Wednesday 18 January 2012

Two Berwyn Walks: A Waterfall and Two Hills

Post Gwyn: Distance: 12km; Ascent: 370m; Solo
Foel Cwm Sian Llŵyd: Distance: 2.5km; Ascent: 180m; Solo

I had booked today off work a couple of weeks ago with the intention of going hill walking somewhere for the day.  Typically, however today turned out to be the day when the nice weather of the last few days broke and it was cloudy and drizzly in Stockport this morning.  The forecast suggested that it might improve in the afternoon, so after dropping Isabel at nursery I headed for the Berwyn hills with the aim of climbing my remaining two 2000ft peaks in the area.

The Afon Disgynfa valley above the waterfall
The weather seemed to improve as I headed south from Chester, with the sun even coming out at times.  However this was not to last as it was drizzly with low cloud when I arrived at the car park below Pistyll Rhaeadr.  I set off walking in full waterproofs at around 11:30am and after a brief look at the waterfall I ascended up the good path to the top of the falls, from where there was a good airy view out of the valley.  I then continued up the wide, and in places boggy, Afon Disgynfa valley, above the waterfall, to reach a ruined sheepfold at the foot of Cwm Rhiwiau where I stopped for lunch.

Cairn near the summit of Post Gwyn
After lunch, I continued to follow the stream up the valley for around a kilometre to the foot of Cwm yr Eithin.  From here I followed some rough tracks uphill to the south of the stream, which soon petered out in the heather.  The Berwyn heather is famous for being energy sapping and hard to walk through, but I found it no more tricky than similar heather covered hill sides in Scotland.  Anyway after around 150m of ascent from the stream, I reached the summit of Post Gwyn (Nuttall) and ensured I visited the true summit marked by a small flat cairn in addition to the much larger more obvious cairn nearby.

On the summit of Post Gwyn
The views from the summit were typical of those from many British hills, i.e. a good view of the inside of a cloud!  However as I descended down the broad SE ridge, I dropped out of the cloud and soon there were excellent views.

Small tarn on SE ridge of Post Gwyn
After passing an area of forest on the left, I reached a small tarn which was still partially frozen from the recent cold spell.  Soon I began to drop off the ridge to the north into Cwm yr Ast.

Moel Sych and neighbouring hills from Cwm yr Ast
At the bottom of Cwm yr Ast, I reached the top of Craig yr Mŵn (crag of the ore), from where there were excellent views up and down the Rhaeadr valley from an airy promontory above the cliffs.

View of head of the valley from Craig y Mŵn
View down Rhaeadr valley from Craig y Mŵn
I descended by a devious path, which followed a slanting grassy terrace between two sections of the cliff to reach a broader track and then the remains of an old leat, which I followed back to Pistyll Rhaeadr.  This waterfall is very impressive and is amongst the highest in Wales.

Pistyll Rhaeadr
I returned to the car at around 3pm and set off on the short drive to reach the start of my second walk of the day at the summit of the Milltir Gerrig pass.  I set off walking through yet more Berwyn heather at around 3:40pm, after having made certain that I had my headtorch with me and it worked!  (I was uncertain quite how much usable daylight was left and how long this short walk would take due to the terrain).

Summit of Foel Cwm Sian Llŵyd
After 35 minutes of uphill heather bashing, I reached the summit of Foel Cwm Sian Llŵyd (Nuttall).  The views from the trig point were excellent and the sun was just setting; I was very glad that I had decided to press ahead with my ascent!

Sunset from summit of Foel Cwm Sian Llŵyd
After having admired the views and the sunset, I headed N along the ridge to the remains of a building before taking a direct line back through the heather to the car, where I arrived at 4:45pm still with sufficient light to see without a headtorch.  It had been a good day of peak bagging, with the weather generally being better than forecast.

1 comment: