The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All around the Broom and Heather.

Thursday 21st August 2014.
I measured my meths to the micro litre or was it a nano litre and my gas to the decigram and then i piled it all in the car for a return trip to Arthog, near Barmouth on the Snowdonia coast, Wales.

I was there just a few weeks ago with a small rabble of hikers when we were blown off the Cadair Idris ridge.
I was impressed with the area and decided to go back with Sheila as she had managed to acquire a couple of days off work and which by tagging it onto the Bank Holiday resulted in a long weekend.

We arrived in Arthog mid afternoon Thursday 21st August. The weather forecast was not great for the next few days and although we did have some reservations about going we were glad we did as the forecast was completely wrong.

Thursday pm saw us crossing the bridge over the estuary to Barmouth and it was blowing quite fierce. The sand and the water was being whipped up and gave us a fair lashing. Our destination was The Last Inn which IMO is one the best eateries in Barmouth, if not THE best. It would be an understatement to say it was busy and we were so glad that we had booked a table. Many folk were turned away.

Friday 22nd august 2014.
 We awoke to sun bursting through the tent. It was so hot it made us get up and out quite early considering that we were in no hurry and Sheila was deserving of a lie in. The plan i had today was for us to do a short walk along the ridge Pared y Cefn hir. GR SH 66471510.
A few weeks ago when we walked past this ridge on the lower path near Llyn Cregennen i made a mental note to walk it sometime. The bulbous rocky west face of the ridge draws the eye from every angle.
The west end of Pared y Cefn hir ridge.
We started our walk from the car park at the railway station Morfa Mawddach. From here we followed the Mawddach trail until reaching the Car Park at Arthog which can also be used as a start point and saving a couple of miles if so desired.

On the left of the driveway to the car park go over a ladder stile at GR. SH641146. Follow the sea defence wall and over another 2 stiles to reach the small Arthog church. Where the path joins the main road, go through a kissing gate and then with care cross over the main road and walk left for just a few yards to reach some steps and a metal gate. 
The signpost reads Llwybr Cyhoeddus. Through the gate you find a flight of stone steps up a wooded glade and following the Afon Arthog. After the flat walk along the trail you now know where your heart is and how fit the leg muscles are or not as the case may be. 

A number of water falls come into view along the route and at the top a huge Beech tree marks the point where a ladder stile takes you over a high wall.

Beech tree said to be over 200 years old. The ladder stile visible rear centre left.

Over the stile follow the path to the left and a little further on you come to a clapper bridge at SH649138. Go over the bridge and follow the path that heads North and then swings round to North East. When you get to a signpost on a wall showing a permissive path, ignore this and carry on NE.

 The route has marker posts all the way until you join the metalled road at GR SH655146, close to Gefnir Farm. Walk past the farm and stop to admire the good views across the estuary to Barmouth.

Close to the brow of the hill we stopped for a few minutes admiring Llyn Cregennen. There is a small car park a little further along the road and this accounted for the numerous people passing by.
Our route from the road is obvious with the ascending path standing out green against the purple heather. (See photo 1).

There are a couple of easy scrambles ahead for those inclined or a more easier ascent around to the right of the well worn track. We chose the easy scrambles obviously. At the top there is a fort shown on the map but its difficult to pick it out today. However the views from the top and all along the ridge are well worth the effort.
 The view east from near the summit. Cadair Idris ridge in the background.
 Llynau Cregennen from the summit. 
Braich Ddu, the summit on the right and the ridge to the left is Craig-Y-llyn.
 Mawddach Estuary and the bridge across to Barmouth

