A surprise car park on the outskirts of Blaenau Ffestiniog provided an excellent base for this afternoon's ascent of Manod Mawr.
It was a blazing hot summer's afternoon. Seemed like it anyway. A narrow path led east from Congl-y-wal through farmland. A long conversation with the elderly farmer and his weary sheepdog revealed that he had been up here yesterday trying to round up his sheep in the fog. Today he was able to find them.
After helpfully pointing out our route, Farmer Jones sidled off on his ATV and left us to the mercy of the gently ascending path.
There was a direct route, but in deference to Jon's health we didn't take it.
Slate quarries dominated the scene. Allt-fawr and its serpentine ridge were lit by the afternoon sun to our west. Llyn Manod came and went. A Snowdonian panorama was displayed before us, albeit with the occasional doormat of cloud.
Various birds of indeterminate breeds teased us with their intermittent presence. Plovers? Perhaps not.
Large chunks of erratic quartz littered the hill, providing easy landmarks by which to descend by the same route. At the 661 metre summit a defunct trig point revealed its survey bolt still in position despite the pillar being long gone.
The silence was broken as we descended. Two fighter jets practicing dog fighting vied with the local quarry's blasting intentions.
Q: Was that a sonic boom or a sonic blast?
After that we romped back down to the car park, completing our walk of 7 km and 400 metres ascent in around 2.5 hours, in very pleasing late afternoon light.
Sue's a rare, if not reluctant, cook. All credit to her for the excellent turkey burgers she prepared later.