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FOOTPATH NO 12  BONT - LOUGHOR

City and County of Swansea Rights of Way Dept has finally completed the improvements along this fine footpath. Bridges have been repaired and many new wicket gates installed along the way. This walk is one of fifteen which have has been included in a new book  highlighting railway walks along the Swansea to Shrewsbury line called 'Great Walks from the Heart of Wales Railway' (Kittiwake Press 2003) by David Perrott. (August 2003)

 

 RAY AND ANGIE

Good luck to Ray and Angie on their new adventure to Sri Lanka. Ray has been a fantastic leader and a regular walker and we shall miss them both. (August 2003)

 

RHINOGYDD TRIP  SEPTEMBER 2003

On Friday 6th September 19 of us made the 3 hour trip up to Llanbedr Youth Hostel near Harlech. When I arrived everybody had gone down the pub, the Victoria Inn. On the Saturday morning I was summoned by the manager of the hostel who complained about the noise which had carried on until the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately, a minority of the group led by Bobby Evans, returned to the hostel with a large amount of wine and without any shame continued to indulge in some serious heavy drinking. Consequently, I had to apologize to the manager on their behalf . 

 

Frank was unable to join the party due to sickness and diarrhoea and wisely remained at the hostel. The rest of us drove up to Cwm Nantcol and parked near Maes y Garnedd Farm. We then walked down the road for approx.1 mile and then made our way towards the isolated stone bridge of Pont Scethin. After passing the monument, in memory of an elderly lady who once traversed these hills, the mist came down and remained with us until we climbed the summit of Diffwys- the first Hewitt of the day. It was at this peak that the mist temporarily parted and the magnificent panoramic view of the Mawddach estuary opened up in front of us. We then proceeded to Crib y Rhiw where we stopped for lunch. Unfortunately Bobby and Leigh had forgot to bring their packed lunches but were fed by the generosity of the group. At the foot of  Y Llethr a small group decided to return to the cars while the rest continued upwards towards that peak and were amply rewarded with fine views of Tremadog Bay. The next stretch was a descent towards Llyn Hywel and than upwards to Rhinog Fach. By now the mist had disappeared. The descent to Bwlch Drws Ardudwy was slow and arduous - the last 100 feet being very steep and slippery. After a short break we then proceeded down the valley to the cars.

 

Saturday night, as expected, was very quiet and everybody awoke on Sunday morning to brilliant sunshine. The forecast was not good; heavy rain throughout the day. But as it turned out we had a lovely day and the forecast got it completely wrong ! We left the hostel and travelled 5 miles along a narrow road up to the secluded beauty spot of Llyn Cwm Bychan. It was pleasing to see that Frank had recovered and had joined us. From the lake we walked up the famous Roman Steps to the head of the pass at Bwlch Tyddiad. We then proceeded up and around Llyn Du and climed the summit of Rhinog Fawr. The descent to Bwlch Drws Ardudwy was again slow and was particularly difficult on the lower slopes. The Rhinogydd are renowned for difficult walking terrain and for promising paths which simply disappear. We had lunch at the Bwlch and then continued into the forest. We then followed a forestry track (the trees having been felled) towards the ruin of Hafod Gynfal and onwards over the open moorland to the empty farm of Wern Fach. The return leg took us past another empty farm, Wern Cyfrwy, and we then followed the path upwards through the pass of Bwlch Gwilym and then a quick ascent down to Llyn Cwm Bychan and the cars. On the way back a few of called in at Salem chapel - the chapel made famous by a picture painted there in 1910 by Curnow Vosper (1866 - 1942) where an image of the Devil appears in the shawl of an old woman.

 

NORTHERN CARNEDDAU TRIP MAY 2004

19 of us booked in at the Conwy Youth Hostel - a fine modern hostel with excellent food and friendly staff. Nevertheless the weather over the weekend was awful -  cloud, low mist, wind and rain and consequently very poor visibility. On Saturday 8th May we decided to travel down to Aber Falls and bag the summits of Drum, Foel Fras and Bera Mawr-  a 11 mile walk.  From the car park at Bont Newydd it did not take us long to reach cloud level. Instead of walking up to Bwlch y Ddeufaen as planned we took a short cut along a track up to Drum and sheltered in the hollowed out cairn on the summit. I have been here twice before and each time the weather has been kind; not today though ! The next stretch was a tough climb up to Foel Fras- the only 3,000 footer of the day. After touching the trig point we climbed over the wall be means of a ladder stile and sheltered from the prevailing wind and had lunch. And talking of lunch I must congratulate Bobby and Lee for remembering on this occasion to bring their packed lunches ! Then it was all downhill. On arriving Garnedd Uchaf I set the compass in the direction of Bera Mawr but got it slightly wrong and missed the rocky outcrop . Nevertheless we were going in the right direction and soon we were following afon Coch down a delightful valley. There are some fine waterfalls along this river. Bobby mistook one waterfall for Aber falls and insisted on having his photo taken. By now we were at last coming out of the mist. We had a tea stop by the old sheep enclosures and then walked down to marvel at the real Aber Falls . (See the photo gallery). In the night some revellers (i.e Bobby and the gang) went down to the Liverpool Arms.

 

It was nice to wake up on the second day without having the manager wanting a word with me. We awoke on the 9th again with low cloud but the weather forecast in the hostel stated that the mist would lift during the day and that the sun may make an appearance. Today was a 9m linear walk from Llanfairfechan to Conwy. We caught the 9:50am bus to Llanfairfechan and walked up the village to the pretty dingle on Coed y Nant. On reaching the open moorland we were again walking in low mist and it was even lower than the day before !. After passing through the kissing gate we navigated up to Bwlch y Ddeufaen. The mist had  lifted slightly on reaching this ancient thoroughfare. After visiting the two standing stones we started making our way up to the two 2000 footers of the day, Foel Lwyd and TalyFan. The ascent to the trig point is quite a trudge in poor visibility but the stench from a decomposed horse midway up did indeed break the monotony. After eating our lunch on Talyfan and while descending to Cefn Maen Ambor the mist suddenly cleared and for once we could really enjoy the views. Conwy Castle and the Great Orme could clearly be seen in the distance. We soon arrived at the scenic Sychnant Pass where some of us had ice cream. It was here that Gareth started to pay for staying up drinking until 3:00am in the morning. He will insist on burning the candles at both ends !!! We then proceeded up to Mynydd y Dre or Conwy Mountain where we were amply rewarded with excellent views.  We then walked the short distance back to the hostel and our cars.

 

IRELAND MAY 2004 - WICKLOW MOUNTAINS

In early May five members of the club travelled to Ireland to spend a weekend walking with the Crossbridge Walking Club. In spite of Keiths dire predictions the crossing was excellent much to the relief of Val and Di who had emptied the local pharmacy of seasickness tablets. We stayed in the village of Tinahely where we had an excellent welcome plus cakes, tea and the enormous breakfasts from Madge the owner of a local B/B.

 

The tone of the weekend was set when the Crossbridge Club invited us to meet them some time after 10 p.m. in the local pub. The following day we met them at 10.a.m. and climbed Lugnaquillia which at 3039 ft is the fourth highest mountain in Ireland. The climb took about 4 hours and we were glad to find that some of the Crossbridge members were of a similar level of fitness to ourselves with frequent "lets admire the views" stops. Magnificent views and excellent weather - we were of course desperately sorry to receive a text from Gareth who was on the North Wales trip complaining about the rain.

 

After the descent we ryhydrated in Fentons pub where a diet of Guiness and christening cake soon revived tired limbs and set us up for another late evening in Tinahely - Keith swears that this was the first time he had to fight his way out of a pub in the early hours of the morning !

 

On Sunday we met the Crossbridge Club again and had a shorter walk along part of the Wicklow Way. Keith got very worried at this stage when he was advised that all Irish pubs closed on a Sunday - a little wind up from Marcella who was our contact in Ireland. Another short night ensued followed by a 5 a.m. start to catch the ferry from Rosslare - with another excellent crossing.

 

An excellent weekend and we want to pass our thanks to the Crossbrideg Walking Club who entertained us royally with particular thanks to Marcella and Jim Byrne. We have invited them to visit Wales and I am sure that more visits to Ireland will follow. Thanks to Di for driving my car at key moments - generally after leaving the pub -and for keeping the car the same shape and colour !

 

Denis

 

ANN AND MAUREEN'S PERU ADVENTURE JUNE 2004

It was great to see our intrepid explorers return safely to the Bont after walking the famous 'Inca Trail' in Peru. The snaps were excellent particularly those of the enchanting ruins of Machu Pichu and the surrounding mountains. There's no stopping these two. Last year it was Nepal; this year is was Peru. Where next ?

 

Y MOELWYNION / HEBOGAU  SEPTEMBER TRIP 2004

On Friday 3rd September eleven of us made the trip up to Beddgelert- seven stayed at Bryn Gwynant Youth Hostel and four in B&B. On the Saturday we all drove the short distance to the pretty village of Croesor. The intention was to bag the 3 Hewitt's of Cnicht, Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach. Unfortunately, due to the adverse weather conditions i.e. heavy drizzle, low mist and poor visibility we decided to follow a low level route.We headed up Cwm Croesor along the old tramline and climbed a couple of steep inclines to Bwlch Rhosydd and to the ruined slate quarry of Rhosydd. The ruined quarrymen houses known as 'Y Baracs' were very atmospheric in the misty gloom. The route then took us down past Cwmorthin to Tanygrisiau. En route we visited Plas Cwmorthin - clearly the managers house - and 'Y Gorlan'. Unfortunately. this chapel is now a ruin. After lunch we climbed the long tarmacadam road to Llyn Stwlan Dam; the rain had stopped and the mist was beginning to lift as had been forecast. Unfortunately, the mist soon returned and remained low for the rest of the day - so much for the Met's Snowdonia weather forecast ! We joined an old miners track and proceeded towards Bwlch Stwlan. In spite of the weather we decided to bag one Hewitt and climbed the easy path to the cairned summit of Moelwyn Bach. It was then all downhill along the ridge to the road which led us back to Croesor. In the evening we all wined and dined at the Prince Llewelyn pub in Beddgelert

 

On Sunday 4th the weather could not have been different and we awoke to brilliant warm sunshine and decided to bag the Hewitts of Moel Hebog, Moel yr Ogof, and Moel Lefn. From the car park in Beddgelert we made our way towards the old farmhouse of Cwm Cloch Uchaf and then started the long, tough ascent to the summit of Moel Hebog. The views from the top of this majestic mountain were very impressive- yr Wyddfa, yr Aran, y Moelwynion, Nantlle Ridge and Tremadog Bay were all clearly visible in the distance. We descended to Bwlch Meillionnen and then climbed the remaining hilltops of Moel yr Ogof and Moel Lefn. The return leg was along the paths and tracks of Beddgelert Fforest.

