As is usual when visiting relatives in Chester I try to have an away day with Andy my brother-in-law.
Our destination today was Arenig Fawr. The forecast for the Bala area was sunshine all day although the temperatures looked a little cool.
We parked up and set off up a wide track heading for the east side of Llyn Arenig Fawr passing close to the small bothy.
Llyn Arenig Fawr
From here the path steepened towards the area shown as Y Castell. The Viewranger track did not record the true path here as we skirted the steep rocks near spotheight 684 and then onto the ridge line leading to the summit of Arenig Fawr. We had lunch here in the shelter of a large cairn where there is a memorial plaque sadly in need of replacement.
Rocky approach to summit
The lost crew – not sure about the stuffed animal
The summit gave outstanding views to Snowdon in the north ,Cadair Idris and the Rhinogydd in the south and the Arans to the east.
Our descent was a little off piste heading for the obvious track leading back to the minor road.
Looking back to Arenig Fawr
The track ,very wet in places ,led past a ruined farm which looked as if it once was a sizeable holding.
Andy drying out a used tea bag to dispose of in a suitable bin.
We left the road near a small car park and joined the bed of a dismantled railway back to our car.
This was forecast to be the worst day of the week for rubbish weather, they were not wrong. However there is no such thing as bad weather only inappropriate clothing. I was to find out my over trousers were inappropriate!!
The walk was almost wholly in rain either drizzle or full on but we girded our loins and went for it.
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We parked at the road end in Dinorwig and followed signs for the Slate Trail which as described took us through the huge but abandoned slate quarries. The views down to Llyn Peris , Llyn Padarn and the mountains beyond were partly obscured by the mist, but no doubt worth taking this route on a good day.
Must be the wet weather.
We were also walking above the Dinorwig Power Station.
We descended down the zig zags to the southern end of Llyn Peris and then walked along the road north west to have lunch near Dolbadarn Castle.
The walk towards the country park passed the National Slate Museum which as it had free entry in we went. There were lots of interesting photos and old machinery, clearly they were hard characters to work the mines.Click this link
I know that face.
There are a number of colour coded walks through the wooded park and we followed the yellow path to the end of the woods and then struck uphill back to the car.
And so the end of our week in Snowdonia and considering the past weather we were pretty fortunate.
We woke to blue sky and with a favourable forecast it was time to aim higher, but not too high!
Today we would walk two of the Snowdon trails, outward by the Pyg Track and back by the Miners Track.
We were at the Pen y Pas car park just after 0900 and it was already filling up. After an eye watering £10 parking fee we set off on the well engineered Pyg track.
As we climbed the sky darkened and snow began to fall. There was a warning sign at the car park that an ice axe and crampons were required to walk to the summit of Snowdon, but we had no plan to continue beyond the junction of the Pyg and Miners tracks.
The sun trying hard to outdo the snow.
When we reached the junction where the Crib Coch path starts the snow stopped and the views opened out. We had a quick coffee break off the path so as not to hinder the numerous walkers heading upwards.
The further we neared the Miners track the ground was becoming very icy and The navigator and I stopped to put on our Micro Spikes which immediately made the walk easier.
The Pyg Track becoming harder
We met a volunteer Mountain Rescue team member who told us they had already been called out a couple of times that week. Even today there were people heading up into the snow without, in my humble opinion suitable footwear and clothing.
The first part of the descent down the Miners track was very slippy and Andy was extremely cautious as he did not have spikes. A number of people commented on our Micro spikes ,which are no replacement for full on crampons ,but make icy tracks easier to negotiate.
People ascending the Miners Track from Glaslyn
Once down by the water side of Glaslyn we had lunch and then continued on the Miners Track back to base via Llyn Llydaw. This part of the track had large numbers of tourists.
No comment necessary
A good day out which started out in snow and finished in sunshine.
With strong winds forecast the higher hills would have to wait and so today we would have an elongated circular walk in Nant Francon.
