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!

Dolwyddelan bound but Dolgarrog destined

3rd June 2008

The strange title comes from the fact that a planned walking trip to Dolwyddelan got scuppered by a public transport lapse. I was travelling on a sunny Sunday a few weeks ago when the promised 07:40 rail replacement coach service to Wilmslow didn’t materialise; what was listed on the National Rail website was a work of fiction. The result was that my train tickets for Dolwyddelan weren’t to be fully used because of missed connections.

Instead, I resolved that a safer prospect to go part way up the Conwy valley to the quiet backwater of Dolgarrog. I was sorely tempted by the idea of a bus connection to my intended destination but I stuck to my guns for a walk with a slightly earlier start. Inspections of maps since then has made me realise that Dolwyddelan would still have been an option but that’s not how I saw it at the time.

Once in Dolgarrog, I made my way up the steep wooded slopes that really worked out my legs and warmed me up. The confusing maze of paths and tracks also exercised by navigational skills and I am pleased to state that no failures occurred. After that start, things levelled out a bit and I rounded Coedty reservoir to set off into open country as part of a circular hike. Clouds were aplenty but the sun still broke though as steady progress was made along a good track along the lower slopes of Moel Eilio. I soon reached the broken dams of Llyn Eigiau, a relic of the disaster than struck in 1925 and a reminder of the 16 people who died in Dolgarrog and the need for the reservoir legislation that has been passed since then. Somewhat appropriately, members of the Carneddau offered a brooding backdrop to the scene as I then turned away to start my return trek to civilisation again. As I plied my way, I detoured over Waen Bryn-gwenith for some freestyle wandering before returning to the tarmac for a timely drop down into Tal-y-Bont, a short hop north of Dolgarrog, in ample time for a bus back to Llandudno Junction from where the railway conveyed me home again and without mythical connections confounding my progress.

All in all, it was a good day out. I might not have got to Dolwyddelan as planned but there are seeds sown for future outings. A walk from Dolwyddelan to Capel Curing is one such ploy but another is a trek from the Conwy Valley through to Bethesda or Bangor, passing by the Carneddau. It’s a tempting possibility even if there would be a goodly amount of ascent and descent for those legs in the middle of the hike. Leaving somewhere with ideas for return visits is far from disappointing; in fact, I am inclined to consider it a successful attribute of a good day out. Having new places to explore does keep me going back to the outdoors and, if I ever felt that I had explored everywhere, a clear impossibility, then that desire for the outdoors could wither. I think that I may have experienced that sort of feeling at times over the last year so it feels good be building up a list of potential trips for one of them to be pulled off the shelf and dusted down when an opportunity presents itself. I hope that those ideas keep coming.

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