Ice, snow and low cloud on Llantysilio Mountain – warming sunshine down in the valley – chilly winds back at The Ponderosa, then three different terrains – very steep and slippery mountains, good field footpaths and a long lane to finish – what more could you want in the way of a day out? This wonderful variety was provided by Brian who led us on Sunday – a day that earlier in the week I thought would bring tempest, deluge and thigh-high snow.
We rolled up at a very cold and gloomy Pondarosa Cafe at the top of the Horseshoe Pass at about 9.00 and wonder of all – not a motorbike to be seen in the car park. Getting our kit on was not delightful as it was blowing and sleeting with not much visibility, but we are made of stern stuff and we were soon stepping out up to the first of many summits on the Llantysilio Mountain Ridge. Moel y Faen, Moel y Gamelin, Moel Caer, then an unnamed top and finally Moel Morfydd are the five tops that make up this wonderful ridge, each with a steep ascent and a steeper descent – much to the annoyance of Len’s knees. Along this switchback ridge we saw much evidence of Grouse activity: plenty of footprints in the snow and also of obvious ‘fights.’ At the summit of Moel Morfydd was a large saucer-shaped depression that was a maelstrom of footprints, wing prints and all sorts of other distubances in the snow to show that the grouse had been having a real go at each other earlier in the day.
Coming down from Moel Morfydd we could see the weather breaking way to the north with sunshine gleaming on the pristine snow-covered Snowdonia peaks. We followed the good bridle path heading North-east for a while until we came to a bit where the path just stopped at a deep gorge. We explored up stream, the way the path was shown on the map, and got attacked by trees and bushes with no hope of getting across the barbed-wire entangled stream, so we retreated and did a bit of following-your-nose until we got back on track at the curiosly named Plas Norway. From here on it was the gentle contouring lane through the old slate workings and out onto the open hillside at the Ponderosa, now full of cars and a few motorbikes.
A good day out thanks to Brian and thanks to all who came and all who drove. Pics in the gallery.