 

CYNGOR CYMUNED LLANWINIO COMMUNITY COUNCIL & FOUNTAINS plc - 2004

Hoffai Alan Richards ar ran y clwb ddiolch Cyngor Cymuned Llanwinio am agor ei lwybrau ar gyfer ein taith ar Dachwedd

14ydd 2004. Braf gweld Cyngor Cymunedol sy'n amlwg yn gwerthfawrogi ei lwybrau cyhoeddus.  Hoffwn i ddiolch Fountains plc  - perchnogion y coedwigoedd - hefyd am drwsio llwybr 19/24 yng Ngelli Wen. Yr ydym i gyd yn gwerthfawrogi eu cydweithrediad.

 

On behalf of the group Alan Richards would like to thank Llanwinio Commuity Council for re-opening its rights of way for our walk on November 14 2004. I would also like to thank Fountains - owners of the forestry - for reopening and restoring

Footpath 19/24 in Gelli Wen to its former glory. We very much appreciate all their efforts.

 

BERWYNION & ARENIG FAWR TRIP  MAY 2005

On friday 6th May 2005 thirteen of us made our way up to Cynwyd Youth Hostel. Unfortunately, the YHA in their wisdom have decided to close this old mill after nearly seventy years of service (opened 1933). We all met up at the Blue Lion in Cynwyd and returned to the hostel with refreshments. We awoke on the Saturday and drove to Pistyll Rhaeadr - the highest waterfall in Wales. Our intention was to bag six hewitts on a 14 mile hike of the Berwynion. As we arrive the heavens opened and fortunately for us this was to be the heaviest shower of the day. After visiting the falls we walked up a delightful valley to Llyn LLuncaws and upwards towards Moel Sych, the first Hewitt of the day. We then followed the ridge an bagged the summits of Cadair Berwyn and Cadair Bronwen. The wind was bitterly cold along this ridge nevertheless the views of the surrounding countryside was great. We returned to Bwlch Maen Gwynedd where we had lunch. We the proceeded along Tomle, Foel Wen and onwards towards Mynydd Tarw, our final hewitt of the day. We then descended to Tyn y Ffridd and followed the public right of way past the empty farms of Bryn Gwyn and Gwern Feifod and a cutting in a conifer fforest to arrive at the road which led us back to the start. In the evening we assembled at the Prince of Wales for some refreshment.

 

On the Sunday 8th May we drove towards Bala and followed a minor road to our starting point below Arenig Fawr - our destination for the day. We walked along the metalled road past the hamlet of Arenig and after a mile and a half we turned right along a track which led us to Llyn Arenig Fawr.  As we looked behind us we could see Llyn Celyn (a deeply controversial reservoir where a village, Capel Celyn, and a cultural way of life was destroyed in order to supply Liverpool with water. All Welsh MP's bar one voted against the construction of this dam- so much for democracy ! ) After visting the bothy at the edge of Llyn Arenig Fawr we began our ascent of the summit. As soon as we arrived at the trig point a cloud came over and dumped it's contents of hailstones upon us. As it was so cold we quickly read the memorial to the eight  American aircrew whose plane crashed on the mountain in 1944 and hurried down the mountain to look for a sheltered lunch stop. We decided not the climb Moel Llyfant but decided instead to follow a track past the ruined farm of Amnodd -Wen back to the cars.

 

IWERDDON / IRELAND 2005

In mid September twelve members of the club visited Wicklow as guests of Arklow and Wicklow Walkers.

On the Saturday we met Brian King and his merry group who decided that a trip up to the the summit of Lugnaquilla

(3039ft) was a suitable welcome to Wicklow. This turned out to be an A class walk with a near vertical rock gully near the top. Ask Norman Richards if you need any more information on Gully Climbing. After suitable refreshment at a local hostelry we were invited to a Ceilidh in the evening. On being informed that the dancing took up ten years to perform properly a number of us applauded from the sidelines whilst a few of the more adventurous and agile ventured forth. The award for bravery and title for Welsh dancing King and Queen went to Margaret and Gareth Jones (proven that there is more going on in Hendy than we thought)

 

The following morning we were invited to visit Wicklow Gaol - ( a must do visit if you go to Wicklow). After being welcomed by the gaoler with some bloodcurdling stories of the gaol we attended the school that was held in the gaol many years ago. The matron of the school soon quietened the more unruly members of the group. I have never seen Eric so subdued - not for long though !!!!

 

Following this we walked in Glendalough - a beautiful valley and tourist area. We climbed some 500 plus steps to the top of the hills above the Valley. A word of congratulation to the local Heritage association who have done a superb job in providing environmentally friendly walkways. We could and should learn from this in Wales.

 

Again we were forced into a local hostelry where we bade farewell to our hosts. The welcome we received was excellent and we gave thanks for a wonderful trip. A reciprocal visit has been discussed and we would like to see our new friends here in Wales for a visit

 

LAUGHARNE - LLANDAWKE - LLANSADWREN WALK - NOVEMBER 2004

We would very much like to thank Mr Kevin Thomas, Carmarthenshire CC Footpath Officer, for ensuring that two obstructed paths were opened and waymarked prior to our walk. Diolch, Kevin.

 

PROPOSED FOOTPATH 10 & 12 DIVERSION Community of Pontarddulais

It is a concern that the City and County of Swansea are proposing to divert the above paths. The Council want to divert Footpath 12 -the fine wooden walkway through the reeds to the Old Church - to save future maintenance costs. The proposal to divert Footpath No 10 ,which follows the line of the old railway to Pentre Bridge, will result in an inferior route. The present elevated route offers fine views of the marsh and the surrounding area and this would be lost.

 

STOP PRESS: The proposals have been withdrawn.

 

DYFI HILLS & TARENNI TRIP MAY 2006

On Friday 12th May fourteen of us made our annual trip up to North Wales. This time we stayed in Kings Youth Hostel near Dolgellau and once everybody had arrived we made our way down to the George III pub in Penmaenpool for some grub and some refreshment. We were later joined by Bethina & Val and their partners who were staying in Dolgellau. We returned to the hostel and chilled out in the lounge. The more sensible ones retired early but the usual suspects stayed up drinking until the early hours of the morning. No names mentioned but they know who they are!

 

On the Saturday morning we awoke to very low cloud and the forecast was not at all promising particularly the forecast that Kevin had seen- torrential rain all day! The walk was to be a linear route across the Dyfi Hills starting from Dinas Mawddwy and ending at Minffordd- a journey of approximately 11 miles. (Margaret & Maureen opted for a more leisurely stroll along the Mawddach Trail). We parked some of the cars at Minfordd and then drove up to Dinas Mawddwy. Immediately from the start there was a steep climb to negotiate as the path meandered up through the woods towards the slopes of Foel Dinas. Ann & Alison found the going quite tough and were feeling under the weather; sombody should have told them that drinking both red and white wine isn't a good thing! Nevertheless they did recover as the day wore on. Soon after passing Bwlch Siglen we began our ascent of Maesglase. Very soon were were shrouded in mist and the precarious cliffs of Craig Maesglase looked quite menacing. We eventually reached Maesglase and the higher summit of Maen Du - the first Hewitt of the day. We decided to have our lunch on the southern slopes of Craig Rhiw-erch and as we sat down the mist suddenly  lifted and the fantastic peaks of Cribyn Du and Craig Portas appeared before us. We then climbed Craig y Portas and decided to leave the path in order to bag Cribyn Du- the second Hewitt of the day. Unfortunately the mist descended temporarily and spoilt what would have been magnificent views of Cwm Cerist below. We rejoined the path and walked in the direction of Waun Oer. The climb to the summit was not as bad as it looked and by now even Ann & Alison were in much jovial mood - their earlier discomfort had now become a distant memory. From Waun Oer the ridge walk along Mynydd Ceiswyn was very pleasant particularly with the majestic Cader Idris towering before us. We finally reached the B487(T) at Bwlch Llyn Bychan and then followed the old road down below the crags of Craig Cwmrhwyddfor in the direction of Minffordd. Unfortunately, there were not enough cars to take us all back to the hostel so we had to do a couple of trips as the other waited in the car park. Bobby and Gary could not resist temptation and just had to visit the nearby Minffordd Hotel.   

 

After arriving back at Kings we decided to visit Dolgellau. By now we were also joined by Kath & Martin who had drove up during the day and had climbed Cader Idris. In Dolgellau we all broke up into three groups and decided to eat at different locations but we all met up again at the Royal Ship Hotel. After some refreshments we all returned to the youth hostel. The lounge was full in the evening and we were all pretty quiet but that did not stop one person unconnected with our group - who was also staying at the hostel- from telling us that he had to be up early in the morning and that we had to go to bed. Some of us did retire at it was 12:30am but the others continued to socialize. Things came to a head when the same individual returned and hour later, turned off the lights and told our group what he thought of them. Geraint, having been offended by the foul language, told him in no uncertain terms that there was a polite way of telling people to to clear off to bed.  

 

On the Sunday morning we awoke to brilliant sunshine and we were very soon on our way to Pennal near Machynlleth- our starting point. The plan was was to do a fine 10 mile circular ridge walk over the Tarenni. mountains and bagging one Hewitt- Tarrenhendre. The first part of the walk was along a road which climbed steadily upwards past the property of Pantyronn. We then proceeded along a track and past some ancient circular stones to the eastern slopes of Alltgwyddgwion. We then began the climb up towards the summit of Trum Gelli and its massive cairn. It was here that we decided to have our lunch. It was here also that Bobby's rucksack mysteriously disappeared and after some frantic searching the culprit was found. No names mentioned, Kevin! After lunch we continued past Tarren Cwm Ffernol to Tarrenhendre. We then descended back down to Pennal.

