Looking for inspiration for a day in the hills, I came across Llantysilio Mountain, which seemed to fit the bill. For one thing, it’s in the area covered by NEWSAR (North East Wales Search And Rescue) the mountain rescue team I recently joined – although I know Snowdonia fairly well, most of NEWSAR’s area is new to me, so it was a bit of a recce. It’s also good to try out some new hills, and the contour lines on the map suggested an interesting ‘up and down’ ridge.
The heights of the peaks told a slightly different tale – they were mostly between 500 and 570 metres in height, hardly earth shattering stuff! However, size isn’t everything as the saying goes, so I presented the idea to Chris – she agreed and the dog abstained, so it looked like the trip was on. First of all, though, we had to get to our hills.
We started out at Rhewl near Llangollen, on an ancient drove road that gained height gradually – drovers weren’t stupid, and generally looked for an easy way. We eventually left the trees and farmland behind and took a track heading round the flank of our first top, Moel Morfydd. The track dropped us neatly on to a ridgeline where things began to get steeper.
The final slopes to the summit of Moel Morfydd were steep enough to eliminate idle chatter, but the top was suitably crowned with a survey trig point. I always think this to be good sign, because at least the surveyors must have thought it was worth the effort. ‘Mist’ was first to the top as usual, but had been using her advantages of 4×4 traction and a good power/weight ratio – we dragged ourselves up behind her. The summit gave great views of the next section of the walk over Moel y Gaer and Moel y Gamelin.
On the way to Moel y Gaer Chris voted for a lunch break – again, the dog abstained, but I suspected that she was secretly in agreement with Chris. We stopped briefly, and in so doing realised how cold it was – a brisk wind must have pushed the wind-chill temperature below 0º Celsius. We carried on to Moel y Gaer, the site of an Iron Age hillfort about 2½ thousand years old, but by now Chris was feeling the cold. Heading for the next peak I saw that we could chicken out by following a good track to the right.
So chicken out we did! It was a sensible thing to do as Chris was about to reach the point where it wasn’t fun any more, so we followed the Clwydian Way back to the valley – further north the ‘Way’ runs near to our house, where it is usually something like a swamp, but this section was well drained and the going was good – faster progress and shelter from the wind soon brought about re-warming. As a consolation prize, I suggested a visit to the pub marked on the map. Alas, the Sun Inn was no more, with the doors firmly bolted. Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
p.s. Just back from a great day out in the Lake District, with loads of snow! On the menu was Helvellyn via Swirral Edge and Striding Edge, so you can probably guess what will be featured in next weeks blog – see you there!