Welsh is a poetic language, and a language of poets. Names of mountains, valleys and lakes have a magical sound to English ears, and learning a little of the language opens a door towards understanding. A mountain name like “Slippery Hill of the Witch” (yes, it does exist – see post #77) demands some kind of attention, but how about Mynydd Mawr? Not much poetry there I’m afraid – it just means ‘Big Mountain’!
We were last here three years ago (see post #30) with me recording the route for the ‘Walking World’ website. The route eventually went live as Walk ID 6086, and to make it convenient and easy to follow I had written the walk description as a linear walk, using the same route up and down.
Sometimes an ‘up and down’ route does the trick, but I much prefer a ‘Point A to Point B’ walk if it must be linear – that way it feels more like a journey. The challenge was to find a way that wasn’t going to be unpleasantly steep for Chris, but a close look at the contour lines on the map indicated a way off to the northwest that wasn’t likely to leave me apologising for the next week about the crap choice of route!
The route might have been OK, but it had been a crap choice of weather for our first outing six months earlier, with a wind so strong that walking on exposed ground was unpleasant. This time things were much better – the plan was to leave the car at Betws Garmon and to take the bus to Rhyd Ddu – from there we would walk back over Mynydd Mawr.
In the event all went well. The day was a little cooler that it had been in 2011, but the visibility was reasonable for photos. My assessment of the ground from viewing the map proved to be spot on, and despite the slight inconvenience of juggling with bus times, I thought that this route was better that my original ‘Out and Back’ approach for Walking World.
There were only two slight niggles. Firstly the route started and finished with a section of forestry, not my favourite – some like to walk amongst the trees, but rows of dark conifers don’t do it for me. The second niggle was far more serious – no pub at the end! Perhaps we will have to go back and do it in reverse.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock