bryn walking "heritage slate trails of snowdonia" April 22nd - 26th 2024 based at dol peris - this is the recce
Yolande and I drove from Cardiff up through mid-Wales to the Oakley Arms at Maentwrog where we arrived in time for a late brunch which was very good.
Bryn Walking's October 2nd to 6th "Snowdonia Walks" is based there for the Rhinog and Moelwyn walks so I thought it would be useful to check it out. The hotel and self-catering cottages look good so I'm looking forward to the event with Helen Menhinick of Bryn Walking.
wEDNESDAY - The Wrysgan Mine Walk (for april 22nd)
I thought this short walk might be suitable for the first afternoon walk in April walk so we drove around to the Cwmorthin Car Park above Tanygrisiau where the walk starts. The weather was fine and sunny so we set off passing the pretty waterfall to join the access road that goes up to Cwm Stwlan.
Passing the large incline where we'd seen a very large group heading up to the incline tunnel, high above, we continued past a small dam and a barred mine entrance soon after. The published route we were following wasn't particularly clear and there was simply no safe route up onto to the high ground on our right so we abandoned the route sadly.
For April 22nd however I believe the route can be modified if we climb the incline and climb through the tunnel (we'll need headtorches according to my friends who regularly use the incline) to reach the Quarry (disused) above Craig yr Wrysgan and explore the area.
I'm discussing the incline with a few other regular users but might decide on a recce before April 22nd.
We then drove on to Bettws-y-Coed for a wander around and to visit the Rohan Designs shop where we met the new owner, Michelle Baylis who was very welcoming and showed us the shop which is very nice. We later met husband Steve on the Saturday when we popped back in to make a few purchases.
Continuing on to Llanberis we arrived at Dol Peris but had to wait a while until our Room 8 was ready.
Dinner was a selection of curries from one of our favourite restaurants in Cardiff - Mattancherry which specialises in South India cuisine. After dinner we reviewed the published route we intended to follow the next day and decided to remove the 3.5km pavement section to be able to spend more time on the rest of the route.
thursday - the dinorwig quarry walk (for april 23rd)
PR Taxis (Tel. 01286 871785) collected us promptly at 0930 in a newish and vey clean 8-seater and dropped us off as arranged at the 105m spot height at the eastern end of Llyn Peris. This saved a 3.5km pavement walk alongside the noisy and busy A4086.
We were walking by about 0950 and a series of long, but not steep rough roads, saw us gain height, passing some quite spectacular inclines and quarry buildings to the Victoria Quarry. At one hairpin bend we passed through a gate to a large flat rock for a coffee break on this day with fine clear views.
Continuing on to the Matilda Quarry we activated a QR code on the fencepost to learn all about the site and there were several of these further along. The magnitude of the entire area was amazing and I've never seen anything like it, over 3000 men laboured here in all weathers when these quarries were active.
The inclines seemed to get bigger and bigger until we arrived at the massive double roofed building which was part of the Ardal 'Mills' complex. We walked over to the viewpoint which provided great views and had part of our lunch there.
Continuing on we looked at the mill buildings which was a massive structure but roofless now of course. Arriving at the Allt Ddu Car Park there was some interesting interpretation which we looked at before starting our descent down into the well maintained Padarn Country Park. Our descent was through the ancient oak woodlands of Coed Dinorwig but on April 23rd, we'll use a different route down past the Anglesey Barracks to the lakeside. "Hidden away on the hillside is Snowdonia's forgotten street of the Anglesey Barracks, a desolate place that was once home for quarrymen working the mines but are now long abandoned like an eerie ghost down" - I was disappointed not to see this site this week.
We arrived at the old Quarry Hospital site which is an exceptionally well preserved visitor centre, sadly closed today, and where the very first x-ray in the UK took place. The local website advises this site is open all year round so hopefully we'll get in in April. We finished our lunch here with fine views across the lake.
The Slate Museum was our next visit and, with free entry, this provided a fascinating insight into the history of the area.
A short walk alongside the Llanberis Lake Railway brought us back into Llanberis and we enjoyed a drink at the Padarn Pub before returning to Dol Peris.
Dinner was pizza night but prepared by myself using GF Schar pizza bases for Yolande.
the slate museum
april 24th will be yr wyddfa (1085m) via the pyg track with the llanberis path for the deScent
friday - the dorothea and talsarn quarry with mynydd y cilgwyn (347m) (for april 25th)
The drive round to Nantlle for this walk is about half an hour with only roadside parking available in this village although a small layby immediately south is where we parked with space for just two cars next to a National Park boundary stone.
This walk was to be another example of a published walk which for the first third was quite different to the text as read. Strong map skills were needed for the middle third as waymarking of public rights of way on the climb up to Cilgwyn simply don't exist.
The workings at the Talsarn Quarry are particularly impressive and worth seeing as there is a three storey engine house there. At the farm before Pen-hafodlas, I asked a smallholder for directional advice and he was particularly helpful in an area where no waymarking existed. He had some lovely horses in his fields.
Up at Cilgwyn we followed a contour track over to Fron, another small village with excellent views of the Nantlle Ridge, across the valley.
From Fron it was wide tracks and a bridleway all the down to the eastern end of Nantlle and we then walked back to our car.
Opting for a different route back to Llanberis we drove eastwards through the rugged landscape countryside to Rhyd-Ddu where we saw the Welsh Highland Railway steam train pulling its carriages westwards. I noted there was one pullman carriage which I'd like to try out!
a final evening in llanberis
We enjoyed a pre-dinner walk around Llanberis before an excellent dinner at the Peak Restaurant which we first visited some 15 years ago and it's still under the same ownership. The newly opened Llanberis Tandoori, a takeaway, is receiving good recommendations.
saturday - we drove home via newtown to enjoy lunch with helen and james
ROHAn designs in betwws-y-coed
It is hoped that a customer evening in support of the Bryn Walking Morocco Appeal will be held in Bettws-y-Coed at 6.30 pm on Wednesday 24th April by arrangement with Rohan Designs of Bettws-y-Coed. I'll be giving an illustrated presentation about my Treks, Travel and Training experiences as an International Mountain Leader.
This will be followed by a visit to the shop, kindly arranged by Steve and Michelle Bayliss.
Following on from retirement, more time will be available for hill and mountain walking on a personal basis with friends.