking the Dyfi.  On the far bank is the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve with its magnificent observatory and the osprey nest – as yet unoccupied, but any day now – ‘keep calm and look up’ because Monty and Glesni will be back.  Then down through Penmaendyfi to cross the main road and the the Coast path and start  the steady climb over the top to the Happy Valley road. Its here that we joined the old mountain road at Pant-yr-onn.

From Pant-yr-onn the ancient trackway heads generally west then north west. I have been trying to find a bit of info about it on the web but as yet nothing of any substance has turned up.  If I find anything I will link to it here.  This is wild and empty country up here but with no navigation problems as the track is so deep and wide.  We climbed up to the watershed and over the top and this is where the view expanded mightily: the Dysynni at Broadwater, the sea and beyond to the Lleyn Penisular and blow me down not a pedalo in sight.

Lunch was called at a derelict dwelling just off the track and here we ate and dozed and admired the view.   Then it was downhill all the way following the Nant Braich-y-rhiw back to our pick-up in Rhyd-yr-onen.  We were passed by, coming up the other way, several trail bikes, an oldish Land Rover and some moutain bikes: this is a well known ‘off-roading’ route.

Thanks to all who came and all who drove – particularly Annie and Steve who acted as taxi drivers at the end to get us back to Penal.  Pics by Annie and Graham in the gallery.  minibootprint


Craig Rhiwarth Circuit, Llangynog

Craig Rhiwarth from the zigzags

Craig Rhiwarth from the zigzags

Damp and windy could sum up this walk.  The complete walk is one of Derek Brockways “Weatherman Walking” series.  I shortened it a bit and altered the route to cut out a steep downhill followed by a steep uphill.  We were going to do this walk last year but the weather was so foul we held it over to this year – the weather was a bit better this year, but not a lot – ocassional thin drizzle.

Starts in Llangynog and heads up the Bala Road for a mile then up a track to the back of Craig Rhiwarth.  Two ‘ups’ in that sentence and that’s most of  the climbing done for the day. From the top of  Craig Rhiwarth we headed north across some damp country to Bedd Crynddyn.  The wind was now getting up and so were the clouds, we even started to see a bit of blue sky. There is a long track heading just north of east across the tops, but whoever put in the new fencing forgot to put the stiles back: so we had a bit of clambering to do. The way is rough under foot and the track indistinct – not good in thick mist, but a bearing of around 75° will do no harm.

At the final fence we democratically decided to head back towards Llangynog. Bit more bog trotting and wet tracks brought us to the top of the zigzags down into Cwm Glan-hafon – very gently here. A walk out through the beautiful old oak wood under the cliffs that peregrines nest upon, none today but soon will be, and returned to the cars.  A damp walk but just great to be out again.

Thanks to all who came and all who drove.  Pics in the gallery. minibootprint


Programme Changes

Couple of changes on the programme.  Go to the programme and see the changes highlighted in RED.

Click on 2016 Programme on the left hand side of the page.


Trefonen – borderland in the sunshine

Image2It looked like a good day – cool and damp with the sun promising. Annie brought two friends, Delyth and Sally, to join us – welcome Sally and welcome back Delyth: hope to see you both with us again. A short drive across country brought us to park up near The Barley Mow in Trefonen and from here we made our way southish on the Offa’s Dyke Path to Moelydd to study the toposcope and all the wonderful views.

From Moelydd Peter led us down the fields and up into the woods where we stopped for a quick snack. The ground underfoot from here on can only be described (politely) as mucky. We slipped and slid around field edges, splashed across open grassland and it was a great relief to come out at last on a tarmac track: even Graham’s boots were mucky!

From here it was a walk back to Trefonen through the lanes with much evidence of spring arriving at the wrong time – daffodils etc all over the place. Thanks to Peter for leading and all who came and all who drove. minibootprint  Pics in the gallery

Christmas Detox

pigA sensible start time of 9.30 brought out a dozen hardy souls for the last walk of the year.  As Sarn Meadow was under water we started down the Arddleen Road and up the hill to the bottom entrance of Gaer Fawr.  The route up was pretty sticky at first but improved all the way to the pig.  The pig could do with a scrub with hot soapy water but the Fairy Door was in good condition. Down the back and out onto Gwreiddyn Lane and turned right and up past Pump House to the Broniarth turn. Everywhere was pretty mucky but the day was bright and mild – I for one felt distinctly over-dressed and warming up.  One or two others out either jogging or driving past.

Turned left at The Lane and across the track to Trawscoed-hen.  I was from here on that I was glad I had decided to wear my wellies – the track down to Sarn Meadow was rather sloppy. Back on the hard surface again at the Arddleen Road and along to The Oak.  From here it was down to Swn y Nant for mince pies and punch – many thanks to jean for putting on a grand spread.  We watched the 2015 picture gallery in a strange order and then the 2015 walking season closed.  The 2016 starts on 10th January with a local walk around Trefonen led by Peter – 8.00am start.

