Distance: 15 miles
When I announced what time we were going to get up today, Mick did audibly whine. But I really wanted to get into Barmouth early enough to attend to some errands, plus I was clutching at the 'frosty at dawn' bit of the weather forecast, which suggested a nice start to the day.
A nice start it was too. We were soon above the mistiness and looking out at a sea of lumps. Even Mick had to concede that the vista from the top of Waun Oer, just before 7am, did justify being up before daylight had taken hold.
There's no denying that the landscape around here is a lot more interesting than our area of the Midlands, and we drank it in as we walked the ridge after Waun Oer.
As no-one has yet thought to built a bridge from that ridge over to the Cadair range, we then had to lose some height before starting our big climb of the day.
It was on that descent that I started to doubt that I'd plotted the right line on the map, as looking across at Cadair our ascent route didn't look overly feasible. Once we got there, a path was, however, found and up, up, up it took us, often steeply enough to make the calves complain. The bit that didn't look feasible from a distance was a short bit of a mild scramble and then it was simple to get to the top.
As Mynydd Moel came into sight, it was in the cloud, which was disappointing, but we couldn't really complain as the day had been so fine to that point. Then something happened that never happens to us.
Usually (including the last time we went up Cadair) the day is fine until we are nearly at the summit, and then it clouds over. Today, the summit cleared as we approached.
Incredulously we then saw the cloud drift away from Pengadair itself. Mick would confirm that I almost broke into a sprint in my keeness to get there before it clouded over again. I left him trailing in my wake (or at least, I declined to stop when he had a shoe faff).
Not only did it stay fine until we got to the top, but it continued fine (and warm when out of the wind) as we sat up there behind a wall for an early lunch.
About this time I came to think about a number of facts:
1) The weather forecast for the next few days is for head-on rain;
2) Our route from here is high and walking up high without visibility and with rain in your face isn't fun;
3) We have some things at home that we need to attend to (although in the absence of (1) and (2) this wouldn't be a deciding issue); and
4) A return train-fare home would cost about the same as the intended B&B in Barmouth.
So, the decision was made to put a brief hiatus in our journey. We will return later in the week (please at least let the wind swing by that time!) to finish the walk. In the meantime, we still had 7 miles to walk and, in the usual way of these things, our usual pace would see us arrive in Barmouth having just missed one train and with a 2 hour wait for the next.
A sprint was put on. We've walked that walk into Barmouth on quite a few occasions, so we knew exactly where we were going. It's a lovely route too on a nice day, especially down the stream to Arthog.
Crossing Barmouth Bridge in almost wall-to-wall sunshine, it was difficult to believe that it could turn nasty again.
We did make it to the station in time for the earlier train. Made it onto the platform a whole 60 seconds before the train came in (we had paused to buy snacks on the way - we didn't really cut it quite that fine).
So, there's part one finished. Watch out for the continuation in a few days time.
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