Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

More recce in Rhinog country

1st July 2007

Not having ventured out on a day long hillwalking trip for most of a month (I have been venturing out locally on lovely evenings after work, but that’s for another post), I took my chance on Friday and headed out to explore Rhinog country. The weather has been very unsettled recently but the promise of a mainly dry day with some sunshine lured me out and about, even if wet conditions could be expected underfoot.

The start of the day wasn’t too promising: it was raining well as I made my way to Macclesfield train station. However, rain at 07:00 usually means that it dries up by 11:00 and by the time that I reached Wolverhampton, conditions were drier. Even so, showers were very much in evidence as my train passed through Shropshire and the hills of mid-Wales towards my destination. Things started to look better from Machynlleth on.

I had planned to make my Dyffryn Ardudwy but, due to some fumbling on my part (very unusual for me, but the idea of these being request stops probably made me overly cautious and I did miss the extra station because it was near a fold in the map), I unintentionally disembarked at Tal-y-bont, the preceding stop on the line. It was a fortuitous error and Tay-y-bont and Dyffryn Ardudwy are very close together anyway.

So, my walk started from Tal-y-bont and followed the delightful Afon Ysgethin with the sun making its appearance from behind the clouds every now and again. Unsurprisingly, given all the rain that we have been having, the said river was a foaming cataract (torrent would have been a tad too strong a description) and thoughts of falling into it wouldn’t have been good ones to be having; as it happens, the visual delights ensured that they stayed away. If there was any doubt as to the origin of all that water, it was to be found later on the walk.

Pont Fadog, Tal-y-Bont, Gwynedd, Wales

When the path among the trees ended, a right turn got me onto a track that was to expose me to views of some of the Rhinogs (Rhinogydd in Welsh). As if to draw me back again, the sun continued to be irregular in its appearances but sights of Moelfre, Diffwys, Y Llethr and others still beguiled. In time, I was to find that conditions underfoot were sodden but my Salomon boots continued to keep my feet dry and warm as I continued to find my way around to another crossing of Afon Ysgethin: Pont-Scethin. From there, I made my way to a good track that was headed from Llyn Bodlyn to Dyffryn; I left the wetness behind for a while.

Moelfre, Dyffryn Ardudwy, Gwynned, Wales

There are some wonderfully untended footpaths in Wales and, having a spot of time, I unwittingly made my way from the Llyn Bodlyn track onto one of them. Previous adventures in the Conwy valley took me through some incredibly overgrown examples of the breed but they weren’t soaking underfoot like this one. Patches of Gorse provided navigational “interest” (I was beginning to wonder if undertaking this was a sign of madness) and slightly uncontrolled progress on bumpy tussocky terrain in long meadow was another “delight”. By the time that I did make my way onto tarmac again, my Salomons had let some water in to wet my feet; Sealskinz socks might be a good idea for another similarly damp outing.

The diversion hadn’t impacted on my making my way home and I had some time to do a quick spot of shopping in Dyffryn before I headed for the train station and home. To me, the wildness of the Rhinogs remains more than appealing and I hope to return, maybe on a longer visit; there is certainly plenty to explore here. My boots are packed with newspaper and are still drying out, so waterproof socks may well have made it onto my shopping list.

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