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, 15 August 2016

Allt Fawr and Moelwyn Mawr

Sunday 14 August

Allt Fawr (SH682475, 698m) and Moelwyn Mawr (SH658449, 770m)

With the exception of the start, the middle and the end, I made some good route choices today…

I very nearly made a much better choice for the start, but just as I was setting out my mind was changed to follow the route suggested by the Cicerone ‘Hillwalking in Wales’ book which, until Friday morning, had sat completely forgotten on our bookshelf for a decade. So, instead of setting out from the car park on the Crimea Pass and heading straight up onto the high ground, I headed up through pathless bog to Llyn Iwerddon, from where it was another pathless pull to the top of my first objective. Part way there I got a view over the route I’d nearly taken, where I saw a clear trodden line.

The next bit of my route was good, and it was as I made my way along the edge that I looked down and recognised what I saw below. In 2012 we’d kipped down there during our Length of Wales walk. It hadn't occurred to me that we'd been through (although not up) these hills before.

A few moments later I passed a couple of resting backpackers, who I’d assumed were heading in the opposite direction. It turned out they were heading the same way as me – something I came to appreciate when I looked back and saw them watching my progress along the next poor-route-choice section. I have no book to blame for this bit, and having looked back later I could see that the much better option would have been to ascend rather than to contour, although undoubtedly my route was the more exciting and challenging choice. Hoping that: a) the backpacking duo wouldn’t follow me; and b) I wouldn’t make a complete tit of myself whilst they were watching; I made my way to the impressive mining remains and then up through more remains towards my second objective of the day.

I did take a slightly circuitous route, but it was another good section, and I did, in time, join the clear path up to the top of my hill, where I was surprised to have it to myself. I’d seen other people on the top and making their way up when I’d stopped for a banana break amongst some of the old mine buildings, so it fixed itself (incorrectly, apparently) in my mind as a busy summit.

My downwards route was also taken from the guidebook. It involved wading through bog (that was actually one of the best, and fastest, bits of it) and making my way steeply down through crags. The less said about it the better, really. Annoyingly, I got glimpses of the route I’d originally sketched on the map, and it looked perfectly good (and fast!), even if it was significantly less direct.

With my faith in the guidebook eroded, I eventually located Mick in a car park by the Tanygrisiau Reservoir (which is exactly where I knew he would be, I just had a few navigational issues on the nearby roads; probably the less said about that the better too!). Except for the last bit of the descent, it was actually an enjoyable outing in spite of the dubious route choices, but either it was quite tiring or I’m just being a bit lazy at the moment, as I couldn’t quite stir myself to go and do my final hill of the day. With there being perfectly good TV reception around here, we will stay in the area overnight and thus today’s third hill has been bumped to tomorrow morning.

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