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.

Saturday, 30 July 2016

St. Celynin's Church and Tal y Fan 30th July 2016

Our first view of the Conwy Valley from North of Tan Rallt.
Approaching St. Celynin's church from the South.
Bell heather and Gorse South of Maen Amor.
Maen Penddu from the North west.
The way up, but it's not that obvious.
Nearly at the wall leading to Tal y Fan
or
"That's the way we should have come"
Looking South from the trig point on Tal y Fan.
Looking towards the Conwy valley from our lunch spot on Tal y Fan.
At the trig point on Tal y Fan.
Looking towards the coast from the stile on Tal y Fan.
"It looks a long way down to the stile we want."
The grassy path to the Roman road to Rowen.
The burial chamber on the North side of the Roman road to Rowen.
Walk stats: distance: 7.2 miles. Climb: 1978'.
Time: 5 hours 49 minutes. On the move walking average: 1,7 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.2 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger and Ed Meads.
We arrived at Rowen, hoping to meet up with Ed Meads who had seen the planned walk on the blog and was interested in joining us. In fct we met up within five minutes of arriving. He had arrived a little earlier and decided to see if the PC were operational. It is good to note that for future reference they were.
This proved to be a good day for walking, dry throughout with warm sunshine interludes. The only cooling wind we experienced was around lunch time and particularly as we crossed the after lunch by the trig point on Tal y Fan.
 The climb up from Rowen was fairly straight forward, although a local farmer near Tan Rallt warned us that the Bracken higher up m ight be a challenge. He wasn't wrong.
 After visiting the standing stone, Maen Penddu, we knew the climb to the wall across Tal y Fan would be a challenge trying to find the path described in the route description. In future I think it would be easier to head for the quarry South of Maen Penddu and pick up the path on the East side of the stream.
 Although a little on the late side, we decided to wait until we had reached the summit of Tal y Fan before having lunch. This was the only section that we saw any other walkers.
 During lunch black clouds gathered to the North, giving very dramatic views towards Llandudno.
 In general the views today were superb in all directions, with the high mountains of the Carneddau outlined to the Southwest and coast from Llanfairefechan to Llandudno on the North side.
 The descent from Tal y Fan to the bwlch between Foel Lwyd was steeper than we remembered and slower progress than usual followed.
 Once on the Roman road to Rowen we knew the 2 mile walk involved steep knee challenging sections of road, another part of the route that couldn't be rushed.
 We arrived back at the car, having had a good walk including Tal y Fan at its best. Hopefully Ed will join us again when he finds another walk of interest on our list that is within an hour of his home near Llangernyw.
Birds seen or heard included: Carrion crow, House sparrow, Woodpigeon, Winter wren, Linnet, Meadow pipit, Willow warbler, Stonechat, Common kestrel, Raven, Mistle thrush, Common buzzard, Collared dove and Common blackbird.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn just as North East Wales Mountain Rescue Team/ Supporters were packing up after putting on a treasure hunt in aid of funds. Appropriately Purple Moose's "Snowdonia Ale" was the beer of choice.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Holywell Common and Racecourse 28th July 2016

Setting off on Holywell Common, but not in the rain.
On the Holywell Racecourse, bring up the rear behind French Filly and Yorkshire Tyke.
Horses' Leap Notice at our lunch spot.
Horses' Leap from the bench at our lunch spot.
Not the expected location for an A5 sign to Holyhead in a field adjacent to the A55 South east of Pantasaph.
At the Pen-y-Ball Monument.
A reminder of the mining heritage around Brynford.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.9 miles. Climb: 514'.
Time: 4 hours 35 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie, Phil and David S.
The forecast for today wasn't good and if you believed the forecasts most suggested that it would be heavy rain all day. Thankfully they were wrong and the three most important times in the walk, the start, lunch and arriving back at the call were all in dry periods.
 We set off across Holywell Common, soon realising that we would encounter long wet grass and similarly wet high Bracken, keeping dry would be a challenge even without heavy rain. 
 Passing Holywell golf course we were surprised to see wild Raspberries, very small but still good to taste.
 The grass around the Western end and Norther side of the Racecourse was particularly long and wet  and where our boots picked up many grass seeds. We also encountered the local farmer who explained the demise of the Grand Stand. We also observed three men with metal detectors behaving badly near some frisky bullocks and were surprised when they quite calm when we went near them.
 After escaping from head high Bracken East of the Racecourse we approached the Brynford Road. David hadn't seen the Horses' Leap, so headed East along the road to locate it. To our surprise there was a bench there, just the right size for all of us. It was a good place to have lunch. Annie declined the offer of sitting on the same bench a three "old" men!
 After lunch as we approached the Pen-y-Ball Monument it began to rain a little heavier and the clouds suggested that this rain wasn't going to clear any time soon. No one was keen to walk in the rain all afternoon, so we decided not to embark on the extension to Pantasaph and head back to the cars.
 We arrived at Bryn-Sannan and found we had lost David S. He now joins a very select group of three with Celia and Roger of people that we have temporarily lost on walks. We set off on a search of the paths that we thought he could have taken, but as we were doing so David contacted us on his mobile, informing us he was already back at the car!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common buzzard, Barn swallow, Common swift, House sparrow, Blue tit, Yellowhammer, Common blackbird and Woodpigeon.
 We arrived back at the car, having had a good walk, drier than expected, but with our boots requiring a little TLC.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, where the Lees bitter tasted good, I'd almost forgotten what it tasted like. The present tenants are planning to leave in September, so if it's too long to go until 15-00, we still have a location for refreshments, even if there are signs outside advertising for new people.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Walks and Dates July 2016

