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Sunday 23rd November – Brian Flowers – Local Walk – Corndon Hill circuit to include Mitchells Fold standing stones and Roundton Hill.
Seven miles max and easy/moderate with a few steepish bits.
Depart from The Oak 08.30

Extraordinary panoramas

Img_2072big I did the recce earlier in the week in very low cloud so missed everything that was revealed when we had the perfect weather on Sunday 31st August.

Six of us travelled up to the Llyn Crafnant carpark – which is free and has super loos – to set out into this new area of exploration for the Hill Walkers.  It was warm work walking up from the valley through the forestry emerging on the open hillside to be greeted by the wonderful scent of heather in full bloom. I have over-used the phrase – stunning views – a bit of late, but as Sunday dished them up in spades, Graham suggested that I use the phrase – extraordinary panoramas – instead.  The ground under foot was a bit sloppy in places but the opening extraordinary panoramas made it worthwhile.  I was continually saying ” Wow – I didn’t see that on Tuesday!”  The biggest WOW was coming over the top of the ridge to look down into Llyn Cowlyd, across to the Carneddau, Tryfan just over to our left and Moel Siabod further round. (See pic left.) The view from the Creigiau Glession summits must be one of the best in Snowdonia.

Creigiau Glession has two, or according to some folk, three summits: North, Middle and South.  (Wiki Link) We chose to have our lunch on the middle summit after crossing a heathery, bouldery and wet depression between the North and the Middle.  We just sat and marvelled at what we could see, especially to the north: Llandudno Pier and the Great Orme were clear, as was the cable-car cafe etc. on the top.

We were loathe to leave but we headed back down, retracing our footsteps for a while, then heading off due south into the forestry above Llyn Crafnant, it was downhill all the way and very sloppy in places.  We came out onto the forestry road and headed east to pick up the Crafnant circuit track and followed this back to the cars.  Some pics in the gallery, and as Wallace once said   “A grand day out Gromit.”

Thanks to all who came and all who drove. minibootprint

Teifi Pools

Welcome to two new walkers, namely Izzy and Jessica who along with six “regulars” set out at 7.30a.m. with no great hope of staying dry. Ex hurricane Bertha, the subject of dire warnings from the Met Office promised a real soaking. The rain stopped as we drove past Llanidloes and amazingly blue skies showed over Plynlimon, no-one could quite believe it.

Starting point for the walk was near the ruined Cistercian Abbey of Strata Florida, burial place of Welsh Princes and the poet Dafydd ap Gwilym. A steady climb along a well marked track overlooking the Nant Egnant Gorge, a look back to view Cors Caron (Tregaron Bog) before fording the stream and continuing our climb to Llyn Egnant. Time for coffee and chat at the Dam. Ten minutes and the rain arrived to remind us that Bertha had a sting in her tail, short steep heather clad detour to the noted fishing lake of Llyn Bach with views over Graig Wen. On to metalled access track alongside Llyn Egnant with a steady pull up to the Ffair Rhos road. Just half a mile of road with superb views to the south over Llyn Hir and Graig Felen. Now, downhill to Llyn Teifi by another metalled track. Rain now rather heavy but undaunted, a short westerly diversion to a small unnamed lake that would on a better day provide a superb view towards Cwm Rhydol. Round the base of the dam for a yomp on blanket bog to view Llyn y Gorlan, from what should have been a magnificent viewpoint but still raining heavily. At this point, we turned for home cross country, a poorly marked walk on saturated ground down to Frongoch before traversing the bracken slope of Coed Troed y Rhiew. Back to cars , an enjoyable seven miles or so despite the weather.

Thanks to all who ventured out and all who drove.

Report by Len – who not only planned, recced (twice), led and drove.  Above and beyond the call of duty. Thanks Len.

Rhinog Fach

summitA small group, a clear day, a dry day and a rough tough mountain make for something special. And Brian led a special day in my favourite mountains – The Rhinog. Today it was Rhinog Fach, but a day on which I left my camera in the van – again!  So the pics in the gallery are all stolen from the WWW.

Five of us squeezed into Brian’s BM and headed up to the car park in the woods at Graigddu-isaf; off the Bronaber straight north of Dolgellau. Welcome to Dave from the village for his first outing with us – a good walk to start with – look forward to you coming again.

This is always a good way to start a walk and get you going – a couple of miles through the plantation on forestry tracks, but it stops dead about 10m from the fence over which you climb and jump the stream into the rough tussock grass on the other side.  From here the route follows a substantial wall nearly all the way to the top but it gets steeper and rockier the higher you go.  Good patches of sundew, common spotted orchid and bog asphodel showing well. We learnt from Dave that livestock are poisoned by eating bog asphodel.

