About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Thursday and Saturdays, New Years day and May Day. How many walk? Walks take place as long as there are at least 2 wanting to walk on that day. More walk on a Thursday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, and usually about 8 mid-week and 3-4 on Saturday. Where do we walk? Saturday: Anywhere in North and Mid-Wales, Peak District, Shropshire and the Long Mynd and as far North as the Trough of Bowland. Thursday: Anywhere within about 40 miles of Chester. Type of walk: Distance: 6 – 14 miles. Climb: up to 4000’ (but usually very much less!). Those involved in 2017:- Martyn Harris, Fran Murphy, Sue and Michel Pelissier, Annie Hammond, Sue and Dave Pearson, Mike Dodd, David and Anne Savage, Celia de Mengle, Wendy and Ian Peers, Roger and Margaret Smith, Tim and Carol Dwyer, Paul Collinson, Phil Marsland, Sylvia and Dave Jenkins, Sheila McNee, Ed Meads, Elaine and John Greenhalgh.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Llanefydd, Mynydd-y-Gaer and Moelfre Isaf 27thy August 2015

A poor attempt to capture over a hundred House sparrows - just 2!
Snowdonia from Mynydd-y-Gaer.
On the Eastdern ramparts of Mynydd-y-Gaer

Between the North eastern ramparts of Mynydd-y-Gaer.
Our first sighting of deer.
The leader of the herd.
Just looking to see if there are any trout in the Afon Elwy?
At the trig point on Moelfre Isaf with Snowdonia on the horizon.
The descent of Moelfre Isaf with the many wind turbines just off the North Wales Coast at Rhyl/Prestatyn.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.5 miles. Climb: 1739'.
Time: 5 hours 38 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Wendy and Phil.
The approach to Llanefydd is always a challenge for the driver with about 4 miles of single track roads to negotiate. Thankfully today Michel had volunteered to drive in his new car with its detectors beeping if you got to near to objects and a camera view to help reversing! We were lucky that the only car coming towards us, quickly stopped and reversed to a suitable spot where we could pass.
 After that the walk was a piece of cake, although we did find one path on the map wasn't in fact on the ground and another involved us going through a gate in wrong place, but at least this was going onto open access land on Mynydd-y-Gaer.
 Overall the weather today was almost perfect for walk, warm and sunny a pleasantly cooling breeze, although early in the walk, three of the group realised that keeping sun hats on could be a challenge when it gusted!
 Some of the views from Mynydd-y-Gaer and Moelfre Isaf were quite stunning with most of the peaks from the Clwydian Hills to Snowdonia been easily identified.
  Lunch was taken about a kilometre short of the trig-point on Moefre Isaf, where we had superb views of Mynydd-y-Gaer and most of where we had walked in the morning. 
 Alas most of the walk in the afternoon was along minor roads, easy walking, but perhaps not ideal, but with tiring legs the road route was the most direct way back to the car.
 At the start of the walk we were surprised to see over 100 House sparrows around the hedges at Llanefydd Primary School suddenly take to the air in front of in two groups of about fifty each. Alas I wasn't quick enough to take a photo of them all! 
 Today we were lucky enough to get sightings of deer, Red deer first and possibly Roe deer later on.
 Birds seen or heard included: House sparrow. Black-billed magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Common kestrel, Common buzzard, Common blackbird, Mute swan, Mallard Common coot and Little grebe and Wood nuthatch.
 After leaving Llanefydd we had another exciting trip along single track roads following sat nav back to St Asaph - a little longer than the inward route.
 We were all ready for and enjoyed our drinks at the Blue Bell at Halkyn. The Rosie's Perry went down particularly well with not just one member of the group!
 Overall a good walk, requested again by Phil to be done in Spring before the bracken starts growing and by Michel id someone else is driving!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Around Bryn Alyn and More 20th August 2015