New walk for Thursday 28th July 2016.
Saturday 2nd July 2016.
Morfa Conwy, Conwy and Deganwy
Postponed. See below for new walk.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 300'.
Start: Conwy Morfa Car park. Grid ref: SH762787. To get to the car park, leave the A55 at Junction after going through the Conwy Tunnel, follow signs for the Marina and then Aberconwy Park. (PC also there).
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk combines one walk  from Dave Berry's book "Walks on the North Wales Coast and two walks from his book "Best Coastal walks in North Wales". The Deganwy walk we have done several times before, but never at this time of the year, so hopefully it won't be so muddy underfoot as our usual Winter excursion! We may also take the opportunity to explore the Conwy town walls.
Saturday 2nd July 2016.
Cadair Bronwen and Cadair Berwen from Lladrillo.
Distance:10-11 miles; Climb: 2500'.
Start: Llandrillo riverside car park. Grid ref:SJ035372.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from John Trentor's book "Walks in and Around the Berwyn Mountains". The last time we did this walk, the weather wasn't very kind to us and we resisted the temptation to explore a little further the main ridge on the Berwyns. Nevertheless this is a really good walk and in good weather the extension to Moel Sych is a very likely option. Can be rather boggy, especially as we descend from the moors towards Llandrillo.
Thursday 7th July 2016.
Owain Glyndwr's Mount, Nant Friddisel and Moel Fferna.
Distance: 8-10 miles; Climb: 1600'.
Start: Pont Carrog. Grid ref: SJ115437.
Leave Chester 9-0 a.m.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Llangollen and The Dee Valley", along with an extension to visit the summit of our old friend Moel Fferna. The exact approach and route of descent will be decided on the day depending on the weather conditions!
After walk drinks will be at the Grouse Inn at Carrog, and hopefully it will be good weather and we can sit outside overlooking the Dee valley.
Saturday 9th July 2016.
The Roaches and Lud's Church.
Postponed until 24th September 2016.
Distance: 9 -10 miles. Climb: 2000'.
Start: Roadside parking below the Roaches North of Upper Hulme. Grid ref: SK004621.
Leave Chester at 8-00 a.m. 
This walk is taken from the Pathfinder Guide to the Peak District.  The Roaches has become one of our annual favourite walks, but this route is one that we have only done once before.  It includes the main Roaches ridge, and possibly Hen Cloud. The planned return route will be back along Black Brook. Can be boggy, especially on the lower route back from Lud's Church. We usually do this walk in the Autumn, so hopefully conditions underfoot will be better at this time of the year.
Thursday 14th July 2016.
Craig Adwy-Wynt, Nant Clwyd Hall and the Afon y Maes Valley.
Distance: 9-12 miles. Climb:1500'.
Start: Llanelidan. Grid ref: SJ108503. To get to the parking area, take the A494 Ruthin to Bala road, 2 miles after Pwllglas, turn left towards Llanelidan. Keep ahead at the crossroads as you enter the village, then go down a "No through road" past houses, telephone and a chapel to the end of the road where there is a parking area.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks in the Vale of Clwyd", and explores the beautiful, unspoilt undulating countryside around the Nant Clwyd Estate.  Last time we did this walk, it was so warm that decided to shorten the walk slightly and head for refreshments. Hopefully we will complete the whole walk and explore one or to new paths that link the start point and the described walk.
Saturday 16th July 2016.
Cadair Idris - as requested
Postponed until 17th September 2016.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 3400'.
Start: Minffordd Car Park on the junction of the B4405 (Tal-y-Llyn Road) and the A487 (Machynlleth Road). Grid ref: SH732115.
This walk is taken from John and Anne Nuttall's book " The Mountains of England and Wales Volume 1 Wales". It is a long time since this walk has been on the list. This will be by far the greatest climb on any walk planned this year, and considering the speed at which I walk uphill these day, I anticipate it being a long day. Although this walk can be up to 11 miles, it is possible to shorten the walk considerably, although the shortened route does involve quite a steep descent.
