The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday, 17 September 2007

A Walk In the Northern Rhinogau

[I apologise for the attrocious formatting in this post. It was fine before I published it, and I've twice editted it to put it right, yet as soon as I hit 'publish' it reverts this state. Anyone know why it's doing that?]

We were in Barmouth this weekend. Having walked from there quite a lot (the bonus of having accommodation available to us there), all of the options for day walks from the doorstep have long since been exhausted, so we were going to travel a little to find a walk for this weekend. A quick survey of the three local maps (Cadair, Bala and Snowdon) on Friday night had us identify a few peaks on the ridge of the northern Rhinogau as our objectives for Saturday.

Saturday dawned a clear day in Barmouth:

My breakfast-time view

Looking to the South: that's Cadair Idris under the cloud on the left

We finally got ourselves moving in the direction of Trawsfynydd, where we parked on the south side of the llyn. Walking up the right hand fork of the lanes, we had good views over the llyn to the old nuclear powerstation beyond:

We weren't too long on the lane before we headed up a stony path between stone walls, which in time gave way to boggy fields. Much bog, water and mud (for me, boots were definitely the best option for this one!) were yomped through until we reached the protrusion of Moel y Gyrafolen, where we engaged in a tiny scramble to get ourselves up the first shoulder, before we engaged our moto of 'why take the easy route when you can go straight up' and made our way up a somewhat steep slope onto the top itself.

Dropping off the top of Moel y Gyrafolen, we were soon heading up Diffwys, where I realised that the geology of this area is fascinating (or at least, it facinated me; I concede that this isn't necessarily the same thing). There were big slabs of stone, some of which contained protruding lines of quartz:

And the broken-off cubes of stone (oh I'm just so technical with my geological terms...) caught my interest too:

Slightly further on on Diffwys (this is the northern Diffwys btw, not the top by the same name further south in the Rhinogau) we caught a good view of the estuary and sea to the north-west:

Looking further to the east, Snowdon was obscured by cloud.

Getting to the top of Foel Penolau was interesting, and perhaps ill-advisedly, I entrusted the camera to Husband:

Does my arse look big in this?
Spot the Gayle E Bird in the too-dark shot
Then, of course, once we were at the top (yet more stunning views) we had to find a way back down. That could have been a bit tricky in poor visibility, and easiest route down only became obvious to us when we got to the next top:

Next, we popped up to the top of Moel Ysgyfarnogod - but we didn't stay too long on that one for it was a bit on the breezy side and a little nippy in that breeze.

One more (unnamed) top was taken in before we dropped down to the moody looking Llyn Du (what is it with the Rhiogau and duplicating names? This isn't the same Llyn Du next to which we've camped a couple of times further south):

At that point I decided that my knees had had enough of a battering for one day and we decided to drop back down into the valley and head back towards Trawsfynydd. A boulder field and a particularly steep heather covered incline (just waiting to break an ankle with its hidden stones and dips) stood in our way, but we made our way down it regardless, followed by a hard-going walk through thigh high grass which hid all sorts of obstacles itself.
A couple of stream crossings and more bog saw us reach the old mill and the farm buildings, from where it was just a hop, skip and a jump along a track to the road. At this point, looking back we saw two people walking in our general direction - the only thing remarkable about that being that there were the only two people that we saw all day.
Such stunning terrain and scenery (sorry, none of the other photos did the view justice), and yet it appears to be so seldom trodden.

'Twas a good and varied day, with everything that a good day in the hills demands - fine weather, good views, geological features, interesting terrain: rocky outcrops and terraces, mud, bog, long grass, a boulder field, thick heather and a llyn or two.
It was right up there in my rankings of good walks. I highly recommend it.
The only thing that marginally marred the day was that somebody (in a 'me' sort of way) forgot to pick up lunch, so the day was fuelled by six muesli bars that I happened to have knocking around the car. Still, it wasn't as distressing as the camping trip (at the other Llyn Du) when we had the water boiling before I realised that I'd forgotten the tea bags!


  1. Lovely post today - and as for the formatting I have no idea! It happens to me all the time - paragraph spaces disappear, fonts change, line spacing changes - and there is no way you can go back & change them.

    Put it down to B****y Blogger!

    No matter though because its the content that counts and this is first rate!

  2. I thank you for the compliment, Mr. Sloman.

    Darned annoying about that formattig though. All those things you mention are happening - and even when I do go back and change them, the changes just keep removing themselves. Grrr.

    There must be an easier way of doing all this?

  3. The hidden gems of Snowdonia the Rhinogs - but don't shout too loud. We don't want everyone discovering them :-)