Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Porthmadog 2013. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Porthmadog 2013. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Sunday 17 November 2013 - Moel-y-gest (again)

Today's continuing fair weather allowed Sue and me, and our guests R&J, to be joined by our 'fair weather walker' landlord for a clockwise circuit involving Moel-y-gest and Tremadog. Whilst low cloud and rain was visible all around us, Dave's assertion that it wouldn't rain remained sound!

From its eastern end, the kilometre long ridge of Moel-y-gest stretches towards Criccieth (pictured). A pack of hounds was eagerly searching the hill for a pre-prepared scent, tails wagging furiously despite their seemingly futile efforts. 

A car on Black Rock Beach seemed to be chasing the tide, and ravens chuckled at us from a rocky prominence. Shafts of yellow light illuminated the sea beyond Harlech, and the day was much clearer than of late, with views below the low cloud all the way to the Pembroke coastline. 

It's a rocky, slightly scrambly ridge, particularly slippery today, so the others retraced by a lower route before we all descended by the northern slopes.

We managed to locate a path missed on Monday, and returned on an easy route with lots of bird life, via Tremadog and the harbour's inner pond.

This final stroll of the trip covered about 12 km, with 300 metres ascent, in around 4 hours.

Then we had a pot of tea and went home. Others have to go to work; I have to deal with some book orders. 

A summary and slide show may follow. 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Saturday 16 November 2013 - Mynydd Anelog and Mynydd Rhiw

Jon left for Gairloch after breakfast, from where he plans to visit the Hebridean island of Longa tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, R&J had arrived last night, with armfuls of alcohol that is now severely depleted.

The Lleyn Peninsula was on the promised agenda, so that's where we headed. Just as well, as the higher sanctuaries of Snowdonia were engulfed by low cloud. 

The walk up Mynydd Anelog from a chapel to the south was short and uneventful. Apart from the sun dispatching searchlight like beams in an attempt to locate Bardsey Island.

The upper picture shows Bardsey from the summit, with ripping currents and a flashing lighthouse. 

A mum with two children arrived just as we left to descend through late flowering but very wind stunted gorse. Soon we were on the Wales Coast Path, heading south. Like most coast paths, this one undulated strenuously between rocky shores and precipitous cliffs.

Lunch was taken in a strange place next to a grassy meadow, selected by Sue shortly after we'd passed a well preserved coastguard's cottage that was closed in 1990.

Then a short road walk past some Brummies who had mislaid the coast path, some Aussies amused by our indecision and a woman who seemed amused by everything, saw us back at the car after this 8 km circuit with 250 metres ascent, in around 3 hours.

A brief transit found us parked up on a wide lane in Rhiw, from where the ascent of Mynydd Rhiw would be arduous in a hurricane with cows blowing past at 60 mph. In today's benign conditions however, we reached the summit in thirty minutes. In the dull conditions photography was rather challenging, so I've filtered the image of the summit view.

Continuing in a clockwise circuit, a selection of encounters featured friendly locals, blocked paths, surprised snipes, crow mobbed buzzards, ancient cromlechs, burial chambers and axe factories, multi coloured sheep, a deep bog on another brush with the Wales Coast Path, and gradually fading light, not to mention a few brummies.

The afternoon's tally was another 9 km, with 250 metres ascent, in around 2.5 hours.

This was a fine day out in a beautiful part of the world. 

Friday 15 November 2013 - Mynydd Mawr and Moel Tryfan

A grey day with cloud slowly descending over Snowdonia drew us to these two modest hills. It was a wise choice. We escaped the cloud and enjoyed another rain free day.

After parking opposite the chapel in Drws-y-coed, a pleasant switchback path guided us gently up Mynydd Mawr. We were the only people on today's hills. From the summit ridge we enjoyed fine views across the precipitous crags of Craig y Bere to the Nantlle ridge (pictured).

Lunch on the 698 metre summit was followed by an amble north west towards the disused quarries and mines of Moel Tryfan. The descending layer of cloud pursued us relentlessly. 