 

TAITH IWERDDON / IRELAND TRIP  (MEDI / SEPTEMBER 2006)

Nine members travelled to Ireland to walk with the Dungarvan Hillwalking Club with our host being John Neylin who hailed from Cardiff - although we agreed not to hold that against him.

On the Saturday morning we met three members of the Dungarvan club with a view of climbing the Knockaunpeebra ridge. This was shrouded in mist so that the walk was changed to see the lakes in the Nire valley. When we saw the ridge we would have climbed on the Sunday morning a number of us were grateful for the mist. The walk went well until lunchtime when the mist descended with visibility down to 15 yards, or 14 metres for the younger members. As a result we had to walk using a combination of GPS and a good old fashioned compass bearing. Well done to Margaret, John and Richie for getting us home.

I am going to pass a veil over the Sunday night other than than to say that two of our members from Hendy entered into a drinking condition with some locals and came a bad second - not a pretty sight to see over breakfast on Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning we joined a number of Dungarvan members to climb the Mahon Falls. This was a very tough climb with the boys from the Hendy being very quiet but they got there. We then walked around the Falls area mainly through peat bogs (Maurice renamed them the Dungarvan Bogwalking Club after this). Following a descent from the Falls we retired to the Tudor House Pub for a spell of rehydration. One of our members was brave enough to ask a Manchester United supporter who scored the winning goal for Arsenal - I will leave this story  until the Christmas dinner.

At dinner that night a great debate took place as the province in which the mountains of Mourne are located. This seem to involve half the restaurant at one stage with a number of opinions expressed - it turned out that they were in Ulster which means that a number in the restaurant and a certain Mr Hopkins were not too hot on Irish geography. Well done Geraint for knowing the correct answer but then his head was clearing by that time!!!

An excellent visit and our grateful thanks go to John Neylin and the rest of the Dungarvan Club who were excellent hosts. We have invited them to visit us and we hope they will take up the invitation.

                                                                                                                       

 Denis  

 

OPEN ACCESS IMPROVEMENTS AT PENTREBACH (MARCH 2007)

The City & Council of Swansea Public Rights of Way department have improved access from Pentrebach to Graig Fawr Mountain by erecting a new stile above Craigfryn and clearing an overgrown path above Ty Newydd.

 

MOELWYNION & MANOD 2007

On Friday 11th May nineteen of us booked in at The Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel on our annual trip up North Wales. Conveniently for some, the local pub 'The Cwellyn Arms' was located only a mile and a half away and everybody met up there. We then returned to the hostel where the most sensible ones retired to bed early while the usual crowd stayed up late making merry - an established curious custom by now! Nevertheless, Ann & Alison had learnt from previous mistakes and awoke in the morning with clear heads, unlike last year!

On Saturday we drove to the tiny village of  Croesor which is located below Cnicht - an imposing cone shaped mountain also known as the 'Matterhorn of Wales'. Unfortunately, the tops were shrouded in mist as were Moelwyn Mawr, Moel yr Hydd & Moelwyn Bach - the other 3 Hewitts we had planned to climb. We were also joined at Croesor by Geraint's friends who made the journey south that morning from Ynys Mn. The ascent of Cnicht was not too taxing while the mist temporarily lifted at times revealing fine views of the summit and the surrounding countryside. Sadly, the weather was to deteriorate and the mist returned with a vengeance only to lift for a brief period at Rhosydd Quarry - a fascinating abandoned slate quarry located high on the mountain. We had lunch here and made the decision not to climb Moelywn Mawr due to the low mist. We decided to follow the old slate road down Cwmorthin Valley past the old chapel and lake towards Tanygrisiau. A long slog then followed as we climbed the road which led up to Stwlan Dam which certainly sorted out the men from the boys! On crossing the dam we returned to cloud level and the route upwards into the mist towards Bwlch Stwlan was very unpleasant. As the conditions deteriorated we then decided not to climb Moelwyn Bach but to follow a path back down the mountain and returned to the start. Again, the weather had the better of us on the Moelwynion. However, it has given us a good excuse to return. As the old adage says 'Tri chynnig i Gymro!'

In the early evening some of the group were told off for drinking their own cans of bow. The Youth Hostel has a licence to sell alcohol and therefore one can only drink alcohol purchased from reception. Andy didn't think much of the 'Moose piss' as he elegantly called it. We all had meals at the hostel while the usual crowd went down the pub and returned and ignored their strict licence laws. The LDWA London group - who were also staying at the hostel- looked  in disgust as cans of bow were being passed around indiscriminatingly. The party continued until the early hours. However the sensible ones that retire early and who look forward to a good nights sleep can now purchase ear plugs at the hostel which certainly has the desirable effect of muffling out the noise from the rowdy revellers below. Fortunately for them there was no 'Victor Meldrew' type character staying at the hostel this year to tell them off.

 

We awoke on the Sunday (The worst day supposedly but which turned out to be the best!) and travelled to Blaenau Ffestiniog. Our intention was to bag the 3 Hewitts of Manod Mawr, Manod North Top & Moel Penamnen. We parked at Manod where Garry decided not to walk due to his blisters (or hangover!) and went to explore the town. The rest of us climbed upwards towards Llyn Manod - a fine lake located between Manod Mawr & Bach. Unfortunately, Gareth decided to turn back and seek out out Glyn Wise and ask for his autograph. His was faithfully accompanied by Huw.  The rest of us climbed up towards the summit of Manod Mawr. The views from this fine hill were excellent. Frustratingly, the summits of Moelwynion, located directly to the west, unlike yesterday, were quite clear. We then proceeded to bag Manod Mawr North Top located just beyond the encroaching quarry. Catrin & Brian decided that the pace was too quick for them (not Geraint's fault this time!) and decided to explore Llyn Bowydd & Llyn Newydd. The rest of us proceed along the wet heather towards the fine summit of Penamnen where we had lunch while enjoying the fine view. Terry unfortunately had cramp which explains why he was miles behind! After lunch we then met up with Catrin & Brian and we proceed down through the quarries towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. As we descended the weather began to deteriorate.

 

EXMOOR & NORTH DEVON TRIP (SEPTEMBER 2007)

Approximately 22 of us made the trip over Offa's Dyke to our first and long awaited trip to Exmoor and the North Devon Coast. Denis, who arranged the trip, billeted us all at different locations within the pretty village of Exford. Unfortunately, Alan,Terry, Spencer, and Norman got lost on our way due to poor navigational skills of the latter. Terry said that he would have done better with his eyes shut! In the evening, Denis had arranged an evening meal for us at the Exmoor White Horse Hotel and refreshments followed.

    On Saturday 18th September, we awoke to a miserable wet morning which was to get even worse. Margaret, Jackui & Glenda decided that Exmoor was not for them and decided to do some sightseeing instead. Gareth, must have wished he'd gone with them! However, he didn't get much sympathy from the group. We parked at Webbers Post and followed the low level Dunster Path in the direction of Brockwell. We then began, in fierce driving rain, the long climb up to Dunkery Beacon. At 1705 feet, this is the highest point on Exmoor. Unfortunately, due to the adverse weather conditions visibility was poor ,but despite this, Eric's wonderful navigational watch was not required! After we had waited for Gareth to arrive- which seemed like an eternity- we gladly descended the hill towards Bagley Coombe. We then proceeded towards Stoke St Pero Church where we had lunch. The final leg of the walk was along a fine bridleway which went through Cloutsham Ball woods. A thoroughly enjoyable walk which was marred somewhat by the atrocious weather.  In the evening we again returned to the White Horse Hotel for some refreshments. Norman wore some snappy pink footwear which we all admired and Geoff donned some dashing white daps. We really do have some snappy trendsetters in footwear amongst our group. Oh yes, Gareth drank only pop!

    On Sunday, we drove to Saunton, a seaside resort on the North Devon Coast for our second walk. Unfortunately, some of us got lost on the way (not your fault this time, Norman!) but we soon arrived at our destination. The weather for the day was to be more promising. From Saunton Sands we walked along a fine path towards Croyde Sand. Unfortunately, Sandra had a back injury and could not continue the walk. Croyde Sand seems to be very popular with surfers. We then proceed around Baggy Point and had lunch in sheltered spot overlooking the sea. In the distance we could just make out  Rhosili Down. After lunch we continued along the coast towards Pitsborough Sand. The view we had of this large sandy bay towards Woolacoombe was breathtaking. We then began the return leg inland but the views were just as good. Lundy Island, only 12 miles away, was quite visible in the distance. The last viewpoint overlooking the wide expanse of Saunton Sands, was probably the best. Thanks Denis for arranging such an enjoyable weekend.

 

26 August 2007  ABERGAVENNY 3 PEAKS CHALLENGE (20 miles)

Eight of us attempted the above challenge walk on a very warm August morning. As were were arriving the three mountain tops of Blorenge, Pen y Fal and Ysgyryd Fawr were all shrouded in mist but this soon evaporated by the morning sun.  We parked at the car park below Ysgyryd Fawr and walked the 2 miles down to the town of Abergavenny. We passed the remains of the Medieval castle and Ann, the leader, related to us the massacre that occurred there when local Welsh leaders were betrayed and butchered by the infamousWilliam De Breos. On reaching the Usk river the Blorenge, the first climb of the day, towered above us. We then crossed the Usk Bridge and noticed the original Medieval bridge hidden amongst the arches. We then proceeded through the tunnel which runs underneath the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal and began the long ascent up the north side of the Blorenge. On reaching the top we were rewarded with fantastic views of the surrounding countryside. On reaching the trig point we found that Margaret (who had gone a couple of hours before us) has left a note to remind us that there were only two peaks to go! On the way down to Govilon, Terry unfortunately lost his sunglasses. He must have lost them on one of his many tumbles down the mountainside. Soon we were walking along the canal towpath and decided to have our lunch outside the Bridge End Inn in Gilwern. After a well earned rest we then made our way towards the village of Glangrwyne and soon began the long slog up to Pen y Fal (Sugar Loaf). By now the sun was beating down on us and the going was getting a little tough. However, after drinking water and resting a while we were ready to bag the final hill of the day -Ysgyryd Fawr,  which we could see in the near distance. On reaching the valley floor we were angered by a family of town dwellers renting an old farmhouse who were seemingly oblivious to the fact that their dogs were worrying sheep- so much for the Countryside Code! Soon we were climbing up the north side of Ysgyryd Fawr-a task made more difficult by aching legs and feet. Even Geraint said he was knackered. On reaching the top we just sat around and admired the panoramic views and then followed the pathdown along the whale back ridge accompanied by a brilliant sunset descending over Pen y Fal. We had been walking for 10 hours and we were all very satisfied that we had successfully completed the Abergavenny 3 Peaks Challenge Walk.

