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Snowdonia Peaks

Monday, 9 November 2015

Summer In November 2015

The weekend of October 30th through November 2nd saw us have a great few days tucked away across the MAWDDACH ESTUARY overlooking BARMOUTH from our little hideout in the woods of ARTHOG, Southern Snowdonia. This is our annual weekend break at this time of the year and we normally stay in a cottage but thought we'd have a change this year as our favourite cottage is no longer available. Our base, was the SNOWDONIA LOG CABINS and a great base they are too. We had no plans to do any big walks, just more of a look round and see what the weather had in store for us, plus my knee was playing up again so I had to be a bit more careful. We have been to Barmouth a few times in the past, for day trips and also weekends, camped just a few miles from this weekends base and been up and around the CADAIR IDRIS RANGE of mountains a few, that lie just behind our base for the weekend.  Having arrived on the Friday afternoon, we had a few hours to spare before the sun went down so we took ourselves off to a place called the Blue Lake, which is basically an old quarry pool in a basin, with the only way in and out is going through a short tunnel that was once a train track in and around the quarry. A good walk and some good views the higher up you get and a good place for a bit of exploring with lots of nooks and crannies. It had rained in the morning so it was a bit damp and slippy in places but was very mild so made for a good few hours. Some kids were also swimming in the pool but not sure I'd be that brave!!
Our base for the weekend
Through the old quarry
Looking over to Barmouth from the quarry
The way in and out to the Blue Lake
On the Saturday we had a look round the Cregennen Lakes which are situated above the village of Arthog within a great area with views out to the coast and Barmouth and flanked by the Cadair Idris Range. We took the easy option of the car and parked in the car park next to the lakes. There are several walks around here and indeed you can walk to the lakes from various places and make it a good day's walking but for us today it was more of a look round. We got part way up Pared y Cefn Hir, which is the main hill from the car park and offers great all round views. Unfortunately my knee said no more scrambling up and over rocks :-( so we stopped off at a level area for a bit.
We didn't follow the marked path that went round the lakes but followed a path that went straight on following a wall and below the crags of  Pared y Cefn Hir, it was a bit easier on the old knee and as the weather was warm, turned out to be quite pleasent. We got to a farm house and wondered if it was occupied or not as it's quite remote in the valley with no road near by. It was here that we had a good rest before making our way back again. Another area that needs more attention one day :-)

The short sharp scramble
View down to Barmouth
Cregennen Lakes
The good straight grassy path
Cadair Idris Range
Remote farm house with Cadair Idris as the backdrop
Reflections on Lake Cregennen
Pared y Cefn Hir

 The Sunday saw us have a traditional day by the seaside, a walk on the beach, a bit of sunbathing, eating ice cream as we watched the world go by. Yes, summer on the 1st November in the UK, who'd of thought it!! Although it had been warm since we got here, it had been a bit overcast until late on Saturday afternoon and by Saturday evening we were again sat outside looking up at the milky way and was fortunate enough to see a couple of shooting stars, we woke on Sunday to a perfect blue sky day. A bit cool in the shade but by the time we had parked the car at the Morfa Mawddach Station it was starting to warm up nicely. Across the Barmouth Bridge into Barmouth where we watched the RNLI on a bit of an exercise and just had a great few hours in very warm sunny weather. The reports were that it had reached about 21degrees which is an all time high for November. Just a great day for lazing about on the beach :-)
View from the front door
Barmouth Bridge
Barmouth Bay
RNLI @ Barmouth Bay
Jelly Fish
Blue sky & sea @ Barmouth
Bikes, tee shirts, donkeys, sand, palm trees, it's the UK :-)
Barmouth Bridge
Mawddach Estuary from Barmouth Bridge
Sun going down on another great day

Another great weekend relaxing tucked away from it all :-)

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Nantmor, The Hidden Valley Part 2 October 2015

The weekend of October 9th, 10th & 11th saw us book a very last minute two night break in the wonderful cottage BUARTHAU set in 90 acres in the middle of the NANTMOR VALLEY,Snowdonia. We have been here before, last year and found it to be a great place to unwind and chill out away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Here, you are totally on your own, apart from a few sheep in the front fields, as the nearest neighbours are a good half mile down the single track lane. The odd walker or two pass the cottage as they do the Bedgellert 10 mile round as we did last year BLOG POST HERE This year we just had a couple of short walks, a visit to Porthmadog where there was a Victorian Weekend event on at the Steam Train station. We decided to have a ride on the train to Ffestiniog and back, something that we haven't done before and was a great way to spend a few hours seeing the welsh countryside from another perspective.
Arriving on the Friday afternoon I decided to go for a short walk up above the cottage to "Buarthau Summit" for a quick look round. Some great views  to be had down to the coast at Porthmadog, over to Snowdon and the Glyderau, down the Nanmor Valley across to the  Moel Meirch and surrounding mountains. After a look round and thinking it's a good place for a good look round for another day, I retraced my steps back down where we had a few beers and a curry sat outside as it was such a good evening.
Nanmore Valley with Moel Meirch in the distance
View down to Porthmadog
View over to the Snowdon Massif
View down to Buarthau with the crags of Yr Arddu as the backdrop

Just the job :-)

 On the Saturday we had a bit of a wander up to Yr Arddu opposite Buarthau to visit Llyn Arddu, well that was the plan but because of the overgrown vegetation and  quite a few false sheep tracks and boggy ground we decided that it wasn't worth doing quite a bit of scrambling up and over the crags, especially when two guys came along equipped with ropes and all the climbing gear!! They were going off in the opposite direction to us though but it seemed that we did loose any routes so it's a case of coming back for another look. We did have some fine views and some fun clambering about but safety comes first so we headed back down the same way. It was a mixture of a steep start through waist high bracken, woods, boggy ground, boulders, heather and fallen trees. Quite an adventure for a few hours
Path through the bracken
High above the valley floor
Steep climb through the trees
Over fallen trees and through the wall
out of the bracken and onto boggy ground
There is a boggy path through here along the wall
And another fallen tree
Good views across to Snowdon with Buarthau just visible bottom right of the valley
Views across to moel Hebog & the Nantile Ridge above Bedgellert
Views down to a distant Porthmadog on the coast
Sheep tracks, thick heather, boggy ground, moss covered boulders, fun for another day I think
On returning back to base we decided to have a drive out to Pothmadog and have a ride on the Steam train up to Ffestiniog as we haven't done that route before. A great few hours seeing the woods, mountains and a different side to Snowdonia.
Ffestiniog Steam Train
Ffestiniog Steam Train
Ffestiniog Steam Train
The Sunday saw us stopping off in Betws y Coed for a few hours and having a walk up to LLYN ELSI, the reservoir that serves the village. You can walk all the way round but today was just a walk up the steep forest track and to the  memorial at the northern end of the lake that commemorates the fact that Lord Ancaster permitted the building of the dam and the use of the lake as a water supply. First time visit to this lake and what a great place it is. Today was very quiet with only a handful of people walking round and hardly any wind making a peaceful place to just sit and relax. We did have a mini skimming tournament that saw Jill come out the winner!!! Always another day :-)
the waymarked route
Up through the forest
Llyn Elsi with Moel Siabod in the background
Llyn Elsi Monument
Llyn Elsi
Llyn Elsi
Llyn Elsi
 A couple of videos.
 First one of Llyn Elsi.........
second one of the skimming champion :-)

 Another great weekend away in Snowdonia :-)