Sunday 21 August 2016

Berwyn circular.

Mike, with his meticulous planning, had come up with the proposal of a circular route in mid Wales that incorporated a round of tops, including Berwyn itself. It was something of a long train journey across to Wales. With me meeting up with Mike on the train at Durham and JJ (John Jocys) joining us at Chester. Eventually we arrived at Ruabon and from there proceeded onward by bus to LLangollen. Our way out of town led us upwards. At first the gradient was moderately uphill. Suddenly though it went skyward, thrusting steeply up the hillside. Gradually though things eased and soon we were walking through rolling, open moorland. A homemade water tank, complete with piped water offered a bountiful water supply. A lovely flat spot among the heather and out of sight of the track made for a splendid camp spot.

A heavy dew overnight and calm conditions made for soaking tents come morning. However a brilliant sunrise soon saw the tents becoming much drier.. The weather looked promising, dry and warm. Unanimously we set off in shorts and tee shirts. Steady walking saw us crossing over Vivod Mountain and onward to Moel Fferna.
. The ground around Moel Fferna was deeply rutted were a tractor had ploughed through the heather
A narrow path that led through dense heather led us over Carrig Coediog. With Mike's careful map reading we continued on toward Careg-Y Caws.

What followed was a long, slow, hot and sweaty plod up to Cadair Bronwen. The reward was a glorious view of the surrounding countryside. A wonderful airy ridge along Bwlch Maen Gwynedd, led  us up to the trig point of Cadair Berwyn. We pressed on to Moel Sych. A certain happening here is perhaps best glossed over. It was though a rather hilarious event!.
. Mike had suggested a direct descent off Moel Sych down to Llyn Lluncaws. taking him at his word, I began to thread my way down through craggy rock outcrops and very steep ground. Unfortunately JJ was less than amused, he is not keen on very steep ground. My apologies JJ.

A bit of casting around and a suitable camp spot was found. The stiff breeze we had experienced higher up had now vanished. This in turn brought out the midges. Thin wisps of smoke could be seen rising from the tent porches as incense sticks were lit in an attempt to ward off the wee beasties.  After a starlit night with a full moon, the morning dawned with a thin mist drifting lazily over the hill.

Mike went for an early morning paddle. However he found the water very shallow and the bottom covered in a mixture of slippery stones and mud. My hope for a swim were cancelled.

Our route for the day saw us ascending a short, sharp uphill bit on to a broad, grassy ridge by Moel yr Ewig and then a gradual climb up and over Godor. As we left our camping spot we spotted a pair of red kites quartering the opposite ridge.There was no public right of way off Godor. Thus as we made our way down through rough pasture, there was a little trepidation as we approached a farmer mending fences. JJ put his public relations skills to the fore and the farmer proved friendly. A steady descent down to to Tyn y Ffridd and then a section of road plodding over Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. This was a hard bit of walking, steep climbs uphill and with the shimmering heat reflecting off the road surface. Our reward was to find a friendly pub in the village where much needed liquid refreshments were partaken off.

From the village we joined the Upper Ceiriog Way. The climb out of the village was brutal. The heat rapidly sapped any remaining energy we had. Higher up the track we came across literally hundreds of young pheasants. Lucky went into hyper overdrive. If he had had his way pheasant would have been on the menu for tea.Cross words were exchanged between Mike and Lucky, I think the outcome was a draw? In the meantime I tried to push on ahead, hoping to clear the track of these crazy critters. Just short of the road we called a halt for the day, managing to get the tents in a grassy spot among the gorse bushes that lined the track.  A great number of small spiders quickly made the tents welcome, also a few ants.
The following morning we were up and away early. A descent down to the road, a short uphill bit of road walking took us over by Tan y Foel. Here we turned off and then a steady walk up through open moorland that was slowing fading in to it's autumn colours. This led us up to were we had camped on the Monday evening. It was then a case of retracing our footsteps back down Llangollen. The hot weather had brought folk out by the score. The town was heaving with people. We made our way to the railway station, a preservation line run by volunteers. There was a bustling cafe here and we indulged in egg /sausages and chips. Large quantities of tea were also quaffed. For entertainment as we sat at a table on the platform, was a steam engine doing steam engine things, puffing and huffing, letting off steam and tooting its whistle.
A delightful few days on uncrowded, indeed mainly deserted, hills. All in excellent company too. Amazingly we returned deeply sunburned!


  1. Meticulous planning! Arf!! Eeee weren't it 'ot, though?

  2. MAkes a change from the wet stuff to have 'ot stuff. Bare ass the bandit needs to be careful though. Scaring sheep is an offence.

  3. It was indeed pleasant Alan. I blame the incident on heat stroke and a full moon??

  4. Fantastic! No rain! We all want to know about the hilarious incident though......???

  5. Check through the photos Chrissie, there is a very cheeky one, now imagine said figure doing a little dance on the top!

  6. Bet I know who was doing the little dance, too.....

  7. Ahem, well it was not me, maybe the sun got to him?

  8. The Berwyns are pretty wild and very under-rated. Amazed you found a pitch at Llyn Lluncaws. I always reckoned that's where the farm tussocks to export to other areas of the UK! :)