Featured post

Snowdonia Peaks

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Esk Valley 29-6-2012

Friday saw me going back up to the Lake District and meeting friends off the Walking Forum for a trip around the Esk Valley. The intention was to follow the river Esk from Brotherilkeld Farm at the bottom of the Hardknott Pass and make our way on to Scafell and Slight Side. Unfortunately it didn't quite turn out as we had planned as the weather took a turn for the worse when we got to the col between Scafell & Scafell Pike and also a member of our party wasn't feeling to good at this point. A decision was made and we split into two groups, one party carried on to bag the summits and the rest of us decided to head back down the way we had come. The weather wasn't wet, but there was a strong wind blowing and it was quite misty. Everyone was safe and OK and all got down in one piece. It was another fantastic day in another area that I have not been before but will hopefully go back in clear conditions to make it to the summit.
The day started early as we had planned to meet up at 9-9.30am. The drive was fine and I was soon at Ambleside where I was to take the most scenic of drives along the Wyrnose Pass and the Hardknott Pass Luckily there seemed to be only myself and a few sheep on the pass at this time in the morning, about 8.30ish, so I took my time and took a few photo's

The weather seemed to be smiling on us as we set off as it was quite warm with just a small breeze and no rain, which considering the past days and weeks was very welcome.

We were soon walking beside the river on good paths through the fields as we made our way to Esk Falls and the Lingcove Bridge

After all the recent rain the going under foot up to here was very good. It was to get fairly wet later on but certainly not knee deep in mud or anything!. The falls were certainly looking in good form

Gaining height as we made our way through the bracken, the views started to open up with a bit of cloud cover on the highest fells

As we got to the top of the falls we found ourselves in an open area, Great Moss, that was like being in a bowl, with the high fells all around. I was pleasantly surprised by this and although the views were great today, in clear weather it must be a truly awesome sight.

Certainly see where this area gets it's name from as it was in places very mossy and quite boggy. One or two miss placed steps and down you went :-)
We made our way round, following the river, and came under the impressive looking Cam Spout Crag
As we wanted to be on the other side of the river, to follow our route that was to take us up along the Cam Spout,

we had to find a safe enough crossing.

As we didn't have a makeshift bridge with us we had to improvise............

Well it was such a lovely day we had to take a dip at some point :-)
After messing about in the river we headed upwards and the view back down into the valley opened up below

We decided to have a lunch stop next to the waterfalls and there's not many open air cafes like this place. A wonderful setting with great views

 After about half an hour it was back on track and yet another water crossing. Not as bad as the last one but this was to become a common theme as the day went on. We must of crossed a hundred streams throughout the day

As we started to get higher we entered the cloud base and the wind started to pick up so shelter was taken behind the rocks when ever we came to a stop

We got to the col and the wind here was quite strong as it blows up the gullies

This is where we decided it was best to split up, as I said earlier, as one of the party wasn't feeling too good so we made our plans to meet up a bit later and back we went.

We made our way down and then decided to follow the path at the bottom of the falls that took us underneath Cam Spout Crag and passed Sampsons Stones

Going this way made it more interesting than a straight there and back as we were now on the other side of the river and passing under the the Crags of Silvery Bield and High Scarth and seeing the valley from a different angle

It was quite a straight forward walk back following the wet path with no major obstacles, apart from the odd stream or ten :-)

We all met up at the last of the falls before making the short journey back to the cars through the farm

Looking back at the days walk with the clouds lifting, we decided to have a drink and a chat before we went on our separate ways

On the drive back along the passes I took my time just for another look back here and there and took in the old Hardknott Roman Fort

And also passing the Three Shires Stone that marked the old boundaries of Cumberland, Lancashire and Westmorland.

