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Tuesday, 9 October 2018

A quick overnighter in the berwyns.

When an unplanned slot arose to grab a quick overnighter in the hills, there was only 1 place that entered my mind - The Berwyns and Hills around Llangynog. These are my nearest 'proper' mountains, they're also a pretty safe bet for solitude- I hardly ever see many folk here, the masses passing them on their way to more popular summits in Snowdonia. I had a few jobs to do beforehand, then with backpacking gear grabbed I was on my way by 10.30 am- arriving in Llangynog around 11.45.
It was very warm on the climb out of the Tanat valley, I took my usual route through a disused quarry site passing through a woodland before entering Cwm Glan-hafon.

Usually I drop down to a stream crossing and head towards Y Clogydd, this time I continued on the path towards the head of the valley then onto Post Gwyn. Arcing around the lower slopes of Moel Crynddyn I ascended to Bedd Crynddyn where an access track ( not shown on map ) was reached which I followed to a gate where I turned west towards Post Gwyn.

From Post Gwyn I headed west, then north- west to descend via Cwm Llwyd- mawr. Initially there were some good sheep trods to follow, but lower down it gets very rough and boggy. A better bet would be to retrace the route back to the gate then head north and descend that way. On the way down I spotted a convenient looking path heading towards Clipau Rhos-beddau so a compass bearing was taken before I descended further and lost sight of the path- it was not shown on the map. Soon I reached the Disgynia which I crossed before ascending north on a compass bearing through chest high bracken to pick up the path further on.

I continued on following the course of the Nant Y Cerig-duon below me, plan was to follow it up and collect water as high as possible. At Blaen Nant y Cerig duon the path petered out and I dropped my pack before  descending a very steep rough slope to collect very good water. After a pathless climb I topped out near Ceulan Myheryn where I  scoured the ground for a pitch site, finding 1 soon after.

With the Khufu pitched my usual camp routine commenced- stove on, whisky poured then soak in the views whilst waiting for the water to boil.

There was a nice colourful sunrise and after taking a few pics and video footage I returned to the Khufu to to enjoy the evening gazing out through wide open doors.

Later that evening the skies cleared and the stars came out to play. An app. on my iPhone- Sky Guide showed the Milky way was almost horizontal above the Khufu, I grabbed my camera then got out.

Once my eyes adjusted I could clearly see it towering above, unfortunately there was a little too much light pollution to show it of in all its glory.

I set my alarm in case there was a good sunrise, the forecast suggested I would more than likely wake to clag/rain, but for now I concentrated on enjoying the rest of the evening, laying in my bag, whisky in hand, gazing through open tent doors pondering how small and insignificant we really are in comparison to the universe. Time spent outdoors, camped on a mountain side puts everything into perspective, and I've said many,many times, its the only time I can fully relax- at ease with myself.

I awoke just before the alarm went off- the sound of rain signalled the forecast was right, a brief look out at a world dominated by grey clag confirmed this and I headed back into the depths of my sleeping bag for around an hour.

I needed to be home early so the next time I awoke I made a coffee before opening the valve on my thermarest... time to go.

Once the gear was packed away I headed to the summit cairn on Moel Sych. From there I descended south heading towards Trum Felen, further down I branched off to pick up a path leading down to a bridge over the Afon Disgynfa. From there I ascended towards Craig y Mwm and continued towards a fenced off air shaft shown on the map. I've always wondered what was down there, and how deep it was, so I set up my camera on a full length trekking pole to get some footage. I viewed it once I got home, to my surprise there seemed to be several discarded paint tins part way down on a shelf... I will have to investigate further on my next visit !

The path ascends to a flat area beneath Y Clogydd before descending back to Llangynog, and Craig Rhiwarth comes back into view.

Soon I was back where I started another trip over. Despite being a short trip with no firm plans it was a very enjoyable relaxed one.

Thanks for taking the time to read, I've added a trip video below..

Till next time.. happy wildcamping.


Saturday, 6 October 2018

Shap Fells August 2018.

