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Friday, 9 August 2013

Quick bags and Duff Navigation – More Hewitts Ticked

tarrenhendre from tarren y gesail

I was quite pleased to rescue this trip from the doldrums. It was all my fault. The knipemobile needed an MOT certificate and I left it a bit late… then it rained a lot and some long-standing family stuff squeezed the far end of this particular tube so that just a couple, or , perhaps, a few days were available.

So, with a new MOT cert, a new coil spring and some  new roll-bar linkage thingies, I pointed the refurbished knipemobile across the A66 and down the M6 to Wales, turning up, eventually, after heading around in a small circle at one point , at the Erwbarfe campsite  a bit North of Devil’s bridge. I slung up the akto, inflated my blown Thermarest (I’m not getting another one of these!) and rushed off to a car park with an arch a little bit South-Eastish of Devil’s Bridge.

tarrens 005

Pen y Garn is just a simple trek on forest roads and a very very short heave up a few desultory contours on the edge of a huge wind factory (not one of the thirty-five turbines I counted was –a –turning today). Pen y Garn’s top has a trig pillar and a stone shelter built on the foundations of a huge and probably ancient cairn, most of which seems to have disappeared. There’s also a strange surfeit of fenced-off bits of moorland here, and, what appears to be a selection of scientific experiments involving plastic spikes on posts, ladders, and plastic markers of at least two different colours. There’s also some rather nice bilberries; small but juicy and quite sweet…

Pen y Garn’s main attraction, it seems to me , is it’s position on the edge of a rather interesting bit of wilderness. This is a huge and knipeless void, waiting to be filled with the sound of Ktarrens 003 nipe snoring in his akto late at night. It must be done…  not this year, though..

Its other attraction is really only for those who really like to see a lot of wind turbines. There’s a lot. No, I mean, really, loads… Swish swish…

The return to the knipemobile was a simple matter of following the outward journey – not very adventurous, but I’d had a long drive…

7 miles and 1800 feet of uphill…

That was Tuesday, I think…

On Wednesday, I went to Abergynolwyn and parked prettily in the Community centre car park. The immediate environs of Abergynolwyn, it turns out, is a paradise for anybody interested in industrial archeology. I wandered up the steep road to the slate mines/quarries and immediately got lost in the complex of holes and woodland. Most of the area is a new nature reserve with relatively newly planted woodland with lots of footpaths, and it is quite beautiful. The rights of way are spectacularly unmarked, difficult to find and hard to follow, distracted, as you are, by signs which want you to follow some kind of trail around the more interesting bits of the slate industry. After a few dislocations and teeterings over huge craters, I found a path, unwaymarked at it’s start and not really sticking very close to the line on the map. But it did go uphill, so I followed it. My aim was to emerge from the forest on the South-West side of a little Dewey (actually, quite a big Dewey), bag Tarrenhendre and then wander along the ridge to Tarren y Gesail. It soon became apparent that This Was Not To Be. My path emerged on the North-east side of the hill and, after consulting with a few of the hundred and sixteen blackflies who were fighting for the privilege of licking at my dripping forehead, a new plan was formed. I headed for Tarren y Gesail first, followed by what appeared to be a DofE expedition, complete with tinny musical accompaniment.

the wrong side of the hill

cadair idris

Eventually,m and with much pain, swearing, blasphemy , oaths, sweat, blackflies and melted bounty bars, I emerged at the trig/cairn which isn’t quite the summit of Tarren y Gesail. this has a lovely view of Cadair Idris and Tarrenhendre, which looks huge and forbidding from this point, specially to the veteran and ever-so-slightly worn out leg end with a floppy bounty bar.

the ridge

I retraced, back to the place where I’d emerged from the forest and considered that I could probably complete this walk tomorrow….  but, after  a bit of a rest, considered that I could probably bag the Dewey Mynydd Rhydd Galed – only fifty of your earth metres to the top anyway. I heaved myself up there.

The ridge up to Tarrenhendre didn’t look too bad…so I plodded on, meeting a load of kids running and, outrageously having a good time, on their way down – attended by just the one adult. One of the sprogs they must have been about twelve-ish, I suppose) explained how he’d almost broken his leg thirteen times by running down the hillside like that and that each time he’d put his hands down into the heather he’d been stung by a bee. I suspected that some of this may not have been entirely true.  They went on their way noisily and happily down the hill, as I plodded ever upwards.

the way down

I got there eventually, obviously, and followed a line of posts down the hill to the forest roads. this would be a good route excet that it does start to get into bother once it meets the trees. Hair is combed. Entanglements are had. Bare skin is scratched.

nant gwernol

Returning to the start is a simple matter on the forest roads. Quite low down, I opted for a wander along the old tramway that used to transport the slates to the main railway. This is a cracking walk and the river and woodlands are beautiful. It ends at a steep incline which must have taken some engineering brains to design, and the little railway station at Nant Gwernol. A short riverside path leads back to the knipemobile.

12 miles and 3600 feet of up. I’m not showing a map cos I’m not specially proud of the route. This could be done with a lot less effort, I think.

I camped that night at Minffordd and came home the next morning.

Thats another three Hewitts (and two Deweys) There’s just two Hewitts left to do. Oooer….   Nearly there..



John J said...

Wales has got some very good bits - looks like you found some of them.

We should arrange a few days there. I know a sailor and a tractor mechanic who could be coerced into going. Especially if there's beer. And Macaroni-Cheese pies.


Mike Knipe said...

Lots of macaroni-fiulled fun could be had on that wild bit over to Rhayader - then, of course, that traverse along the Very Long Cadair Idris ridge to Barmouth has been on the list for a while

Dawn said...

Looks like you had fun Mike.