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Monday, 21 July 2014

DDDD of E (Duke Duke Duke Duke of Earl) Expedition to Cadair Idris – the Walk(s) In

barmouth beach
Going to the middle bit of North Wales from Knipetowers is a long drive, specially when you have to drive all the way by yourself AND navigate at the same time (a solution to this issue is about to be announced by the way).
The idea of this trip was born when me and Alan and Dawn camped on Cadair Idris a couple of years ago and we thought wot a jolly jape it would be to walk the whole ridge of Cadair from one end to the other with a wild camp at some point and a crossing of the walkway over the estuary at Barmouth.
But a three-day walk is just a  bit too far to justify all that driving (5 hours) and so I determined to extend the visit to a week and have a play on the coastline which is quite fab in this area – think Northumberland coastline but with mountains as a backdrop for extra beachy value.
rhinogion from shell island
In the meantime, Dawn was battling with the Rhinogian, a rocky and heathery playground only just a few miles inland.
So I camped at in sight of Moelfre – a rounded blob which me and superdawg had climbed in misty murk another couple (or , maybe, a few) of years ago on the Rheadr Nantcol campsite, where they let me leave the car, just under the gaze of one of their CCTV cameras and next to the reception where they said they’d keep an eye on it.
meolfre monday
On the Sunday, it chucked it down all day and got quite windy, so I stayed in with a book, but left for Barmouth on Monday, taking a route past the Llanbedr Airport and potential space-station site and across a rebuilt causeway/footpath – as part of the Welsh coastal path to Shell Island where I found myself in a huuuuge and well- spread-out campsite and an even huuger area of sand-dunes – just about a mile wide at the part where I crossed to the sea.
the beach is biig
I followed the unpopulated coast towards Barmouth into a nudie area where I witnessed some quite odd behaviour – including male nudies who’s body language seemed to say “look at me , I’ve got no clothes on and my willy is magnificent, isn’t it?” “And I’m getting a bit of a thrill from doing this by the way…”.  And then, above, in the sand dunes, a small coterie of men were popping up and down trying to peep at the exhibitionists whom, it would seem , would have been only too pleased to endure a much closer inspection should these sad-acts decide to have a walk on the beach along with everybody else. I couldn’t decide whether or not this kind of behaviour was just sad or a bit sinister. The peepers in the dunes would probably benefit from attending a North-East skinny dip, although, possibly, their heads might explode.  Happily, at the other end of the beach were some real people who’d just gone to get a tan and/or have a dip in the effervescent briny.
And it was hot.
I had an appointment to meet Dawn in Barmouth, so, at Dyffryn Ardudwy, I ventured inland, calling for a brief three pints of cold lager at a holiday campsite bar, for the bus into Barmouth.
Having met Dawn at the train station, we found the campsite and John Jocys’s caravan and so formed Team A of the DDDDofE expedition to Cadair Idris.
Dawn and JJ on the walkway across the estuary
Team B – manned by Alan and his two wayward mountain rescue pals Teg and Rich camped on the other side of the estuary (for reasons which are obscure).
The two teams met briefly in The Last Inn – delayed somewhat by Team A’s fruitless search for food, eventually ending in a Chinese restaurant manned by a miner’s daughter from Penistone and who wasn’t Chinese at all.
Incidentally, the washer-up plays a five-string bass guitar. Just sayin’
mawddach trail
In the morning, following a breakfast at Rosie’s Diner (I had the gut-buster) – team A eventually crossed the walkway and met Team B and we all marched off along the very beautiful but otherwise stultifying Mawddach Trail  - an old railway line which goes to Dolgellau without bothering any contours at all until the very end.
dolgellau camp - the ddddofe teams assemble
We camped at Dolgellau and were joined by Laura and Judith – our company now numbering eight and fully complete.
There was hot weather, windy weather and a lovely hill to come. But more of this a bit later…
Here’s a map of the intended Duke of Earl expedition route – we didn’t manage this for various reasons which will become clear in the next  breezy episode.
duke of earl full route
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AlanR said...

The reason why we ended up south of the estuary are 2 fold.
1. The campsite you suggested said couples and families only. It was only during the trip that we found out they would take singles.
2. I was trying to book a campsite whilst on holiday in Greece where the internet was hit during an electrical storm and so Teg booked a site etc etc etc. and as they live south of the estuary, well you get my drift.

Anyways it was a brill trip.Thanks.

Beryl the Peril said...

Intrigued for the rest of the tale. What did I miss?

Mike Knipe said...

Beryl - Since we didn't achieve the aim of the walk, I'll likely have another go at some point - but to answer your question, the rest of the tale will appear in a day or two.