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We parked in Braichmelyn just south of Bethesda near the huge Penrhyn Slate quarry. The path led steadily up through the woods onto the open hillside of Cefn Orsedd. The forecast was correct as it was certainly windy.
A good use of doors!
Penrhyn Slate Quarry
Looking into Nant Francon
Mynydd Perfedd ridge
A suitable coffee stop was found by a sheepfold before we started the long descent to the valley floor where we crossed the Afon Ogwen. From here we walked up the minor road to reach Ogwen Snack Bar.
The views up the valley seem to show there is no way through but the main road cuts through to Capel Curig. At the Snack Bar there where a lot more walkers and I can only assume they were only visiting Llyn Idwal as the weather was only for the experienced to climb further.
Our route was back down the minor road where we left it to follow the cycle/walking route passing the spoil tips from the slate quarry and back to the car.
Cascades at Ogwen Bank
This was a useful recce for Andy and I as we have a plan to bike pack from Bangor up to Idwal Cottage and camp near Llyn Ogwen and perhaps on to the Capel Curig area. It seems there will be a lot of pushing the bikes!
Today we were heading for Mynydd Mawr where we should have good views to the east of Snowdon and to the south of the Nantlle ridge.
We parked in the village of Y Fron and walked through the old slate workings to gain access to the open countryside.
A rare picture of The Navigator with his kit off.
There is an obvious wide track which takes you north easterly to join the path which gradually climbs to the summit of Mynydd Mawr. There was a sprinkling of snow towards the top.
We looked down into Craig Cwm Du and on reaching the windy top took shelter in the summit cairn for a coffee break.
Into Craig Cwm Ddu
There were a few walkers making their way up from Rhyd Ddu along an interesting ridge.
Looking towards the Snowdon Range
Grizzled outdoor men
Just down from the summit the views of the Nantlle Valley and the ridge above the valley came into view. We walked to the edge of Craig y Bere with its steep cliffs down to the valley floor.
Snowdon in the distance
A lunch spot was found as we descended to the west along the stone wall. The sun was now out and we could have dozed off but there was more walking to do! We continued on down and headed in the general direction of the stone encircled Bryn Castell and on to Llyn Ffynhonnau, where again we had a break before heading back to the car.
Our first full day in North Wales and today would be an inland walk, a waterfall and lastly a coast walk.
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We drove north towards Bangor passing the entrance to Penrhyn Castle to park at the coast near the Spinnies Nature Reserve to the east of the estuary of the Afon Ogwen.
We followed a lane southwards, past a local church to join the North Wales path and this took us on an easterly meandering route around to Aber Falls.
Part way along we stopped for a coffee only to be joined by a large flock of sheep who wrongly assumed we would be feeding them!
There are two waterfalls to admire the first a little smaller than the main Aber Falls but no less worth admiring. At the main fall there were a lot more visitors and the only people we had seen for the day. When we three were last here, the main falls were mainly frozen but today it was almost spring like.
We walked down the valley towards Abergwyngregin, steadfastly passing the cafe with its siren call of coffee and cake and on down to the coast. From here we followed the Wales Coast Path back to the car.
Beware high tide.
Our annual February trip for 2016 was to Snowdonia where we based ourselves in a nice cottage near Deinolen. Our small group consisted of “The Navigator”, Andy and myself.
As is usual we have a half day walk en route and this year we met Andy near Llyn Dinas close to Craflwyn Hall at 1300.
The weather had taken a turn for the better and it looked like we were in for at least dry conditions for a few days.
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We had lunch by a lovely waterfall and then headed steadily uphill to join the Watkin Path.
From here we descended to the road crossing the Afon Glaslyn to head westwards south of Llyn Dinas back to the car.
Our trip to the cottage took us through Llanberis Pass with views of the mountains surrounding Snowdon.
A good start to the week.
Here we are on our last day and potentially the hardest. I had walked in the Rhinogydd quite some years ago when the bigger hills of Rhinog Fawr, Rhinog Fach and Y Llethr were tackled. My memory was of hard going – I soon found there had been no change.
