Ah, a short one but a good one. Two of the best 100 (according to Trail) mountains in the country, and depending on where my main training trip before the Cambrian Way takes me, this stretch could see me pass through the halfway mark in the Trail 100. But then if it doesn’t, it will be in the Rhinogs instead. Either way, this section could be, and should be, one of the best chunks of the walk.
It’s also the shortest section, which is largely due to the distribution of sensible staging posts, but also due to a serious amount of ascent.
It starts with a climb up through the woods on the eastern side of Foel Dinas to gain the ridge which then briefly dips down to a checkpoint at Bwlch Siglen before rising to the summit of Maesglase, today’s quality mountain. Then it’s a matter of following the system of ridges all the way to Waun-oer, descending off the end of Mynydd Ceiswyn to the A487. The plan is then to climb up onto Mynydd Gwerngraig and find a spot to spend the night, but in truth it could be either side of the road. However, it will probably be a matter of balancing distance v ascent – the first day is shorter but steeper, and the second longer and a tad less steep.
Day 16 of the walk should begin with the completion of the climb up the Mynydd Moel ridge to Cadair Idris, although I am considering the equally good, if not better Minffordd path, with the consequent variation in the end of the previous day’s route. Whichever, this day is about enjoying a mountain that has been taunting me from the safety of my to do list, keeping it going as long as possible by taking the long ridge descent down over Tyrrau Mawr and finding a way down to Barmouth Bridge – the exact route being left largely to how it goes on the day.
Long have I had in my mind an image of me walking across Barmouth Bridge – indeed for a long time while the Cambrian Way was a project I wanted to do but felt that I couldn’t find the time to do, that walk into Barmouth was the defining image in my mind of the walk. Why ? Well, it partly goes back to Julia Bradbury and her Railway Walks, but also because for a while I had a vague plan to do the “best” bit of the Cambrian Way and start at Barmouth, or better still a bit further down the line so that I could also do Cadair Idris, but either way walking to Conwy. Under that scenario, the walk across Barmouth Bridge was more like crossing the start line, and marking the start of an adventure. Something to be savoured, a scene setting gazing out over the bay on the left, and the River Mawddach on the right, winding its way enigmatically from the heart of Snowdonia.
But now, Barmouth represents something quite different. After over two weeks of walking from the other end of Wales, the coast is experienced again, along with the sense of a walk with its back broken, but with the best yet to come. All being well, Barmouth is the point at which I’ll permit myself just a passing thought that I might actually complete the walk and achieve one of the biggest and finest walks this country has to offer. Of course, it’s also possible that I’ll crawl into Barmouth an empty husk of a man, broken by the rigours of the walk, and quite possibly by the weather. If that’s the case, at least I can get the train out of there. But I so hope I’m walking triumphantly across the bridge with my tail up rather than between my legs.
- CP22 Bwlch Siglen
- Cp23 Cadair Idris
- CP24 Barmouth Bridge
- Foel Dinas (478m, HuMP)
- Maesglase (676m, Trail 100, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Cribin Fawr (659m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Waun-oer (670m, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP)
- Mynydd Ceiswyn (605m)
- Gau Graig (683m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Mynydd Moel (863m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Cadair Idris – Penygadair (893m, Trail 100, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Craig Cwm Amarch (791m, Hewitt, Nuttall) – if I take the Minffordd variant instead of Gau Graig and Mynydd Moel
- Cyfrwy (811m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Tyrrau Mawr (661m, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP)
- Craig-y-llyn (622m, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP)
- Trawsfynydd (493m) – maybe
[Photos allowed for non-commercial use by George Tod].