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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Llangollen and Llantysilio Mountain

Friday night (18th) saw me and bro in law, David Hobbs back in Llangollen for another weekend’s walking. Having sussed that the best real ale pub in town as the Bridge Hotel (a very nice pint of Robinsons) this time we saved ourselves the effort of wandering the streets by booking a room there. The deal was very good indeed – a twin en suite room for two night’s B&B for just £90. That’s £22.50 per person per night. The money saved was invested in severalteen pints of Unicorn and Hannibal’s Nectar to fortify us for Saturday’s assault on the hills.

Saturday

We arose not too early. Not because of the night before, or indeed the sights before (Llangollen is still blessed with plenty of large young ladies in very small dresses of an evening). No, breakfast was not served until a tardy 9.00 am at weekends, which allowed plenty of time to stroll to the local shops to buy provisions before sitting down to a full English Welsh breakfast.

To my alarm I had noticed that the TGO Challenge date was just six weeks hence, so I determined to test out my fitness level with a walk that would more or less equate to my first Challenge day, which is around 16k with 770m of ascent. I carried full kit, right down to tent and sleeping bag. To attain the required ascent we chose to bounce along the tops of Llantysilio Mountain, starting at the little car park at SJ 198433.

Our Route over Llantysilio Mountain

From there we dropped down to the river and ambled to the ‘Horseshoe Falls’. In reality the falls are a weir which raises the water level to divert some of the flow into a channel which is the beginning of the Llangollen Canal. The canal is a real feat of engineering, hewn through solid rock in places, with Telford’s aqueduct across the Dee east of Llangollen an astonishing tribute to the imagination and daring of those 19th century engineers.
abandoned caravan

A very strange thing around Llangollen is the number of abandoned caravans. Some small ones, others that were once very classy indeed, but wherever you walk, you’re never far from a slowly decaying caravan.

It’s an easy enough haul up to Moel y Faen, although the first pinewood is a tad inconvenient to one with a full backpack, the trees plucking at the pack as I plodded through in the wake of the lightly burdened ‘Obbsy. As it was a fine day we stopped on Moel y Fan to enjoy the views which stretch as far as Liverpool, and I ate the heaviest part of my food. I’m sure that pack didn’t feel as heavy last May.

Now, Llantysilio Mountain does not provide an easy ridge walk once you’re up there. It does go up and down (and down and up) quite a bit. Nevertheless the route is popular enough to have a very clear path to follow, with spiffing views. We the went south west and up to Moel y Gamelin before plunging into a very steep descent to cross the Clwydian Way before staggering up to the old hill fort of Moel y Caer. Nothing remains here except the much eroded ditch and rampart, although some enthusiastic archaeologists had been having fun with their trowels on a minor excavation. On the way here we observed several bales of cut heather by the track – a lot of it strewn over the path. Whether this was by accident or intent I don’t know. It seems an odd choice of material for footpath conservation, and equally unsuitable for animal bedding. Any answers?

Near Llantysilio FarmView east from Moel MorfyddTrig Point on Moel Morfydd
 L-R Pleasant countryside near Llantysilio Farm,  Trig point on Moel Morfydd,  View east from Moel Morfydd

Another down and up brought us to Moel Morfydd (and a trig point) with the delicious prospect of most of the route now being downhill. The route back was very pleasant easy walking, and finding the Sun Inn at Rhewl open was a real bonus – except for the fact that the beginning of England’s humiliation and loss of the grand slam was on the telly. Rather than suffer expert and critical commentary from our welsh co-drinkers, we made back to the car (as it happened, later in the day Wales got a drubbing too, so we didn’t feel too bad).

I felt pretty good at the end of the day. 17k and around 700m of uphillness had been accomplished without too much trouble, and after the first shock of going uphill with a full pack, it wasn’t too bad at all.

Maybe the Challenge will be OK after all :-)

But we were pretty tired, and after a really good Indian meal and a couple of beers, we retired earlyish for a decent kip.

Sunday

Map of Sunday's walk

Jowett Javelin I thinkSunday saw us up early and out immediately after breakfast for a scamper up to the Offa’s Dyke Path and the ‘Panorama Walk’, which indeed offers a fine panorama of the Dee  valley. Another abandoned caravan or two en route, plus, at Llandyn Hall Farm, what I think might be an easily restorable Jowett sitting in a barn.

We followed the trail towards Trevor before dropping down to the canal for a leisurely stroll back to Llangollen along the newly restored towpath. 10.5k and 300m ascent to loosen the legs before our drive home, which thanks to David’s turbo charged Swedish steed, was achieved in less than three hours.

I rather like Llangollen. I may go back there again quite soon and introduce Miss W to its charms. There's plenty to see, both in scenery and smaller details that are equally delightful. To round off, here are a few more pics from the weekend.

wierdly shaped tree stump that looks like a faceDavid Hobbscanal boat




L-R David at the trig point,  The Llangollen Canal,  Could this be the fabled Green Man? (seen near Cymmo on Saturday).

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2 Comments:

Blogger AKKW said...

a really good Indian meal and a couple of beers
Has all the making of an aromatic night!
Makes me want to go for a walk in Wales.
That's the photo's not the Indian and the beer. (Although...)

March 24, 2011 at 10:52 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Aromatic... We did leave the bedroom window open when we left - true gents eh?

The great thing about this area is that you can plan walks that are never too far from a pub, unlike the poorly hostelried highlands. And people here are seemingly dedicated to having a good time, as are we ;-)

March 25, 2011 at 1:43 PM  

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