The Heights – part 1

Snowdon from Yr Arddu, Llynnau Cerrig y myltt in the foreground
Snowdon from Yr Arddu, Llynnau Cerrig y myltt in the foreground

Another overnight trip while this fantastic weather lasts. Although I scouted out a different area I ended up not far from my last trip. This time I went to a many-topped hill, more a group of rocky tops, called The Heights, Yr Arddu in welsh on the OS map. A little above Beddgelert, in Snowdonia. Continue reading

Cnicht overnight – part 2

Cnicht at sunrise, Moel Siabod in the distance
Cnicht at sunrise, Moel Siabod in the distance

After a night spent mostly wide awake in my plastic bag on top of a hill the alarm went off at 4:45 and I was surprised to find I was asleep. I poked my head out to find everything covered in dew on the outside and condensation on the inside and a beautiful line of bright colour on the eastern horizon suggesting I should get a move on to be ready for the sun. Continue reading

Cnicht overnight – part 1

Sunset from Cnicht
Sunset from Cnicht

A fine weather forecast encouraged me to try my first wild camping trip of the year. The plan was go to Snowdonia and set up near the summit of Cnicht. This is a modestly-sized but extremely attractive hill just east of Beddgelert. Some people call it “the Matterhorn of Wales”. It doesn’t look like the Matterhorn, it’s just very pointy. It stands by itself, which gives it fantastic views all around.

My bed for the night on Cnicht summit
My bed for the night on Cnicht summit

Usually I report this trips in two parts, first part for the sunset and second for the sunrise. This time, thanks to interesting weather and the best coffee I’ve had for a while, I’ve got a third part to report. But first the first part. The sky above was very clear but with a lot of haze lower down, which meant the mountains west of me were just black outlines. This isn’t ideal for sunset weather. No midges out, thankfully.

 

Don’t go into the woods – lessons you’d think I would have learned by now

Coed y Brenin
Coed y Brenin

Whenever a walk has a significant stretch in managed woodlands, like Forestry Commission woods, I always get lost. It isn’t my fault. The paths on the ground and the paths on the map don’t bear any relationship to each other. The woodland managers make new paths and tracks whenever they want and when you’re hemmed in by conifers all directions look the same. Coed y Brenin in south Snowdonia is no exception to this. Continue reading

Duddon Valley

Duddon Valley
Duddon Valley

The Duddon Valley is in the south-west of the Lake District, running north to south just to the left of Coniston. It isn’t popular, perhaps because it doesn’t have any big mountains, but it’s one of the most beautiful valleys of Cumbria. Spring is a good time to visit because of the blackthorn and hawthorn blossom, wild garlic, bluebells, and the delicate bright green of new leaves.

The road climbs very steeply for half a mile as you enter the valley and as soon as it levels out you give an internal “ooh” as you see the view. The fields, walls, barns and hills are laid out just so and the trees look like they’ve been chosen to make an arboretum. This is one place where the view is better down near the road than from the hill tops.

The rain that started at lunch time wasn’t just a shower and eventually I gave up early and retired for a cuppa at an empty cafe in Broughton, a very pleasant little market village close by.