Bryn Alynh from the South east slopes of Fron Hen.
Llanferres Church.
The track throgh Big Covert, heading towards Maeshafn.
Panorama from Southern slopes of Bryn Alyn.
Bryn Alyn from Western slopes.
The Clywydian Hills ridge panorama from the western slopes of Bryn Alyn.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.9 miles. Climb: 1203'.
Time: 5 hours 14 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, David S and Phil.
The weather today was better than expected, sunny spells, occasional breeze with the only downside being the humidity in sheltered spots or when on paths going through head-high bracken!
 On this occasion, we explore one or two paths not previously used by the group, one of which led to Llanferres church. It was good to see the church open and welcoming people to enter which we did. There was also a sundial in the churchyard and a table in the church porch telling you how to correct the reading for Llanferres time!
 Lunch was taken in Nercwys Forest, where we took the advantage of felled tree stumps or logs to provide suitable seating.
 Just as we started lunch, we received a text from Michel and Sue wishing us well and informing them that the weather in France was a superb day for walking and that they had just finished lunch!
 After lunch our route through the forest presented no problems and we headed to Eryrys on the described route that took you through the Nature Reserve. Thankfully on this occasion it wasn't boggy!
 Rather than taking the path that crosses the top of Bryn Alyn, we decided to take the middle path that contoured around the Western flanks. As we approached the path that we  wanted that would lead us back to the car park at Llanferres, we encountered problems as the path seemed to disappear into head high bracken. Phil seemed to be attacked by the bracken that brought him down and didn't want to release him. Having escaped we hit a fence that we followed down hill, eventually finding the stile that on previous occasions had proved elusive!
 We arrived back at the car, having had a good walk and with dry boots only requiring the removal of "sheep manure" from their treads!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Barn swallow, Meadow pipit, Black-billed magpie, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Common coot, Winter wren, Common starling and Common buzzard.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Glasfryn which was pleasantly not too busy. Phoenix Black Bee Honey Prter went down particularly well.
 My legs are still tingling from my close encounter with the bracken (at 19-25)!

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Walks and Dates August 2015

As many of the Saturday walkers have holidays in August, I have decided not to post suggested walks for each Saturday.
However if you are home and decide you would like to walk on a particular Saturday, please contact and a suitable walk could be arranged.
Thursday 6th August 2015.
Prestatyn to Talacre and Back.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start at Barkby Beach Car Park, park near the PC. Grid ref: SJ068839.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is a walk that is always on the list at least twice a year. Hopefully we will see some Little terns, so bring binoculars with you. We will complete the walk by heading for Talacre through the Golf course and Caravan Park, and then through the Nature Reserve. We will have lunch on the path that leads towards Point of Ayr, where there ae a few picnic tables, hopefully not occupied when we arrive! The return route will be along the coast, paying a visit to the Gronant Little tern view point.  High tide at about 16-15  (38.4' / 8.7 m.)., not too high, so we shouldn't have any problems doing the walk this way round.
Thursday 13th August 2015.
Another Encounter with Moel Fferna.
Distance:8+ miles; Climb:2000'.
Start: Layby on A5 just East of Glyndyfrdwy next to the Butterfly Man Craft Centre. Grid ref:SJ115436.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This is a route that we first did in June 2010. The walk is taken from John Tranter's book "Walks in and Around the Berwyn Mountains". The approach is along the Nant y Pandy path, but then goes through the remains of the Deeside Quarry and Moel Fferna Quarry before heading off to the summit of Moel Fferna. Route finding may be a challenge! Apparently Ring Ouzels nest in the quarry, hopefully we may be lucky enough to see one. Hopefully the weather will be kind too!
Thursday 20th August 2015.
Fron Hen and Bryn Alyn.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 1800'.
Start: Layby on the A494 Mold to Ruthin Road, about 1/2 mile South of Llanferres. Grid ref: SJ187597.
Leave Chester 09-00 a.m.
This walk uses two walks from Dave Berry's book More Walks in the Clwydian Hill".  We have combined these walks on several occasions before and the section over Bryn Alyn is always good. It will also give us another opportunity to test our route finding skills through Nercwys Forest again! Admittedly the last couple of times we have had no problems in finding the right path, we've done it so many times over the tears that at last the route seems to be etched in to our memories!
This good walk has its challenges and its delights too!
Thursday 27th August 2015.
Llanefydd, Mynydd y Gaer and Moelfre Isaf.
Distance: 9-10 miles;Climb: 1700'.
Start: Car park by the village hall in Llanefydd, opposite the Buck Inn. Grid ref:SH982706.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Lorna Jenner's book "Walking in the Vale of Clwyd and the Denbigh Moors", and is a walk that we really enjoyed the first time that we did it. This is a refreshing walk over Moel y Gaer, the site of an Iron Age hill fort. Again we will extend the walk to include Moelfre Isaf. Last done in October 2013.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Moel Fferna and Its Quarries 13th August 2015

