After the recent cold spell and storm force winds it’s difficult to remember that autumn in the UK was one long extended summer (OK, I exaggerate just a little!). It was late November when we decided on a Carneddau day – it wasn’t going to be too long, as Chris doesn’t much like walking in the dark, and if the weather wasn’t autumnal then the hours of daylight were.
The plan was another wander in the mountains of the Carneddau. The walk was made easier by the fact that much of the outward leg was on a track, as was the return, with just one section in the middle ‘off-piste’.
The track took us up to the lake of Llyn Anafon, nestling between the peaks of Drum and Llwytmor. Like many mountain lakes in Wales, Llyn Anafon is a reservoir, but it blends in so well with the location that you might think it had been here since the last Ice Age.
The route between Llyn Anafon and the ridge connecting Foel Fras and Drum was the ‘off-piste’ bit, with no track or path shown on the map. However, common sense suggested that this would make an attractive way to or from the ridge, and the contour lines on the map were far enough apart to indicate the route as being feasible. Sure enough, when we got there a couple of faint paths materialised, giving a steady climb of 250 metres (820 ft).
We heard other walkers on the ridge above before we saw them, but the summit of Drum was deserted when we arrived. The top is flat and featureless apart from the remains of a Bronze Age cairn, possibly 4-5000 years old. As with many other such cairns on mountain tops, the structure has been ransacked to make a shelter, though there was no need of that today
From Drum the return was easy, following the line of a more recent track used to transport materials for a radar station near the summit, now long gone – the purpose of the station was secret at the time, and even the mighty ‘Google’ fails to come up with any information as to its purpose. Leaving the mystery unsolved we headed down the track to join the old Roman Road, a relative new structure for these parts at a mere 2000 years old.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
p.s. Sorry to those of you who were looking for a new post two weeks ago – I was working away as safety crew on the Spine Race. This year the event took a real hammering from the weather, but the event went ahead and more importantly went ahead safely!