Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Saturday 10 July 2021

Saturday 10 July 2021 - The Precipice Walk, Foel Cynwch and Foel Offrwm

Today we drove 20 miles or so towards Dolgellau, parking at the 'Precipice Walk' car park. Currently FOC but according to a Park Ranger, parking charges will soon be coming.

I recall this walk from many years ago. A fine, short outing around a small hill, Foel Cynwch. Bell heather and stonechats kept us company as we strolled along the belvedere with precipitous drops to our right.

We decided to pop up to the summit. Once on the ridge it was an easy stroll; climbing and descending through head high bracken to and from the ridge was a different matter.

The views towards Barmouth and Cadair Idris were excellent, despite the cloudy day.

Towards the end of the circuit we arrived at Llyn Cynwch, the small reservoir that supplies water to Dolgellau. 

We returned to the car park (if not the car) after a pleasant lakeside stroll.

The circuit is about 6km in an hour and a half. Add 1km and half an hour for an excursion to the summit.

After a second cuppa, we set off on another fine path past trees carpeted with moss.

There were more fine views, and we paused for lunch. Bog pimpernel carpeted the damp ground beside the path.

There was a waymarked path leading to the summit of Foel Offrwm ('the hill of sacrifice'). Well worth it for the wayside benches and for the views.

There are Iron Age structures up here  as well as a massive summit cairn. In the 15th century family rivalries led to the murder of one Howel Sele, who haunts from the oak tree in which his body was hidden. Branches of the tree have been known (it is alleged) to reach down and strangle passers-by. 

With clouds threatening and after a long chat with a Park Ranger, we sped back down the hill - a 4.5km outing plus 1.5km to the summit and back. Allow an hour and a quarter for the circuit, plus 45 minutes for a visit to the summit.

Friday 9 July 2021

Friday 9 July 2021 - A Tremadog Circuit

Dave (my brother) joined Sue and me for this walk. Sue and I had been there before, on a rainy day in May. It rained again today. That put Dave off and he returned home once we had walked around Llyn Bach, pictured above, and reached Tremadog. 

Sue and I continued in the rain, ascending steeply through woodland. 

On our previous visit we missed the standing stone near Fach-gôch. This time we took care not to repeat that error.

A little higher up, we got views down to the estuary. By now the rain had stopped but the wet vegetation still soaked our trail shoes and our trousers. Moel-y-gest maintained a lid of cloud.

The farm at Erwsuran was deserted, in fact we saw nobody until we got down to cycleway number 8 near the end of our walk, but the roofs of the buildings look well maintained. 

Here's another view down to the estuary and Porthmadog. 

Good views towards the Moelwynion summits were enjoyed beyond hedgerows of foxgloves.

After a descent into Cwm Mawr we crossed the valley and rose again, beside an impressive wall, to reach a high point at Allt-wen.

On the next descent we admired the Moelwynion backdrop beyond a fine wrought-iron gate.

Head high bracken accompanied us steeply down to woodland, where Sue spotted a tree creeper.

Soon after that we joined the cycleway that proved to be a direct route home.

Here's our route - about 15km, with 400 metres ascent. We were back for lunch after a four hour walk. 

Later, we rescued Dave from his solitude, and allowed him to phone his wife whilst thrashing us at nomination whist.

Our al fresco meal on the deck later was most pleasurable. We were sorry to hear from Gibson that it was raining in Scotland. I suppose the perfect weather that we enjoyed up there had to come to an end sometime!

Thursday 8 July 2021

Thursday 8 July 2021 - Llanberis, Dolbadarn and Llyn Padarn

Back in Snowdonia, we chose a circuit from Llanberis based on two of Alex Kendall's 'Snowdonia: North' routes.

Pete's Eats soon waylaid us for welcome coffees (above).

Then we headed in a wide southerly anti-clockwise circuit to Dolbadarn Castle. En route we encountered virtually nobody until we reached the Snowdon Mountain railway where the old story I used to read to my children - 'Ivor Loses His Carriages' - turned out to be a true event today!

The folk at the Ceunant Café didn't seem bothered. They pointed out the path through the woods towards the castle.

There was lots of Stonecrop on this walk. Sue thinks it's the 'English' variety; I think it's 'White'.

