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Stretton in the mist

CC View

The view we didn’t see on Sunday. Caer Caradoc – 459 m (1,506 ft) Iron Age Hill Fort – in the centre.

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

Bontddu again

crop1This is a good walk because you drive up the hills a good way before you start  – about 750 ft in just under 2 miles – this would be a real drag at both ends of the walk. We parked the cars at Banc-y-Frân next to a group of rams who had all been dyed flourescent green! (See pics in gallery) Then Richard led the six of us out on good paths heading west and turned north just after the end of the forestry where the climbing starts, nothing excessive, just steady.   Down to our left we saw a gathering of vehicles and people then heard the noise of the fox hounds being given a run out on the hills.  As we climbed the hounds zoomed around below us with the followers spreading out but we didn’t see them put up fox, or anything else for that matter.

Len and I had brought our ‘bins’ along for a bit of bird spotting and we weren’t disappointed. The count for the day was: 4 chough – possible pair of merlins – kestrel –  red kite – linnet – buzzard,  plus all the usual suspects.

We reached the top at around 1900 ft where the the old coach road from Bontddu to Harlech crosses the ridge and lunch was declared. Its from this high point the the old road drops down to Pont-Scethin and then on through the lanes to Harlech. It must have been a treacherous journey in a coach at any time of the year.  The view from here was very good – all the way round the top of the bay down to Bardsey – no pedalos but two jet-skis and a yatch.  From here the path is a good downhill trog with fine views of the Mawddach Estuary and a glimpse of the Barmouth Bridge, it was here met a group of trail bikers going up.  The track became a double walled path that led us back to the cars and the flourescent rams.

A good walk – thanks to all who came and all who drove – pics in the gallery.minibootprint


Bryn Du and Bryn y Fawnog

WP_20150927_007Welcome to Steve our latest new walker making our group up to ten. We parked in Belan and walked up the lane to Alltyffynon from which the climb started. Friendly neighbours at the Observatory had kindly cleared the right of way, making the path easier to navigate, onwards to Ffrwd-wen and the Court with limited views as at this stage of the walk it was still hazy.
Reaching the ridge over Bryn Du we passed by a Roman road, hut circle and cairns, onto our second ridge, via Lluestycerrig, Ty-uchaf crossing along Waun y Llyn common from which we could see the Arans, Berwyns, Brieddens  and Cader Iris to mention only a few.
Coming off Waun y Llyn and passing Llyn Mawr and Llyn Du, we passed a standing stone before crossing the hill and walking alongside Llyn y Tarw which has a scheduled neolithic stone circle monument. Further common moorland brought us down to the Observatory with a downhill walk back to our vehicles.
A long walk with good company, albeit it was slightly longer than advertised, the weather couldn’t have been better with the mist burning off around mid-day rewarding us with outstanding views of the counties of Powys, Ceredigion and Clywd.
Report by Annie Evans
Thanks Annie for the report and the pictures in the gallery. minibootprint

Arthog Falls and The Blue Lake

Any ideas on how to dial 999 on this phone on Fairbourne prom?

Any ideas on how to dial 999 on this phone on Fairbourne prom?

Good weather, a grand walk and 10 walkers went together to make Sunday  a very enjoyable day. Morfa Mawddach Station was our starting point – Richard led us up onto Fegla Fawr for one of the very best view of Barmouth and the bridge, then down and round the estuary to Arthog Church. Here starts the delightful climb up the hillside next to the Afon Arthog and the waterfalls, complete with the flash of a Dipper zooming downstream.  It would be a pretty dramatic event to do this climb after a good downpour – the waterfalls would be thunderous.

Elevenses at the top of the falls is always welcome after the climb.  Continuing SE across to the mountain road and turning right to head west towards the now derelict Goleuwern Slate Quarry which contains the famous Blue Lake. This area at the back of Arthog is wonderful for walking: so much to see and with good paths, a mountain road and a car park at Llynnau Cregenen – always worth a visit.

