Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 15 July 2023

Saturday 15 July 2023 - Coed Llyn y Garnedd

Returning from Dolgellau to Porthmadog, the rain seemed to have taken some time out, so we stopped at Plas Tan-y-Bwlch and took a two hour stroll in the pleasant woodland of Coed Llyn y Garnedd. This was a variant of Alex Kendall's walk 26 in his Cicerone guide to Snowdonia North. 

We took the path steeply up from the car park (FOC) and soon crossed the railway line. The sun even came out to illuminate our progress (see above). There were no battles with bracken today.

Our usual path was closed in order to give some nesting ospreys a bit of privacy, so we took a short cut and found ourselves at a viewpoint over the Afon Dwyryd.

From here it was all downhill to reach Llyn Hafod-y-Llyn, where Sue sat on a bench and eulogised about going for a wild swim.

She decided against a cold plunge, and we re-crossed the railway, narrowly avoiding being mown down by a long train full of waving passengers.

Further on, Llyn Mair sported its usual profusion of attractive water lilies, though today's sky was darkening ominously. 

So we found a good contouring path back to the car park, stashed our waterproofs that hadn't been needed, and settled down to scoffing the contents of a flask that had been left in the car, just as the heavens opened again for more or less the rest of the day.

Here's our route - 5.6 km with 190 metres ascent, taking rather less than 2 hours.

We've enjoyed this walk twice before - on 14/11/21, and 1/12/22, when there were no osprey restrictions. We didn't see the birds on this visit.

There were quite a few people out today - this must be a popular area, though the car park we used was otherwise empty apart from one vehicle. 

That's it from Porthmadog for now. It's time to scour the cupboards for leftovers before packing up and going home tomorrow. 

Saturday 15 July 2023 - Dolgellau parkrun #306

Squalls of rain lashed through the harbour. The low morning sun briefly illuminated the boats, but we didn't venture onto the deck.

Pwllheli parkrun promised to be a wet and windy endurance test, so we chose to go to Dolgellau again, where the weather held off before the start.

And off they went. The rain hit me at the three quarter distance point. Wisely I'd taken an anorak with me. Sue hadn't done that, but by then she had finished and sheltered with a group of runners behind a bush as the horizontal squall passed through. 

We adjourned to the T H Roberts café for breakfast. We stayed for quite a while, watching the rain lashing down and chatting to a lady and her ten year old son who had come from Northampton this morning to 'Tail Walk' here in an hour or so before returning home.

Friday 14 July 2023

Friday 14 July 2023 - Llyn Trawsfynydd

Today was promised to be wet. And it was. We chose walk 4 in Alex Kendall's Cicerone guide to Snowdonia South. We had done this before, on 26/8/21, and enjoyed the stroll across the footbridge near the start of the walk. Sadly, we found that today Health and Safety had got there before us and the bridge is now closed indefinitely. 

So an extra 2.5km was needed to get around the lake to the end of the footbridge pictured above.

The road continued to Moelfryn before ascending to a viewpoint near where we lightened the flask.

The high point was soon reached, and despite the inclement weather offered some good views down to the lake.

A chill breeze was blowing off the lake as we rounded the path near the power station that's being decommissioned. It'll take until the end of the century!

There's a sheltered pavilion with no seats under cover, so we sat on a bench out of the wind, if not the rain, for our lunch.

The main information boards are in Welsh, with no English translation. That's  a pity, as I suspect that only a minority of visitors are conversant with the Welsh language. 

The cycle track that we had been following all day took us gently back to Trawsfynydd village, after we'd accidentally taken a diversion around a small headland. This minor error rewarded us with the sight of a beautifully constructed wasps nest dangling from a slim branch.

Earlier, Sue had spotted a healthy specimen of Common Toadskin Lichen. This turns out to be anything but 'common'.

We finished in heavy rain after a 16km outing with 200 metres ascent. It took us around 4 hours. We saw nobody else on the path. Not even a bicycle (for whom it would have been a quicker, if no less wetter, outing).

Later, when the rain had stopped, we walked down to Tremadog for an 'Early Bird' supper at the Y Sgwâr restaurant. A tasty meal with friendly service. Much appreciated after our bad experience at Dylans the other day.

Thursday 13 July 2023

Thursday 13 July 2023 - Cwm Pennant

Sue and I did this walk on 11 July 2021. It's walk 28 in Alex Kendall's Cicerone guide to Snowdonia North. Today it met our desire for just a short drive, and boots were deployed as we'd noted 'roughty toughty' last time.

We parked in plenty of space just before the first gate on the narrow road up the Pennant valley.

A 2km stroll along to the roadhead car park warmed us up before chatting with some D of E gold teenagers and heading up the hill to a ruin, from where the picture above was taken.

In the other direction, another remnant from the Prince of Wales Quarry that operated from 1873 to 1886.

The sun came and went as we looked across the valley.

We then descended past the two thick stone walls of the former winch house. 

The rest of the circuit involved tussucks, bogs, and lots of bracken. The occasional stile helped to confirm that we were still on the right track.

Can you spot Sue making her way across one of the many fields of bracken on this route? Next time we'll leave it for a winter outing!

The 'Footpath Closed' sign that we noticed two years ago is still in situ on the path to the west of the road, beside which we enjoyed a lavish picnic lunch. We needed the energy from that to get through the final section of thick undergrowth before finishing in a meadow of bog asphodel and heath spotted orchids.

The circuit was about 11km, with 280 metres ascent. It took us over 4 hours.

