Three Dad’s with a day off and all of Snowdonia to choose from. Well…we promised we’d be back for lunch so a shortish walk on the western edge of the hills seemed sensible. Fortunately the Shandy Sherpa was a man with a plan – a way to make a circular walk out of part of the Nantlle ridge. I’d never walked any of the ridge before, so was very excited by the prospect.
I was slightly less excited, however, when we climbed out of the car, parked just above Rhyd Ddu, and I saw how steep the initial climb was going to be. Distractions abounded in the hedgerow fortunately – like this navelwort or wall penny-cress. As we set off, on a good path, across the edge of a moss which borders Llyn y Gader, a bird of prey flew over, about the size of a buzzard, but it seemed to me much paler than a buzzard, or at least unusually pale for a buzzard. We saw it again, or another very similar bird, much later as we were dropping down from the hills towards forestry. It was hovering over the hillside, then flew, on raised wings like a buzzard does, over the trees before landing and perching in one of the trees. I took lots of photos, none of them are very clear or definitive, but they show a fairly long rounded and barred tail, long narrow primaries (not like a buzzards ‘fingers’) and I think that it was a female or juvenile hen harrier – which would explain why I didn’t know what it was at the time, since I haven’t knowingly seen one before.
Llyn y Gader and Yr Aran
The Adopted Yorkshireman and The Shandy Sherpa. Moel Hebog behind.
The view of Anglesea beyond Mynydd Mawr was excellent but the photo doesn’t really capture it. In fact the views in every direction were fabulous. The fact that both of my companions seem to have an uncanny ability to reel-off the names of distant hills seen from any hill-top anywhere certainly helps. Away from the Lakes I’m pretty useless. I’m not so gullible as to think that they are always right (especially as they will correct themselves as the day goes on and new vistas open up) but at least they can express an opinion. The air was clear and we could pick out hills on Ireland.
We drove beneath that pale brown square on the slopes of Mynydd Mawr later and improbably a tractor with huge wide chunky-tyred wheels was dragging a plough or a harrow or something of that ilk down the very steep slope. It looked worryingly like more forestry might be being planted here.
The Nantlle Ridge.
Although I haven’t been this way before I knew that the Nantlle Ridge has a reputation as a fine walk and it is a very well deserved reputation. After the broad summit of Y Garn, Mynydd Drws-y-coed was, for me, the highlight. There was nice easy scrambling to be had, if desired, and some dramatic situations of the ‘ethical line’ was pursued (see top of post).
Looking back to Y Garn.
This moth was clinging to the soil between to rocks on the path. I can’t find anything quite like it in my field guide.
Trum y Ddysgl
Approaching the top of Mynydd Drws-y-coed.
Lengthy stops are always a feature of any walk with the SS and the AYM. This walk was no exception. We’d lunched (an early one – perhaps brunch) on Y Garn. On Mynydd Drws-y-coed the boys tried to put names to all of the hills in the Rhinogs, I lay down and enjoyed the sunshine.
Looking back at Mynydd Drws-y-coed.
Carnedd goch and Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd – we left these for another day.
Another view of Y-Garn and Mynydd Drws-y-coed.
Picking bilberries on the descent.
The stream which flows down Cwm Marchnad – not named on the OS map – might make an interesting alternative approach.