 

FRIDAY 7 SEPTEMBER  2007    10th ANNIVERSARY DINNER

Approximately 37 attended the 10th anniversary dinner held at the Pontarddulais Rugby Club. It was quite an enjoyable evening and it was great to see some old faces again. Some photos of past walks were also shown on the large screen. Alan Richards talked about the history of establishing the walking club and Selwyn Williams presented Alan with a fine slate plaque. Diane Govier, was presented with flowers for organising the dinner.   

 

SUNDAY 9 SEPTEMBER 2007 10TH ANNIVERSARY WALK

22 members attended the walk which was in fact the the club's inaugural walk held in September 1997. We walked up  Fforest Hill and then proceed over Banc y Fforest before descending towards the A48. After passing Pentwyn Farm we followed the old road up towards Llwynteg (a large section of this track had been cleared by the council thank mainly to the efforts of Llanon Councillor, Neil Baker).  After walking along fields we then followed a metalled road to Pont Sion Rhydderch where we had lunch on the banks of the Morlais Rivers We then proceeded towards Troserch Woods but were stopped by police who had closed the road after an unfortunate incident the previous night. There was no alternative but to retrace our steps, but fortunately, a gentleman by the name of Greg came to our aid and allowed us to walk through his property to access Troserch Woods. We then followed the riverside path to Llangennech. We soon arrived at yr Hen Gapel and then walked the mile or so back to the Bont.  A most enjoyable walk.

 

11/11/07 Llanddowror

The walking club would like to thank Dan Pearce, Carmarthenshire CC Countryside Ranger, for reopening two neglected paths in Llanddowror in time for our walk in the area. We would also like to thank Mrs Howells for opening the church for us to see the tomb of Griffith Jones.

 

ARAN FAWDDWY & RHOBELL TRIP (MAY 2008)

25 of us made our annual trip up to North Wales. This year we had booked in at the Ffynnon Wen Youth Hostel near Cerrig y Drudion. On arriving we met up at the Saracens pub in Cerrig y Drudion.We then returned to the hostel where everybody had a nightcap before retiring to bed. Suddenly, we were entertained by a fantastic display of thunder and lightening. Unfortunately, Mervyn - a newcomer on the trip- succeeded in creating his very own thunderous display by keeping everybody awake by his loud and persistent snoring. Mike and Brian had to retire the lounge. Mervyn will have his own room next time!

On the following day (Saturday 10/5/08) we awoke to very low mist but things improved and we had, for once, a clear first days walking. 7 members went to bag Cnicht while the rest of us decided to visit the Aran area in order to bag six Hewitts. As it was a linear walk we parked some of the cars at the planned finish at Llanuwchlyn and then drove along the winding and narrow road up to Bwlch y Groes- the highest pass in North Wales. As it was a clear day we decided to extend the walk slightly by walking down the road towards Llanymaddwy and then up the pretty Llaethnant valley. After climbing the zigzag we then left the track and climbed the short sharp hill to bag Llechwedd Du- the first Hewitt of the day. The summit is marked by a handful of quartz stones which Bobby-for some inexplicable reason- found fascinating. (Pob un a'i glemau!!!). We then proceeded gradually towards Esgeiriau Gwynion - the 2nd Hewitt of the day - and decided to have lunch overlooking Bwlch Sirddyn and Cwm Croes. However, somebody forgot their sandwiches yet again! We then descended towards the bwlch and proceeded to tackle the hill known as Foel Hafod Fynydd (3rd Hewitt) - a climb which everybody agreed looked worse than it actually was. After waiting for Ann, Alison, Geoff, Mike and Brian to catch up we proceeded towards Creiglyn Dyfi - the  lake located beneath the towering cliffs of Aran Fawddwy. The aim was to have a rest beside the lake but to Brian's annoyance Geraint, Kevin and Andy proceeded up the very long grassy slope towards Erw y Ddafad Ddu. Everybody else simply followed. This grassy slope was to be the most tortureous climb of them all. Even Ann and Alison found the ascent hard and they had only drank five bottles of wine the previous night. Bobby kindly offered to carry their rucksacks. Leigh, Geraint and Spencer made it look all too easy (I'm sure they are on something) while the rest of us made hard work of it. On reaching the top we then made for Aran Fawddwy. At 2,969 feet - this was the highest peak and the 4th Hewitt bagged. The views from the summit were fantastic but too hazy to see Penyfan to the south. We then retraced our steps back to bag Erw y Dafad y Ddu -the fifth Hewitt - where Ann & Alison had volunteered to stay behind to look after our  rucksacks. By this time our limbs were aching but Aran Benllyn , the fifth and final Hewitt was within our grasp. After accomplishing our mission we then descended for 4 very long miles towards Llanuwchlyn -the end of the walk. As to be expected the walkers who were always in front were not slow in finding a pub, The Eagles Arms. Unfortunately, some of us had to coerce the drinkers to return to the hostel asap otherwise we would have been late for lunch; we only just make it! In the evening some members ordered a taxi to transport them down to the pub while the rest of us stayed at the hostel. We played an interesting  game which Kevin is still trying to fathom out. Most retired early to bed but some were awoken by the rowdies from the pub most notably by Geoff Long and Mervyn Reid.

 

On the following Sunday morning we decided to attempt a short 8 mile walk by bagging two Hewitts in the Southern Arenig area, Rhobell Fawr and Dduallt. We parked in a foresty quarry at Moel Cae'r Defaid above Rhydymain Village. Helen, unfortunteely got lost! We were also joined today by Margaret and Maureen. Clive decided to visit Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake). Illtyd looked very refreshed on the account of the non alcohol drinks he had purchased the previous day. This was to be a very hot day again with hardly any breeze. Just below Ty Newydd y Mynydd we left the track an began ascending the hill by following a drystone wall towards the summit of Rhobell Fawr - the first Hewitt of the day. Due to complaints received on the previous day we decided to have a lengthy spell on the summit. Feeling refreshed we proceeded via Foel Gron to the beautiful but isolated valley of Cwm y Nant Lwyd. Fortuntately we had permission from Mr Jones, the landowner, to cross the bridge over the Mawddach River at Dolcynafon to reach Alltlwyd located a short distance away. During this time we discovered that we had lost two members who had decided to go walkabout. Having had lunch above the valley we proceeded towards the ford to cross the infant Mawddach for the second time. Fortunately, due to the recent spell of dry weather the river crossing posed no problems. We then proceed upwards along the northern ridge of Dduallt - the final hewitt. This climb proved to be very taxing due to the numerous blind summits encountered which had the effect of demoralising the weary walker. As we climbed we noticed menacing storm clouds gathering around us and thunder and lightening were quite evident in the distance which proved to much for Gary and Geraint who made a hasty retreat from the summit to safer ground. We all regrouped at the bottom of the valley and with aching limbs and several blistered feet we continued the short distance through the woods back the cars.  A challenging but most enjoyable walking weekend - the most challenging yet perhaps. 

 

CORNWALL TRIP 13th - 15th JUNE 2008

Sixteen of us travelled down to Cornwall for the weekend making Boscastle (or 'Bosco' as Terry would say) our base. Boscastle made national headlines in 2004 due to the floods which devastated this former fishing village. On arriving the elders of the group booked in at various guest houses in the village while the younger element booked in at the youth hostel - a fantastic hostel totally totally refurbished after the floods. In the evening we met up at the Cobweb Inn where Denis had booked us in for a meal at 7:30pm. Geraint could not resist having the fillet steak at the reasonable price of 20.00! Norman & Terry had a fantastic meal of cod & chips - the highlight of the meal being the batter, much better than the batter in the King Chip shop they said! Denis couldn't stick the pace so he persuaded Keith to go for an impromptu walk up the village.

 

After the usual first night of sleeplessness due to a strange bed and constant snoring we got up to prepare for the first walk of the weekend. We all met up at the car park and drove the short 40 miles down to Hollywell Bay, near New Quay. From Hollywell we walked along the coast towards Perran Beach, near Peranporth. Our leader, Denis, was sporting a lovely three quarter number; he was obviously making a fashion statement. On the way we bumped into to two real Cornish characters who were out walking the coastal path collecting money in aid to a local children's hospice. We all contributed generously. After walking along the wide expanse of Perran Beach we turned inland towards the vast area of sand dunes. Alison & Ann were by now feeling the pace after once again overindulging the previous night. Will they ever learn! On reaching the remains of St Piran Church we decided to have lunch. This particular church was finally abandoned due to the unrelenting encroachment of sand. We continued on our way passing near to a campsite where Geraint informed us he stayed during younger days - he wouldn't elaborate further! Soon we said farewell to Keith, Lyn, Catrin and Di who wanted to save their energy for the following day's walk. Norman was tempted to go with them but he would never have heard the last of it.  We soon reached Crantock -  a fine bay and rejoined the coastal path. We then followed the path for two miles past Porth Joke back to Hollywell. We lost Terry for a while who seemed to be struggling a little. But we did wait for him to catch up.

 

After arriving back at the hostel Geraint found a note from Brenda, the Warden at the hostel, telling him in no uncertain terms to make his bed up. Geraint obliged. We all met up again at the Cobweb Inn for food and refreshments. Gareth told us that he would not be walking with us on the second day as he had promised Lisa to go shopping with her and see the sights at Ilfracoombe - poor Gareth! 

 

On Sunday 15th we all met up and drove the short distance to Poundstock - a hamlet with a fine Medieval Church.  After walking through fields and wooded coombs and after Denis had taken a wrong turn (Lucky Keith was with us) we reached the fine rugged coastal path near Dizzard. Ann & Alison were looking very refreshed today; after all, they only had drank three bottles of wine the previous night! We then continued along the coastal path towards Millook. It was a beautiful clear day, so clear in fact that some of us could seethe DVLA in the distance! On reaching Millook some of the party, including young Garry, decided to take a short cut back to Poundstock while the rest of us fancied a challenge by climbing the steep looking hill out of Millook. Unfortunately, the lion of a hill turned out to be lamb!  We then followed a path past Penhalt (almost certainly Penyrallt' ) back to the cars. Some of the more cultural ones on our midst us decided to visit Poundstock Church and view the fine Medieval wall paintings. Some of also visited the historic Guildhouse. We all thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would like to thank Denis for arranging once again a fantastic weekend. Diolch yn fawr!

