Manod Mawr (Day 5)

Unfortunately for Andy who had returned home on Tuesday night, the forecast for today was looking much better, albeit still cold.

The Navigator’s plan was for an ascent of Manod Mawr which overlooks Blaenau Festiniog.


The day did not start well for me as I discovered that my flask had leaked its whole contents into my rucksack.(The leak I discovered later that evening was my fault.) I would have to be polite to The Navigator today as I would need to share his hot drink.

We parked in Manod Village and headed for the paths which would take us to the bwlch between Manod Bach and Manod Mawr.






There was more snow on the ground than we had seen in previous days and as  we climbed the inclined path  past Llyn-y-Manod it became deeper,  perhaps leaving our microspikes back at base could be a mistake. There were good views over to the Moelwyns and the Stwlan Dam and down to Blaenau Festiniog.




Near the top of the path we heard what seemed to be siren and then saw a sign explaining that when it stopped an explosion may follow! We did wait but heard nothing more. As we reached the top of the path there was clearly work going on with a large quarry lorry and digger in sight.

Before the climb to the summit we stopped for lunch, sitting in the snow.


Although the height of Manod Mawr is moderate the views are well worth the climb.  It was again windy up here. We retraced our steps to the quarry road as the direct route south from the top would lead to an unfortunate end!


The track led us down to Cwm Teigl and a minor road.

We left this to take a footpath past Caecano Mawr and back to the car.

The Three Rivers (day 4)

Even stronger winds were forecast for today, so once again plan B (or it could have been plan C) was decided on. To avoid the winds the route today would keep us mainly within river valleys and the chance to see more waterfalls.


We parked in Ganllwyd and walked up north alongside the Afon Mawddach and through Coed Y Brenin.

There are a number of bike trails through the woods with some interesting names.


You will note from the route map a property shown as “Ferndale”, which is now on sale but looked like it had been set up as accommodation to take advantage of the popular mountain bike trade, but it is in the middle of nowhere. We had a coffee break near here.

Continuing on the path we came to the junction of the Afon Gain and Afon Mawddach, both with large waterfalls.



There is a bridge here and if you look carefully underneath, the original bridge structure is steadily collapsing.

After some photos we continued up the Afon Mawddach where we came across what appeared to be a disbanded mine. There were a number of unwelcoming signs here which suggested that one should not enter.  However as the public footpath goes through here and no diversions  we continued on. The land does need care but once through the area a typical upland path appears and at the end there is a public footpath sign pointing back down.

We were  now back on a minor road which would make for some interesting motoring. We stayed on the road and then took the National Cycle Trail number 8 which headed south.  It had now began to snow so we took shelter in the woods to have lunch.


We were now back near the Afon Gain. The bike route switches back and fore a bit and then takes you alongside the Afon Eden, the third of today’s rivers.

We were unlucky for the last quarter of a mile as the rain had began to fall and we were glad of our rain wear.


Rhobell Fawr (Day 3)

Today’s forecast was for clearer weather but high winds especially near the coast. The high tops were again off limits but The Navigator thought a good compromise would be Rhobell Fawr,  a top I had often glimpsed on the way to Bala.


We parked the car in the woodlands near Fridd Carmel and walked east to the junction of the green dotted lane.


We stayed on this path all the way until we cut uphill following a wall near Graig Fach. The contour lines tell their own  tale!

At the trig point it was difficult to stand up in the strong wind and we realised that  the “bigger hills” would have been impossible.  Well done to The Navigator”.

We followed the wall which leads south west past Ffynnon Shon and onto another green dotted lane back to the car.

This area looks ripe for exploration when longer daylight hours are available with Rhobell Ganol and Rhobell-y- Big to be walked.

We had an interesting scenic route back to Trawsfynydd, which I am sure The Navigator meant us to take and took in the well known bustling hamlet of Abergeirw. Despite there being about only two farms there is a community centre!

Waterfalls and Moorlands (Day 2)

Sunday’s weather was not looking inviting and definitely not one for the tops. My bedroom overlooked Llyn Trawsfynydd and if the map is to believed the hills beyond, but nothing but mist.

However The navigator had plan B and we set off for Llan Festiniog and the waterfalls of the Cwm Cynfal.


We walked down to the Ceunant Cynfal Nature Reserve and the deep gorge made for some spectacular waterfalls.






A coffee break was had under the old archways of the disbanded railway before we carried on upstream to Cwm Farm.


The scenery gave way to a narrow gorge with no way through.


 The footpath then took us uphill around Bryn Llech and onto a view point overlooking yet another waterfall.


The path met the B4391 and although there was an opportunity to walk back down to the car on this road we decided to carry on with Plan B. Just before Llyn Dubach we struck onto the moorland and around the south of Llyn Morwynion and onto Carreglwyd.  From here we headed for the minor road and the old chapel and our route back to the start.

Cwm Cynfal is certainly worth exploring for the waterfalls.

Dolgellau and New Precipice Walk Area (Day 1)

Wherever possible we try to factor in a half day walk on our route to base camp and today was no exception.


We met up with Andy who had travelled down from Chester , at the car park near the junction of the A470 and A493 just west of Dolgellau.

We walked along the Mawddach Trail and crossed the Afon Mawddach at the toll bridge paying the princely sum of 20 pence each.


If you refer to the link of the route you will see we headed north and then east to Foel Ispri and then onto part of the New Precipice Walk.  There were excellent views on this route north to the Rhinogydd range, south to Cadair Idris, west to the sea at Barmouth and east to the Arrans.





We wandered back via Llyn Tan-y-Graig and Llanelltyd.




Last weekend we travelled to Chester to visit my son and my brother in law (Andy) and family.
The plan was to have a walk or cycle ride with Andy on the Saturday depending on the weather.  Both sets of kit were taken with the bike fitting in the car.
My son lives in a terraced house in Hoole where cars were non existent when the homes were built. In 2012 parking is a nightmare!  We found a place two streets away and carried our clothes etc to our son’s.
Later on that evening I did manage to move the car nearer.  The following morning I reloaded the car with my walking kit but found to my horror there was only one boot in the car!  Now I knew I had packed them both, could it be I knocked one on the floor when we carried our other stuff the previous night.  I ran around to the street where we had originally parked and there it was lying in the street, soaking wet but safe!
I met up with Andy and we decided to head for Llangollen and walk the limestone escarpment north of the town.
We parked up in Trefor and set off firstly on the Offa Dyke’s Path, through woodlands and then headed up onto the escarpment.  With fine weather the views into the Dee Valley were impressive. I left without my camera so the pictures were taken on my mobile phone with lesser quality.
We walked as far as we thought would allow for a return before dark.
A good day.