 As the most centrally placed mountain in Wales the panorama from the summit stretches from Plumlumon in the South to Snowdon in the North and the coast in the West. It is claimed that on a good day Ireland can be seen.
Thursday 21st July 2016.
Moel Maenefa and Coed Cwm.
Distance:11 miles; Climb: 1500'.
Start: Off road parking just East of Tremeirchion. Grid ref:SJ095740.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks On the Clwydian Hills - New Edition". The Moel Maenefa walk is a new one for me and is described as being a walk of great variety, exploring the foothills of the Northern Clwydians and the Vale of Clwyd, offering expansive views. One of the walks also goes around Coed Cwm and explores the attractive countryside between Rhuallt and Cwm. Route finding through Coed Cwm could be intresting, if I remember correctly from our previous visits!
Saturday 23rd July 2016.
The Ceiriog Valley and Y Foel.
Distance: 11 miles. Climb:2139’.
Start: Pontfadog Car Park. Grid ref:SJ234380.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
We usually do this walk on a Thursday, but car parking is limited, so I thought that I would switch it to a Saturday, when there is likely to be one car involved.
This walk is based on a walk taken from the “Walking Wales” magazine called “Churches in the Valley Walk”. However we will extend it to include the summit of Y Foel and the Biddulph Tower. Our return route from Y Foel will be decided on the day, but won’t be the heather hopping route chosen last time! The main route in the beautiful Ceiriog valley passes 7 churches and eventually rises to the hill top road where there are superb views to be had, especially towards the Berwyns and the Shropshire Hills.
Thursday 28th July 2016. 
The Three Lakes Walk. 
Postponed. Heavy rain has been forecast for the week before and this area can be boggy enough even when it hasn't rained for a long time.
See below for new walk.
Distance:11.6 miles; Climb:1523'.
Start: Park on grass verge just before crossing over the dam (Eastern side of the Llyn Aled). Grid ref:SH916579.
Leave Chester at 08-45 a.m.
The start of this walk is a little further than we usually go, so I have brought the leave Chester time 15 minutes earlier.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's books "Walks in the Hidden Heart of North Wales" and Walks Around Hiraethog Moors and Lakes" whichever you prefer. Same walks, just different covers, and one walk has been extended a little in the former book. Llyn Aled, Llyn Alwen and the Alwen Reservoir are the three "lakes" visited. In the past sections have been quite boggy to say the least, but hopefully it won't be too bad at this time of the year.  This walk is not everyone's cup of tea, but over the years, it has become one of my favourite walks on the Denbigh Moors.
New Walk. Thursday 28th July 2016.
Holywell Common, Racecourse, Pantasaph and Pen-y-Ball.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb:950'.
Start: Opposite the Crooked Horn Inn, Brynford (don't park in the Crooked Horn Car Park)
Grid ref: SJ185740
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
Another two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain". It;s nearly two years since w last did these two walks together! Always a good walk, if you try to forget that climb up the road to the Pen-y-Ball Monument!
Saturday 30th July 2016.
St. Celynnin's Church and Tal y Fan.
Distance: 8 miles. Climb: 2000'.
Start: Roadside parking in Rowen, on the right by houses just after passing the Post Office. Grid ref:SH761719.
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Betws-y-coed and the Conwy Valley". This walk is described as exploring the scenic upland pastures, full of antiquity, featuring a remote ancient church, Maen Penddu (standing stone), a burial chamber and Cae Bach (hill fort). Visiting Cae Bach may involve a there and back extension! Although this walk is shorter than our usual walks, Dave Berry does suggest that we should allow at least 5 hours and is for experienced walkers only!