Img_2688The Blue Lake is accesed via a short wet tunnel and you emerge to see the mirror calm, wonderfully blue lake (as long as nobody is swimming or skimming stones) A great place for a peaceful lunch: just to sit and watch for the small brown trout that live in the lake. Unfortunately there were a couple of noisy swimmers/jumpers/stone throwers when we arrived – but hey ho – you can’t have it all to yourself.

After lunch it’s back through the tunnel and out down the slatey paths into Fairbourne. We walked through the old village to the southern end and hopped up onto the sea wall and headed north. It was on the ‘prom’ that we tried to figure out the very confusing emergency phone.  I think your own mobile might be a better idea. A coolish northerly breeze was coming off the sea as we pushed on past the golf course and then turned right and a good step out along the path back to Morfa Mawddach station and the cars.

Thanks to Richard for leading and all who came and all who drove. Pic in the galleryminibootprint

A hard walk to Gyder Fach and beyond


Scrambling at the top of Y Gribin

This was the only ‘Hard’ walk of the year and we were well led by Brian on a circular route from Ogwen, following the path almost south and up the ridge of Y Gribbin, out onto the shattered tops of the Glyderau, Castell y Gwynt, Glyder Fach, Llyn Caseg-fraith, Miners Track, Bwlch Tryfan, Llyn Bochlwyd and back to Ogwen.  Easy enough to write, but a route that is very tough under foot and with one or two exposed scrambly bits making it a challenging day.

Six of us left Ogwen in good weather at about 9.30 and set about Y Gribin.  This starts as a steady climb up onto a broad grassy ridge with good views down on both sides: Llyn Idwal to the right and Llyn Bochlwyd to the left.  But in front the view was of a very steep and rocky skyline with no obvious route visible and this was where the ‘Hard’ bit started.  It was all ‘hands and feet stuff’ with some exposure on both sides and I think we were all glad when we emerged stirred, shaken and exhilarated onto the rocky top at Bwlch y Ddwy-glyder.  This is very different world – a world of pale grey rocks of gigantic size in higgledy -piggledy piles with Castell y Gwynt being the most awe inspiring. We clambered to the summit of Glyder Fach – 994m / 3261ft – but only Brian actually stood on the top stone – and then off to play on the Cantilever Stone.  This stone is pretty famous and well photographed (look it up on Google Images) and Annie did her “Christ the Redeemer in Rio” imitation to the sound of clicking cameras.

From the Cantilever we scrambled east down towards Llyn Caseg-fraith to pick up the top of the Miner’s Track that led us across to Bwlch Tryfan.  It was here that we saw large numbers of the famous Glyder Goats grazing in groups by the path and up on the cliffs.  Getting onto Bwlch Tryfan from this side always seems to mark the beginning of the walk out – the end of the day – but it is still a long tough walk down to Llyn Bochlwyd then over the edge on down towards Ogwen and the cars.

Thank you Brian for a hard day for all of us: you booked the good weather and a great route.  Thanks to all who came and all who drove.    minibootprint  Pics in Gallery


Empty Snowdon???

scam pic of Graham2Lunchtime in the middle of Summer the summit cafe is usually stuffed to the doors and queuing is required to get up to the trig point: but this was different, only a few in the cafe and not many on the trig point. Perhaps it was because it was Fathers’ Day that it was so empty. It also had and effect on our numbers – just Graham and me.  Our route was the Rhyd Ddu path up and the South Ridge down: in my opinion the best up and down on Snowdon.

We decide that as there was just the two of us we would have a ‘blast’ up and down.  Graham led off at a stunning pace in reasonable weather but as we got higher the weather started closing in and by the time we were on the Bwlch Main ridge the blizzards had set in.  We trudged on through the deepening snow till at last the haven of the cafe showed in the gloom.  We had an early lunch then launched ourselves out into the gale blasted snowy desolation of the summit and inched down the South Ridge and out of the worst of the weather.  I had left my camera in the van so unfortunately we have no record of our epic feats of daring-do, but Graham managed to get one or two shots from lower down when we were out of the snow. These pics are in the gallery.