Today we were heading towards Moel Ysgyfarnogod and the northern Diffwys.
Route I must add that this is not accurate once we hit the heavily shaded area!
We parked the car in a small quarry scraping east of Cefn Clawdd, the only occupied holding in this area, and then took the path leading to Wern Fach.
I say path, more like a small river. The whole area is one huge bog with lots squelching and the occasional swear word when your foothold sinks beyond the top of your gaiter. There is one signpost directing you to Cwm Bychan and the path roughly follows a wall.
As the land rose the bog became less and a coffee break was well deserved.
Our way up to the tops was via Bwlch Gwylim, a steep pull through snow.
Once at the bwlch the views opened up over to the estuary and Portmerion ( remember the series “The Prisoner?”). A lunch spot was found overlooking Llyn Corn Ystwc.
From here the route map should be taken with a pinch of salt. We were roughly heading for the ground below Moel Ysgyfarnogod and Diffwys. There was a lot of up and down, the latter involving some scrambling, not the place to be caught out in the mist – with hindsight good fun.
Having had enough “fun” we headed down to the wall and as planned found the track which led us back to Cefn Clawdd and the car.
If you want the wilderness field, this the place to come.
The end of an enjoyable week.
It was time for a rest day, of sorts, so a flattish walk was called for and as Llyn Trawsfynydd was close at hand, plan A was a goer.
The weather was the usual, mixed.
We walked through Trawsfynydd village, which is larger than one may expect. One famous resident was Hedd Wyn click
and we passed by his home. I understand that his nephew lives there and a guided tour can be arranged – shouldn’t take long!
We turned down to the lake and followed a good hard surface path, which is also the National Cycle Path 8, reading the occasional information board about the flora and fauna.
At the power station we were surprised to see so many cars, bearing in mind the station is now closed. However reading more information panels, the decommissioning is on-going and will not end until 2020. Click
The path continues adjacent to woods which have the most vivid green moss I have ever seen – I assume there is no connection to the nuclear facility!
In the north west corner is the dam under which the Afon Prysor exits, it enters from the south east corner. The narrow,gorge shown as Ceunant Llennyrch looks worth exploring, but not today by two weary walkers.
From here the easy walking stops and wet moorland is met, passing Coed y Rhygen Nature Reserve. We found a lunch stop near here with good views down to the lake and beyond.
Reluctantly we set off for the last leg where we were soon back on a minor road and heading for the long footbridge which takes you back into the village of Trawsfynydd.
Hopefully tomorrow we will have a bit more fuel in our tanks as the Rhinogydd beckons.
Unfortunately for Andy who had returned home on Tuesday night, the forecast for today was looking much better, albeit still cold.
The Navigator’s plan was for an ascent of Manod Mawr which overlooks Blaenau Festiniog.
The day did not start well for me as I discovered that my flask had leaked its whole contents into my rucksack.(The leak I discovered later that evening was my fault.) I would have to be polite to The Navigator today as I would need to share his hot drink.
We parked in Manod Village and headed for the paths which would take us to the bwlch between Manod Bach and Manod Mawr.
There was more snow on the ground than we had seen in previous days and as we climbed the inclined path past Llyn-y-Manod it became deeper, perhaps leaving our microspikes back at base could be a mistake. There were good views over to the Moelwyns and the Stwlan Dam and down to Blaenau Festiniog.
Near the top of the path we heard what seemed to be siren and then saw a sign explaining that when it stopped an explosion may follow! We did wait but heard nothing more. As we reached the top of the path there was clearly work going on with a large quarry lorry and digger in sight.
Before the climb to the summit we stopped for lunch, sitting in the snow.
Although the height of Manod Mawr is moderate the views are well worth the climb. It was again windy up here. We retraced our steps to the quarry road as the direct route south from the top would lead to an unfortunate end!
The track led us down to Cwm Teigl and a minor road.
We left this to take a footpath past Caecano Mawr and back to the car.