Mist and wind on the lonely heights of the Welsh border country. Approx 8 miles - February 2005
Berwyn: Cwm Maen Gwynedd Walks with a Camera
Walks with a Camera © Geoff’s Pages 2011
We'd booked the first Friday in February some time in advance - "lets hope for a decent day". Well, it was a decent day - though the weather wasn't quite all we'd hoped for... The Berwyn mountains rise to a good height - 2712' in the case of Cadair Berwyn, our objective. However, they are not much visited, and there are few paths. Our route, nearly 9 miles, would at best follow faintly trodden ways, until reaching the summit ridge where there is a reasonably clear path. And we never saw a soul, from leaving the car until we were within half a mile of it again on our return. Our outward route followed that described in Walking Britain - walk x031 - starting from near Tyn-y-Ffridd farm, where there is space for a couple of cars by the bridge over the Afon Iwrch. A reasonable route takes one up the side of a plantation to the crest of a long ridge running eastwards from the main Berwyn summit ridge - starting with the 2230' Mynydd Tarw, crossing 2265' Foel Wen and 2431' Tomle, before climbing steeply onto the summit ridge.
The day had started rather dull, with mist over the highest ground and a biting south-westerly wind. A rocky crest provided shelter for lunch near the top of Foel Wen; our fingers were numb with cold by the time the sandwiches had been disposed of. There was clearly some hope for the weather - breaks here and there in the cloud produced spotlights on distant hills, and at one point a clear view opened up, across the Dee valley to the north, to the distant Vale of Clwyd. On the horizon, buildings could be seen around Rhyl and Prestatyn, some 30 miles distant. As frequently happens on these trips, the mist cleared from the summit from time to time as we approached the ridge - only to close in on us and restrict what could have been a tremendous view westwards. Glimpses of the area to the north-west, and the A5's route to Holyhead, gave us some clues as to what we might have seen. We paused at the top for long enough to say we'd been there, then, with no sign of an immediate improvement in visibility, we retraced our steps. An ancient pathway crosses the main Berwyn ridge from the Llandrillo area, and descends into Cwm Maen Gwynedd. So did we - and what a relief it was to get out of the wind. Inevitably, the summit was by now clearly visible, and remained so for the rest of our walk, back down this quiet, lonely valley to Tyn-y- Ffridd and the car.
Tyn-y-Ffridd Climbing towards Mynydd Tarw Walkers in the wind Crags on the ridge ...spotlights on distant hills... Peaty pool on the ridge Cadair Berwyn View back towards Cwm Maen Gwynedd and the ridge Looking back - the summit ridge Berwyn skyline The weather is improving... White rock and the view to the north-east Sunshine in Cwm Maen Gwynedd Sunlight and shade Cwm Maen Gwynedd Last look up the lonely valley

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