Neath Valley

With the rain forecast to arrive in Pembrokeshire late morning “The Navigator” suggested we go east and our destination was to be the Neath Valley with some canal side walking and a climb up to the Pelenna Forest before dropping back down to the canal via the Gnoll Estate Country Park





Three bridges


Tennant canal





Climbing towards Penlenna Forest


Ruins of Ystrad Owen


Forest ride and high route of NCN47


Ivy Tower




The weather in West Wales from Christmas through to the end of January has not been inviting to the Great Outdoors.

I did manage a few trips but no pictures. Whilst visiting our son in Chester I managed a 25 mile cycle ride with my brother-in-law, Andy to Parkgate on the Wirral. At least we managed a coffee and cake!

We also had a short cross country walk near Guilden Sutton.

Back home my neighbour, Paul and I walked the lanes near Llanddarog as any off road would  have been a mud bath!

I did manage one walk with “The Navigator” in the Havefordwest area but again on hard tracks, lanes and the cycle track.

Slate Trail, Llanberis

This was forecast to be the worst day of the week for rubbish weather, they were not wrong. However there is no such thing as bad weather only inappropriate clothing. I was to find out my over trousers were inappropriate!!

The walk was almost wholly in rain either drizzle or full on but we girded our loins and went for it.



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We parked at the road end in Dinorwig and followed signs for the Slate Trail which as described took us through the huge but abandoned slate quarries. The views down to Llyn Peris , Llyn Padarn  and the mountains beyond were partly obscured by the mist, but no doubt worth taking this route on a good day.


Must be the wet weather.


Llyn Padarn


Llyn Peris


We were also walking above the Dinorwig Power Station.

We descended down the zig zags to the southern end of Llyn Peris and then walked along the road north west to have lunch near Dolbadarn Castle.


Dolbadarn Castle

The walk towards the country park passed  the National Slate Museum which as it had free entry in we went. There were lots of interesting photos and old machinery, clearly they were hard characters to work the mines.Click this link


I know that face.

There are a number of colour coded walks through the wooded park and we followed the yellow path to the end of the woods and then struck uphill back to the car.

And so the end of our week in Snowdonia and considering the past weather we were pretty fortunate.



Pyg and Miners Track Snowdon

We woke to blue sky and with a favourable forecast it was time to aim higher, but not too high!

Today we would walk two of the Snowdon trails, outward by the Pyg Track and back by the Miners Track.


We were at the Pen y Pas car park just after 0900 and it was already filling up. After an eye watering £10 parking fee we set off on the well engineered Pyg track.


As we climbed the sky darkened and snow began to fall. There was a warning sign at the car park that an ice axe and crampons were required to walk to the summit of Snowdon, but we had no plan to continue beyond the junction of the Pyg and Miners tracks.


The sun trying hard to outdo the snow.


When we reached the junction where the Crib Coch path starts the snow stopped and the views opened out. We had a quick coffee break off the path so as not to hinder the numerous walkers heading upwards.


Llyn Llydaw



Coffee break

The further we neared the Miners track the ground was becoming very icy and The navigator and I stopped to put on our Micro Spikes which immediately made the walk easier.





The Pyg Track becoming harder

We met a volunteer Mountain Rescue team member who told us they had already been called out a couple of times that week. Even today there were people heading up into the snow without, in my humble opinion suitable footwear and clothing.

The first part of the descent down the Miners track was very slippy and Andy was extremely cautious as he did not have spikes. A number of people commented on our Micro spikes ,which are no replacement for full on crampons ,but make icy tracks easier to negotiate.


People ascending the Miners Track from Glaslyn

Once down by the water side of Glaslyn we had lunch and then continued on the Miners Track back to base via Llyn Llydaw. This part of the track had large numbers of tourists.




No comment necessary



Sky clearing

A good day out which started out in snow and finished in sunshine.


Parc Drysgol

Wednesday was to be our rest day, especially as the forecast was for a wet day..

Andy and I had a quick visit to Bangor for fresh supplies and after lunch we decided on a short local walk, leaving The Navigator  in charge of the cottage.


The plan was to walk up Moel Rhiwen and onto Parc Drysgol and wend our way in a sort of circle back to base. Although the area is shown as open access we could not find an easy way on to the hill and so walked on to find a path which ran between the two hills. By now the weather had clamped in and visibility  was non existent.