 

LAKE DISTRICT TRIP AUGUST 16-22 2008

17 of us made the journey up to the Lake District, or as our ancestors would say 'Yr Hen Ogledd'.  Coniston would be our base for the week and we stayed in Shepherds Villa, a large house situated on the edge of the village. In the evening we dined at the Old Bull which Norman had kindly arranged for us. We all looked forward to a fantastic week of walks.

 

Sunday 17 August 2008 Scafell Pike

Alison and Peter, who had arranged the trip, decided that we should start the week with a bang by bagging Sca Fell Pike, the highest peak in England. To get to the starting point at Wast Water Peter took us along the very scenic route over Hard Knott Pass which tested the engine of the cars to their limits, particularly Gary's. On arriving Wast Water the high summits of Great Gable and Lingmell were clear suggesting a fine day's walking with lovely views. Unfortunately, this was not be be. Nevertheless, all seventeen of us made the long climb past Brown Tongue, Alison's favourite spot, up to the summit of Scafell Pike. Norman ' have a rest' Richards was not at all happy that two or three of the party were determined to sprint up to the peak. The fact that they were cold on the summit cut no ice with Norman. After unfolding the Welsh flag (which we were informed by a passing Englishman was actually the wrong way round!) we had lunch on a very misty miserable summit. Peter and Alison, however, informed us that the views were really spectacular on a clear day! We then made our way down in thick mist to Esk Hause passing walkers wearing pink wellingtons and drinking from cans of Fosters -  obviously geared up for a long wet hike in the hills. We eventually dropped down below the mist and made our way back to Wast Water. A thoroughly enjoyable walk despite the poor weather. In the evening Anne and the girls made us all chilli con carne which was surprisingly nice- only joking Ann! Helen also treated us with her lovely selection of cheese.

 

Monday 18 August 2008

Peter and Alison decided that after yesterday's exertions a low level walk would be the the order of the day. We decided to walk from Coniston to Tarn How, a lovely lake popular with families which made us look slightly overdressed with all our walking kit on. There were also some lovely waterfalls which, owing to the above average rainfall, looked quite spectacular. However, the walk was described as too 'girlie' for Helen! We also met two women from Cardiff who were walking the Cumbria Way. Geraint didn't walk with us but decided to bag The Old Man of Coniston. However, the highlight for Geraint was finding the Sun Inn, which became his favourite watering hole during the week. Norman, Eric, Sandra, Margaret and Maureen decided to go shopping in Ambleside instead.

 

Tuesday 19 August 2008

As the forecast promised sunshine and showers today we decided to bag Helvellyn via Striding Edge. Unfortunately, Brian decided not to come with us after overindulging the previous night. On route Peter decided to drive in circles around Ambleside much to the delight of Geraint. However, on finding his bearings he took us over Kirkstone Pass which was completely engulfed in mist - not a good sign for walking one on the highest mountains in England. We soon arrived in Glenridding, a small village located on the banks of Ullswater Lake and began making our way up towards the Hole in the Wall. Fortunately, as we climbed the mist also lifted. However, the summit was still shrouded in mist We then tackled the famous Striding Edge which we all thoroughly enjoyed, that is, apart from Geoff who crawled along the rocks like Gollum out of Lord of the Rings. Big Step was also a bit tricky.  The fact that we passed two memorials in memory of a huntsman and an early walker who both perished on the mountain did little too boost Geoff's confidence. For a brief moment the summit of Helvellyn was clear and it was lovely to feel the warm sun on our backs. Unfortunately, it was short lived and the mist returned with a vengeance. As we sat on the summit the heavens opened and we made a hastily retreat down Swirrel Edge. As we decended a haunting cry was heard in the distance. (We later heard that a 75 year old man out walking on his birthday fell and injured himself but fortunately he was ok). Very soon we were out of the mist and followed a path back down to Glenridding. We had some refreshments in the Walkers Bar before returning to base. In the evening we all bought food from the local chippie. After the men washed up they went on Eric's stag night around the pubs in Coniston. We even walked nearly a mile (200 yards according to Peter) to the Ship Inn where Geraint upset the landlord over the correct way of pouring a pint a Guinness. We ended up in the Sun, Geraint's favourite pub. Unfortunately, Peter was very rude to a person trying to be friendly with us. Unfortunately, he had far too many shandies! Sandra also had her hen party around the village pubs but fortunately we did not bump into each other. In the evening most of the men retired sensibly early to bed while Alison, Ann & co stayed down until 3:30am drinking brandy as if there was no tomorrow and keeping everybody awake. Most inconsiderate of them!

 

Wednesday 19 August 2008 

As to be expected two from our party felt under the weather today so we decided to take a short trip instead along Coniston Lake and then up to Blawith Fell. Mike volunteered to stay behind and prepare supper. The boat trip was lovely and some interesting features were pointed out to us along the journey. After 5 miles we disembarked and followed a path up to Beacon Tarn. From there we climbed up to the Beacon itself which offered fantastic views of Coniston Lake and The Old Man of Consiton. We then followed the Cumbria Way back to the village. The food that Mike had prepared was truly fantastic- pat to start with followed by a delicious chicken casserole and mouth watering cream & chocolate cakes to finish. Apart from Geraint, Spencer & Illtyd who insisted on going up the Sun Inn at every available opportunity the rest of us stayed in to play table tennis in the games room. Indeed, Maureen & Margaret surprised everybody with their ping pong skills.

 

Thursday 20 August 2008

It was Eric and Sandra's big today who travelled up to Gretna Green to tie the knot. Who would have thought Eric would have got married. There is still hope for the rest of us bachelors!!! Those who didn't travel up north decided to bag the spectacular Langdale Pikes instead.  The forecast gave showers but apart from one short heavy downpour at the beginning of the walk the day turned out to be lovely. From the car park we climbed up towards Pavey Ark and as we arrived at Stickle Tarn it started pouring with rain. However, on reaching the top of Harrison Pike the rain had stopped, the mist had lifted and we were rewarded with fantastic views of the valley and the surrounding countryside. Very soon all the peaks were clear. Geraint thought he could pick out Helvellyn in the distance but a local we bumped into put him right. We then bagged Thorn Crag and Loft Crag while Brian and Geoff decided to take a short cut up to Pike of Stickle. The actual scree below this fine peak is a former Stone Age tool factory. The view of Mickleden Valley below us was breathtaking. It was such a shame Ann and Alison couldn't be with us to share these spectacular views. We then followed the Cumbria Way back to the New Dungeon Ghyll pub to quench our thirst. The walk actually took us over 6 hours to complete; the guidebook said 3!

 

Friday 21 August 2008

Today would be our last walk of the week and for once we had a beautiful clear day. From our base at Shepherds Villa, the Old Man of Coniston, our destination, looked quite spectacular towering as it does above the village. Geoff decided to stay behind and prepare a BBQ for us when we came back. After Ann and Mikes' efforts earlier in the week Geoff had a tough act to follow! We walked passed Sun Inn and Dixon Farm en route to Wetherlam. The views from this summit were indeed fantastic. We then climbed up to Swirl How and decided to have lunch on the summit. The Isle of Man could clearly be seen in the distance as was Blackpool Tower- Gary's favourite holiday resort. Very soon we were walking along the ridge towards the Old Man of Coniston - again the views were spectacular. It's popularity reminded us of Pen y Fan. We then descended past the old slate workings and had to call in of course at the Sun Inn for refreshments. In the evening Geoff didn't disappoint and we had a fantastic BBQ. The finale was a spectacular lantern display which drew crowds in from the nearby streets.  

 

We would like to thank Peter, Alison and Ann for arranging such a fantastic trip. Can't wait for our next visit to the lakes.

 

LLWYBR HEWL DŴR FOOTPATH, PENTREBACH, PONTARDDULIS (Awst / August 2008)

Ar ol blynyddoedd o esgeulstod braf yw dweud bod y llwybr cyhoeddus hwnnw a adwaenir yn lleol fel 'Hewl Dŵr' ym Mhentrebach wedi cael ei ailagor. Rhaid canmol Adran Tramwy Hawliau Cyngor Dinas a Sir Abertawe am safon uchel  ei gwaith.

 

At long last the public footpath in Pentrebach, Pontarddualais known as 'Hewl Dŵr' has been reopened. The City & County of Swansea Public Rights of Way section has done an excellent job and must be congratulated.

 

LLWYBR HEOL Y BRONALLT FOOTPATH, YR HENDY (Tachwedd / November 2008)

Mae'r llwybr cyhoeddus sy'n cysylltu Hendy Heol y Bronallt wedi ei ailagor ar ol blynyddau o esgeulustod diolch i ymdrechion Geraint Owain Price.

 

The public right of way between Hendy and Bronallt Road has reopened after years of neglect thanks to the efforts of Geraint Owain Price.

 

NORTH WALES TRIP 2009

On Friday 15th  May twenty-four of us made our annual trip up to North Wales. This year we were staying at Snowdon Ranger YHA near Rhyd Ddu. Again, the forecast was not good as low pressure was stuck over the middle of North Wales. Still, we hoped for the best.  We all arrived at different times at the hostel but most were already at the Cwellyn Arms- not the cheapest alehouse in the district!

 

Saturday 16 May 2009

On the following Saturday half of the group decided to do the Nantlle Ridge while the others decided to walk up to yr Wyddfa (Mount Snowdon) along the Snowdon Ranger Path. As the trek was a linear walk The Nantlle group drove to Nebo and had a mini bus to drive them back to Rhyd Ddu- the start of the walk. The day looked promising and all the peaks were clear. After walking along a low level path for half a mile we began the ascent of  Y Garn - the first of 6 planned Hewitts. Unfortunately, before we had reached the midway point it was blowing a gale. By the time we reached the summit of Y Garn it was blowing a Hurricane. It was so bad that every body was being blown about by the strong gusts. The next summit was  along the serrated edge of Mynydd Drws y Coed. Because of the extreme conditions it was decided not to attempt the scramble and follow a lower level route below the summit instead. Unfortunately, this route took us along a boulder field which was awkward and very time consuming. Eventually, we all regrouped and decided to abort the planned route of the whole ridge and follow a spur down from Trum y Ddysgl down to Bwlch y Ddwy Elor. After lunch we followed a fine bridleway back to Rhyd Ddu. Of all the visits to North Wales this was by far the worst conditions ever encountered. 

