When we left Crook, it was cracking the flags. By Cheshire and Flintshire it was steaming. I bagged a little Marilyn – Moel Gyw on Offas Dyke in the Clwydian’s whilst Maggie had coffee. It was hot and sultry and a right sweaty do. I determined to start the holiday with a proper hillwalk.
We stayed in a cottage on a beef and lamb farm (wot no pork?) just a bit South of Harlech, so a trip into the Rhinogau for the bagging of hills was juts a few minutes drive.
As well as the cows and sheep (they were lambing in October by the way!) – Ardgoed also has four dogs, two cats and a pet ram. Bruno was perplexed by the ram, who came with us on evening doggy walks and his robustly friendly approach to a dog who’s main experience of sheep is for them to be making off in the opposite direction, was a puzzle to him. He soon got used to it, though and greeted him each time with an enthusiastic wag
I arrived in Cwm Nantcol the very next morning and wandered up a footpath by old miners’ paths past the old mines and the old mine shop where the old miners rested at night (too dark in the mines at night) and told old miners tales about old mines and stuff. I passed Llyn Perfeddau and arrived at Llyn Hywel where the paths all disappeared in scree. The Rhinogau are very rough and heathery and rocky by the way. The next half an hour was a desperate struggle up steep scree and rock and “mixed ground”, not helped by the spooking of Bruno by something or other which made him bark and bark again at the echo…and so on…
Eventually we made it to the connecting ridge between Rhinog Fach and Y Llethr. We aimed for Y llethr by a steep path which avoids a rockier course a bit to the left. From Y Llethr, the ridge continues stonily over Crib-y-rhiw (if you’re having difficulty with these words by the way, its probably because you don’t speak Welsh) – to a grassier climb up to Diffwys. Its much easier from here and Diffwys’s West top is just a boggy plod away. It was hereabouts that I came across several straggly groups of teenyboppers, most of whom looked in a worse state than me and made me feel much much better about being an old fart who heaves and pants his way up steep grass, anticipating at every step the final explosive failure of his thigh and bum muscles.
I followed an old road back to the start. This was probably the only proper hillwalk of the fortnight at 11 miles and 3100 feet of climbing.
A couple of days later, still confident of a good bag of hills, I opted for the outlying Rhinog Y Garn. This was a straight-up-and-down walk up the long South ridge and it was all very pleasant. I finished the day off with a walk alomg the “New Precipice” walk, which contours along the hillside overlooking the Mawdach and very nice it is too, but more of a very steep brackeny hillside rather than a precipice. And we had a trip to Morfa Dyffryn beach for the chasing of sticks and bits of seaweed. The beaches along this coast are specially big and wide and flat and empty.
I did notice that superdawg was much less enthusiastic than usual about going up the hill and if the pause was long enough, a snooze as well. He was more than happy to come down the hill, though, and he bounced around the beach like a daft pup. More of this later, perhaps.