We breasted the ridge and the whole of the North Wales coast spread out before us – from Harlech right rount to Bardsey and beyond – stunning, and not a pedalo in sight. A quick lunch and then down the rocky end of Rhinog Fach, past the tiny Llyn Cwmhosan and then we dropped down into Bwlch Drws-Ardudwy, which was not its usual sloppy boggy self, but dry.  We followed the track up to the cairn and over the top to look down on the wide land that stretches up to Trawsfynydd and picked our route back to the cars through the now partly felled forestry.

Thanks to Brian for a good day, not only did he lead the walk but he also drove – thanks Brian. minibootprint

Snowdon – 100,000 miles

summit viewWe  picked up Yvonne at the Little Chef and the four of us went on to the car park at Rhyd Ddu:  a 7.30  start  paid dividends as it was virtually empty on our arrival.  A ‘ just right’ day temperature wise, not too hot and not too cold but with a breeze – more of which later.  The early start meant that we were nearly the only ones on the Rhyd Ddu path.  This, in my opinion, is the best way up Snowdon, and easy start, a bit of a grind up the zig-zags, some exposure across Bwlch Main and an easy final approach to the summit.  And if you have clear weather, as we did, some extensive views of coast and mountain.  The butterwort was in bloom and looking great.

Just after the gate in the top wall we came across a struggling family – determined Dad and son out in front, a very unsure Mum pulling reluctant stout son in the rear and the wind now in buffetting mode.  Got talking and this was their first ever mountain and they had done nothing at all before. They came from Ipswich and mountains are not thick on the ground in Suffolk.  The wind increased and we even considered not going to the top but just turning sharply back along the South Ridge and down through the quarry.  We suggested to Mum and Dad that turning back was probably wise – NO WAY – Dad was going to the top.  So we decided to act as escorts to see them safely up.  Mum went across the narrow bit with her hands over her eyes being led by Annie. Stout son was pulled across and all gained the summit. I queued with them for the trig point and took a few family snaps for them –  they were going down by train and back to Rhyd Ddu by taxi! Bit of an expensive day out – but safely up and down.

Down the South Ridge with more stunning views and into the quarry with a long walk out to the carpark. Thanks to all who came and all who drove. The 100,000 mile bit was the excitement on the way home.  Just coming into Llanfair by Dick the Milk’s place the van’s milometer topped the 100K. Pics in the gallery.minibootprint

Rhayader – the perfect day!

Img_190big7Derek Brockway has to be thanked for this walk and Graham for picking it up and leading us – it’s a star of a walk and we did it on a star of a day. (Go here for the route map and details of what to see en route. Scroll down to Rhayader and click.)  If you get a chance, choose a good day and give it a go: you wont be disappointed.

The route starts in Rhayader town and heads north up the ridge on the west side of the A470 and crosses this road at Pont Marteg by the entrance to Gilfach Nature reserve. From here it follows the Afon Marteg up to the the nature reserve buildings, then turns south following part of the Wye Valley Walk back to Rhayader town.

Rather than write a description of the walk, have a look at the photos and read Derek’s account of the route: much better than I could do.

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




LLanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog and beyond Caption: View of Llanarmon from the south © Copyright Richard Green and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons BY-2A 2.0 License.

Llanarmon from the south

The rarely visited foothills of the east side of the Berwyns provided good walking for us on 27th April. Two cars set out up the Ceiriog valley to the suprisingly busy village at the top: The Hand and West Arms are obviously doing a good hotel trade in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog.

Peter led us south from the village up steep lanes to Lidiart-cae-hir where we left the tarmac and onto the start of long ridge heading east – part of the Ceiriog Way. From here we headed generally east into the teeth of a stiff cool breeze – made your eyes water! Grand views all round, especially to the west, with views of the Berwyns and the very good farming country with fat lambs everywhere.  Weather bright and breezy with good visibility. After a coffee stop in the lee of some forestry we continued generally east down to the the river at Pontricket.  From here we turned back to the west and followed the river upstream back to Llanarmon DC.

Thanks to Peter for a grand walk – thanks to all who came and all who drove. Pics in the gallery. minibootprint

It rained and rained and rained and rained – and then it rained some more.

Img_1775A very special day for Mr Richard Rees: not only did he lead us on one of the wettest walks ever but he also became a Grandfather.  Congrats to his son Chris and wife Debbie on the birth of their daughter Arrya Lily Ann Rees in the early hours of Sunday morning.

It wasn’t actually raining when 6 of us parked up at Cae Adda on the south side of Llyn Trawsfynydd, but we had had a wet journey out and the day looked set for universal dampness. It was only after about 20 minutes that we decided to stop and delve into the depths of the rucksacs to drag out the overtrousers as it was now raining steadily. We were heading west over the shoulder of the north end of the Rhinog heading for the wonderful valley of Cwm Moch, underfoot is was very boggy and much wetter than the recce ten days earlier. We splashed on pausing only for drinks at the top under that well know Rhinog mountain called ‘Pile of Stones’.  Down the valley soggy and across the flooded valley bottom to that wonderful old house – Nant Pasgan-Mawr where we took an early lunch in a lean-to shelter at the rear much used by sheep.