From the top of the final stile before reaching the car - a field of blue sheep.


Wednesday 12 July 2023

Wednesday 12 July 2023 - A Walk to Criccieth

Today we promised ourselves a nice lunch in Criccieth, so we lazed around until 10:30, giving ourselves 2.5 hours to reach Dylans, a restaurant recommended by my niece, Ellie.

We set off around the harbour, looking back to our house on South Snowdon Wharf (above). Then we followed the coast path to, and along, Black Rock Sands.

After passing through Borth-y-Gest there's a nice sandy bay.

Before arriving at the huge beach of Black Rock Sands, there are some pleasant woodland sections of path, and the direction of travel isn't always obvious due to side tracks to the beach on one hand and up to a static caravan site on the other.

Eventually the vast expanse of Black Rock Sands was reached. Sunglasses were donned just to keep the sand out of our eyes thanks to the stiff breeze on the beach. A runner jogged past, struggling to make progress against the wind. 

After some distance the coast path leaves the beach at a campsite, around which it makes its way before rising over a headland and dropping down to follow the railway line into Criccieth, where the Art Deco building occupied by Dylans was more or less immediately encountered.

We had walked over 10km in less than 2.5 hours, and would be happy to spend two hours in Criccieth and return to Porthmadog on the bus.

Drinks and starter arrived efficiently, but staff were not designated to tables and nobody noticed when our 'mains' didn't arrive. We had been forgotten. After our efforts to regain visibility the food did arrive after a further delay, nearly an hour in total, but it was pretty ordinary. The thickness of pizza base on my calzone was just a bit too tough to bite through. There was no time after all the delays for us to have desserts (they looked nice) and coffees, so after the short bus ride we enjoyed ice creams in Porthmadog and hot drinks back at the house.

Here's a view from the coast path in Criccieth, on our way to the bus stop.

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Tuesday 11 July 2023 - Machynlleth and Llyn Glanmerin

Our plan to complete walk 30 (14km) in Alex Kendall's Cicerone guide was revised during the downpour that accompanied us on the 40 mile drive from Porthmadog to Machynlleth, a place that I recall passing through as a child in our Austin A40 Somerset MJW 770. That took a long time as the car was broken down. 

In the event, today, once at our destination the rain stopped for the day. However, we stuck to our decision, strolled down the high street (pictured above), and visited MOMA, the museum of modern art.

By 'modern' standards, the art seemed to me more like 'Post Modern'! The pictures were mainly from an annual competition, this year's theme being 'secrets'. Here are some samples.

After coffees in the café situated in the former chapel that is now occupied by the museum/gallery (which incorporates a Laura Ashley exhibition), we set off on paths to the south of the town, skirmishing with the route for Glyndwr's Way and rising above Bryn-glas for good views over the town.

A little further on, a short dogleg took us to Llyn Glanmerin, where we enjoyed our picnic lunch whilst watching swallows and their relatives, and dragonflies, hoovering up insects from just above the surface of the pretty lake. Red kites soared high above, and a military aircraft passed by just a little higher than the kites.

Returning to a crossroads of paths, we simply headed down to the north, along a manicured path lined by tall bracken. In a section of woodland, the recent damp weather could be seen to have brought a miscellany of fungi to the surface, including this 'Blusher' specimen. 

Back at the car park, gadgets were zeroed and a screenshot was taken. We had been walking for a couple of hours and had covered 6.8km, and ascended a good 200 metres.

Back at base in Porthmadog by mid afternoon, gave Sue plenty of time to paddle around the harbour.

Monday 10 July 2023

Monday 10 July 2023 - Porth Oer (aka Whistling Sands)

On a rainy morning, we decided to set foot on the Lleyn peninsular, where the rain tends to clear first. That did happen, but not before we'd spent a couple of hours in intermittently heavy rain.

I was surprised to find that putting 'Whistling Sands' into the satnav brought a result and took us directly to a large National Trust car park at Porth Oer. This is where Walk 16 in our 'Walks on the Lleyn Peninsula' guide starts.

We then walked along the cliff top path for about a kilometre, gaining at that point the view pictured above.

After a brief exploration of the headland, we retraced our steps and headed back along the beach to the café, for welcome coffee and cake in the dry, with some other damp customers including two ladies walking the entire peninsula.

After that, a minor difficulty with our route.

We followed the closed path with care and decided that the closure probably arose from a desire to avoid erosion of the path that creeps a painful slip above the rocky beach. But with no signed diversion, and no explanation for the closure, that's just conjecture. 

After a further walk along the clifftop, we headed inland towards a small tower that appears on the horizon shown in the top picture. Whilst not on the guidebook route, it was only a minimal extra effort to ascend to the 'tower', which was more like a small enclosure at the top of the hill. Here's the view back to the car park and our route.

And here's Sue at the tower.

An uneventful walk back to the car park after a 7.5km walk with 200 metres ascent, found us in the best place available for our picnic lunch. In the car.

Here's our route:

During the walk, Sue identified a few 'new' flowers: common restharrow, lady's bedstraw, creeping saltbush, buck's-horn plantain, sea plantain and rock samphire. 

On the return journey we couldn't resist stopping at the Plas Glyn-y-Weddw gallery, where there turned out to be nothing on view due to an exhibition changeover. However, since we were last here the café has been rebuilt in the form of a sea urchin sculpture. It's most impressive. 

We watched a film that offered a little history of the venue, and a detailed commentary on the design and installation of the new café sculpture. 

An excellent day out despite a bit of rain.