Thanks to all who have walked with us this year – all who have driven to far flung corners of our wonderful area and to all who have planned,recced and led for us. Let’s do it all again next year. minibootprint

2016 Programme

walkerHi all

Programme for 2016 is on the blog.

Some “Old ones, new ones, loved ones and neglected ones.”  New inovation this year – couple of Family Friendly walks: suitable for children of all ages, but not ‘buggy-able.’

Few missing details as yet, but watch for updates nearing the time when recces have been done.

Christmas Detox


christmasdetoxCome and walk off some of that turkey and pud with our Christmas Detox.

Sunday 27th December –  9.30 easy and short.

Starting from The Oak at 9.30 (now there’s a sensible time) a walk up the Gaer Fawr, round the lanes via Broniarth, and across the fields of Trawscoed Farms and back to Swn y Nant for warm punch and mince pies etc.  Bring a crowd of friends/visitors.


Img_2818Sunday dawned bright and cold with snow showing on the Berwyns and other high ground so we were in for another ‘Grand Day Out:’ Brian didn’t disappoint with his route. Five of us left The Oak, picked up Graham on the way and headed round to The Bog car park below the Stiperstones. A scattering of frozen snow greeted us as we set out on a south-east tack to pick up the Shropshire Way path that follows the Stiperstones ridge for quite a way. By Cranberry Rock we spotted a pair of Red Grouse only a few metres off the path having a munch, they didn’t explode into the air but just sauntered gently away into the heather and were gone. (Very poor pic in the gallery). The ridge is pretty rough along the next bit, made worse by the slowly melting snow/frost, but we halted at Manstone Rock for a breather and refreshment and on to The Devil’s Chair.  (Go here to read the legend of the evil’s Chair and his apron.) Good views to the snowy horizon all round but by now most of the snow/frost was gone from underfoot.

From The Devil’s Chair it is easy going all the way to Blakemoorflat.  From here the views down to the left open onto the Dingles – very steep – Brian led us to the top of Crowsnest Dingle: bit of a struggle in places, wet rock covered in wet leaves and mud don’t make for a sure footing.  We hit the road at the top end of Snailbeach and  walked uphill round the double bend then into the woods on the left and followd this path all the way to Stipersrones village, coming out by the pub. Here I met John and Geoff Sproson (of the shop and pub) and had a long chat as I used to teach with Geoff. This meant I was miles behind the rest of the group and had to do a bit of lung busting catching-up. Just beyond Tankerville we turned south up a mucky track which led us back to the Bog car park.

A good day birdwise – two Kites (or the same one twice) lots of Red Grouse both flying and calling, two Kestrels, lots of Meadow Pipits, plus all the usual suspects.

Thanks to Brian for leading a good day and thanks to all who came and all who drove.minibootprint

Stretton in the mist

CC View

The view of Caer Caradoc that we didn’t see because of the mist.

We parked opposite the musical loos in Church Stretton and Graham led seven of us on a real feat of route finding and navigation on a circular walk  via Chelmick, Hope Bowdler and up onto Caer Caradoc and back down to Stretton. Welcome to Steve, who joined us for his first walk with us – hope to see you on our walks again.

We went up through the smart houses of Clive Avenue and Ragleth Road then out onto the damp paths and lanes through Ragdon to the lovely village of Chelmick. Then more tracks and lanes towards Hope Bowdler, coming out near the Church.

The weather was now improving greatly: from damp and misty to blue sky and warm sunshine. East along the main road to the end of Hope Bowdler village then sharp left up towards Hope Batch. It was here that elevenses was delcared.  It was now getting warm and layers were coming off. We crossed the top of the hill and looked down towards the Plantation and the massive bulk of Caradoc with extensive views to the east. We joined the track at Cwms Cottage and headed east round the end of Caradoc then south west towards the steep path up to the bwlch between Little Caradoc and the main mass of the hill.  It was here we lunched. The views across to the Long Mynd and beyond were slowly disapearing as the mist gradually filled the valley from the south. Annie and Steve opted for the pretty walk out – over the shoulder and down to the track at Cwms Cottage – while the rest of us engaged low gear and toiled up to the summit.  As we got higher the mist rolled in and up,  so on reaching the top we only had a short window of views before the temperature plummeted as the mist enclosed us it damp greyness.

One of our number declared we were lost as we wandered across the top towards Three Fingers Rock to pick up the steeply decending path.  We reassured her that Graham did know the way and to prove it we came out right on target.  Down to the main track leading back to Church Stretton, across the damp fields then dodging the trains and through the houses back to the carpark.

As I left my camera in the van again, pics from Annie and Graham in the gallery.  Thanks to all who came and all who drove. minibootprint