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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Three Late Summer Days in the Berwyn Mountains

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Having seen off the Hewitts a couple of years ago, I seem to have a need to turn my attention to Nutalls and all my remaining undone Nuttalls are in Wales, except Pillar Rock. Now many people have completed the Nuttalls except Pillar Rock and, it seems, I may be heading for the same status.

Three such Nuttalls – Moel Yr Erwig (Round Hill of the Garden Insects), Godor North Top and Godor itself lie within the Berwyn Mountains and email discussions with Dawn produced a plan with a rough, that is to say, approximate route and an invitation to JJ to come along too. We like aproximate routes. Allows for flexibility. Hides the fact that we’re a bit lost.

So thats what we did.

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We began with a rendez-vous at the ticket barrier on Chester station, a journey to Ruabon , wherever that is, and a short bus trip to Llangollen where Dawn bought me a pie. And it was a Very Good Pie too.

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We heaved ourselves up some really steep stuff onto a heathery moor where, after some exploration, we found a lovely, home-engineered water-source and a flat bit of grass amongst the purple where tents Could Not Be Detected from the nearby path. The sun set. All was well.

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In the morning we plodded off over Vivod Mountain along the North Berwyn Way and this made the going easy when it would otherwise have been quite tough. On we plodded to Moel Fferna 630m and then South into the heathery and tussocky wild bit containing a couple of Deweys and then, ultimately, as morale began to suffer, into the lumpy high heart of the Berwyns.

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The sun beat down. The natives were absent. There was nobody else around.  Only the bootprints of Martin Banfield gave any indication that anyone at all had been there before us. (He had, by a couple of hours, apparently)

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On over Cadair Bronwen and Cadair Berwyn we went, where we met an Ulsterman and his little dog waiting for the sun to set (bless ‘is cotton skeggies). Here, something slightly odd may have happened which I will gloss over and, maybe leave to others to detail. It wasn’t my idea, though and it just goes to show just how easily lead I am.

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Dawn decided that a leap over the crags of Cadair Berwyn would probably be OK, and so (see above ref being easily lead), me and LTD and JJ followed her down the excessive steepnesses to our second camp by the heathery and midge – infested but beautiful shores of Llyn Lluncaws, set in a large corrie. My pronunciation – Thlinn Thluncowss was confirmed as “near enough” later by a farmer interested in putting his fences back up.

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The midges eventually backed off and a cool and starry night followed, ultimately misting over, which I noticed during a rare and sleepless moment involving a visit by Mr Bladder and some barefoot stumbling about in the heather.

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Wednesday’s dawn was dull, therefore, but not cold – so I had the dip I’d planned – not an ideal tarn for a dip as it has a rough, slippery and stony bottom giving way to squealchy mud and water weeds. The water is clear and clean and has fish and beetles, so it seems OK. Squelchy can be quite nice between the toes, though, I have to say.

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And then we bagged the three Nutalls (see above) These were very Pennine, in fact, and quite boggy and tough going, but with very little climbing in-between. Lead now by JJ,  we followed a thin path down the hill and out of the Open Access area to find a couple of vehicles and two men involved in mending the fences on private land. We sent our diplomatic service department (JJ) in to negotiate and grace was give for us to continue down to the road. The meeting was friendly and the farmer advised that we wouldn;t get to Vivod Mountain today.

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A long and hot road-plod followed during which I seem to have lost my walking pole. We used the tarmac route for ease and speed and to get close enough to Llangollen for a morning’s trek the next day.  We did manage to rehydrate somewhat at The Hand in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, a small village containing more pubs than most villages of the same size (i.e. two)

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By this time I was feeling the heat quite a bit and LTD was determined to catch a pheasant or two. Or three and he was lurching after each bird that squawked and exploded off through the hedges.  So we had an argument. It was a draw. We were both banjaxed.

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Following the Upper Ceiriog Way, we crossed more moorland and just before we hit the second road, some rough, gorsey woodland with a small stream presented itself. So thats where we stayed, half hidden in the gorse and visited by many spiders and some ants. LTD slept for 12 hours almost without moving at all.

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Thursday was warm again, but with a darkened sky and we passed over the moor where we’d had our first night and then back into Llangollen where egg and chips/sausage and chips and tea and more tea was enjoyed at the Station.

And that, folks, was that.

We did about 33 miles.




Dawn Linney said...

A cracking trip and just think, we came back from Wales sunburnt!

Dave B said...

My favourite Welsh hills, The Berwyns; rarely busy and cracking views when the visibility is good.

Phreerunner said...

Sorry to miss you on the Berwyns. Cracking day though, and there were one or two others up there around lunchtime.
Enjoy your bagging.