Looking down the Valley towards our start at th Butterfly Man Lay-by.
The Deeside Quarry Path contouring to the left and the Llantysilio Range on the right.
Looking down the incline at the Deeside Quarries.
"Just because you are at the top, I'm still not convinced this is the right way".
The Moel Fferna Quarry, looking Eastward.
The Moel Fferna Quarry, looking North westward.
Panorama looking Eastward over the quarries from the North Berwyn Way.
Panorama from Moel Fferna Cairn, looking from the Berwyns towards the Arans.
It's all downhill from Moel Fferna now, well maybe!
Walk stats: Distance: 9.0 miles. Climb: 1682'.
Time: 5 hours 20 minutes.On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, David and Celia.
We set off, knowing that potentially stormy weather was heading our way from the South. Thankfully it didn't materialise and we didn't have any rain at all. It was a little on the sultry side at takes and the occasional breeze was very welcome.
  Once we gained a little height, the views were superb, especially looking Northward towards the Llantysilio Range. 
 As always the old quarry workings, particularly at the Moel Fferna Quarry are quite fascinating with good information boards telling you all you needed to know.
 The North Berwyn Way between Deeside Quarry, Moel Fferna Quarry and Moel Fferna summit is well known for its boggy sections, but today there was only one small section that required careful placing of your feet. The bigger problem today was head high sections of bracken and Ling heather that had overgrown the path leading to the ridge, making it difficult to see exactly where you were placing your feet.
 Lunch was taken at the cairn on Mol Fferna summit, but on this occasion everyone sat outside the shelter with views towards the Berwyns, Arans and Arrenigs.
 Our route back to car was essentially all downhill, but the path in places was quite eroded and needed care and we had two sections of very steep minor roads to descend before reaching the A5 and half a mile mainly on the flat back to the car.
 The surprise of the day was to come across some brightly coloured beehives - we'll have to look out for "Moel Fferna Heather Honey" or something similarly named being sold in the Llangollen area.
 We arrived back at the having had a good and varied walk, with tired legs feeling as though they had done more than the GPS 9.0 miles and climb of 1682' indicated!
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Common buzzard, Common pheasant, Stonechat, Meadow pipit, Wood nuthatch, Barn swallow, Rook, Dunnock, Northern wheatear and Willow warbler.
 After walk drinks were "enjoyed" at the Berwyn Arms Hotel in Glyndyfrdwy. The Sunbeam bitter, although on hand pump, was a little on the fizzy side, making me think it wasn't up to real ale standard! We wre however served by two you bar people, one of which was a really bubbly cheerful character to say the least!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Conwy Mountain and More 8th August 2015

Conwy Quay at the start of the walk.
Raven - second perching rock.
The Great Orme from the Eastern slopes of Conwy Mountain.
Panorama showing the Afon Conwy estuary.
Panorama across the hillfort towards the South and West.
Raven at the third perching point - still croaking loudly!
Wild ponies on Waen Gyrach, our lunch spot
or 
"Who's a big boy then?
The purple headed mountain.
Conwy Castle - not far to go now!
 Walk stats: Distance: 10.2 miles. Climb: 1700'. Time: 6 hours 12 minutes. On the move walking average:2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average:1.6 m.p.h. Group: Martyn and Celia. A good day for walking, perhaps a little on the warm side at times, especially as there was very little wind and only rare sections with any shade. We started the walk by taking the Coastal Path from Conwy Quay and around Coed Bodlondeb. This made a very pleasant start to the walk, and avoided having to go through the streets of Conwy twice. Once we had climbed the to the ridge on the Eastern side of Conwy Mountain, the views were superb in all direction, especially towards the Great Orme that seemed to be surrounded a deep blue sea! All around Conwy Mountain, we seemed to be followed by a noisy Raven that croaked loudly from the top of rock outcrops just ahead of us. It even appeared again late in the afternoon when we returning on the path on the South side Conwy Mountain. Lunch was taken on the North side of Waen Gyrach with views over Dwygyfylchi towards Anglesey. On the return route on the East side of Waen Gyrach we encountered a couple of horse riders, one with a horse that was very reluctant to do as the rider wanted, but the way the rider treated the horse it wasn't really surprising! Another surprise today was as we climbed the access at Penysychnant, where we could hear the constant "popping" noise of exploding Gorse seed pods. This was a new experience for me. We could hear the seed pods popping, but were too impatient to wait long enough to actually spot one exploding! Birds seen or heard today included: Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Grey heron, Oystercatcher, Raven, Stonechat, Common kestrel, Meadow pipit, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Sparrowhawk, Common buzzard, Common blackbird and Carrion crow. We arrived back at the car knowing that we had had a good walk and looking forward to a good drink at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn. A new brew from Blacksheep went down really well.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Prestatyn to Talacre and Back 6th August 2015

