The Berwyns

October 19, 2009 at 9:05 am | Posted in Walking | 1 Comment
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The last weekend before the clocks change seemed a good time to do a long walk and before we came to the end of a spell of fine autumn weather. The target was the 11 peaks that surround Cadair Berwyn, a 10 mile walk based on the Nuttall route with the addition of Cadair Bronwen. This is a fine ridge walk particularly the highest section from Cadair Bronwen over Cadair Berwyn and on to Moel Sych. Much of thLooking back to Tomle, Foel Wen and Mynydd Tarw from Cadair Berwyne rest of the walk is across moors and rolling hills covered in heather and bracken (dying away now). It’s boggy in places but there is only one section that involves a real heather-hopping bog trot.

I grabbed the last tiny parking space at the bridge (SJ 118306) on the minor road above Llandrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. After walking through the farmyard at Maes (greeted by a couple of enthusiastic but friendly enough farm dogs), the stiff climb began alongside a wood to the top of Mynydd Tarw. This was a pretty hard slog up the steep grassy slope but it got the toughest climbing of the walk out of the way. From the cairn at the summit of Mynydd Tarw there are good view east over Cheshire and Shropshire. It was a straightforward walk from here across the twin peaks of Foel Wen and on to Tomle. I should have had fine views of Cadair Berwyn ahead of me, but disappointingly a thick mist hung over the high tops.

From Tomle, there is a clear path up to main ridge but I took the alternative track about half way to the inviting peak of Cadair Bronwen. At the top there were clear skies to thCadair Berwyn and Cadair Bronwen from Moel Syche north and east, but the mist was growing heavier over Cadair Berwyn and spreading towards me. It looked like the rest of the walk would be in thick cloud. Things hadn’t improved as I reached the trig point on Cadair Berwyn. The rocky outcrop to the north, now recognised as the highest point in the range, was barely visible but by the time I’d reached it the mist had begun to clear. This is a more dramatic peak than the trig point, with a dramatic fall away to the valley below and good views across the Berwyns and the hills of Snowdonia.

I then had a gentle stroll over boggy moorland to Moel Sych. The weather continued to improve and I had at least a hazy view around the hills of mid-Wales, the Arans, the Rhinogs and the Arenigs. On a completely clear day the view would be magnificent.

From Moel Sych the descent is via a narrow path beneath Cadair Berwyn and across Moel yr Ewig. This was easy walking along moorland paths except for a section after MoeCadair Berwyn from Moel yr Ewigl yr Ewig, which involved some strenuous heather-hopping, never fun on tired legs. It got easier though as I reached the non-descript north-west top of Godor. A little further on is the main summit of Godor, which gave a good view of the complete horseshoe. From there it was a straightforward walk down the ridge and through fields to the track that took me back to the road.

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Y Garn (The Glyders)

October 3, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Posted in Walking | 3 Comments
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Like Moel Siabod, I chose this walk with the poor (and accurate) forecast in mind. We hoped we had wDevil's Kitchen and Y Garnaited out the wind and rain in the morning, but as we left the car park at Llyn Ogwen the rain started again. It grew heavier as we walked up the well-maintained track to Llyn Idwal. At least it gave T a chance to test his investment in decent  boots and waterproofs. On the way up we passed a succession of returning walkers soaked to the skin (literally in some cases). Some had been caught out on what should have been a pleasant stroll around the lake, others were coming down off the mountains, and at least  one suggested we might want to think again.

We decided to go at least as far as The Devil’s Kitchen – the rocky chasm that provides access to the pass between Y Garn and Glyder Fawr. As we stopped for lunch at the beginning of the steepest part of the climb, the rain eased up but I was as concerned about the wind as the rain. It was supposed to be gusting up to 70 mph on the tops, though it was fairly calm in the sheltered Y Garn (The Glyders)bowl around Llyn Idwal.

We carried on up the rocky ascent, passing several groups of descending walkers coming off The Glyders or Y Garn (who’d presumably been waiting for the break in the weather). By the time we had reached the plateau at the top of The Devil’s Kitchen, the wind had eased, though it was still strong on the exposed sections. The clouds had also cleared and as we walked up to the summit of Y Garn there were fantastic views of Tryfan and the Glyders as well as the Snowdon and Carneddau ranges.

We then walked down the steep eastern face of Y Garn back to Llyn Idwal with the sun setting as we reached the end of the walk. There is something about a wTryfan and Glyder Fachalk done in the face of the elements that gives you a sense of achievement (and if the sun comes out at the end to dry you off even better!). And though the mountains can throw much worse that this at you, it still felt like a good test. Next time it has to be Tryfan and the Glyders.

Moel Siabod

October 2, 2009 at 11:52 pm | Posted in Walking | Leave a comment
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Moel Siabod is a prominent and isolated peak at the edge of the Moelwyn range in Snowdonia. It is climbed via a straightforward route made more interesting by an easy and very enjoyable scramble to the summit.

We didn’t start until after lunch and by the time we got to the parking place on the road to Capel Curig the mist was thickening. The summit was glimpsed for a few seconds as we left the car park, but that was the last time we saw it until we reached the top. The gradual ascent was pleasant and undemanding until we reached Llyn y Foel. The lake was sombre place in the mist, lying below the cliffs of Moel Siabod with the main ridge rising from the far end then disappearing into the clouds. The surrounding hills were little more than fleeting, shadowy presences.Moel Siabod

From here we started the ascent of the ridge, which quickly become as interesting but safe scramble. The mist thickened as we climbed and by the time we reached the summit we could see only few metres ahead. The wind was also much stronger and colder on the peak, so I just took a couple of photographs and then we beat our retreat. A little care was needed in the mist to make sure we kept in the right direction down hill but there were no real problems. As we descended into the valley the winds shifted the clouds to allow glimpses of the previously hidden valley below.

As the forecast for the next day was even poorer, it was good to get this walk under our belts. A pint and a steak pie in the Cwellyn Arms at Rhyd-Ddu was a fitting reward.

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