This trip coincided with a bank holiday which would mean most of the popular summits in the lakes would be heaving with walkers. I had a few Wainwrights left to climb in the Shap fells, and thought these would be a good bet for a backpack in relative solitude. Although a few folk where walking the area it was a lot quieter than its neighbouring popular Fells.

I Parked in Shap and  took the quiet country lane before leaving it to follow the concrete road into the Harper Hills. I love starting a backpack like this as it gives a real sense of walking away from civilisation and into the wilds.

Soon I was climbing into the fells and the 1st summit of the day Scalebarrow Knott which is 1 of the Wainwright outlying fells and also a Birkett. Although modest in height there were good spacious views from the summit cairn.

After a few pics I continued on towards Hare Shaw where I stopped for an early lunch whilst relaxing in the sun  taking in the views, I was so relaxed that I forgot to take a pic. :(.

From there I headed for the Old Corpse Road which I followed East down into Swindale which was new ground for me. After a very nice valley walk I ascended back into the fells heading for Nabs Moor which is another 1 of the Wainwright outlying fells.

A steep pull bought me to the summit from where I continued a little way West to bag Howes- also 1 of the Wainwright outlying fells. For some reason I forgot to take pics at these 2 summits, although you can see them in the video below.

Heading south I descended into Mosedale from there I headed West towards Mosedale Cottage where I met a couple setting up their tent outside and after a brief chat I  left then to continue on towards Tarn Crag - 1 of the 3 wainwright fells I had planned to climb on this trip. Another steep hot climb and I was on the summit from where I descended a little west to collect water from a stream before heading back to the summit from where I surveyed the ground to spot a likely sight.

A nice flat grassy area near the summit Cairn provided a very nice pitch for the night and I set to pitching the Khufu.

The  first thing I always do once my mobile home for the night is pitched is to put my stove on for a welcome brew, the 2nd is to pour a single malt whisky, toast my day in the mountains, then relax and admire the view whilst I wait for the water to boil.

The moon rose to the east just as the sun was setting. It was turned a lovely warm orange colour, the photos below don't do it any justice as I really needed a long lens, but it is a compromise I'm willing to accept for the ease of carrying a very light, compact camera.

The forecast for the next day wasn't too good - heavy rain and wind might see me changing my route, but for now I put it to the back of my mind and enjoyed the rest of the evening.  

The next morning I awoke to a world dominated by low grey cloud and rain it was obvious there any chance of a descent sunrise so I headed back to the warm depths of my bag for an hour or so.

when I next awoke it was still raining and I lit the stove for a brew whilst considering my options.
The original plan was to continue south before descending into Bannisdale then ascend to White Howe and follow the ridge line North where I planned to camp on Harrop Pike.

I spent a few hours waiting for the rain to ease and by 10 am it was still raining with a strong wind blowing so I let out the air from my sleeping pad which gave me the momentous to strike camp and move on.

I decided to amend my plans and to head straight to Harrop Pike from Grey Crag before descending east following the fence line before picking up the fence line heading North which I handrailed to arrive at a track which heads towards Scam Matthew and High wether Tove.

Descending west I picked up the track heading towards Seat Robert where another good sight just before the summit provided another good pitch for the night.

The next morning there were signs of brightness coming through and I continued over a few more minor summits heading back towards Shap.

Thanks for taking the time to read, I've added a trip video below.

Till next time
Happy Wildcamping.

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

3 days in the Glyderau.

My welsh Furths- the peaks over 3000 ft stands at 11 out of 15. This trip I bagged 2 more- Tryfan & Elidir Fawr. This would leave me with 2 still to do - Crib Goch & Carnedd Ugain. I'm not too sure if I'll take max over Crib Goch and will likely do it solo first then decide whether to take him over it. If possible I would like to take him over it, so he too can complete them, Ideally before he gets too old.

