Weather:Dull Start, bright afternnon, dry
Total Time:9hrs 30min
Estimated ‘Dead’ Time:2hrs 30min
0689m Foel Hafod-fynydd
0671m Esgeiriau Gwynion
0659m Foel Rhudd
0625m Moel y Cerrig Duon
0614m Llechwedd Du
Paul picked me up at my house this morning at about 06:40 having struggled somewhat to find it. We promptly headed off for Lake Bala via the Knockin route, and then up to Bwlch y Groes where we parked the car for the days walk. We probably started walking at about 09:30.
The route from the car park to Llechwedd Du is quite straightforward in terms of direction. You simply follow a fence that begins at the rear of the car park, and follow it onto Llechwedd Du. There is high ground to the left and the right of you when you reach the summit area, but the highest point is South of the fence where a small collection of white quartzite stones comprise a cairn. The terrain up to this point is quite boggy, and the negotiaion of it is not the quickest. This culminates in a very boggy area immediately below the summit of Llechwedd Du, though it eases from this point and is never really an issue for consideration during the remainder of the walk.
Leaving the summit of Llechwedd Du we followed the fence to the col between it and Esgeiriau Gwynion where we crossed the fence and skirted off in a more Northern direction towards Foel Rhudd. There is a stream that has to be crossed here, and in places the banks are very steep, but we soon chose an easy place to ford the brook and did so. We proceeded up the flanks of Foel Rhudd, where the summit is marked by a small white quartzite cairn, and a stake protrudes from the ground. We proceeded down in to the col prior to Esgeiriau Gwynion, where we paused for a bite to eat and a hot drink. The Aran ridge by now had shredded the cloud of mist that had earlier encompassed it, and we were certainly considering the ascent of all or part of it.
We followed the fence up on to Esgeiriau Gwynion, when the view of the Arans cleared still further. I was pretty certain that we would be going up on to the Arans at this point, and made a hurried descent alongside a fence in a South Western direction. We forged our way across Bwlch Sirddyn, taking in the view of the incredibly steep NE face of Foel Hafod-fynydd that we were to ascend.
The ascent of this hill was fiercely steep, indeed we paused for breath several times on its ascent. Before long though we were on the summit taking in the views to the Arans. We were sat here from 13:00 till about 14:30, having agreed with Paul that any extension on to the ridge would push us out too far from the car. With retrospect this was a good decision, although we would later need the time that we had spent sat here.
We descended from Foel Hafod-fynydd ay about 14:30, heading Noth East along its’ flanks, and taking care to avoid the gorge that steepens the further East one expedes. We reascended the other side of the brook obtaining a good track, possibly some form of historic mining track which we followed downstream to the waterfalls. At this point the map indicated that the right of way switched to the other side of the River Dovey, but when we reached the valley bottom we were unable to cross the river as the footbridge had magically disappeared. Having now checked my copy of this map, there is a path on this side of the river, and the footbridges are still marked. In fact neither exist. The right of way is the track that we had picked up at Bwlch Sirddyn, and anyone following this route should pursue that track out of the valley to emerge at SH905213.
Fortunately the farmer at Ty-Canol allowed us to cross his yard on to a good track leading down into Pennant, after some congratulatory comments from Paul about the Welsh Grand Slam. I was smugly bearing in mind that it will be quite some time before he sees another one!
Having descended far too far we had put perhaps as much as 2 miles on our journey, with the diversion to Pont y Pennant and the search for the footbridges combining. It was nearly 17:30 by the time we reached the turning for Lake Vyrnwy, where we had a dilemna – go home and leave the outlying Moel y Cerrig Duon for another day, or to knock the bugger off.
It was an easy decision to make to pursue this last Nuttall, neither of us wishing to return to this valley in the near future, so up we went, reascending to the height at which the car was parked for the first time since about 15:00, and then beyond. We ticked the last top, which strangely resembled Carn Sgulain, an outlier that I had to leave behind in the Monadhliath. With a bit of luck the SMC will demote it and I won’t have to go back, with it being such an undistinguished bump. Apparently there is a seismology station on this top, but I couldn’t say that I noticed. Although, being quite tired by now, I was not paying an excessive amount of attention.
We headed off back along the fence we had followed in ascent, and Paul walked past the fence that descends to Bwlch y Groes, before I called him to return. By 19:00 we were back at the car, and on our way, getting off the country roads before the onset of dark.