 

The other group succeeded where the Nantlle group failed by reaching the summit of yr Wyddfa (Snowdon). Although following a popular tourist path the conditions were just as bad.  Several people were met going down in the opposite direction having failed to reach the summit because of the atrocious weather. The intention was to follow the Rhyd Ddu Path down but it was decided to descend along the Snowdon Ranger Path. In the evening we had  lovely meal in the hostel. Then some went up to the pub while others stayed at the Hostel.

 

Sunday 17 May 2009

The plan on the Sunday was to drive to Cwm Cywarch near Dinas Mawddwy and bag a few summits in the Aran Fawddwy area. The drive down started well enough but within quarter of an hour were engulfed in a cloudburst which lasted until we reached Dinas Mawddwy. It was so bad that even Leigh, Bobby and Ann, three experienced walkers, attempted to lose the convoy by pulling into a lay-by. We all arrived at Bwlch Oer Ddrws Car Park but by then most of the group had made up their mind to drive home. Ten walkers, however, decided to to walk whatever the weather; they were to be rewarded. As we pulled up into the car park at the head of the Cywarch Valley the rain had stopped and blue skies were approaching from to the west. As we climbed up a fine path towards Hengwm we were bathed in beautiful sunshine. Pen yr Allt Uchaf was bagged first and we then ascended up to the summit o Drws Bach where we decided to have lunch. There is a plaque on the summit in memory of an 18 year old who was killed after being struck by lightening during the 1960's. We sat overlooking Aran Fawddwy and the surrounding hewitts which were all bagged the previous year. We then bagged Gwaun y Llwyni and noticed that the wind had picked up and some menacing clouds were gathering in the distance. It was then decided not to bag Glasgwm and Pen y Brynfforchog and we descended down Graig Cywarch.

 

DORSET TRIP SEPTEMBER 2009

Twelve of us made the trip down to Weymouth. Margaret, Christine, Russ, Val & Denis stayed in B&B while the rest of us stayed in Portland YHA. The YHA crew then went down to the Cove House Inn to sample the local ale.

 

Saturday 26 Sepember 2010

On Saturday 26 September 2009 we awoke to glorious sunshine and drove to the Smugglers Inn Car Park in Osmington Mills. Geraint and Gary got lost  on the way but we soon  met up with Denis and the others. We then proceed to walk along the fantastic chalk cliffs of the Jurassic Coastal Path as far as Lulworth Cove. The highlight being the fantastic natural arch at Durdle Door. We had lunch at Lulworth Cove while Gary and Helen went to see the petrified tree stumps. We then returned over the downs. In the evening it was back down to the Cove House where we had a lovely meal. I seem to recal Terry and Geraint having two spotted dicks each!

 

Sunday 27 September 2010

Our destination today was Cerne Abbas. After waiting for Helen, who got lost on the way, we proceed to walk to the picturesque village of Minterne Magna. We had lunch near the church and then visited Minterne Mansion, which was formerly owned by the Churchill Family. We then returned to Cerne Abass where the Giant was the dominant feature for miles around. We then had refreshments at the Royal Oak before departing back to the Bont. A great weekend with probably the sunniest two days of the whole summer. We would like to thank Denis for arranging a great trip.

 

NORTH WALES TRIP (MAY 2010)

On Friday 22 of club members made the annual pilgrimage up to North Wales. This year we booked into the Bryngwynant YHA and had the whole former coach house annexe to ourselves. After meeting up we drove the short distance down to Beddgelert and visited the Prince Llewelyn pub for refreshments. We then returned to the Youth Hostel where some merriment continued [for some] until the early hours of the morning.

 

On Sat 8 May we awoke to a dry, fine day with high cloud level which looked promising in contrast to the horrendous forecast predicted in the week. Catrin & Jacqui  decided to walk the Watkin Path up to Snowdon while the rest of drove to Cwm Ogwen to bag Tryfan, Glyder Fach & Glyder Fawr - a short but strenuous walk!. We parked in a lay-by midway between Milestone Butress and Ogwen Cottage. The initial plan was to climb Tryfan via the North Ridge but due to strong gusts of wind at its base we decided to walk up to Bwlch Tryfan via Llyn Bochlwyd. We then scrambled up the south ridge of Tryfan to reach the two monoliths on the summit famously known as Adam & Eve or Sion & Sian in Welsh. Unfortunately one or two of the party found the going quite tough. Perhaps over indulging the previous night didn't help matters! The views from the summit of Tryfan (Ann's favourite mountain) were quite spectacular. We then descended to Bwlch Tryfan where we decided to have lunch. We the followed the Miners Track up to a wide col between Foel Goch and Glyder Fach and then climbed the latter. Terry found it tough going up to Glyder Fach due to apparent cramp and Mervyn was still nursing a hangover. After visiting the famous Cantilever we then bagged the boulder heaped summit of Glyder Fach. We then continued over a boulder field to the fantastic and massive rock feature of Castell y Gwynt. After negotiating the shattered rocks around Castell y Gwynt the section to Glyder Fawr was a little  kinder to our feet. After bagging Glyder Fawr and enjoying the views of the surrounding peaks we descended down the steep scree to Llyn y Cwn - said to be the haunt of monocular fish. After regrouping we then descended the torturous steps into Cwm Idwal- a classic glaciered hanging valley. From here it was only a short distance to the cars. Terry & Mervyn, for once were leading the group, but alas, were going the wrong way and ended up in their usual position at the rear. As we only had two hours left before supper the sensible ones went back  to the hostel. However, some members of the party had to call  at the Peny Gwryd Hotel! In the evening we had our evening meal and relaxed at the coach annexe.

 

On Sunday 9 May we awoke to brilliant sunshine. There was a plan B; that is, to walk the coastal path on the Lleyn Peninsular if the weather was too bad. However, there was no question but to bag Moelwyn Mawr and having previously failed twice to do so due to inclement weather (and Peter & Alison didn't fancy walking up the long winding road up to Stwlan Dam again) this was finally going to be our day - tri chynnig i Gymro! Jacqui and Catrin decided to visit the beautiful lakes of Llynnau Cregennen and were joined by Christine. Everybody this year, unlike the previous year, intended to walk on the second day; however, Terry, due to his alleged cramp, initially pulled out but mustered enough mental strength in the end to face what lay ahead. We drove up to the car park in Croesor and walked along the former tramline to Rhosydd Quarry. After climbing a few easy short steep inclines we arrived at the path leading up to Bwlch Rhosydd. We soon arrived at the enigmatic ruined quarrymen barracks of Rhosydd - a favourite spot of Alison. After a short break we ascended up through the waste tips and most of us headed for the spectacular viewpoint of Moel yr Hydd - a 2000ft plus crag overlooking the slate town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. We then descend to the col and decided to have lunch. We then climbed up to the summit of Moelwyn Mawr and there was a consensus of opinion  that the ascent looked more difficult than it actually was. We rested on the summit enjoying the spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and happy in the knowledge that, at last, we had put Moelwyn Mawr to bed. . This grassy summit was a much welcomed contrast  to the incessant boulder field we had to negotiate the previous day. The descent, despite initially steep, was also along a grassy ridge. Geraint took the lead towards the end but who only succeeded in having us all trespassing through farmland. A very enjoyable weekend.

 

COTSWOLD & MALVERN TRIP (SEPTEMBER 2010)

On Friday 24 September 2010 twenty-nine of us made the comparatively short journey east along the M4 & M5 to the Cotswolds and to our weekend base the small market town of Stow on the Wold. We were all billeted at the Youth Hostel which is located in the middle of the town. Mike, Geoff & Wynford, who were the first to arrive, insisted on sussing out all the pubs before the rest of the group arrived - they all went to bed early that night! In the evening the rest of the group frequented the numerous pubs who enjoyed sampling the local ale. Unexpectedly, a small group returned early and sat about chatting quietly apart from Kevin was told of for being a bit too boisterous. God knows when Mervyn, Andy, Gareth, Geraint and Helen returned to the hostel but it was certainly into the wee hours of the morning. Unfortunately, against the wishes of the group Mervyn, due to his notorious snoring, was not given the single room as instructed but was billeted  in the same room as Illtyd, Terry, Gary, Andy, Norman, Chris, and Alan - as if having Terry in the room wasn't bad enough! The night proved to be quite eventful. Terry, on jumping onto the top bunk, fell immediately through the supporting timbers and fell right on top of Illtyd who was by then sleeping in the bottom bunk. Indeed, this must have been a most a terrifying experience for poor Illtyd as he was evidently traumatised for several hours after this incident. Geraint also had a most bizarre incident in the shower room. While going to the toilet at 4:00am he saw the adjacent shower door slightly ajar and he saw what what looked like a profile of a man's body lying prostrate on the floor. Geraint investigated and managed to prize open the door but fell immediately on top of this person. At this point Geraint was very alarmed as the person remained motionless on the shower floor. Fortunately, the person was actually ok but was said to be suffering from shock after his terrifying ordeal. It must also have been a very traumatic experience for Geraint who stated that he thought that he was having a nightmare. It transpired that this person was staying in the same room as Brian, John, and Geraint but due to the snoring of the latter the person had removed his mattress to the shower in the hope of getting some uninterrupted sleep. Indeed, this was not the end of the story as the person made an official complaint in the morning to the manager of the hostel regarding the snoring. Geraint responded stating that he would also complain about the person sleeping on the shower floor on the grounds of health and safety.

