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, 18 September 2016

Hafod Ithel, Rhos Ymryson, Frenni Fawr and Foel Cwmcerwyn

It’s been ages since I was last on the Wales Coast Path, so the time had come to fill in the gap left over from my previous trips, from Cardigan to Pembrey. Looking at the map, it also seemed sensible to visit the few Marilyns which lie near to the coastal route we would be driving to get here, so the plan for today featured three Marilyns, six miles of coast and five hours of driving.

The result was a day which was all a bit of a rush, and a revision of my plans to fit in an extra hill, but at the expense of a few miles of coast (which, now that I’ve counted up tomorrow’s mileage, isn’t a problem at all).

Hafod Ithel (SN610678; 361m)


I don’t think that Mick will forget the drive in to this one in a hurry. It turned out that the lane I chose (out of many options) to get to my start point has fallen out of use such that overgrown hedges and trees resulted in it being not only to be narrower than Colin in places, but also lower. A couple of times I had to get out to scramble up a steep bank and hold a branch back for Mick to inch through and there was much flinching as Colin’s flanks were scraped by other trees. We chose a different route for our exit!

As for the hill: it looked, on paper, like it might feel a bit pointless, like a few other road-side ones I’ve done. The difference, as it turned out, was that this wasn’t just a walk into a crop field, but had the feel of a proper hill (and with excellent views) – even if I was at the summit two and a half minutes after leaving Colin!

I padded it out a bit by wandering around the summit and, of course, I took photos, but I was still back within six minutes.

(less than half a mile; 30m ascent)

Rhos Ymryson (SN459500; 327m)


A layby right opposite the track which leads up to a covered reservoir gave quick and easy access to this one, but it was to my dismay to find that the covered reservoir was the high point, as it’s firmly locked inside a compound. Fortunately, it was Sunday lunchtime, there was no-one was about and there was a tiny weakness in the security which I exploited.

I was back at Colin before Mick had put the finishing touches on the lunch he was preparing.

(1.1 mile; 50m ascent)

Frenni Fawr (SN203348; 395m)


I was mildly disappointed by my approach to Frenni Fawr. On the drive in I saw a nice heather-clad lump, and that’s what it was – except for one little wedge, running right up to the summit, comprising a grassy field. It was up that wedge that I walked*, only popping out onto what felt like a real hill a handful of paces before the trig point.

It was the third hill of the day that was suitable for running down, making another quick outing.

(*Part way up I glanced back and saw Colin behind me, with a horse standing on his roof. That made me look twice! A couple of paces further up the hill and the horse moved to its real position, which was in the middle of the field behind Colin.)

(2 miles; 125m ascent)

Foel Cwmcerwyn (SN094311; 536m)


It occurred to me, after Frenni Fawr, that this one was close enough to make it sensible to go and do it this afternoon, rather than needing to fit it in either after tomorrow’s coastal walk, or before Tuesday’s, so off to the car park to the NW of this hill we went.

I’d read reports about the going being a bit of the soggy side for this one, and for one relatively short section it was, but it was largely good going. Thus, instead of taking me the couple of hours I expected, I was back in just over an hour, just as the drizzle (which had marred my views a little from another pleasing summit) really got going.

(3.7 miles; 130m ascent)


Hill No 3. The bird above the right side of the trig point is a red kite.

It was already quarter past five, so I’d barely had time to stop the Garmin Gadget before we were off again, to try to find the place from where I’d walked north on the coast, two years since.

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