I parked in Capel Curig and took a familiar route out towards Foel Goch, the weather was overcast and I could see the higher tops were in cloud.. it was forecast to clear in the evening, which thankfully it did. It was dry and quite humid, the extended dry conditions necessitated carrying 5 lts of water which made for a heavy pack and a sticky climb into the higher Glyderau. Moel Siabod dominated the view to the west, its summit still in clag, soon I reached Gallt Yr Ogof and a moody Foel Goch came into view, I could hear laughter and voices up a head, It was a D of E group heading down. I could vaguely hear music playing and as they got nearer it got louder, imagine my surprise when I finally heard this was Classical Music- these were a sophisticated group of D of E,ers !

View to Moel Siabod.

A distant group of D of E, and the higher glyderau.

Climbing steeply to Foel Goch, Tryfan came into view. There were signs of brightness showing through. My original plan was to reach Glyder Fawr for a camp, then continue over Y Garn and out to Elidir Fawr, before dropping towards Lllyn Idwal then onto Pen Yr Ole Wen to camp, returning to Capel Curig via the Carneddau. With the forcecast for clear calm conditions over the next few days, my thoughts turned to bagging Tryfan. Up to now I'd put it off... partly due to it being in cloud on previous visits and I was worried about taking Max up. I needn't of been worried though as max coped admirably, and as long as you don't mind heights, the south ridge if a fairly easy scramble to reach the summit.

Thoughts now turned to a camp spot for the night, I considered a camp on Foel Goch as I'd not camped there before, in the end I headed to Glyder Fach and camped there, ready for an early ascent to Tryfan the next day.

Looking back to Gallt yr Ogof.

Gallt yr Ogof summit area.

Llyn Caseg - fraith, Y Foel Goch and Gallt yr Ogof.

Climbing towards Glyder Fach a herd of goats came into view, 3 of them came over to pose for a photo.. checking Max out at the same time.

Wild  Mountain goats.

I set up camp in a lovely spot overlooking Tryfan. The midges were out, so after setting the Trailstar up I lit a couple of midge coils to 'smoke em out'whilst I  enjoyed a whisky and coffee on a rock with enough breeze to keep the blighters away. By now it was clearing nicely the views were superb, I spent some time looking down on Tryfan scanning the south ridge and going over my line to the summit. As the shadows lengthened lovely orange light highlighted the surrounding hills. When the light is like this its like wearing high definition glasses, everything seems closer with crags and features appearing like you've pushed up the clarity slider!

Tryfan from camp.

Evening light from camp.

Lengthening shadows  and Llyn Caseg Fraith.

Returning to the Trailstar the midge coils had done their job and I got in to cook tea, watching the last of the light  whilst relaxing in the inner. I intended to get out for some night shots but I'd been up since 6 am, worked the morning before setting off, arriving in Capel Curig around 2 pm. The hot climb to my camp had taken its toll and I grateful of a good nights sleep.

Brew with a sunset view.

Camp on Glyder Fach.

Sunset from camp.

The next morning I awoke shortly before 4 am ready for an early start towards Tryfan. From my bed I could see some lovely pre dawn colour showing through. I lit the stove for my morning coffee/breakfast , Max looked at me to give him permission to go outside and hurried out once it was granted. After breakfast I packed up then continued on down to Bwlch Tryfan. Even at this early hour it was clear it was going to be a warm one. As I mentioned earlier the scramble up to Tryfan via the south ridge was a lot easier than I thought it would be and I only needed to help max up a few sections, the views were superb on the way up and in no time I was standing on the summit of Tryfan and for 5 mins we had it all to ourselves. From the summit I descended to explore around Llyn Bochlywd collecting very good water from just above, to keep Max and me hydrated whilst we ascended to Glyder Fawr via Y Cribin.

Max admiring another welsh sunrise.

Max and 'Adam and Eve'.

looking back to Glyder Fach  from Tryfan

Pen yr Ole  Wen from Tryfan.

Llyn Bochlwyd.

Llyn Bochlwyd.

After pottering around the shoreline we set of on a hot climb to Glyder Fawr, the midges were out in force to make sure we kept the pace up. As we got higher we picked up a breeze which allowed me to slow the pace a little to marvel at the views.

Pen yr Ole Wen from Y Cribin ascent.