Thanks to all who came and all who drove.  minibootprint



Not quite Cadair Idris


The view from the top

Minffordd was our jumping off point for Brian’s strenuous day on the slopes of Cadair Idris.  Argghhhhh !!!! The steps! The steps! Straight out of the car park and onto the steps – no chance to get your second wind. The day looked reasonable but the cloud was a bit low as we moved up through the woods and out into the open heading for Llyn Cau.  As we went up, the clouds came down, and by the time we were heading round the shoulder and up the steep bit above the lake we were well and truly in the cloud – and with bits of thin drizzle and a stiff breeze.  Brian kept reassuring us that the views from up here were terrific and we just had to believe him as we saw nowt!

By the time we made the ladder stile on Craig Cwm Amarch it was quite damp so we snuck down behind the rocks for a swift early lunch. The top here is pretty dreadful under foot: small ankle breaking boulders – and what with the wind, drizzle and poor visibility we were glad to get down a bit and onto the grassy slope.  One thing that has always amazed me up here is the arrow straightness of the fences: how do they get them so straight and vertical when 90% of the time they are on solid rock? Remarkable people with remarkable skills.

After turning south over the fence we were on the long downhill slope that points towards Tal y Llyn, but we couldn’t see it. Then suddenly the curtains swept back and there was the valley in all its glory – a wonderful moment just to stop and stare and pick out Broad Water at the west end of the Dysynni valley, Craig yr Aderyn, the lake, the hotel and all the rest of the wonders.  Yvonne gave a very interesting lecturette on the post ice-age slump of the hillside that blocked the valley, formed the lake and produced a lovely little gorge beyond the lake.  Thanks Yvonne.

It was now a different day – off came the waterproofs  – and we walked out on good paths back to the car park. Thanks to Brian for a good day out and thanks to all who came and all who drove.  minibootprint

Pumlumon from Eisteddfa Gurig


Picture by Annie. Nant y Moch in the background.

Superlatives in excess were the order of the day when seven of us were led by Annie up to the summit of Pumlumon Fawr. The pictures in the gallery just don’t do justice to the magnificence of the day, but do have a look and see how blue the sky was.

Eisteddfa Gurig is very convenient jumping off point for Pumlumon: the route is good and in fair weather pretty straightforward, but in poor visibility this mountain would be a test of navigation as it is pretty featureless.

From the top we could see both ends of Cardigan Bay – Bardsey to Strumble Head – all of Snowdonia, Arans, Arenigs, Breiddens, Long Mountain, Wrekin and the whole endless sweep of Mid Wales round to the Preselis.  It was just wow!  None of us really want to leave the top – we just wanted to stay and drink it all in.

We moved on down and across towards Pumlumon Arwystli via the Source of the Wye.  This is usually a sizable pool but today it was a dust-dry and cracked patch: unheard off.  Many of the small pools were also dry and this was a big problem for the clumps of frogspawn – these were now like patches of crisps.  From this summit we could look down onto Llyn Clywedog and see even more stunning views.  (Sorry – extraordinary vistas.)  All of this without getting our boots muddy.

Thanks to Annie we had one of the best mountain days for a very long while.  Thanks to all who came and all who drove.  minibootprint


Bucknell Hill and Hopton Titterhill

Img_1778Report from Len.  Pictures by Annie in the gallery.

8:00 start from The Oak car park for seven eager walkers looking forward to a riverside stroll from Bucknell a large village 4 miles east of Knighton followed by ascent of two hills, both via upland pasture and woodland.

