These were carried out pre- lockdown, some that I have forgotten to write up last November.
With the first foray into the mighty Snowdonia national park, I was definitely pumped to start the next round, this time I opted to start at the other end, a small sea side village called Harlech, a castle built in the 13th Century holds sway over the lowlands and offered protection from the marauding Welsh tribes and part of the ring of Iron constructed by the Normal Conquests of England.
The journey in was an adventure in it’s self, the car beeped at me signalling a temp of -2.5, a frosty mist hung over the roads with some smaller parts covered in ice, as I drove I struggled to see more that 10ft and the twisting nature of the B4391 made for a scary journey across open and foreboding moorland, the speed kept to a steady 20mp as I edged my way through a cold and icy mist towards my starting destination.
I was soon pulling into the car park and I have to say pleased to see the the cost of parking was very reasonable, I tore myself from the warmth of my car and began getting myself and adventure pup ready. We set forth briefly running into Harlech before taking off up a rather steep section of road, the view behind was nothing short of spectacular, the sun began to rise spreading a cold sunny glow over the land, the roads and grass verges sparkled like jewels in the light and offered glorious company in what was otherwise a very isolated run.
We passed only one person over the course of 2 miles before coming upon a rather wonderful standing stone (yes my route was planed around this), Fonlief Hair is an ancient track-way and consist of 5 standing stones, as with many megalithic structures they sit perfectly in their environments and hint at a larger purpose as yet undiscovered.
A simple little used road, the center overgrown with a mossy and grassy blanket provided an easy surface the run, following its twists and turns all the while the rugged and inviting hills of Foel Ddu flanked my approach. The roads here held no names, covered in a mossy blanket they saw little motorised traffic and lured the outdoors lover further into the hills, Cwm-yr-Afon car park went by, before I again began to climb and hit the first of the cold wet paths along farm land. We hopped the styles and gates with ease and took dainty steps around the wild goats, this was a first for me as I never knew that Snowdonia had wild goats until today. Their large circular horns made them an impressive foe stood atop the gnarled rocky outcrops above me, but thankfully they were more scared of us and moved on.
I made sure to take my time and look at the most amazing vistas that followed and surrounded me, I began a climb along wet and marshy ground heading toward Glowyn Lyn the air frosty and with a little bite made for good company, the path became a little indistinct and I became a little confused as I tried to find what should of been a rather large lake, I scratched my head as I struggled to locate it, I muttered to Millie and took a slightly different route and there like an oasis in a desert it appeared.
It shimmered in the early morning cold sun, providing a perfect reflective surface for the mountains that surrounded it, I took up a seat in the slightly cold heather and ate a delicious Outdoor Provisions bar, Millie partook of this as well and gives her paws up. I snapped some photos and took note for a wild camp the following year, here was a truly wild place, void of any people or noise. I set off along the wet path and made a steady and steep scrambling climb along what I thought was the path but as I began to descend the path slowly gave way to just overgrown fields, I cut across the ground and headed for the high point of Foel Ddu here lay in wait a rather larger flock of goats, they eyed us but again made a hasty retreat over the ridge and out of site.
For some reason Millie began to look behind us, it made me a tad paranoid as if we were being followed. At this point my knee began to hurt, the familiar sting of weak arse muscles now rearing their ugly head and making it difficult to run down any hills. From Hen Dolbedin I took a myriad of different paths, having to negotiate very overgrown lanes and rather dodgy iron styles where rails gave way as I gingerly climb over them, having to carry the dog over each made for heavy and difficult going.
I made a specific beeline for the burial chamber of Gwern Einion, it was a little difficult to access as the path is somewhat non existent, I managed to locate it behind an old and ruined farm building, a quick hop of a wall and what a find, I understand that it has been damaged over time as most of these places have, used or dismembered by farmers for other purposes. Still it offers a little look back into a bygone age.
From here I followed my OS app, the green line roughly pointing me in the correct way, well almost, it pretty much led me into a rather large swamp the ground swaying and moving under my feet as I attempted to not sink to my death. Millie on the other hand just looked at me I’m not sure if it was disgust or enjoyment. Once extricated from the swamp of death the path became more normal and as I passed the remains of an old slate mine, the giant banks of slate appeared to hold up the hillside here offering a glimpse of a time long gone
The view back along the little A-road afforded some fantastic view over the beach of Harlech and people went about their Sunday routines of washing cars and tending to pretty gardens. I was soon arriving back at the car, a little warmer and happier at my route for the day. With 15 miles covered it was a splendid day out.