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Posts Tagged ‘Wales’

View down to Llyn Nantlle Uchaf (Lake Nantlle), Snowdonia, North Wales

Sometimes you just need to know when to give up!  On my recent trip in North Wales, the day before I was due to leave was my last chance to have a go at climbing a tantalising little 653 metre hill in the Nantlle valley (in the foothills of Mt Snowdon) which had been laughing at me all week: it’s a minor peak, though it has an impressively long-winded name: Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd (no, I don’t know how to pronounce it either!). I’d managed to get half way up earlier in the week when I had a couple of hours spare and in glorious sunshine.  As is the way, this day dawned damp and grey (though not cold) and the clouds had dropped onto the top of the hills, so the Nantlle ridgeline walk I had earlier thought of was out.  Instead I thought I’d aim for the obelisk on top if Mynedd Tal-y-mignedd. The path petered out once I got up on the hills above all the ancient dry stone walls, but with a trusty ordnance survey map, I bashed through some heather, clambered VERY ungracefully over the last stone wall to cross a burn (creek), then slogged ever upwards to a knoll with spectacular views up and down the Nantlle Valley.  And then the (horizontal) rain came.  And the (gale-force) wind.  And the rain and the wind together.  And the cloud. And of course, as only happens on those British Hills, the world dropped away around me, and it was just me and the cloud (and did I mention the rain and the wind?).  It fact the weather was so foul as to be ridiculous, and I couldn’t help but laugh like a mad woman! Talk about flash backs to mad walks of my misspent youth – it was fantastic! But, with visibility so low, after slogging onwards and upwards for another hour, I just had to bail, and head back down.  Though – of course, as it turns out – just 100m short of the obelisk. Another day ….

View across the heather to the knoll on the way up Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd. The first photo overlooking the lake is taken from the top of this outcrop. Slate covered Craig y Bera (698m) is in the cloud on the left.

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As (incredible) luck would have it, my day job has brought me to the wilds of Snowdonia in North Wales this week, and I have managed to fit in some incredible walks in these beautiful Welsh mountains.  The one advantage of jet lag is that I have been up every day very early so have walked before each work day has started. At the start of the week, the weather was unimaginably good and I had time to walk up Mt Snowdon (Yr Wddfa, which means The Burial Mound), taking the easy route up the 15km return Llanberis path to start with which follows beside the remarkable mountain railway. This is a highly accessible and easy route for anyone who wishes to walk this majestic, mythical mountain (King Arthur died on its slopes and his sword Excalibur was reputedly thrown into Glaslyn (a lake) on its slopes – his knights are still supposed to be asleep under a neighbouring mountain, awaiting his return!). The walk takes you past Welsh Mountain ponies and lots of sheep and in the early morning was quiet, though very busy on the return.

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I headed off the Llanberis path at LLyn Du r Arddu before the final climb to take a more interesting and peaceful route with a bit of a scramble up around Clogwyn Cloch to the top – where you are greeted by the surreal sight of a train station! I have climbed Yr Wyddfa in years gone by, via the Pyg Track and the Miners Route, but always in cloud and mist, so the views this time were just astounding. The haze of the warm day reduced visibility, but apparently on a clear day you can see all the way across to Ireland and the Isle of Man!

LLyn (Lake) Du r Arddu, beneath the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Mt Snowdon)

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