 

Saturday 25 September 2010 Bourton-on-the-Water - Upper & Lower Slaughter - Naunton

After the eventful night it was back to business and after breakfast we all drove the short distance to the picturesque village of Bourton-on-the-Water. There was some confusion at Bourton  as we discovered that two groups has assembled at two different car parks. There was also reports that the police had been alerted by a member of the public regarding the theft of some apples from a property adjacent to the coach car park. The police were looking for a man described as wearing a white baseball cap and was carrying a bulging rucksack. Eventually we all met up in the middle of the village and walked passed St Lawrence Church and followed the Warden's Way through the picturesque villages of Lower and Upper Slaughter. We then continued towards the next village of Naunton where we decided to have lunch in the churchyard. The church tower is unique in having two sun dials. The rectory has a connection with Lewis Caroll as the rector's daughter was named Alice which apparently inspired the author to write 'Alice through the Looking Glass. We then visited the nearby Medieval dove-cot which still houses a population of doves. On our return leg we followed the Windrush Way towards Aston Farm. We then diverted away from the promoted path and followed a public footpath back to Bourton on the Water. As we approached the village we were amazed to see the size of the trout found in the Windrush River. They made the trout in the Gwili, Dulais and Camffrwd and Llwchwr rivers look like tiddlers. On arriving back at the Bourton some went straight back to Stow while a few called in at the Old Manse Inn for some refreshments. The evening was a much quieter affair but Mervyn still kept most of us awake with his incessant snoring.

 

Sunday 26 September 2010 Molefryn / Malverns

Today, we were walking a linear route along the Malvern Hills, the name derived from the Welsh 'Moelfryn' which means 'bare hill' and reflects a time when the whole length of the Severn River marked the Wales and England border. We wanted to depart from Stow-on-the-Wold at 9:00am as a coach had been booked to take us from North Quarry in Great Malvern  at 10:15am to Hollybush Car Park, some 7 miles away. After having a group photo at Hollybush Car Park we climbed up to Midsummer's Hill- the first hill of the day- and is crowned by a large Iron Age fort. To the east in the distance we could see the distinctive Welsh hills of Mynydd Pen y Fal (Sugar Loaf) and Pen y Beacon (Hay's Bluff). To the north we could see ahead of us  the whole range of the Malvern Hills. After descending the hill some of us went to visit the Eastnor Obelisk while the others proceeded towards Hangman's Hill. After visiting the Giant's Cave we then climbed British Camp with its impressive ramparts. British Camp, like the hillfort at Midsummers Hill were probably occupied circa 500BC by the Dubonii tribe - who spoke Brythoneg or Brittonic which developed later into Old Welsh. During the 11th century the Normans built a wooden castle on top of the old fort and the earthen ringwork and its large ditch remains. We then had lunch below the fort in a sheltered spot away from the wind. We then made our way towards Worcestershire Beacon, the highest peak on the Malverns. There is a trig point and a toposcope on top of the hill, the latter constructed in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamaond Jubilee. Until quite recently a shelter occupied the summit but it was destroyed by fire. Some of the women decided that Worcestershire Beacon was the last hill for them and followed the path back to cars. The rest of the group, including Norman, decided to climb North Hill, the last climb of the day. The hill literally overlooks the town of Great Malvern. From there it was all downhill back to the cars. A most pleasurable weekend despite some unfortunate incidents!

 

NORTH WALES TRIP (MAY 2011)

On Friday 20 May twenty-three of us made the annual trip up to  Eryri (Snowdonia). We stayed this year at the youth hostel in Llanberis -our first visit- and as soon as everybody arrived they mad their way down to Llanberis for some refreshments. We all eventually met at the Glanbadarn Hotel where the weekly karaoke was held. Great entertainment for some but not for everybody. The greatest surprise was that singer songwriter Mervyn (aka Selby Sloanes) was not tempted to perform. Everybody retired early that night except for Terry, Geraint, Andy & Mervyn who came back from the pub very late.

 

Saturday 21 May 2011

The plan was to climb the 3,000 plus peaks of Penyrolewen, Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn but we decided to err on the side of caution as rain was forecast for midday. 65 mile an hour gusts were also expected on the more exposed peaks. We decided to venture into the enchanting but little known Lleyn Peninsular and climb Tre'r Ceiri and possibly Yr Eifl. At only 1,800 feet were thought that the peaks would be below cloud and we could enjoy the stunning views; how wrong we were! We parked the cars at Trefor beach car park but had to wait nearly half an hour for Gareth, Kevin, Curon and Robert who somehow got lost! Eventually, we were on our way and made and walked along the coast in the direction of Graigfor one of the three prongs which make up the Y Eifl. This was the only peak that was not shrouded by mist - not a good sign. As we approached Tre'r Ceiri, one of the best preserved hillforts in Britain, the mist and rain came down with a vengeance but we were determined to reach the summit. Everybody was fascinated in seeing the 2000 year old huts located within the fortress. After lunch ( we decided not to climb Yr Eifl as we couldn't even see it!) we decided instead to walk down to Nant Gwrthyern Language Centre and then along the coast but the weather had deteriorated so badly (low mist, wind and rain) that we decided to call it a day and return to Trefor. As we were all wet we returned to the hostel- except for Catrin, Christine and Brian who decided to go for a cool  drink. In the evening we had the usual three course meal which, for a change, even had the thumbs up from  Jeff, our hard to please connoisseur! In the evening some went down to the pub to sample again  the Karaoke while the rest stayed at the hostel. Many retired early but some stayed down late to play Jenga - an annoying game of wooden blocks which understandably displeased the triathlon competitors who were competing the following morning.

 

Sunday 22 May 2011

At six o'clock in the morning everybody had a rude awaking as the fire alarm went off allegedly activated by one of the aggrieved triathlon competitors as an act of  revenge. The plan for day was to bag the two hewitts of Pen yr Helgi Du and Pen Llithrig y Wrach but again the weather was against us. Therefore, we decided to drive the short distance to Beddgelert and do a 6 mile circular walk around Cwm Bychan. After visting the grave of Gelert (Alison and Bobby reminded us of the gut wrenching time when told that the story was  invented by the former owner of the nearby hotel) we walked along the fine riverside path along the Glaslyn River which looked  spectacular after the overnight heavy rain. We then climbed up Cwm Bychan and past the pylons of the former copper mine. We descended down to Llyn Dinas where we had lunch at the lake's edge. We then followed a pleasant path back to Beddgelert. A disappointing weekend with regards to the weather but everybody enjoyed. Hopefully, we will have better luck next time with weather.

 

LAKE DISTRICT 2011

Saturday 30 July 2011

Twenty-one members of the club ventured up to the Lake District today each looking forward to a fantastic week of walking the fells. Peter, Alison and Ann had again arranged everything meticulously and we stayed once more in the large house in Coniston called Shepherds Villa. Once everybody had arrived and chilled out we all went up to the Black Bull for a meal and some refreshments. I seem to recall that everybody went to bed quite early that night .  What I cant figure out is whenever we go to North Wales everybody stays up late and drinking as if there is no tomorrow. I'm perplexed by this.

 

Sunday 31 July 2011

We all awoke to a fine sunny morning and Peter & Alison decided to drive to Keswick to bag Skiddaw, at 3,054 ft, it the fourth highest mountain in England. The name Skiddaw may possibly derive from the Welsh or Cumbric word 'Ysgwyddau' meaning 'shoulders'. We began the ascent by climbing up Ullock Pike and then along Longside Edge. We were accompanied along the latter by a gentleman who liked showing the crack of his arse -a sight of which Ann and Alison must have enjoyed immensely as they kept following him along the ridge! After reaching a small peak called Carl Side we then began the long and extremely steep ascent towards the summit of Skiddaw. This climb was indeed tortuous and must be one of the hardest ascents the club has ever undertaken. On reaching the summit we were rewarded with spectacular views in all direction. Geraint also brought his Owain Glyndwr standard which we proudly showed off during the group photo on the summit. After having lunch below the summit we descended down a route which could only be described as a killer. Being incredibly steep it must have caused untold stress to our tired and aching limbs. On reaching the bottom of the hill we had a long rest to recover before walking the short section back to the cars.  On the way back to Coniston we called at the Travellers Inn Hotel in Grasmere for a debriefing. In the evening Alison & Peter made us lovely bangers & mash which set the standard for the week. Some of the members then when up to the Sun Hotel while the others just relaxed in the villa. A fantastic day's walking with five more walks to look forward to.

 

Monday 1 August 2011

Today, we were to travel to Buttermere to climb Haystacks but as we were about to leave an A.A. man eventually arrived to fix Margaret's car. On the journey up the M6 from South Wales the indicators of her car had packed up as had the windscreen wipers. The mechanic sprayed WD40 on the ignition and said that there shouldn't be any more problems. Margaret instantly forgot her seething anger and displeasure and added that the AA bloke was, in fact, a very, very, very nice man! We then left for Buttermere. Haystacks, is a relatively small mountain located at the south eastern end of the beautiful Buttermere Valley. At 1,958 ft the mountain is not a Hewitt but the views from the summit are quite spectacular,  Unfortunately when we arrived the peaks were shrouded in mist but we hoped that it would lift sometime during our walk. We began the walk from Gatesgarth Farm and walked up the valley known as Warnscale Bottom. After crossing the footbridge we then began the ascent. Approximately three quarters of the way up we came a across a a former miners house now used as a bothy, the interior being very snug it must be said. On reaching the top of the ridge we were engulfed in cloud. We passed Black Beck Tarn and soon reached Innominate Tarn where we had lunch along its banks which looked quite eery in the misty gloom.  On the banks of the tarn Alfred Wainwright chose to have his ashes scattered.  A short distance away was Haystacks and on reaching the misty summit we were reliably informed by Peter and Alison that the views on a clear day are quite something! After a short group photo we quickly made our descent. After descending approximately 200 feet we found ourselves below cloud level and the valley floor was once again visible in the distance. Also, on reaching Scarth Gap Pass we noticed the mist beginning to rise above the summits - trust our luck! Nevertheless, the views looking back down the valley were excellent. On reaching the cars Norma and Margaret rushed along to Warnscale valley to unsuccessfully look for a pair of glasses which had been mislaid earlier in the walk during a much needed comfort stop amongst the thick bracken.  As we drove back to Coniston,  Peter was involved in an long lasting duel with an irate cyclist. We again called back at the Travellers Inn Hotel in Grasmere for a debriefing. Mike decided not walk with us today as he wanted to cook his Patagonia Pie special.  Everybody agreed that it was delicious and Mervyn enjoyed it so much that he unashamedly went back to refill his plate three times, or was it four? I cant remember. After dinner Mandy entertained us with her puppet show extravaganza which was truly amazing.  The usual lot went up to the Sun Hotel while the rest chilled out in the digs.