Start point for the walk is another pub car park: the Baron at Bucknell. Just half a mile of country lane led on to bridlepath for a pleasant riverside walk alongside the River Redlake passing an impressive line of redwoods leading on to the Chapel Lawn road. Just half a mile of quiet country road before turning N. E. at Upper Lye through a field gate for our first taste of “uphill”. A good steady pull now through enclosed pasture and a dingle at Honeyhole, a great name for a secluded cottage. Climbing steadily, good views of Caer Caradog and Bucknell wood came into view with Buzzard overhead. We now entered Hopton Wood, first having a read of the information guide provided by the Forestry Commission. The Commission has provided a network of cycle trails through both Hopton and Bucknell Hill woods, very good they looked too. Level forest track for a mile now with views down Darky Dale towards Bedstone and over the wonderfully named holding of Gripesnest with pasture dotted with ant nests. A good place to look for Green Woodpecker on another day, on my recce of the walk there were Roe Deer here, but out of luck today. A sharp turn North now taking to a cycle trail for our ascent to the summit of Hopton Titterhill, a good pull up here building an appetite for our lunch break on the summit. A grassy knoll surrounded by gorse marks the high point; sadly the surrounding trees have grown so tall that our views were obscured.

Post lunch we set off down through a most pleasant woodland walk passing an unusual plantation of firs that had been sawn off just over head height and were now being managed to produce seed for tree nurseries, looked similar to a very large orchard, none of us had even heard of such an operation. We now arrived back at the F. C information point and headed due South to climb Bucknell Hill, again this is tree clad, not as steep as earlier ascent, but plenty of birdsong with the sun desperately trying to break through the clouds. Over the ridge and now a gradual descent now through the wood, followed by metalled track past Vermont cottage. Titterstone Clee hill came into view over to our left and Bucknell straight ahead at the valley bottom. But first we turn South West on to a bridleway bordered by wonderful thickets of gorse and briar, rabbit heaven. After a succession of gates we are back alongside the River Redlake for a gentle stroll back to the cars.

A good day out, 8 miles, dry overhead and dry underfoot, can’t be bad for mid April. Thanks to all who came and all who drove with a special ‘thank you’ to Mike Starr for publishing the walk and being so helpful when I rang him to plan todays walk.minibootprint

What a stunning day!

Img_2365Aberdyfi excelled itself on Sunday – wall to wall sunshine, gentle cooling breeze, magnificent views, a walk along the beach and an ice cream at the end. The route was one of Derek the Weatherman’s walks a bit extended.

Six of us met Yvonne in the beach car park and set off on the circuit of Aberdyfi at 9.45. I had worked out the tides for the day so that we could have a good walk back along the beach in the afternoon on a falling tide, but failed to realise that the highest of high tides at 9.30 ish meant that part of outward route – ie The Roman Steps – were well under water. This entailed a single file walk along the main road for about half a mile to get round them and up onto the hill behind the Outward Bound Centre. We climbed up through a couple of farms and slowly made our way up to the Panorama Walk ridge and a welcome elevenses stop: this got most of the climbing done before lunch. Here it was so quiet, just skylarks and pipits to break the spell of silence, with great views back down to the estuary and the hills beyond.

The next section took us down a delightful path into Cwn Maethlon (Happy Valley) to meet the road at Dyffryn-gwyn. We turned west here along the lane for about 10 minutes then a short climb to Gwyddgwion and the start of a very gentle downhill green lane all the way to the sea. Lunchtime called and we spent half an hour lolling in the sunshine before continuing down the green lane. At Dyffryn-glyn-cul we put up a heron from the farm pool: he circled lazily around waiting for us to move on so that he could return. Another 10 minutes down the lane and we hit the main coast road, crossed the railway line, crossed the slack behind the sand dunes, through the perfuming gorse and there was the beach. The tide was way out by now and still falling, so a good step along the firm wet sand brought us back to Aberdyfi. Dave was determined to have an ice cream so we joined him – very nice end to a very good walk.

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