Y Garn and Llyn Idwal.

Y Cribin.

Tryfan from Y Cribin ridge.

After an enjoyable scramble over Y Cribin the angle eased and the summit of Glyder Fawr came into view. From here it is easy walking to the summit with fantastic views over towards the Snowdon horse shoe and back towards Glyder Fach and Castell y Gwynt - also known as The Castle in the wind.

Glyder Fawr summit area.

Snowdon horseshoe from Glyder Fawr.

Crib Goch and Snowdon.

From the summit I continued a little west to a rock formation I nicknamed 'The Rooks' and to visit a camp spot just below where I'd camped a few years ago. I decided to have lunch here.

Descending towards Llyn y Cwn I collected water from a spring that I came across, it yielded lovely clear cool water. After collecting 5 ltrs. max drank his full then we continued down towards the lake. Before moving on, I decided to mark the location of the spring.... but it was already added in Viewranger as a POI.. in fact I'd marked it on my last visit nearly 2 years ago, the fact it was still flowing after weeks of very dry weather makes it a good reliable water source. Once down at Llyn y Cwm I allowed Max to cool down for a good 10 mins. before commencing the relentless climb to Y Garn. As expected it was fairly busy and Max as always beat me to the summit.

Joining the crowds  to Y Garn... Spot Max.

From Y Garn we continued North leaving the crowds behind. Descending steeply towards Bwlch y Cywion we climbed following the fence line to Foel goch. There were excellent views across to Elidir Fawr from here and after a short break we descended South before picking up the path Ascending to Elidir Fawr.

Elidir Fawr.

Mynydd Perfedd and Carnedd y Filliast from Foel goch.

The walk out to Elidir Fawr is a very nice one with excellent views down into Cwm Dudodyn with the Snowdon massif beyond. As we gained height Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir came into view.

The following is copied from Wikipedia.

Marchlyn Mawr reservoir is a high level lake in Snowdonia behind Elidir Fawr mountain. It is used as the high level water source for Dinorwig power station, a closed loop pumped storage hydroelectric generating facility. It is said that nearby lies the cave containing Arthur's treasure, a source of bedazzlement to the wanderer who sees it, and the pilferer who touches it. The lake itself lies between 2 mountains Carnedd y Fillast and Elidir fawr and lies at a height of 636m above sea level and the reservoir took four years to build (from 1975- 1979). The reservoir holds about 9.2 million cubic metres ( 320 million cubic feet) of water. From the reservoir, a 10.5 metre (32 ft) diameter tunnel leads to the power station, 670 metres (2,200ft) away.

Marchlyn Mawr Resevoir.

A short ascent from here gains the summit and the wind shelter. Elidir Fawr has terrific 360 views, it feels quite exposed separated from the other main summits in the area. By now I was feeling a little hungry so I got out the stove and made my starter for my evening meal... A very nice Goan chicken soup. shortly after finishing I was joined by 2 adventure racers who asked if I minded if they joined me. They were in training for what they said was the welsh bob graham round, although I cant remember the name. They were hoping to reach Tryfan but if not, would stop for the night around Llyn y Cwn. I showed them the position of the spring not far from there ( a much better proposition than taking water from the lake) they thanked me, and I wished them luck. By now it was around 6.30 and I began to think of a pitch for myself. Plan was to head towards Carnedd y Filiast and drop in the first descent spot. As I neared the column a lovely flat grassy pitch was too good to pass on, so Trailstar out.. time for camp 2.

View from Elidir Fawr.

Camp near Elidir Fawr.

The next morning I awoke to strong winds and clag, swirling mists gave brief views of the north wales coast and surrounding hills. A quick route was planned to get back to Capel Curig then after breakfast we struck camp and headed back towards Y Garn.

Heading back towards Mynydd Perfedd.

Y Garn.

Shortly before Y Garn I took the descending path towards Llyn Idwal from where I descended to the A5. After a shortish walk I picked up the Nant y benglog back to Capel Curig and the end of another trip.

Llyn Idwal.

Thanks for taking the time to read.