Posts tagged 'Moel Siabod'

North Wales 2013 – Thursday/wildcamp/Friday mashup

51 today! A lie-in, breakfast in bed, pressies and cards - the perfect start to another roasting-hot day.

Outside the cottage the RAF did another low-level fly-by, I assumed that it wasn't all in my honour but it was impressive all the same:

 

Chinook #1

 

Chinook #2

 

Chinook #3

 

The resident Squadron Leader looks on, unimpressed by the thundering mechanical behemoth

 

We spent the day in Betws-y-Coed, sight-seeing and getting some retail therapy. As a birthday treat we dined at The Gwydyr Hotel, the food was very good although for some inexplicable reason, in a land that supports so many sheep, the kitchen had run out of lamb. No matter, the beef was fine alternative. Ice-creams were had from Cadwaladers Ice Cream Café, Chris got some walking-sandals from F*** & T***, and we spent much time in many shops trying and failing to get Anna some sunglasses that she'd be happy with.

After an evening meal back at the cottage me and Ella packed our kit - we were off up my mountain to introduce her gently to the delights of wildcamping. We took the same route as we had on Tuesday, eventually finding a great spot in the gap at the base of the Daear Ddu (a place that we christened "The Gap of Rohan"). We'd picked a fine night - clear, warm and calm, with a gentle up-slope breeze that kept the midges at bay. Ella went down to Llyn y Foel to get water while I pitched the tent:

 

The Banshee 300 pitched in the Gap of Rohan

 

After a supper of discounted Wayfarer meals (found a few days before in the bargain-bucket at Ellis Brigham Mountain Sports in Capel Curig) we settled for the night and slept well.

Friday morning was warm and clear, we were up at sunrise to see a warm glow on the mountain and misty haze in the Lledr Valley below. We wandered up onto the nearby ridge and had breakfast (courtesy of Decathlon's Aptonia range) al fresco on a suitable rock:

 

Moel Siabod cwm pano (the tent's on the left)

 

On the ridge just after sunrise

 

Lledr Valley - mist and haze

 

 Dolwyddelan Castle #1

 

 Ella doesn't do mornings...

 

but she does do breakfast

 

Dolwyddelan Castle #2

 

Cotton-grass

 

Ella

 

Heather

 

Knobbly #1

 

Knobbly #2

 

Striking camp didn't take long - we'd not brought much. With the weather set fair and with us being on familiar ground we'd figured that stuff like waterproofs, spare layers, rucksack liners, map/compass/GPS weren't really necessary. Hell, I even eschewed the Scarpa SLs and wore my tatty old Trezetas instead! No shorts though - I didn't want to scare the wildlife 😯

 

Holy Trezetas

 

We shouldered our packs and completed the circuit of Llyn y Foel, taking a few pics on the way:

 

Columnar jointing, Daear Ddu

 

Moel Siabod reflected in Llyn y Foel

 

Llyn y Foel and "The Gap of Rohan"

 

On the way back down we had time for a bit of exploring around the quarry. Ella kept finding rocks shaped like footprints, I aced her with this one that bore an uncanny resemblance to Brian Griffin:

 

Dug

 

Some of the small quarry buildings overlooking the reservoir looked like they'd be fine places for setting up a bivvy:

 

Quarry building 1 #1

 

Quarry building 1 #2

 

Quarry building 2 #1

 

That Lonesome Pine again

 

Ditto

 

Reedy margins

 

Nearly back at the cottage the view was extensive - here's a 180-degree pano:

 

Widescreen

 

Before long we were back at the cottage. Chris did us a superb cooked breakfast, partly to refuel us and partly to use up the bacon, eggs, hash-browns and other such stuff in the kitchen.

The afternoon proved to be hotter than the morning. Nobody was up for going out so we spent a leisurely afternoon getting a lot of our stuff packed up in order to make Saturday's 10 a.m. getaway a tad easier.

Outside the view down the Llugwy Valley was being ruined by these festrous things:

 

Moel Maelogen wind farm

 

Soon afterwards the RAF provided more entertainment. We wondered if we'd been overflown by royalty:

 

Charlie's Angel?

 

Packing almost done, I took a few parting-shots of the cottages:

 

Cottages #1

 

Cottages #2

 

The kitchen

 

The Boss

 

After that, and after a third-and-final hot meal, we had an early night in preparation for an early start on Saturday.

North Wales 2013 – Tuesday – The hill at the end of the garden

Posted by on July 26th 2013 in Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

Tuesday. Forecast: dry, hot and sunny again. Early morning saw a fine inversion filling the valleys, usually a good sign in these parts. It was a day to get the boots on and visit an old friend.

Inversion below basecamp

 

A wider view

After a hearty breakfast we were off up the track that passes the cottages. Moel Siabod was looking good under blue skies and the occasional light cloud:

The track to Moel Siabod

At the first reservoir one of the subsidiary summits comes into view

 

At the first reservoir

 A bit further on

 Nearing the first quarry, a lone shapely conifer clings to a spoil-fan.
Could this be the celebrated Lonesome Pine?

First quarry

Angles and reflections

Plenty of derelict quarry buildings

Just past the quarry the Daear Ddu edge comes fully into view.
You can argue all you like but it isn't a ridge, if you don't believe me, look at the contours on the map.
And while I'm being pedantic, the geology maps/books say it's made of dolerite (diabase) but there's gabbro in there too.
Look, here's a bit that Ella brought home:

Gabbro.
For those not familiar with pre-decimalisation coinage, the 1907 penny included for scale is 1.22" (31mm) in diameter

Just over the rise there's a fine view of the lie of the land.
As an aside, dodgy photo-stitching seems to have doubled my quota of daughters  😯

Private beach at Llyn y Foel - a perfect place to stop for lunch, and the last water-source for several hours

 

Walkers on the ridge edge

This critter was busy collecting grubs and flies at the waterside.
It's some sort of Pipit but we can't decide which flavour - Tree, Rock or Meadow.
Any ideas?