 Heading off along the ridge, the heather absolutely wonderful in full colour.
 Still on the ridge. There are a number of easy scramble descents which may not suit everyone but there are easier alternatives to be had on the left.
One of the descents that may be difficult for some.
Whilst in this area i wanted to go and see the small Llyn pen Moelyn across to the north. So we dropped down from the ridge across more trackless heather and ascended Pen Moelyn. Again the colours were terrific with Broom interspersed with the heather. It brought the words of the folk song “Wild Mountain Thyme” into my head. It was sheer delightful walking.
 Taken with Sheila’s I phone.
Heading up Pen Moelyn.
The stunning Broom and Heather and Llyn pen Moelyn.
With the perfect weather and the serenity of our location it was sad to have to head away. The people doing the fort ridge had now all disappeared as very few actually go over to the Pen Moelyn. We had the place to ourselves. We headed carefully down towards the path at Ty’n Llidiart, an empty farm. There is no path but plenty of hidden obstacles and so it was a slow descent.
The steep pathless descent to the valley bottom.
The farm looked in good condition and so it was a bit of a surprise to find it empty. We followed the farm track for a few hundred yards until we passed a couple of large cable reels which we thought made an ideal picnic table. And so we stopped here for lunch.
From our lunch stop, the ridge including Cadair Idris and the point where we were blown off a few weeks ago, is the shallow V shaped dip on the right.
Just after leaving the farm track and joining the tarmac road the route passes an old chapel. Penmaen Chapel. A Calvinistic Methodist, Rehoboth Capel. It was built in 1834 and modified many times. It was no longer used after 1978 and was ruinous in the early '90's.
It's quite easy at this point to keep looking at the chapel and miss the footpath down through the woods which is directly opposite the chapel.

The footpath is very nice through broadleaved woods and exits at the Kings hostel. Here there is also a very nice campsite adjacent to the Gwynant watercourse.

As the water falls towards the sea into the Mawddach we follow the road down to the junction with the main road. Cross over and follow the driveway towards Abergwynant Farm. The farm entrance bends to the left but we carried on straight and through a wide gate leading to a track by the river. 
In a few yards we pass an old Lime kiln which is still in fair condition. Limestone was brought here from Llandudno and burnt to create fertiliser for the local land.

Some huge fungi. As big as Naan bread?

In a few minutes the Mawddach trail is reached and the return to Morfa railway station car park is reached in about 4 miles of flat walking on the old rail bed.


Sir Hugh said...

Stunning pics of heather - it does something special for me. I am setting off next Wednesday and hope to finish up crossing Dartmoor and Exmoor in about two weeks, but I fear I will have missed the peak of the heather,

afootinthehills said...

What a beautiful area and as you say Alan the heather is stunning. Good decision to ignore the weather forecast - and we get to enjoy lovely photographs as a result!

AlanR said...

Thanks Conrad. The heather is stunning just now. I hope you manage to catch it before it falls. All the best for your moors walk. (Your not doing a reverse of the Pilgrimage of Harold Fry are you. Ha)

AlanR said...

Hi Gibson. Yes the area called me back. It was stunning without the heather in bloom but what a fantastic surprise with it on show. Magnificent. More to come too.

afootinthehills said...

I hope it's as good in the Braemar area over the next couple of weeks. It can be terrific but has been a bit disappointing over the last couple of years.

AlanR said...

They probably burn more around Braemar.

afootinthehills said...

That's true, but not at this time of the year and of course burning promotes growth and improves its condition. You've just got to watch you don't get shot as you admire its beauty! All the Range Rovers will be out and about at Loch Callater and elsewhere I expect.

AlanR said...

But the new growth gets eaten!
Yes, i bet Bill will be on for a few bottles of Holts or maybe something less attractive like Malt Whisky. Ha.

afootinthehills said...

Either will be acceptable but it's usually royalty that invites us in for tea. Or was that a dream?

Meant to say that I liked your slight tweaking of the words of the song in your post title. Or maybe it's just a coincidence.

markswalkingblog said...

Good trip report in one of the only areas of N.Wales I have walked- I liked it a lot. Wales is a long way from the East side of England when you have the Lakes in the way! However does offer some good walking and therefore I must make the effort to visit again!

AlanR said...

I’m sure others will have noticed that. Well i hope they did anyway. But yes you are correct and thanks for mentioning it.

AlanR said...

Thanks Mark. Its slightly further for me to get here than the Lakes but its good to visit new areas and read new maps.

Dawn said...

It is a fantastic area Alan. Your brilliant photos say it all.

AlanR said...

Cheers Dawn. Its a nice little camera.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, beautiful pictures!
(But it's gorse, not broom!)

AlanR said...

Correct. It was just a play on the words of the song.

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