By Phil Seely and Robin Mitton
On Saturday morning the whole of Snowdonia was under very low cloud, especially the Snowdon Range, as could be confirmed by looking behind the hut. So the walkers (Sarah G, Phil, Dylan , Natasha, Caroline L, and Helen) selected an objective of lower height: the Nantle Ridge, the eastern end of which sat on the other side of the valley. We left the hut and began our ascent of its lower slopes, on a narrow and ill-defined trail. We were soon in the clag; this is how things remained, in dense mist throughout, with nothing visible beyond 30-50m. Quite as much as using our eyes, we felt our way along, working out where we were by whether our boots were going downwards or upwards. By this method we found the top of our first summit, Y Garn (663m). From Y Garn there was a scary, narrow ridge of black, jagged rocks. This was not a good ridge for those of a nervous disposition. There was a sharp drop to the north side, and we were often uncomfortably close to it. Peering over it, we stared into a blank, limitless, misty void. Looming ominously ahead was the veiled summit of Mynydd Drws-y-Coed (695m), appearing to bar all further progress. It proved a tricky scramble to get round it. But the difficulties eased a bit on the other side, and approaching the third summit of Trum-y-Ddysgl (709m) we were on more standard Welsh hill terrain.
We were set to continue an extended walk to the next row of summits, but a navigational error caused us to descend away from the selected route. After a moment’s consideration, we decided to continue on this descent and have an earlier return to base, as the conditions had showed no signs of improvement.
Although this ended up being a shorter route, it was still quite a long way back to Rhyd Ddu, and it could have been even longer, as we nearly lost our way in a big forestry block. But on eventual arrival in Rhyd Dhu we sat down to tea and cakes in the charming Ty Mawr cottage tea shop. The cakes, pancakes and scones were scrumptious, and no one should miss out on this treat if in the neighbourhood.
Wanting a faster pace, Robin and his dogs went for a ‘bit of a run’ circling round Beddgelert, Moel Hebog and Yr Arran.
On the Sunday, Helen, Dylan and Robin decided heading up Snowdon via the Rhyd-ddu path was too good an opportunity to miss, the hut being effectively en route. The arret walk proved atmospheric in gentle mist with a stillness not anticipated from the forecast. Mutterings of mordor and hobbits sprinkled throughout the conversation, before a quick dash to a warm scone in Beddgelert and folks heading for home.
Meanwhile, Sarah, Natasha and Phil decided that if you are having a claggy, wet weekend in Snowdonia, and you can’t face any more mountains, why not drive along the A55 and stop off to see the Aber Falls? It forms the centrepiece a pleasant two hour circular walk, partly on the long-distance North Wales path. The Aber Falls is formed as the Afon Goch plunges about 120ft over a sill of igneous rock in the foothills of the Carnddau range. You also pass by the Rhaeadr Fach Falls, smaller, but still impressive. The view up the once-glaciated valley towards both of these falls is magnificent, and the view the other way towards the sea is also very fine.