Ella & Anna enjoying a break

Another of Anna's intriguing pics

On the way again after lunch

Proof that Aliens exist - Ella finds the remains of a dead facehugger

Llyn y Foel from Daear Ddu

Chris and Anna a bit further up the ridge edge

 

That's gabbro, that is. Note the characteristic weathered pitted/knobbly texture.
Child included for scale.

About half-way up

The view over to Dolwyddelan

Ella and Chris on one of the steeper bits

Anna and Ella nearing at the top of the Daear Ddu

The trig point on Carnedd Moel Siabod is right at the top of the Daear Ddu,
or a longish stone's throw away if you keep to the edge as we did.
Basically, to miss the top you'd have to be a special kind of idiot.

Pano from the top.
In theory it's possible to see 13 of the 14/15/16 Welsh 3000s on a clear day.

Ella and Anna triumphant on Moel Siabod's top-most rock

Subsidiary summits from the shelter

 

Tryfan through the heat-haze

Birds of a feather ...

... stuck together

The grass around the summit was studded with vivid Harebells

A look over the edge of the cwm

 Looking down the gully before the rise to the first subsidiary summit

 Looking back to the main summit

Another gully, the one between the two subsidiary summits

 Stitch that!

Rest & Rehydration on outcrops of distinctive rhyolitic tuff

 Awkward ground - too steep to walk down, not steep enough to go scree-sliding

Back on the main the track, Ella took a shine to this tree

Back at the cottage it was boots off, feet-up and rehydrate. Despite the mainly overcast skies after leaving the ridge, the temperatures had still been pushing 30C and there had been hardly any breeze, so we were fairly dried-out. After baths/showers and a cooked meal we crashed out where we sat. The cider helped, of course. It counts towards your 5-a-day, allegedly.

It's a classic walk which provides varied terrain, a superb scramble, a fine ridge-walk and a summit-view that is, arguably, the best in Wales. If you've not done it, do it. If you've already done it, do it again!

North Wales 2013 – Friday/Saturday – The day we went to Bangor

Posted by on July 22nd 2013 in Great Escapes, Summer Holidays

Given the task of finding a place to stay in Snowdonia looked like it was going to be a bit of an ordeal. The remit was: cottage, quiet, remote yet close to sufficient activities to keep the kids happy, close to some interesting mountain walks, within a couple of hours' drive of a beach, and fairly close to Bangor and Menai Bridge where Chris was a Maths undergrad.

In the end the task was a doddle. Choose a mountain (Moel Siabod), use Google to find a nearby cottage (Siabod Holiday Cottages near Pont Cyfyng), all sorted in ten minutes. I passed the details to Chris and let her do the rest.

Why Moel Siabod? Well, it's the best mountain in Wales, bar none. And I know it fairly well - I spent over eight weeks mapping it in the minutest detail for my B.Sc. Geology thesis.

Why Siabod Holiday Cottages? Apart from the fact that the price was right, it looked like the place had everything we'd ever need. Oh, and at about 850ft we'd have a significant altitude-advantage over the valley-starters when we got go up the mountain. We chose Ty Llewelyn, the middle one of three in a row that was derelict the last time I walked past. The recent restoration and renovation of these cottages has been done to a very high standard and the facilities and welcome were second to none. I'd recommend the cottages to anyone, the place is exceptional.

Rather than sit in a roasting car jammed in with all of the other holiday traffic on the A5 on Saturday, we chose to book an extra night and execute our getaway plan straight after school-time on Friday. It turned out to be a good idea, the traffic was light and driving in the evening was much better than braving the midday weekend sun. We were greeted by the owners on arrival, and soon we were installed after making inroads into the welcome-pack (tea, coffee, chocolate, Bara Brith, Welsh Cakes, cookies, shortcakes, sweets...) We had a chill-out night with much moderately-loud music, taking advantage of the fact that the other two cottages were unoccupied that night.

Saturday was hot and clear from the start. The others had a lie-in, I went outside for a mooch around the grounds and a play with the camera:

360+ pano: cottage-to-cottage via Carneddau and Llugwy

The same view in a temperamental scrolly-thing

The track to Moel Siabod

Hawthorn and Foxgloves

Foxgloves

 

A lonely cloud over Carnedd Llewelyn

 Dôl-gam campsite

 Between a rock and a hard place?

Standing stone

The cottages use renewable energy technology (but NOT wind-power!) Heat for underfloor heating, radiators and all of the hot water is generated by Air to Water Heat Pumps. I soon learned that standing in front of the units' exhaust fans was a good thing - the strong flow of heat-depleted air was better than any air-con unit.

When the others surfaced we decided to have a drive out to get some supplies. We headed off up the A5, stopping briefly to take in the views:

Tryfan. I told the kids that we would be going up the clearly-visible Heather Terrace. They weren't amused.

We pushed on through Bethesda and Bangor and over the Straits to Menai Bridge. After parking up we went for a snack followed by a stroll to Church Island's St. Tysilio's Church where Luke was christened:

St. Tysilio's Church

 

 

Up on the hill is the war-memorial from where there are fine views of the bridges and The Swellies:

Menai Suspension Bridge

 

Pont Britannia

Strong current in The Swellies

After doing a supermarket-sweep in Bangor we got back to the cottage just before sundown. After the evening meal it was camera-time again:

Carneddau evening

Moon and Moel Siabod

After that we retired in good cheer, mainly due to the lashings of cider that we'd brought back from Bangor  😎

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