A quick stop off in Ambleside where the wind was whipping up Windermere

And all that was left was the journey back down the M6 which passed without any delay.
So another great day out in great surroundings with great company.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Aber Falls to Llwytmor 17-6-2012

After all the bad weather and rain over the last few weeks it was good to get out again. What better way than to visit a waterfall. We had decided to go back to Snowdonia and one of the less popular areas of this great National Park. It may not get the visitors that the main areas of the Ogwen Valley or Snowdon get but that's not to say it isn't as attractive. In fact it is probably best left quiet as this side of the park has a more wild feel to it.
The day started off by leaving home about 8.30am with the rain lashing down! It stayed raining down the motorway all the way to Chester where it started to brighten up. By the time we reached the car park at the falls it had brightened up a lot and thankfully the waterproofs weren't needed:-)
The Afon Aber was looking quite full, a good indication as to what to expect at the falls

We followed the easy laid out path through the fields and soon the falls came into view, with the smaller one coming off the back of Bera Mawr

A bit further along the track bought us out at the bottom of the main Aber Falls and what a sight it was. It was also quite loud and you can appreciate the power of water. there was a bit of a breeze blowing so it was also quite wet with the spray coming of the falls at it plunges 120 feet

After about 20 minutes we headed up the scree bank that brings you out at the top of the falls

with a look back at our first view of Anglesey & Puffin Island
 There was one or two slightly tricky spots on the path where the loose scree and small streams were coming off the mountains but with a bit of care and attention these were soon overcome

We were soon at the top of the falls but were unable to get anywhere safe that looks directly down them. Up here, you got to see the power of the water as it was coming down the valley and smashing into the rock with some force as it cascaded down

 We followed the riverside path and was quite surprised to find that is was relatively dry given all the rain over the weeks. There was a few places where it was boggy but at least it wasn't ankle deep in mud and there were plenty of rocks to use as stepping stones

We came across an old sheep fold where we stopped again for another twenty minutes just taking n the solitude of the place
The only thing you could here was the river and the sounds of the birds. Apart from ourselves, there was the local sheep and the wild ponies that frequent this part of the park and where one little one was taking in some refreshment like us :-)
We kept on following the Afon Goch as we made our way up the valley along a mixture of sheep/ponie tracks, the faint path and a jumble of rocks
 There are also numerous small waterfalls along the river

We made our way a little further up stream before having another break as this is where we decided to leave the river and head up towards the summit of Llwytmor that was our intended summit for the day.
We also had more views back down the valley and over to Anglesey
It was quite straight forward going up the side of Llwytmor, apart from the odd rabbit hole there was know major obstacles and the higher we got the views started to open up all around.
The high peaks of Snowdonia started to come into view over and beyond Bera Mawr & Bera Bach
One final push and we were on the summit plateau of Llwytmor where the views stretched all along the North Wales coast.
The view down to Llandudno & the Great Orme and up the coast to Colwyn Bay
Looking down to Anglesey & Puffin Island
A panoramic view overlooking the mountain ranges of the Carneddau, Glyderau and the Snowdon Massif
After taking lunch in the summit shelter we decided that we would head down towards Llyn Anafon and head towards the service road that would take us back to the car park. Instead of heading over to Foel-fras and round to Drum we headed off Llwytmor using a series of sheep & pony tracksthat made the going fairly easy.
Again, apart from ourselves and some sheep, there was quite a few ponies on this side of the mountain. There were small pockets of them all around enjoying the peace and quiet and just getting on with eating the grass and lazing about
we also decided to take another break as we were nearly at the Llyn and had a couple more obstacles to take on before we got to the service road
As we got dow to Llyn Anafon we just had a small matter of crossing the Afon Anafon which wasn't to much of a problem but could of been a bit wet if we weren't careful!
After safely negotiating the obstacles, it was just a gentle walk down the service road that followed the Afon Anafon through the valley where we came across a dead sheep
and even more wild ponies
This was turning out to be a very pleasant walk back following the river and also it had been quite warm for some time and the jacket had come off some time ago. The sun was shining and the grass was green. Apart from the ponies and a few walkers higher up the mountains, we had the valley to ourselves as we hadn't seen a soul all day. What a great day to be out
All that was left now was to finish the day off with fish & chips by the sea :-). We headed to Rhos-on-Sea where we found a spot on the beach near the pier where even the seagulls got a few scraps
Another great day in this great part of the world :-)

A short video of The Falls and Afon Goch