~Moel Lefn & Moel Yr Ogof~
30th July 2016
This is the tale of a day's journey from the campsite in Beddgelert.
Scroll down for photos and a description of the day....
Molly n' Me left the tent at 09:00hrs, having waited for the skies to clear after early morning drizzle and stuff. A short walk east leads to Sygun Copper Mine and Llyn Dinas. There wasn't a firm plan at this stage, but I know that if we get to Nantmor Station by just after 11am, we could catch the Welsh Highland Railway train and maybe take a ride up to Rhyd-Ddu; and if we don't, we'll head somewhere else.
Llyn Dinas and Y Lliwedd
Snowdon's neighbour, Y Lliwedd, comes into view on the climb up from the footbridge at the outflow of the lake.
The circular walk from Beddgelert to Llyn Dinas and back over Grib Ddu & through Bwlch Sygun / Cwm Bychan to Nantmor and then along the Pass of Aberglaslyn is fantastic on a summer's day. The highest point is less than 1,000ft above sea level and there is so much to see, smell, experience and enjoy.
I have my eye on the time, otherwise I might have done a bit of exploring around the old mineworkings in the vicinity.
Aerial Ropeway (disused)
Through The Woods
Sojourners in the area wishing to take the Welsh Highland Railway from Beddgelert to Rhyd-Ddu, should give careful consideration to extending one part of that journey to or from Nantmor. It's win / win - you get to walk one leg through the Pass of Aberglaslyn and the other, you travel like royalty along the same route and wave at those walking near the river. Also, if heading north, you get a better pick of the seats before the masses join the train.
Bayer Garratt articulated narrow-guage steam locomotive No.138 is in charge of today's 11:25hrs service to Caernarfon. This is a request stop and therefore doesn't have an official time, we arrived in good time, 1hr 20mins from Llyn Dinas (if that helps with others' plans). refer to WHR timetables for guidance on request stop times.
Pass of Aberglaslyn
An enthusiast entered the carriage and tried to tell us all about the gradient and the locos and the double reverese curves, but all I wanted to do was look out of the window and I imagine that's what the others also wanted to do. An unnecessary distraction, in my opinion. I bought a return fare in case we were going to use the return train (unlikely), but I'm happy to support the venture. Dogs are charged at £3 per ticket and I don't agree with that at all! Non-earners and they sit on the floor - no they need to take a lead (pardon me) from National Rail and let the pets on free of charge.
Cwellyn Arms, Rhyd-Ddu
We were going to try the local cafe, but dogs were not allowed inside and outside, several cyclists had parked their bikes in front of the bench. So, into the pub - which welcomes dogs and serves fine lunchtime snacks. I have learnt that Rhyd-Ddu is pronounced something-like "Wri-Thee". Map time and I decided we would complete the Moel Hebog range by climbing Moel Lefn and then Moel yr Ogof.
Moel Hebog Range from Rhyd-Ddu
For the next hour or two (it seemed), members of the Nantille Ridge drew my gaze and I felt that we should be heading up one of the ridges. Such would mean that we would not be able to walk back to Beddgelert and we would need a bus from Rhyd-Ddu.
To Moel Lefn
Now cloudy as forecast, we head along a bridleway with views of Llyn-y-Gader and Yr Aran.
Ridge to Trum y Ddysgl
On the left is a way up to the Nantille Ridge and a few walkers were coming down, which made me realise that we could have had a go at the ridge and got back down this way - no footpath shown on the map in this Open Access Area. On the right the walk into mining areas with difficult to pronounce names.
Prince of Wales Quarry
It would be for others to explain the history of these mines. There are several dangerous holes and an adit with a warning about a "Deep Drop". I am looking for a way up on to Moel Lefn - up on the left on the right-hand photo.
Above Princess Quarry
The 30 minutes taken to get onto Moel Lefn proper from the mines were hard work! A boggy basin, a pathless scramble and an ungainly climb over a wall. These are remote places and free of established paths or maybe I was in the wrong place. Soon, we did find a path up on to the fell.
A fellow walker is heading into that hinterland from where we have just emerged. Y Gyrn is the other side of the boggy basin.
Moel Lefn Summit 2,094ft asl
Snowdon from Moel Lefn
We left the tent at 09:00hrs and it is now 15:45hrs. I'm rather pleased with the way things are turning out, Molly gets a treat when we reach our main fell top.
Molly - Moel Lefn
The Nantille Ridge
In the photo on the right are a group of walkers for whom Moel Lefn is not on the agenda. I can't do that, if there is a summit somewhere in the vicinity, I need to get to the top of it and Molly feels the same way.
Moel Yr Ogof
The outline of Moel Yr Ogof is not so easy to see from here, right in front of Moel Hebog.
Molly on top of Moel Yr Ogof 2,020ft asl
This fell has interesting volcanic geology and is also home to a cave and a trial mine. The miners thought they had a commercially viable quantity of asbestos, but it was not to be. The cave was the hiding place for Owain Glyndwr - a welsh ruler 1359 - 1415. A photo from yesterday...
And one from today, closer but not close enough to be sure which one it is:
Cave or Mine?
Descent off Moel Hebog
I called time on the climbing and we took a circuitous descent off Moel Hebog's north face. Rather ambitious and ultimately a failed operation as we ended up back in Beddgelert Forest, just as we did last night - I had hoped to find an easy way around the fell to the east side, but it didn't look safe to proceed.
To Cwm Cloch Farmhouse
Saracens Head, Beddgelert
We had tea here.
After tea, we took a walk down by the river.
Cae Du Campsite
We returned to the campsite 12hrs after setting foot to Llyn Dinas. No car, no internet, no tv ... just a really fine day out with plenty of great views and lots of fresh air and exercise.
Walkers: Molly The Dog and Me.
Route: Cae Du Campsite, Llyn Dinas, Grib Ddu / Cwm Bychan to Nantmor. West Highland Railway to Rhyd-Ddu. From Rhyd-Ddu to the Prince of Wales Mine at Cwm Trwgsl, scramble and bog trot to Princess Mine and hence Moel Lefn, Moel Yr Ogof, side of Moel Hebog, Beddgelert Forest, Cwm Cloch, Beddgelert, Aberglaslyn Pass (part), Cae Du.
Weather: Warm and sunny, clouding over and then returning to warm and sunny.
Time Taken: 12hrs over a pleasantly undetermined distance with little care about height ascended or depths descended.
Welsh Mine Enthusiasts' Website - link to The Prince of Wales Mine at Cwm Trwsgl.
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2016 ©