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]

Tuesday 16 August 2016

Manod Mawr and Moel Siabod

Monday 15 August

Manod Mawr (SH724447; 661m)
Leaving Mick in the large car park half way along the minor dead-end road which lies just south of west of my objective, off I set to start with a tour through some fields. Fortunately, the path was evident, so there was no game of 'spot the stile' (although in this case it would have been 'spot the gate') as I made my way up to the open land above.

Whilst I lost faith, somewhat, in the Cicerone guide to the Welsh hills yesterday, I had read what the author had to say about this one and was heartened to see that he said that a 'straight up the side' route was feasible (although he did describe it as a rough scramble and say that the line of quartz to follow was not so obvious close to; I disagree with both pieces of information). As I have a tendency to take direct lines up hills, particularly those where no paths are trodden into the landscape, I did exactly as he suggested - which was the very line which jumped out as being obvious as I waded through the bog to the south of Llyn y Manod.

I didn't just make do with a visit to the high point in this one...

... I also walked over to the far side of the summit area to look at the quarry the other side. Gosh, there is one heck of a lot of slag in the Blaenau area!

After a moment's thought had been given to going down the gentle (much longer) route, I turned and retraced my steps. A cup of coffee awaited my return to the car park and after a quick second breakfast we were off to our next objective.
(3.5 miles, 420m ascent)

Moel Siabod (SH705546; 872m)

Dolwyddelan was our (yep, Mick joined me!) start point for this one, mainly because it minimised the driving*.

The walk up the forest track wasn't noteworthy, but was fast-going, and beyond it we were into the land of bracken, bilberries and heather, the latter of which, being in full bloom just now, is making the hills smell lovely. There was a point at which we should have crossed the stream and continued on a path the other side. Apparently lots of people have overshot though, as we followed a well-trodden line for quite a while before I looked at the map and realised the path we were following wasn't where I'd intended us to be. It wasn't a problem, and added no distance, we simply came out at the southerly point (rather than the easterly point) of Llyn y Foel instead.

A few people could be seen on the Daear Ddu ridge, and soon we joined them up this easy scramble of a route. With barely a jot of exposure (and even where there was either a hint of exposure or a bit of a tricky move for a stumpy-legged person, there was always a much easier alternative just to the left) it was a fun route. And a good workout for the thighs too, even though you might think that my thighs are quite accustomed to ascent.

Surprisingly few people were on the top, which was a magnificent viewpoint both for the surrounding hills and for the craggy ridges of the very hill on which we were standing.

The descent was easier on the knees than I expected it to be, and before we knew it we were back at the llyn, then retracing our steps through the forest.

Ice creams from the shop in Dolwyddelan rounded off our outing nicely (8 miles, 750m ascent).

(*in the interests of charging electronics, particularly in view of all the Olympics-related TV watching that's going on at the moment, more driving time would have been beneficial; Colin’s leisure battery must be taking a hammering this week)


  1. Leisure battery. I could do with one of those.

  2. Sounds like you need a generator, but then the emphasis would be on sound. You have the perfect combination for Marilyn bagging with Colin and with Mick who doesn't necessarily feel the need to do all the list ticking. Are you concentrating on mopping up the Welsh ones?

    1. We were thinking more along the lines of a solar panel, in the interests of not using up valuable space, and to negate the noise issue, although having looked into both, I can see that generators do have their advantages. Usually power isn't quite such an issue as ordinarily we don't watch TV for 5 hours a day, which frees up battery capacity for charging phones and the Garmin Gadget.

      Having Mick as a willing driver certainly does give more options for start points/routes for some of the hills, although I do encourage him to join me on the more interesting hills.

      I'm not yet at 'mopping' stage with the Welsh Marilyns. After this trip, I'm exactly a third of the way through them.

  3. Dolwyddelen and Moal Siabod, great. We used to stay at the old church behind the ice cream shop. We have good memories of those walks.

    1. Some hills have me thinking "Well, now I've ticked that one off I never need to go up it again". Moel Siabod certainly isn't one of those. I'd happily go and walk it again, particularly to investigate its other approaches.