Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 19 November 2021

Friday 19 November 2021 - Pont Gethin

Today's walk, after cleaning the house and enjoying a coffee with Dave, was a short outing on the way home. Starting at Plas Penaeldroch Manor, near Dolwyddelan, we noted that the café is still shut. The owner told us that it was unlikely to reopen any time soon due to Covid regulations and staffing issues. But the B&B has seen good business this year and he has no objection to walkers parking at the Manor. It would be courteous to ask permission. We had already parked in a small lay-by nearby.

The walk continued past Lledr Hall, a fine looking building now used as an outdoor centre by Salford Council. Trees obscured my attempts at a photo.

Beyond this, our route followed that of Afon Lledr, passing a railway bridge before hugging as close to the river, which proceeded through a narrow gorge, as practicable. 

Our path was through soggy leaf litter, but those attempting the path on the left bank of the river would be less comfortable. I wouldn't recommend the 'path' shown below - it soon deteriorates into a steep metal ladder with very few rungs.

Emerging at a campsite, we were accosted by a chap who wanted to know whether it was possible to walk from here to Betws-y-Coed. It is. "I have a map", he told us. We adjourned for lunch by the river.

After lunch we continued to a tunnel under the railway. Here is Pont Gethin, built in 1875, the bridge that takes the railway over the Lledr river. I failed to take a good picture on the overcast day, but we have managed a full week's walking without having had to call on our waterproofs!

Sue spotted a badger, but like me was too tardy with her camera.

The path then rose a bit, and looped around to follow the railway before rejoining our outward route and returning past Lledr Hall and the Manor. 

Here's our route - 6.5km, 150 metres of ascent, taking 2 hours. A good way to finish this trip. We were at home in Timperley by 4pm.

Thursday 18 November 2021

Thursday 18 November 2021 - Llanbedrog

One of our favourite haunts is the Lleyn Peninsula. However, as we've been ticking off Alex Kendall's routes in Snowdonia we haven't gone west recently. 

Today, to make up for that, we drove to Llanbedrog and the National Trust car park, where rows of beach huts are stored for the winter.

We wandered down to the beach on the fine, warm (14.5°C) November morning.

The steep steps beyond the Foxhole holiday cottages led inexorably to the Iron Man sculpture, from where there's a good view down to Llanbedrog.

We then followed the coast path all the way to Mount Pleasant, via views down to Abersoch and a couple of islands. 

Bladder Campion was observed, and there were rampant patches of bright yellow gorse.

We noted that the footpath marking team must have run out of yellow paint, but in deference to Conrad (Sir Hugh) I donned a yellow hat. Perhaps I should get a stock of these and issue them to (both) my walking companions?

Sue wandered off, muttering something about wanting to be a silhouette. 

"This is my sort of summit" I was heard to exclaim as we reached the classically named summit of Mynydd Tir-y-cwmwd. "All trig pointed summits should be provided with benches on which their septuagenarian visitors can munch their bananas", asserted the yellow hatted visitor.

A leisurely descent took us past a chapel and the church, and back to the beach for a short stroll in the sand to get our mileage up to 5km.

There's a new café by the beach, Aqua, that served excellent coffees before we moved on to Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, a dower house built in 1856. We've been there before.

A browse around the gallery could easily have left our wallets £1000 lighter, but that expense was saved for a family matter, and our only purchase was of soup and sandwiches for lunch. Then we took a couple of photos and headed back to Porthmadog for a stroll around Llyn Bach and a pot of tea with my brother Dave.

Here's today's route - 5km, 200 metres ascent, taking 1.5 hours.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

Wednesday 17 November 2021 - Llanbedr

Today's outing involved a delightful circuit from Llanbedr, near Harlech.

Starting in woodland, we could admire what may be the last of the autumn colours, which from a distance appear as a russet tablecloth over Snowdonia. 

Other parking places are available!

One feature of these parts that we have noticed is the farmers' love of storing 'kit' in old vehicles. Yesterday we passed a farm with around 20 such vehicles, and even the poorest farms have a modest collection of vehicles rescued from the scrap heap and converted into wardrobes.

Our woodland stroll took us past a small reservoir before crossing the Afon Cwmnantcol. A river.

The campsite by Nantcol was closed until March, so there was nobody to collect our £1 entrance fees for the falls. I took a picture of a tree, showing how far into autumn we are. A strong wind or a bit of frost will bring the remaining leaves to ground. 

The waterfalls are pleasant enough, but not spectacular. What can you expect for an uncollected pound?

However, one of the campsite trees did produce a result. It must have been full of berries and insects. Tree Creepers (the first I've seen this year) were scouring the trunk, and Long-tailed Tits and a variety of other birds were scoffing the berries.

A series of blue topped (why not yellow?!) posts conducted us around a pleasant circuit of about 2km, with open views.

Continuing on our anticlockwise circuit from Llanbedr, and after some tasty cheese butties for lunch, we were soon entering more woodland with another unpronounceable Welsh name. We were righteous - the sun was shining on us. 

In between the woodland sections, this route often presented us with lovely open views to the Rhinogs and other hills.

Then we returned to the woods, and some giant specimens of fungi. Sue has more pictures of them which will be 'broadcast' in due course.

More open views greeted us, before a final descent along a narrow lane back to Llanbedr. 

Here's our route - about 12km, with 300 metres ascent, taking us a leisurely 4 hours.

Another great little outing. 

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Tuesday 16 November 2021 - Conwy Mountain

A trip to Conwy (I always thought it was Conway) found us parking in a free spot and making our way to the smallest house in Great Britain, after excellent coffees and a scone at the Illy Café. 

Sadly the house was closed due to having been flooded at the end of October. So we proceeded along the waterfront, blessed again with fine but overcast weather, with views across the estuary and onwards to the Great Orme headland.

In the estuary next to us, we saw a Little Egret, a Curlew very successfully feeding on worms, and a flotilla of Wigeon. 

We were soon climbing to the heights of Conwy Mountain. 

There's a fairly long ridge with an assortment of Iron Age hillforts dating from 300BC to 78AD. There are also earlier Bronze Age remains.

On the descent to the Sychnant Pass, which used to be a main route into North Wales before the A55 road was built, we passed above a lovely valley.

We exchanged greetings with a cyclist who was toiling up the hill, and we encountered quite a few people out walking today. 

After lunch on a concrete plinth at a water source, we enjoyed views across the Gwern Engen pond to the coast.

Quiet tarmaced lanes brought us back into Conwy, via some giant fungi and a horse-whispering episode. We also noted a few plants that are in flower. These include Red Campion (lots), Herb Robert, Harebells, Bramble and Bindweed.

Whilst not on Alex's prescribed route, we chose to return to the waterfront via the city walls, which offered good views to the castle.

The walls and castle date from around 1280 - they were part of Edward 1's invasion of Wales. Whilst not entirely sound, they are some of the most complete and impressive medieval structures in Europe. 

Crevices in the towers give good clues as to the origin of 'pigeon holes'!

Heres a view back to the castle, the Liverpool Arms pub, and the smallest house, from the seaward end of the walls.

Back on the waterfront, before returning to the car, we passed this sculpture which presumably celebrates the local mussel industry

Here's our route - about 12km with 300 metres ascent. We were out for nearly four hours. That's as much as my damaged foot feels comfortable with...