The non view to Moel Rhiwen


Another non view – the grey = low cloud

We reached the top of Parc Drysgol and then headed down to the woodland which lay south easterly and followed the road back north to reach another footpath heading north west, although the sign had been painted  over. With rain now falling and no sign of the mist clearing we back tracked and returned to the cottage.

Nant Ffrancon

With strong winds forecast the higher hills would have to wait and so today we would have an elongated circular walk in Nant Francon.

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We parked in Braichmelyn just south of Bethesda near the huge Penrhyn Slate quarry. The path led steadily up through the woods onto the open hillside of Cefn Orsedd. The forecast was correct as it was certainly windy.


A good use of doors!


Penrhyn Slate Quarry


Looking into Nant Francon



Mynydd Perfedd ridge



A suitable coffee stop was found by a sheepfold before we started the long descent to the valley floor where we crossed the Afon Ogwen. From here we walked up the minor road to reach Ogwen Snack Bar.




The views up the valley seem to show there is no way through but  the main road cuts through to Capel Curig. At the Snack Bar there where a lot more walkers and I can only assume they were only visiting Llyn Idwal as the weather was only for the experienced to climb further.


Our route was back down the minor road where we left it to follow the cycle/walking route  passing the spoil tips from the slate quarry and back to the car.


Cascades at Ogwen Bank

This was a useful recce for Andy and I as we have a plan to bike pack from Bangor up to Idwal Cottage and camp near Llyn Ogwen and perhaps on to the Capel Curig area. It seems there will be a lot of pushing the bikes!

Mynydd Mawr

Today we were heading for Mynydd Mawr where we should have good views to the east of Snowdon and  to the south of the Nantlle ridge.


We parked in the village of Y Fron and walked through the old slate workings to gain access to the open countryside.


Nantlle Ridge



A rare picture of The Navigator with his kit off.


There is an obvious wide track which takes you north easterly to join the  path which gradually climbs to the summit of Mynydd Mawr. There was a sprinkling of snow towards the top.


We looked down into Craig Cwm Du and on reaching the windy top took shelter in the summit cairn for a coffee break.


Into Craig Cwm Ddu

There were a few walkers making their way up from Rhyd Ddu along an interesting ridge.


Looking towards the Snowdon Range



Grizzled outdoor men

Just down from the summit the views of the Nantlle Valley and the ridge above the valley came into view. We walked to the edge of Craig y Bere with its steep cliffs down to the valley floor.








Snowdon in the distance

A lunch spot was found as we descended to the west along the stone wall. The sun was now out and  we could have dozed off  but there was more walking to do! We continued on down and headed in the general direction  of the stone encircled Bryn Castell and on to Llyn Ffynhonnau, where again we had a break before heading back to the car.

North Wales Path and Coast

Our first full day in North Wales and today would be an inland walk, a waterfall and lastly a coast walk.

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We drove north towards Bangor passing the entrance to Penrhyn Castle to park at the coast near the Spinnies Nature Reserve to the east of the estuary of the Afon Ogwen.



We followed a lane southwards, past a local church to join the North Wales path and this took us on an easterly meandering route around to Aber Falls.





Part way along we stopped for a coffee only to be joined by a large flock of sheep who wrongly assumed we would be feeding them!


There are two waterfalls to admire the first a little smaller than the main Aber Falls but no less worth admiring. At the main fall there were a lot more visitors and the only people we had seen for the day. When we three were last here, the main falls were mainly frozen but today it was almost spring like.






We walked down the valley towards Abergwyngregin, steadfastly passing the cafe with its siren call of coffee and cake and on down to the coast. From here we followed the Wales Coast Path back to the car.


Beware high tide.

Llyn Dinas

Our annual February trip for 2016 was to Snowdonia where we based ourselves in a nice cottage near Deinolen. Our small group consisted of “The Navigator”, Andy and myself.

As is usual we have a half day walk en route and this year we met Andy near Llyn Dinas close to Craflwyn Hall at 1300.

The weather had taken a turn for the better and it looked like we were in for at least dry conditions for a few days.

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We had lunch by a lovely waterfall and then headed steadily uphill to join the Watkin Path.



From here we descended to the road crossing the Afon Glaslyn to head westwards south of Llyn Dinas back to the car.




Our trip to the cottage took us through Llanberis Pass with views of the mountains surrounding Snowdon.


A good start to the week.