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Sunday, 17 October 2010

Welsh Bagging from Fedwr Gog

inversion on aran fawddwy
Fedwr Gog is the farmstead base of this year’s October Bagfest. We often have an October holiday in Wales cos the accommodation is so much cheaper and the weather is usually still a bit summery.
Its near Corwen. I am trying to bag hills denoted as “Hewitts”
moel fferna to llandrillo top 
Anyway – Bagging day 1 was Moel Fferna to Pen Bwlch Llandrillo including lots and lots of heather and three Deweys. This is grouse country. Its hard work. I saw nobody else at all till I was coming off the hill where a couple of shepherds and their dogs were doing whatever it is shepherds do to sheep at this time of year.
the three amigos

There’s a lot of gathering sheep into sheepfolds going on. I noticed that the field in front of Fedwr Gog was occupied by a number of tups and some dewy-eyed ewes. There was naughtiness. No foreplay was involved. Some of the tups were having disagreements. One sustained a bloody injury….. Three rams of a different breed, however, displayed their superiority by not getting involved in any of this. They were still and quiet and occasionally nuzzled each other as if sharing a secret. They certainly wouldn't be producing any offspring next year. maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this.
cadair bronwen from cadair berwyn
Three days later, I met Fight Club Hiker and TGO-er Peter and his dog Lily at Llandrillo and we went off to bag yet more Berwyn heather. This time it was Cadair Berwyn to Moel Sych. The ground was waterlogged and there were some short but fierce showers. Lily had a couple of snaps at Superdawg, mainly, we noticed, whenever there was food being consumed. Bruno was submissive. he’s not always like that…..
A good walk, though with another 11 miles and 2700 feet of up.
lily arenig fawr a steep bit
There was some incidental bagging following a trip to Ruthin, but the next major event was Arenig Fawr. Peter and Lily attended once more but a Manchester contingent of Fight Club Hikers failed to arrive. So , a bit late, we set off up the outrageously steep ridge up on to Arenig Fawr. there was dense hillfog and a lively breeze which would have taken your hat off had it not been properly fixed on.
mist clears off arenig fawr
Arening Fawr has two main tops, and the second one suddenly appeared out of the mist as we approached.  the mist cleared completely and quite suddenly and we bog-trotted off to the bwlch (bealach/pass/gap..) below Moel Llynfant. This looked very big from here, it has to be said.
arenig fawr - the way up
Peter decided that as he wasn’t a bagger, he had no need to torture himself with the struggle up to the top, so we parted here and me and Bruno had a wind-assisted ascent to the rocky top where I allowed Bruno to witness the consumption of a Lancashire Cheese and Onion butty.
starting up aran benllyn
Yet another three days later, a frosty and foggy morning saw me parking the knipemobile at Llanuwchllyn at the head of Llyn Tegid for the long Northern ridge of Aran Benllyn (Hill of Cough Medicine). We (me and the dog) soon popped out of the fog into clear blue skies, big views and very warm sun. The long and gentle ridge is an absolute delight, in both directions. After Aran Benllyn there’s the rounded Erw Ddafad-ddu before the final rocky climb up on to Aran Faddwy, at 905 metres, the high point of the fortnight in more ways than the obvious.
aran ridge cadair idris from aran fawddwy
There were other walkers on the top. Away to the South, an island stood out of the valley fog. It was decided that this was Plumlumnon.
This ridge is a sheer joy to walk, particularly in this special kind of weather. I have to say that this kind of thing seems quite common in October.  I came down the same way, slowly, although a downhill romp of the gentle gradients would have been possible. Sometimes, though, things need to be savoured.
With a little time to spare, I took the gated mountain road towards Trawsfynyd and finished off the day with a quick bag of two outlying tops Foel Boeth and Gallt y Darren – with specially cracking views to the West.
west from gallt y darren
An intermediate couple of tops just south of Llangollen in a quick hour and a bit whilst Maggie read a  book in the car was a post-lunch treat. Moel Morfydd and Moel y Gaer (it has a hillfort – i.e. “caer” on the top) A bit foggy and 1300 feet of climbing in just 3 miles.
its not all walking
Every holiday has to have an anti-climax, though, so a couple of days later, I went off to the top of Cwm Hirnant for the bagging of five heathery  tops – Pen y Bencyb Trefeilw, Y Goes Fagl, Cyniau Nod, Cefn Gwyntog, Stac Rhos and Pen y Cerrig Duon. These are served closely by an old landrover track, but there is much heather and tussock-bashing to do. This is almost as rough as Kielder. There is some danger to the integrity of the ankles. Its rough stuff. the weather was grey and cold too. We finished fairly early and repaired to the Co-OP in Y Bala for a bottle of medicine (Chilean as it happens)
the end
48 Hewitts to go, 47 of them in Wales. I might give this an extra effort next year.


Greg said...

Great stuff, I hope I'm still fit enough to tackle the hills when I finally retire.

Louise said...

Some stunning photographs Mike! Looks like you've had a fine time.

The Odyssee said...

Some grand pictures MIke and what a lovely day on the Aran's.
Superdawg looks like he isn't in the mood to talk to anybody in the last pic.
Ah that Chilean medicine. I feel a cough coming on.

Mike Knipe said...

Thanks each. I expect superdawg enjoyed it as much as me - apart from being mugged by little Lily.
The trick, Greg, is to retire early. You used to be able to do this, y'know...

(Nobody seems to have noticed the edit I just had to do - Cwn Hirnant has just been corrected to Cwm Hirnant. Cwn is a dog, obviously. Cwm is a Corrie, Coombe or Cwm.... dhuhh... seem to have got away with it....)Dim fartio as we say around here (no messing about) Sorry, Wenglish joke...)

Peter Crawford said...

Sorry I couldn't join you for the Aran, Mike. Told you it was good though.
Don't worry too much about "ankle integrity". My left ankle has been known to have taken bribes and the right one was once a cabinet minister. And I'm still here.

Mike Knipe said...

Quite fab, those Arans, Peter. Luckily, I'll have to go back as there's some tops to the East which link to the main ridge - so more fun in store for next year.I'm not too bothered about my ankles by the way - they're above reproach, having been joint members of both the Boy Scout Movement and the Young Communist League. Idealistic, perhaps but they still can't explain dialectical materialism, or the need to be able to cook an egg inside an orange skin.

Phil said...

Funnily enough I was on Cadair Berwyn on Saturday morning, and took an identical picture of Lyn Lluncaws. Must be careful not to write an identical blog as well!

Word = 'plagiarise' ;-) (no, it isn't really)

Mike Knipe said...

Aye, Phil, it wouldn't do to write exactly the same blog text but with slightly different spelling mistakes.... tut tut, outrageous...

(You'd have to read Postcard From Timperley, and the Pie blog very closely to fully understand this comment - it refers to a walk over Crookrise, Rylstone fell and Thorpe fell a while back)

Nice, the Berwyn's , though. Very peaty, like an Isla malt.