Sea holly at its best - Gronant sand dunes.
"But this path goes to the caravan park!"
Heading for the Point of Ayr Lighthouse after lunch.
Not many on the beach -  and distant views of the Great Orme.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.8 miles. Climb: 200'.
Time: 4 hours 23 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.8 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.2 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, David S., Wendy, Celia, Tim and Phil,
The weather as we headed for Prestatyn wasn't good, and I for one would have been reluctant to start in the rain. Thankfully as we arrived at Barkby Beach, the rain stopped, but there was a cool breeze to welcome us!
 We set off heading to Talacre via the golf course, caravan site and the Nature Reserve and with few birds or flowers to look at it was a fairly brisk pace, so much so that we arrived at our lunch spot just before mid-day. I'm getting a little worried this was the second walk in a row that lunch had been started before 12-00. I hope Fran doesn't expect this to be the norm!
 The return route was mainly along the beach, where at times the softish sand made walking harder than some of our legs would really like.
 The tide was on its way in, and we only just made it back to Barkby Beach before being forced on to the stones above the sands.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, House sparrow, Common blackbird, Reed bunting, Eurasian curlew, Great cormorant, Mallard, Oystercatcher, Pie wagtail, Barn swallow, House martin, Common kestrel, Ringed plover, Feral pigeon and a tern, probably a Sandwich tern going on the length of its bill.
 after walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell at Halkyn, where three different beers, a lager and a pot of tea were sampled, but all by different people!

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Around the Great Orme 1st August 2015

A Raven and a couple of Herrimg gulls trying to get in the picture.
Not a bird that I would expect to see by the Llandudno West Shore Boating Lake.
Typical pose by at least one Great Cormorant on the West side of the Great Orme.
A superior goat on the West side of the Great Orme.
You wouldn't dare come near us here!
Goats on the cliffs on the North west of the Great Orme on the sea side of the road.
"What are you looking at?
Another goat in a seemingly impossible position on the North west cliffs of the Great Orme, this time on the South side of the road.
Our approach to the top of the Great Orme - weather improving!
Spot Roger!
Five in a row and one got away!
Goldfinches - all juveniles I think.
Them West side of the Great Orme, looking South East towards Deganwy.
Panorama  looking Westward towards Conwy Mountain around towards Anglesey.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.9 miles. Climb: 1261'.
Time: 4 hours 58 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.0 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Roger.
We arrive at the west shore on Llandudno with rain in the air, but not enough to demand the donning our waterproofs! After about half an our Roger gave in and put on his waterproof jacket, but it was never enough for me to give in after all I could still see without wiping my glasses ever 10 yards or so!
Views along the coastal toll road on the West side of the Great Orme was never on the good side, but all them way we saw the feral mountain goats in ever more precarious positions on the cliff sides.
 Much to our surprise we saw lots of people heading towards us along the road from Llandudno and some we saw later on on the the top of the Great Orme.
 We arrived at Happy Valley just after 11-30, but as the weather wasn't great, we opted to have lunch in one of the shelters at the top end of the valley, more important we could take advantage of DRY benches too!
 After lunch we headed up the Happy Valley, frequently stopping to enjoy youngsters enjoying themselves descending down the dry slopes in what looked like large rubber tyre inner tubes!
 Once on the Great Orme plateau, our aim was to try to find "free trade loaf" depicted on the information board at the toll gate earlier. We did spot it and tentatively suggested that these stones could be described as being loaf-like. It was only confirmed later when our Internet search brought up pictures of the said rock feature.
 The weather after lunch was much better and I was in danger of having to put on my sunhat!
 We encountered a man we thought was a local, but turned out to be from Anglesey and spoke with an accent that Roger could just about follow, but Roger's valley's accent wasn't so easily interpreted by this man from Ynys Mon!
 We arrived back at the car having had a good walk, a little longer than expected if we took in to account the way our legs were feeling!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Great cormorant, Oystercatcher, Great black-backed gull, Fulmar, Meadow pipit, Stonechat, Goldfinch and Common kestrel.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell at Halkyn, where AM cider went down well, I think Roger enjoyed his orange squash!