 

Tuesday 2 August 2011

Today, Peter & decided to take us for a less energetic walk in the area known as the Dunnerdale Fells. We parked the cars in the car park of the remarkable Blacksmith Arms in Broughton Mills- a pub full of character, the interior of which has probably not changed for centuries as it is just like stepping back in time. More importantly, Peter also said that the beer was quite reasonable. After the usual group photo we walked down the road towards the bridge spanning the River Lickle and progressed upwards towards Green Bank Farm. We then followed a delightful stone lined track towards Great Stickle. When we arrived at the trig point the hilltop, alas, was shrouded in mist. While the rest of us descended the hill Brian decided to stay on top to see if it would clear for him to take some photos. Unfortunately, he somehow got lost and we had to send a search party back up the hill to look for him. Thankfully, he was eventually found save and sound. We then walked in the direction of Stickle Pike, a fine peak arising up in the distance like a miniature Cnicht -a peak we have had the pleasure to climb many times After reaching the summit we decided to have lunch and admire the views. In the distance we could clearly see Blackpool Tower - Mike's favourite holiday resort. The return leg was along an old track known as Park Head Road. Geraint said he saw a peregrine falcon swoop down on an unsuspecting dove and added that this was the highlight of his week so far! We then walked along a landscape of little rocky peaks in  the direction of Raven's Crag. Alison maintained that Peter had taken the wrong route as we should have taken the path past the old copper mine; Peter would have none of it! After reaching Raven's Crag we then aimed for a delightful little summit called The Knott.  From this vantage point we could see the the Blacksmith Arms just hidden behind the trees -  'a sight for sore eyes!' Geraint uttered . The route down the hill was very steep as Alan and Geraint found to their cost. Geraint went down like a sack of potatoes, the fall being made worse by the fact that he lied motionless on the ground for longer than the worried onlookers would have liked. Geraint soon got up, dusted himself down and continued down the hill.  Before reaching the pub we passed a church but Alan said that he wasn't interested as it was not ancient looking enough!. Our usual debriefing was held at the pub where the beer flowed freely. Peter was said to have had six pints within an hour and Geraint coming a close second with five. In the evening Ann & Alison made us all a sumptuous spaghetti bolognaise. The usual suspects went up to the Sun Hotel. Unusually, Mervyn did not venture up to the pub as he had a long night ahead of him preparing his mince beef curry. He also complained that somebody had used up all the mushrooms! Mervyn stayed up until 3:15 am preparing his special dish.

 

Wednesday 3 August 2011

We awoke today to beautiful sunshine and and our leaders decided to bag Blencathra, a 2,848 ft peak located just to the east of Kewick. Another small group decided to take it easy and visit Tarn How. Blencathra is an old Welsh or Cumbric name meaning 'Top of the Chair'. We started the walk from Threlkeld village car park located just below the mountain. We then walked past Gatesgill Farm and Gates Gill stream towards Doddick Fell. The climb up the ridge was quite long and taxing but nevertheless quite enjoyable. During the ascent and while everybody was admiring the scenery and enjoying that  feeling one gets when 'getting away from it all' Curon was on his mobile phone making a business transaction! When we arrived at Blencathra Geraint was convinced that the the peak was in fact a false summit but Alison and Ann quickly informed him that the actual summit was only a few yards away from where he was standing. Alfred Wainwright commented that he was disappointed that Blencathra did not have a fitting cairn on its summit; nothing seems to have changed. As we hovered on the summit the mist quickly descended upon us but fortunately this was to be short lived. We had lunch just below the summit and then walked towards an unassuming peak called Atkinson Pike. Who this guy was I don't know but the peak, somehow, doesn't have the same ring to it as say Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn. We then descended to the top of Sharp Edge watching people slowly climb up the notorious and potentially lethal ridge. Mike wanted to descend  it but was discouraged to do so  by Peter and another walker who had just ascended it. After admiring the views we descended along a steep and eroded path to Scales Tarn where some of the group decided to sunbathe and have a paddle. As we sat and relaxed on the banks of the lake Mike decided there and then that he was going to climb Sharp Edge and off he went. We watched him like a goat scramble up and negotiate the narrow precarious and notorious razor edge much to the amazement and consternation of those who observed him from the lake below. If that was not bad enough Mike was then involved in a life or death rescue of a male who had wandered off the path and ended up being cragfast on a precarious ledge. Cool head Mike eventually led the petrified walker back onto the main path. 'Fancy being saved by a Welshman!' the man added after being reunited with his relieved wife. Mike then descended Sharp Edge which is most unusual as everybody ascends it but on reaching the tarn everybody gave him a rapturous applause. After the high drama we continued on our way down along a fine path above Glenderamacking River and then skirted Scales Fell and followed a path back toThrelkeld. While climbing up a small rocky crag at Scaley Beck Mike slipped back but his fall was broken by Brian who fortunately was standing behind him.  On arriving at  Threlkeld a debriefing was held at a pub in the village. On way back we visited Castlerigg, a fantastic Neolithic stone circle which, not surprisingly, is a magnet for tourists and sightseers alike. In the evening we were treated to Mervyn's mince curry which was delicious and I am happy to report that nobody was struck down with the trots (only joking Merv!). In the evening the usual crowd when up to the pub while the others entertained themselves at the villa.

 

Thursday 4 August 2011

The plan today was to bag the 2,313 ft Pike of Blisco in the beautiful Langdale Valley. As the weather was very poor in the morning and as it was an improving forecast it was decided to start the walk early in the afternoon. We arrived at the car park near Blea Tarn at 12:30am . We walked past the lake and followed a path to reach a metalled road which we then followed uphill in the direction of Wrynose Pass. On reaching the famous Three Shire Stone the weather had still not improved and it was unlikely, at that time, that we would venture up to Pike of Blisco. Even Geraint said that he didn't fancy it! As we walked towards Red Tarn we saw, at last, the mist gradually lift above a neighbouring peak called Great Nott which was a promising sign. During our lunch stop near the tarn a small patch of blue sky suddenly appeared above us which prompted Geraint to change his mind. Some of the less venturous decided the peak was not for them and continued back to the cars. The rest of us, apart from Alison who had kindly volunteered to remain behind and look after our rucksacks, climbed up Pike of Blisco. On reaching the summit our efforts were duly rewarded as the views were quite spectacular which, quite frankly,  exceeded our expectations. Indeed, this view looking across the Langdale Pikes and down the valley, to many of us, was undoubtfully one of the highlights of the week. After savouring the views we descended down to the junction of paths and then followed a long and torturous path down to Oxendale Beck. It was at this point that Mervyn, we thought, had an embarrassing accident. Apart from dozens of camera batteries we don't know what else Mervyn carries around  in his rucksack but it weighs a ton. This weight, combined with the heavy coat that he was wearing, made him sweat profusely which made it look as if he had actually wet his trousers. We then passed Stool End Farm and at this point the sun made a welcome appearance. Near the Old Dungeon Ghyll Pub we climbed a steep path in the direction of Side Pike to reach the road. We then walked back the short section past Blea Tarn to the lake. On the way back to Coniston we called back at a delightful pub at Little Langdale where Ann & Alison drank from pint glasses - very unladylike which I must admit caused a free eyebrows! In the evening Jeff had prepared a sumptuous BBQ which was excellent. In the evening we a bit of a cabaret where Mervyn gave us another fine performance of his highly acclaimed 'Mad Mike' poem. Alan recited two  poems which he had learnt from childhood called 'September' and The Red Fox' and Brian and Mike said a few jokes. We wanted Alison to sing a song which she had performed admirably out in New Zealand but she refused!

 

Friday 5 August 2011

In the morning we bade farewell to Eric & Sandra who had to return a day early due to a bowls competition in the Rhondda. Today was to be our last day of walking - how quick the week has flown! Peter & Alison decided to do the popular Fairfield Horseshoe described as a classic circular ridge walk. Half of the group decided to walk up to the Old Man of Coniston. (The 'Man' element in the name is said have derived from the Welsh or Cumbric word  'maen' meaning rock or stone). The Fairfield crew drove the short journey to Ambleside where we parked in the town car park. We then left the town and followed a delightful stone lined track for a mile or so above Scandale Beck to the fascinating High Sweden Bridge. We then made our way up to Low Pike and  High Pike - that latter offering fantastic views of the surrounding countryside including Windermere. After a brief stop at Dove Crag we walked up to Fairfield a 2,863ft high mountain where we had lunch in the summit shelter. The views from the summit were magnificent and Helvellyn could clear be seen just to the north which reminded us of Jeffs 'Gollum' experience three years ago. After lunch our route back to Ambleside was along Great Rigg and Heron Pike. Unfortunately, the walk took longer than we had anticipated and as we had only paid for 6 hours parking we were worried that the cars would be clamped on our return. Peter & Mike decided to rush back to the car park. On reaching Rydal House Peter ran for most of way and on reaching the car park was horrified to see whom he presumed was a car park attendant standing in front of his car. Peter was just about to remonstrate with him when he discovered that the man was not about to fine him after all but it was in fact Mike eating an ice cream. He had caught a bus at Rydal and reached Ambleside in no time at all. Peter was shocked but relieved. The rest of us found our own way back. Alan, Geraint and Mervyn, followed a delightful short cut back through the grounds of Rydal House while the others followed a much longer route back to the town. We all went to a pub and while some insisted on staying there a few of us went around the shops in Ambleside. In the evening Mandy volunteered to make the last supper by using up most of the food which we had left. I was delicious particularly the apple crumble. Indeed, everybody agreed that the standard of food all week has been excellent and could not be bettered in any restaurant.

 

Saturday 6 August 2011

Sadly, the week has finally come to an end and during the morning everybody was busy tidying up and packing their belongings in readiness for the long journey back to South Wales. Although nobody admitted to it I'm sure that everybody was looking forward to resting their aching legs and feet. Brian said that every walk was energetic and it certainly felt like it at times. However, despite the aches and pains  it has been a fantastic and a memorable week and special thanks must go to Peter, Alison and Ann for again arranging such a brilliant week. Diolch yn fawr iawn!