Moel Tryfan (pictured below) is a HuMP (hundred metre prominence). Jon 'collects' them. It's a fine hill with a distinctive rocky prominence.  Charles Darwin visited on 26 June 1842. The hill has played a part in the development of the Glacial Theory, as it has been established that during the Ice Age, 20,000 to 30,000 years ago, the Irish Sea ice and the Welsh ice vied for position in this area.

On our approach to the huge cleft left by the mining, we came upon a rock labyrinth reminiscent of that in Kate Mosse's eponymous book. Sue then proved it was actually a maze, by wrestling her way to the centre. 

A short walk down to the small village of Fron, past grotty farms and fly-tipped debris, as well as copious remnants of quarrying activities, got us back to the B4418 at Nantlle, from where a short walk found us back at the car. 

We'd enjoyed an excellent 15 km circuit, with about 700 metres ascent, taking around 5.5 hours.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Thursday 14 November 2013 - Moel-y-gest (262 metres)

This fine little hill overlooking Porthmadog makes for an interesting half day excursion. 

Today I chose the north eastern ascent route from the A497, rising steeply through woodland before reaching a low crest at around 100 metres. Then an undulating path, with optional scrambling, rises to the main summit ridge. It's all of a kilometre along the rocky ramparts to the summit cairn. At only 262 metres, it's a hill that punches far above its weight. 

Good views towards Snowdonia's high peaks (pictured) vie with those over Tremadog Bay, albeit the latter is somewhat blighted by Black Rock Sands' massive caravan park. 

A lone person following me up had disappeared by the time I turned to leave the summit, on a fine afternoon with surprisingly little of the forecast wind.

The path was easily misplaced, so for the second day running my descent took rather longer than my ascent, which today had occupied just an hour. 

Heading down the south east slopes past lingering blooms of heather, I passed through an area of static caravans before descending to the Wales Coast Path beyond Garth, passing posh houses and Madog Boat Yard before reaching the cottage shortly before dusk and rain set in.

Two minutes later Jon and Sue arrived from a day of 'hill bagging' on the Lleyn Peninsula, where they had found some cool, strong winds. 

My walk had been about 7 km, with 300 metres ascent, taking 2.5 hours.

Very satisfying after a longish drive with a selection of obstacles provided first by a cloud burst and then by flash rally cars masquerading as Sunday afternoon chicanes!

Wednesday 13 November 2013 - Moel y Dyniewyd

Whilst Jon and Sue headed south to bag one of Jon's few remaining Welsh Marilyns, I headed to Beddgelert for what I planned to be a short stroll up to the sub 400 metre summit of Moel y Dyniewyd. 

The soft early morning sunlight was soon replaced by duller conditions as cloud swept in from the south west. But it didn't rain. I headed from a convenient lay-by past Sygun Copper Mine - closed, but its miniature waterwheel was whirring energetically - along a good path signed to Cwm Bychan.

Fires and an area of hillside that appeared to be a scene of devastation were explained by a National Trust sign: "We are working to clear the rhododendron ponticum that is taking over the hillside and killing the native plants."

Grib Ddu was soon reached, from which my targeted summit wasn't much more than a further kilometre, over fairly rough but not unpleasant ground. There are lots of paths hereabouts, very few of which are marked on my Harveys 1:40000 map. I seemed to bypass most of them, and my route also included some scrambling. 

So it was a pleasure to reach the summit after an hour and a half, just beating the cloud that was billowing in. Today's photo was taken from that summit, looking in the Nantmor direction.

Time for elevenses in a sheltered spot that obviated the need to supplement my t-shirt and fleece with anything windproof. 

I'd expected a quick descent, but I missed the path to Beddgelert and finished up traversing the ridge to Nantmor. An interesting route, with steep crags blocking any descent to the west, and with a final descent beside a high wall over precipitous ground, finally emerging on the Cym Bychan path that would have been a more sensible and much safer option. I reached that path with some relief, as the other elderly gents on the hill had disappeared, as had the search and rescue helicopter that had been monitoring my progress down the cliff.

