This was a trip proposed by Mike. There were a few smaller tops on his wee list he wished to tick off! To save time and miles, I travelled down to Knipe Towers on the Friday. Thankfully Mike picked me up from Durham station. The week had been busy. On that particular day I had done a pre swim jog, a swim and then back to the flat for a telephone consultation. By the end of the day I was somewhat tired!
The run down to North Wales is a long one. All went fairly well except when we spent some time sweltering in a traffic jam. That, I admit, was down to me having a navigational faff. The NantCol campsite was quite busy when we arrived. Having found a spot for the tents, our problem was actually getting the tent pegs in the hard baked stony earth. It was not easy, every time I hit the peg with a lump of rock, I winced, fearing broken or mangled tent pegs. Decent tent pegs do not come cheap.
It was a relief to get out of the car and start walking.
A wee bit more route finding up through the rocks saw us at the top.
From our rocky perch we headed across to a small grassy hillock that is actually marked slightly higher than the rock outcrop. It was strange to be walking across what would normally be bog and pools of murky water. The drought is hitting hard. It raises the question of what has happened to the wildlife that normally inhabit these boggy places? Frogs, toads, insects and and all manner of tiny creatures. In turn, moorland birds would normally frequent these places as a food source! There are many specialized bog plants that normally inhabit these upland bogs too. Hopefully they will survive?
Our way on meant a steep descent down toward the disused Melynllyn quarry building. It was a case of cutting back and forth across the slope and picking one's way down.
The old quarry building, ruined but it still has a substantial wheel pit and wheel.
A mangled propellor on the shore of the reservoir caught our attention. Later research by Mike revealed that divers had brought it ashore. The propellor is from an American plane on diversion during the second world war. It crashed high up on the rock wall.
An intermittent path, that at times was difficult to spot, followed the Pant y Griafolen stream down the valley.
A track led us on by the ruins of Maeneira and uphill to the track we had followed earlier in the day. A good day out, but I was tired.
It actually rained Sunday night in to Monday morning. Dark, thick, brooding clouds swathed the hills tops. Mike headed off to bag a local hill and I went for a potter in the surrounding woodlands.
With the afternoon brightening up we nipped over to the beach which is part of the Morfa Dyffryn nature reserve. The reserve encompasses a vast area of dunes and wide open beach.
The sea was at low tide and it was a long, long walk to reach the water. A taxi would have been handy! No matter, I was going to have a swim come what may. The sea was flat calm and even after entering the water it took a lot of paddling to even get up to my chest. Looking back toward the shore it was a strange experience trying to ascertain were the actual shoreline was. What did surprise me was how warm the water was. It felt almost tropical.
Tuesday saw us returning to the beach for a lazy day of swimming, dipping, paddling and generally lounging about.
Despite the rain on Monday the fields are parched, the vegetation withered. Listless cattle and sheep nibble on dried grass stems that offer no nutritional value. At a time when livestock ought to be fattening up on lush grass, farmers are having to feed them. This can be costly for the farmer. It is going to take a lot of rain to restore the dried out ground.
Wednesday saw us heading off a little earlier. We were heading for Llanberis. Mike had his eye on Llechog, an outlying top off the main path. It actually rained as we started out. This though soon gave way to sunshine and the return of the heat. It was amazing to see the thronging hoards heading up the track. Their one goal, the summit of Snowdon. Their dress ranged from shorts and t shirt and no spare kit, to sandals, trainers and boots of every type, some would have been at home on Everest! Every age group seemed to be on the hill. Very young children, teenagers to older folk and every age in between. Folk appeared to come from every corner of the globe. Such a confusion of languages, amazing.