Redrope North Wales Trip
9th – 13th May
There were thirteen of us, most from West Midlands but with representation from Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Brighton and Nottingham.
The intention had been to explore the Rhinog range. These are relatively little known mountains and while not huge can be challenging. However the weather on high ground would have been a bit too challenging (50 mph winds, low lying cloud, hail, snow!) so the plan had to change.
We set out from the Cader Idris bunkhouse and drove to Barmouth. From there we caught the train to Llanbedr station and headed gradually uphill through the village and then woods to join the Ardudwy Way heading south. Great views back to the coast and of surrounding moorlands and dry stone walled sheepfolds. As we walked the mist descended and there was less and less to be seen and so we decided to eat lunch at the delightful Pont Fadog, a mediaeval pack bridge straddling a tumbling stream. There we discussed the options and the more intrepid group opted to climb back up into the mist. They were pleased with their choice as the mist was strangely spooky and atmospheric and actually cleared as they began their descent rewarding them with spectacular views over the Mawddach Estuary and mountains beyond. The last of the steep path was down through the rooftops of Barmouth.
The second group took a very pretty walk down a steep wooded valley beside a tumbling stream into Tal Y Bont and from there onto the beach to walk back to Barmouth. The sand was damp and firm so great for walking. The sea was wild and the sun even came out! So the second group were happy with their choice too.
From Barmouth we drove on to our next hostel at Llyn Trawsfynydd. This was comfortable and well equipped.
One group walked from LLanbedr but this time north along the Ardudwy Way, peeling off to walk back to the Trawsfynnyd. A challenging walk, entailing lots of bog negotiation.
Another group walked around Llyn Trawsfynydd, a man made reservoir created in the 1920s. This was approximately 10 miles, including a long, long footbridge in a hail shower, some minor road walking, forest walking both pine and broadleaf, moorland, bog (mercifully not too much), a massive and dramatic dam and, when the cloud cleared, wonderful views of the Moelwyn, Arenig and Rhinog mountains,. There is a disused power station on the shores which at times looked like a castle, at other times disappeared into the landscape and only when close up looked like power station. We took a diversion to see the Roman remains at Tomen y Mur and thought sympathetically of those Roman soldiers, used to the warmth and sun of Italy, garrisoned in this bleak and windswept outpost.. Despite experiencing hail, heavy rain, light rain, sun and thunder we had a great day.
In the evening half the group went to see a Welsh male voice choir concert in the local village hall, which they enjoyed very much. The rest of us went for a short evening walk.
One lone adventurer, being an experienced and expert mountain walker set out to walk 14.5 miles to Bryn Gwynant Youth Hostel. As she walked the rain set in and continued relentlessly for the next six hours, forcing her to eat her lunch in a convenient bus shelter. The rest of us softies took various options combining walking and buses. One group set out from Tremadoc with an initial steep scramble up and then a gentler ascent with the hope of reaching Beddgelert or Aber Glaslyn. However we were defeated by increasingly heavy rain and descending mist and resorted to taxis, buses and tearooms. A breakaway group cut across to Aber Glaslyn falls and walked from there. The third group caught the train from Porthmadoc to Aber Glaslyn Falls and then followed a beautiful wooded walk to Bryn Gwynant via Nantmor.
Our last morning and finally the sun was shining! One group walked to Aber Glaslyn Falls and picnicked on the shores of the river. The other group took the slightly shorter option of walking into Porthmadoc via the new LMC hut under construction, just outside Beddgelert, which was very impressive. Then sadly time to return home.
Food Superb! Evening meals planned, purchased and cooked (well, supervised) by Gill. Breakfast and lunch foods all planned and provided by Liz.
Aber Glaslyn pass – where the river tumbles through a wooded gorge.
Bryn Gwynant youth hostel! What a place to arrive at on a cold, wet evening. It’s a huge Victorian mansion on the shores of Llyn Gwynant with vast picture windows overlooking Snowdon, truly stunning views and a toasty drying room!
Excellent company and conversation!
Male Welsh Voice Choir concert
Norm – health and safety, despite unfortunate accident, hope ankle improved
Everyone who collaborated to make the trip run smoothly – sorting the logistics, packing up the food each day, sorting out travel arrangements on the way there (herding cats way easier I’m told!), planning walks.