A pleasant stroll from Aberglaslyn, beside Afon Glaslyn, with foamy water and autumn colours trying hard to be vibrant under the grey sky, saw me back in Beddgelert by 1.30 pm after this 11.5 km stroll with about 400 metres ascent, in a shade under 4 hours.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Tuesday 12 November 2013 (pm) - Manod Mawr

A surprise car park on the outskirts of Blaenau Ffestiniog provided an excellent base for this afternoon's ascent of Manod Mawr. 

It was a blazing hot summer's afternoon. Seemed like it anyway. A narrow path led east from Congl-y-wal through farmland. A long conversation with the elderly farmer and his weary sheepdog revealed that he had been up here yesterday trying to round up his sheep in the fog. Today he was able to find them.

After helpfully pointing out our route, Farmer Jones sidled off on his ATV and left us to the mercy of the gently ascending path. 

There was a direct route, but in deference to Jon's health we didn't take it. 

Slate quarries dominated the scene.  Allt-fawr and its serpentine ridge were lit by the afternoon sun to our west. Llyn Manod came and went. A Snowdonian panorama was displayed before us, albeit with the occasional doormat of cloud. 

Various birds of indeterminate breeds teased us with their intermittent presence. Plovers? Perhaps not. 

Large chunks of erratic quartz littered the hill, providing easy landmarks by which to descend by the same route. At the 661 metre summit a defunct trig point revealed its survey bolt still in position despite the pillar being long gone.

The silence was broken as we descended. Two fighter jets practicing dog fighting vied with the local quarry's blasting intentions. 

Q: Was that a sonic boom or a sonic blast?
A: Thunder.

After that we romped back down to the car park, completing our walk of 7 km and 400 metres ascent in around 2.5 hours, in very pleasing late afternoon light.

Sue's a rare, if not reluctant, cook. All credit to her for the excellent turkey burgers she prepared later.

Tuesday 12 November 2013 (am) - Allt-fawr - 698 metres

Jon is a Marilyn bagger. He has now climbed 1263 of these 'Relative Hills'. So he has 294 left to climb.

(A 'Marilyn' is a hill that is 500 feet higher than the surrounding ground on all sides.)

Today's first objective was this fine little hill, accessed from the A470 just north of Blaenau Ffestiniog, below the Crimea Pass.

In a complete contrast to yesterday, it dawned bright and sunny, though Snowdonia's 3000 ft summits remained under a grey hearthrug all day.

So it was an ideal day on which to restrict our ambitions to around 700 metres. The ascent soon revealed an unexpectedly picturesque switchback ridge that led us gently to the summit. A cool breeze joined us about half way up, but it was far from unpleasant. 

Allt-fawr's summit is the little visited high point of an extensive plateau on which the iconic mountain, Cnicht, is probably the best known peak. The views from Allt-fawr extend over Snowdonia,  with Moel Siabod standing dominantly above Dolwyddelan Castle. Snowdon lies beyond the distinctive profile of Cnicht, which from here looks to be the highest point on the plateau. The 'heighters' would have us believe otherwise.

After chatting to a chap who was continuing to Cnicht and enjoying tea and shortbread on the summit, we wandered down to Llyn Iwerddon, the 'Blaenau Ffestiniog Lido', with its adjacent steam room. Lower down,  we lunched beside an air shaft for the railway far below, before returning to the car along a pleasantly grassy path.

This was a lovely 5.5 km circuit, with about 400 metres ascent, taking us a leisurely 4 hours or so.


Monday, 11 November 2013

A Wet Day in Porthmadog

Here's the view from the balcony of our home for the week in South Snowdon Wharf. 

The cloud came and went at the level of the houses. Rain lashed the harbour. A walk up a nearby hill was vetoed.

Instead, Sue and I enjoyed a rather damp 11 km circuit via Tremadog, sussing out restaurant opportunities for later. By the time we got back, Jon was waiting outside the house, and we were soon to be found with a selection of curries and Cobra beer in A Passage to India.

At least today I've taken advantage of the chance to edit around 600 photos from the TGO Challenge in May!