From here we headed North-east along the Nant Ddu and picked up the conduit that leads round to the Trawsfynydd dam.  Just above the dam the old footpath has been replaced by a very posh cycle path. As we turned to the south-east to join the path the heavens decided to unleash some of the wettest rain available.  We all retreated into our own wet world, put our heads down, engaged auto pilot and started the trudge up and over the hill back to Cae Adda. By the top the rain was easing off and when we reached the road it had stopped and the world was a much nicer place.  On the road we played the good shepherd, re-uniting ewe 61 with her twin lambs, 61 and 61. We cornered them both and I managed to scoop 61 over the fence to a very relieved mum, but the other 61 didn’t want to be caught.  After much chasing and ushering we managed to get all three 61s together again with much suckling and tail wagging to prove all was OK.

Back to the cars and a splashy drive home in steamed up vehicles to wet the baby’s head in The Oak.  Thanks to Richard for leading after only 3 hours sleep and to all who came and all who drove.  Pictures in the gallery. minibootprint

Didn’t we have a love-erly day the day we went to Barmouth

Img_1729Wow!  Those tiny streets off the main street don’t half go up quickly, not even time to catch your breath, it was like walking up the side of a house! But we stopped very often to admire the view down onto Barmouth beach and beyond and soon made it out onto the top at Dinas Olau. From here we could see how the sand had been blown into the town after the storms and see the still very rough waves rolling in up the beach in the distance. Richard then led us north up through Cell-fechan and over the top towards Gellfawr and stopped out of the wind for an early elevenses. It is on the tops here that you can often see choughs wheeling on the updraughts or feeding on the short sheep cropped grass: we were unlucky and saw not one. Suitably refreshed, we walked on good paths further north, then headed east through Bwlch y Llan and out to the radio mast.  The views change here from those straight out into the Irish Sea to grand views of the Mawddach Estuary with the Barmouth Bridge showing well – it always makes a good photograph.

As we turned south heading back towards Barmouth the weather decided to have a go at us: very cold driving rain in our faces with bits of hail for good measure, the occasional hailstone  making your eyes water when they caught you on the cheek. It didn’t last long and we were soon back at the top of Dinas Olau looking down on the town.  From here we could see that the Lifeboat had been out and was being washed down at the top of the beach. Back down these very steep streets and into the town.  The arousal Cafe is still without a C. As we were parked at the rear of the Lifeboat Station we went to have a look at what was going on round the front.  The crew had taken the opportunity of some very rough seas for, in the words of the tractor driver, ” … a bit of a play out there … ” in the surf and swell. The team was washing everything in soapy water and making the boat shine again ready for a real ‘shout’.

Back to the cars and back to The Oak.  A trip to the seaside and not a pedalo in sight!  Welcome back to the group to Brian Price – good to see you out again.  Thanks to Richard for leading and thanks to all who came and all who drove. minibootprint

Guess where we went?

Img_1691Peter booked a jolly nice day for our walk – sunshine nearly all the way – with plenty of interest and excitement.  Two contrasting features of the landscape dominated the skyline all day – Chirk Castle and Kronospan – both providing interesting photo opportunities.

Seven of us headed down Chirk Bank and under the canal and railway – supposedly the railway is higher than the canal to emphasise its higher status – and set out west along the Afon Ceiriog, which was rushing and brown, much like the Vyrnwy on the last walk.   We crossed the river at Pont Faen and walked up to Bronygarth via Pentre Wood where we saw a profusion of Sarcoscypha Coccinea – the Scarlet Elf Cap fungi – and the first shoots of wild garlic which was perfuming the damp air;  then back down to the river and joined The Offa’s Dyke path.  Here were learned about the Battle of Crogen from a very impressive plaque on the bridge.

From the river we had the second climb of the day: up the side of the valley to the west of Chirk Castle through the woods, coming out on the tops with good views of both the castle and the Kronspan plume. We continued NW across sheep dotted fields and joined the lane past the old kennels and onwards through some rather sloppy gateways and down the bank to the canal at Pentre. By this time even Graham’s boots had lost their shine. We stopped on the canal bank for refreshments before tackling the challenges of the tunnels that lay ahead of us.

The first, the Whitehouse Tunnel at 174m, was an introduction to the very much longer Chirk Tunnel to come. The torches come into good use here and some of us found that they were not as good as we thought they were and were glad Graham was there with his searchlight. Tunnel two, Chirk Tunnel at 421m,  loomed, this is not quite straight and gets VERY dark in the middle. But all safely through and out onto the aqueduct.   We crossed and returned then it was back up into the village and to the cars.

Thanks to Peter for another Grand Day Out and thanks to all who came and all who drove.  minibootprint