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]

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Llyn Cowlyd to before Llyn Cwmorthin

Saturday 28 April (0800-1815)
Distance: 17 miles
Weather: dry, bar a few spots of rain, some sun, windy
Number of times we briefly misplaced the path: 5
Number of times brief misplacement of path led to a yomp through a bog: 3

That was a hard day! Rewarding, but definitely hard. There was lots of up, and even some of the down was less than a stroll in the park.

The day started with snow falling on the tent. The pitter-patter, combined with a definite chill in the air, meant that some procrastination took place during the packing process. It paid off, as by 8am the snow had stopped and there were hints of brighter sky.

Along the llyn we went before dropping down the (bog-fest of a) hillside, with terrific views of Tryfan. Our route took us straight through a campsite and with so many people milling around, getting ready for their day, I'm sure that no-one noticed two interlopers helping themselves to drinking water and using the toilet facilites.

With the tops mainly free of cloud as we ascended Cwm Tryfan, it may have seemed a nice day to be climbing one or two of them. They weren't on our agenda today though, thanks to the MWIS forecast predicting 40-50mph wind, gusting 70, locally 80, (particularly around the main ridges of the Carneddau).

So, we only made it to 800m before we dropped down the other side of Glyder Fach. That was the killer ascent of the day. Steep and rocky = slow going!

The roadside parking by the turn to Pen y Pass was full to the gunwales as we passed on by, down to Llyn Gwynant. We paused for lunch on the way, where the wind picked a piece of cheese straight off my oatcake and deposited in some sheep poo a short distance away.

The next ascent didn't hold much promise of nice surroundings, but I was very pleasantly surprised. It's a delightful path through some woodland and there were even duck boards over some of the boggy bits (why not all, that's what I pondered as we waded some more).

Popping out on a road at the other end of that path is, I think, where we rejoined the route of the Cambrian Way, although I couldn't swear to it. Mick did swear, although in his case because he thought we were done with big ascents for the day. He didn't realise we still had a couple of thousand feet to go.

Our originally intended stopping point tonight was Llyn Llagi, but in view of tomorrow's dire weather forecast we had already decided to walk on. I'm pleased with that decision on three counts: 1) I wouldn't have wanted to share Llyn Llagi with the two D of E groups already there; 2) I wouldn't have wanted to try to naviate through the ensuing terrain in hissing rain and low cloud; and 3) by doing the next three miles in clear weather we got to appreciate the fantastic surroundings. What a lovely walk it was!

Small lumps and bumps interspersed with a multitude of llyns, followed by the hugest remains of slate mining that I've ever seen. It's only a shame that the time of day and the building wind prevented a greater exploration of the remains.

Leaving the main mine workings, we were on the look out for a pitch, and one was found that, in a lower wind, would have been perfect. Flat and grassy and with a stunning view down onto Llyn Cwmorthin.

We didn't walk much further. We're tucked away in amongst some other remains of the mine, a bit further down hill. We may not have a view, but we are protected from some of the wind*, although as it's swirling around a bit, we are getting violently buffetted every now and then. We'd been in the tent all of twenty minutes when it started to rain.

So, another good walk, and one that I'd recommend.

(The photo: looking back on Tryfan from the high point of our day)

(Alan: glad you're getting some good weather - hopefully a bit less breezy than here!
Martin: the weather would be perfect, but for the wind! You'd probably not have thought anything of nipping up those hills this morning, but you have to consider that I am a girly wuss and thus find strong winds off-putting!
Robin: by good fortune the northerly wind dictated that our view was up the llyn last night. In fact, we couldn't even see the dam from where we were, so it was all good!)

(* Post Blog Note: 6am on Sunday morning. Actually, maybe we weren't that sheltered after all. That's was certainly in the top three of windiest nights spent in a backpacking tent. It may even take top prize. Consequently it's also a competitor for least sleep achieved. At least the tent's still standing (wonder how we're going to get it down - one of us spreadeagled across it, I think))


  1. Just south of Lyn Cowlyd, there's a leat that takes you west to the Ffynnon Llugwy reservoir road from where you can drop down to the Gwern Gof camp site. It avoids all the bogs and is a very pleasant walk. Worth knowing for the future!

  2. Haha, I'm sure you do really know how to take the tent down in a gale!

    Rain arrived in Timperley at 9am, just as I had kitted up for a 50km bike ride...

    Have a good day, and if you aren't, just think of the Manchester Marathon runners in a deluge.

  3. Were back from the Lakes. We left at 10.00am just as the wind picked up. By the time we hit the M6 it was dreadful. The car being pushed sideways with the easterly wind.
    We hope you are ok as the forecast in Snowdonia is very poor.
    We have done quite a bit of this walk in the past (not all at once i might add). I remember the walk from Gwynant being very nice.

  4. Robin - that's the path we would have come down if we'd taken the high level route out of Conwy - so next time we will come down that way and enjoy the dry-footedness!

    Martin - okay, I confess that we may have taken the tent down in breezy conditions a few times in the past, and it didn't present us with undue difficulty today. Poor Manchester Marathoners - that wind must have made some of the route dreadfully hard work.

    Alan - As you see, we lived to tell the tale. Probably got worse weather than if we'd just continued northbound last week, but the saving graces today were having the wind at our back, and knowing that we were homeward bound to dry out as soon as we reached Traws.