Dolbadarn Castle proved to be an excellent spot for lunch. It was built by Llywelyn the Great in the early 13th century. Later that century, Dafydd, Prince of Wales, moved his court to Dolbadarn in the face of invasion by the English. He was soon killed and Welsh independence came to an end, so this place was the final administrative centre of an independent Wales. 

We soon moved from walk 17 to walk 18 in Alex's book. This comprised a very scenic walk around Llyn Padarn. Here's the view back towards Snowdon from beyond a variety of homages to the slate industry, which is much in evidence around here, the green hills of Dafydd's era having been transformed into huge terraces of bare slate.

The paths to the north east of the lake turned out to be wonderful quiet woodland passages. Here, a quaint bridge led us across one of several streams.

We emerged eventually at a farm. Here's a relic for Conrad, who I think is somewhere near the east coast, re-living his youth with BC.

This 'Allis-Chalmers' is for AlanR. I'd not previously come across that name.

The next farm offered six duck eggs for £1, so we snaffled some. The ducks, very free range, were happy and showed no objection. (Sometimes they can be somewhat obstreporous.)

The end of the lake, with kayakers and views towards Snowdon, was soon reached.

From there it was an easy lakeside walk past many 'free parking' places to get back to our £5 for the day spot.

We were pleased to see various amenities encouraging water sports and open water swimming, for which the long floating pontoon in the next picture was proving very useful.

Here's the best I can offer by way of a route as Anquet's OMN software wouldn't behave today. It was about 14.5 km with some 500 metres of ascent.

On return to Porthmadog, my brother joined us for beers etc on the deck, where Sue and I later enjoyed a rare al fresco meal. We could have been in central Europe somewhere!

Wednesday 7 July 2021

Gossamer Gear - Lonestar 30 rucksack

Gossamer Gear are supporters of the TGO Challenge, and last year they kindly provided rucksacks for those vetters who wanted one.

The rucksacks have been sitting in Newtonmore, awaiting collection, for a while. Luckily, they were taken to the Park Hotel in Montrose last week, and I was able to collect this nice piece of kit.

The 'Lonestar 30' is a day sack, so I'm not really interested in its weight (a meagre 600 grammes). The nylon material is thinner than the material used for my current Deuter 30 litre day sack, so it's 'floppy' in comparison. Also, the Deuter has more convenient pockets and a raincover.

The Lonestar 30 has the following features:

  • Convenient top lid pocket
  • Drawstring main opening
  • Trekking pole and ice axe loops
  • Hydration sleeve and tube routing
  • Daisy chain and plenty of tie-on points
  • Removable internal stay system
  • Removable belt with pockets
  • Tough and durable Robic fabrics

It doesn't have a raincover or a separate lower compartment for waterproofs. 

I thank Gossamer Gear for their generosity, and will certainly bring this rucksack into use soon, if only to prolong the life of my Deuter Trans Alpine 30 sack that is showing signs of age.

I'll add further comments when I've used the rucksack. The external storage spaces and pockets all look to be a bit bigger than those on the Deuter, so that could be a plus factor in that comparison.

(Meanwhile, in Montrose with Mike Parsons, the old Karrimor rucksacks that Mike designed received many plaudits.)

Tuesday 6 July 2021

Flowers of the Bridgewater Canal in Timperley (2)

Here are a few pictures taken on 23 June during a (not)parkrun along the towpath between Timperley and Altrincham. Coincidentally it's just about a year since a similar posting (here). Perhaps the flowers are at their best just now.

I first got the camera out in order to record the progress of the transition of the Linotype Works industrial premises to a housing estate.

Then the lightly mown verge led to an irresistable desire to 'snap' some of the flowers...

I'll do my best to identify them, but the captions may be wrong. Let me know...
(And you should get a slideshow on your PC if you click on any of the images.)

Ox-eye Daisy


White Clover

Above and below: Umbellifers - I find these very difficult to identify

Above and below: Ribwort Plantain

Hawkweed - apparently there are about 400 UK varieties!

Meadow Buttercup


Hop Trefoil

Charlock, or similar

Meadow Vetchling

Above and below: Dandelion, or similar

Tufted Forget-me-not

Bush Vetch

Pencilled Cranesbill

Herb Robert

Broad-leaved Willowherb

Red Clover

Dog Rose

Rosebay Willowherb

Red Valerian


What can you spot beside your towpath or river bank?