A Walk in the Ceiriog Valley 23rd July 2016

The Ceiriog Valley looking West from the track between Ty'n-twll and Pentre Farm, Pontfadog.
The Ceiriog Valley looking South east from the track between Ty'n-twll and Pentre Farm, Pontfadog.
The Berwyns from the road descending South west to Glyn Ceiriog.
The remains of a once substantial farm house North east of Nant y Weniar.
An obliging Gatekeeper butterfly.
Harebells West of Coed Collfryn.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.2 miles. Climb: 971'.
Time: 4 hours 49 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Celia.
After a bit of dithering over where we were to park, we ended up in the GMC car park at Pontfadog.
The start of the walk was quite steep, rising from Pontfadog to the ridge road between the Ceiriog Valley and the Dee Valley. Views as we climbed were good, giving us a good reason to pause under the shade of the trees to dmire the beauty of the Ceiriog Valley.
 Today was a day for wild flowers, one hedgerow had so many we wondered if it had been given a help in hand. We decided not to visit Y Foel, but keep to the route description and head for Glyn Ceiriog. Lunch was taken just after crossing a footbridge over the Nant y Weniar, where we were able to perch by an old stone wall, Thankfully we were in the shade, but still had views across the Ceiriog Valley. We both declined the opportunity to have a go on swing that hung from a nearby tree,
 the final section from Llwynmawr to Pontfadog was along minor roads, perhaps next time we will take the path through Coed Pen-craig.
 Birds seen or heard today included: house sparrow, Woodpigeon, Carrion crow, Common buzzard, Barn swallow, Common swift, Common chaffinch, European robin and Yellowhammer.
 after walk drinks were enjoyed at the Swan at Pontfadog, where By George bitter was on offer with Celia rejecting the Fosters and Heineken and settled for a bottle of Pironi.
 Overall a good walk, long enough on a day went temperatures must have been in the mid-twenties with little or no breeze to reduce the humidity.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Around Moel Maenefa, Rhuallt and More 21st July 2016

Luxury - descending a grassy slope!
Crossing a stile that we found very hard to find.
Not the best lunch spot, but at least we had a picnic bench
Looking West across the Vale of Clwyd.
 I think the cows got it right, lying down and doing nothing.
 A young buzzard waiting to be fed.
Another good field to cross and the grass wasn't even long.
Plas yn Cwm.
The Vale of Clwyd from the road on the West side of Coed Cwm.
"Wait for me!"
This was a photograph I didn't intend to take.
Unusual characters behind the gates of Bryntirion Farm.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.1 miles. Climb: 889'.
Time: 5 hours 48 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Annie, David S and Celia.
Not as hot as earlier in the week, but at times still a little too humid for our liking.
This walk proved to be a little more challenging than we had anticipated, path finding West of St.Bueno's nearly beat us! The enjoyment of walking on the edge of Maize fields had waned significantly. However persistence paid of and we eventually arrived at Rhuallt in time for lunch. 
 During lunch, once politics had been exhausted, we debated how much of the Coed Cwm walk we should do. We compromised and decided to go around the Plas yn Cwm section and return along the road to Rhuallt. 
 In Rhuallt we decided to take the most direct road route back to the car, still a climb but just a steady one rather than brutal.
 Birds seen and heard today were few and far between but included: Common blackbird, Common buzzard, Carrion crow, Barn swallow, Collared dove, Common pheasant, Black-billed magpie, Greenfinch, Mallard and Yellowhammer.
 We arrived back at the car, quite tired and probably a little disappointed that we had climbed less than 1000', but having nearly lost my house keys and my sun hat on one day I was happy to get back to the car without losing anything else.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell Inn where the perry on offer went down particularly well.
 Perhaps this is a walk, only to be repeated when the group members today have had long enough to forget the map reading challenges it presented.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

The Wrekin from Wellington 16th July 2016

The path through Limekiln Wood.
The thinker on Needles Eye.
The Wrekin ridge from our lunch spot.
At the trig point on The Wrekin.
The North east ridge path through the hill fort on The Wrekin.
The Ercall Quarry
Walk stats: distance: 8.0 miles. Climb:1335'.
Time: 6 hours 6 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.3 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
The weather forecast for Cadair Idris was horrendous, so we had to head South east for the prospect of better weather. We decided on the Wreking where the forecast was for cloud cover but at least we had the chance of remaining dry. Indeed it was, but the only discomfort that we had was the humidity, it being quite oppressive at times in the afternoon.
 We set off from Welling long stay car park, heading for Limekiln Lane on the way to Limekiln Wood. Although only just over a mile, this woodland walk seemed much longer with very few views to distract us and not many birds around either. Our approach up the Wrekin was up the steep path from the South west to Needles Eye. This is not a good path, but would be much worse going down!
 The summit ridge on the Wrekin was the best part of the walk, and was the only point that we really met other walkers. Most other walkers seemed to remain around the trig oint and toposcope, so we decide to have lunch on the rocky outcrop, the Needes Eye.
  The final part of the walk took us through Ercall Nature Reserve where we made the mistake of following the main path heading towards Wellington, we should have climbed to the ridge before descending.
 We arrived back at the car, quite tired and decided to look for refeshment in Wellington, rather than waiting until we were nearer home. This wasn't as easy as you would imagine, we only found one which was called the Plough Inn, very much a locals place. However Mike enjoyed his crisps and J2O and I enjoyed the Rosie's Pig Cider and American IPA.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Common swift, Barn swallow, House martin, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Common blackbird, Winter wren, Dunnock, Black-billed magpie, Carrion crow and Raven. 

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Craig Adwy-wynt and Nantclwyd Hall from Llanelidan 14th JUly 2016

Moel Famau from the parking area at Llanelidan.
Llaneldan Church.
Inside Llaneidan church.
Crossing a field that thankfully had short grass.
The Clwydian Hills from the path on the East side of Craig-ddyrys.
Lunch by the lych gate of Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd church.
Moel famau and the Clwydian Hills from the North of Craig Adwy-wynt.
The Clwydian hills from the limestone plateau on Craig Adwy-wynt.
Pausing on the top of  Craig Adwy-wynt.
Nantclwyd Hall.
Part of the lake adjacent to Nantclwyd Hall.
Crossing the ornamental bridge over the Afon Clwyd near Nantclwyd Hall.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.0 miles. Climb: 926'.
Time: 6 hours 5 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Annie, Sue and Michel with Celia and David S in attendance at the start.
 Unfortunately David's car had being signalling that there was a problem with the tyres, so he  decided that he preferred to go home and get it sorted. Unfortunately there was already five in the other car, so Celia headed back to Chester with him. Thankfully they arrived safely back in Chester with one of the front tyres appearing to have a slow puncture.
 On most occasions we have completed the walk in warm, often too warm conditions, and today kept up the tradition. However today we had short breaks when the Sun was behind clouds, s overall it was just about perfect for walking.
 As we approached the church at Llanelidan we noticed that it was open, so we decided to go in. There were several information boards giving details of the history of the church, and is made us feel as though we should visit it again when we have a little more time.
 Our intention was to explore one or two new paths, but we ended up being diverted along minor roads to the point where we picked up the described route. Diversions were necessary as first one path went through a would and we would have had to fight our way through waist high nettles and two field paths had rather long grass that wasn't very inviting.
 The first field path that we crossed had sheep and some very frisky bullocks, four of which we saw jumping over a fence into the next field. I hope the farmer doesn't think walkers left a gate open!
 We arrived at Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd just before 13-00, a little later than our preferred lunch time! This was taken in the church grounds where seats were available for those that wished to take advantage of them.
 The route from Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd to Craig Adwy-wynt was one we haven't done for some time, but thankfully the path along the old railway track wasn't too boggy this time. The path along the East side of Craig Adwy-wynt seemed to go on for ever especially when we were in a corridor of head high bracken.
 Once out in the open we had superb views of the Clwydian Hills almost for their entire length.
As ever the drop from Coed Derw to the flat Afon Clwyd Valley with its grass runway is quite steep, but gives superb views towards the hall.
 Crossing the field on the East of the Afon Maes, eagle-eyed Sue spotted something on the ground, It turned out to a smashed container with a fair number of live bullets.
 Arriving back at the car, one of the local residents said that they would contact the local gamekeeper.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common swift, Barn swallow, Carrion crow, Rook,  Goldfinch, House sparrow, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Pied wagtail, Common buzzard, Greenfinch, Common kestrel and Eurasian jay.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Ruthin Castle Hotel (Wetherspoons) where Brains Gold went down well as did the perry that was on offer. 
 On this occasion we parked on the adjacent public car park which had four bays that were free for one hour. This is good to know and will be used again in the future. No more hassle trying to park in the hotel car park.
 Overall a good walk, even if some of the group were convinced it was much longer than 10 miles!