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, 29 July 2017

Traeth Lavan and its Foothills 29th July 2017

The Free Car Park at Abergwyngeryn on the old road to Penmaenmawr.
The Afon Aber at Abergwyngeryn - the start of our walk today.
The view over Abergwyngeryn as we started the climb to to North Wales Path.
Looking towards the Aber Valley and the  lower hills of the Carneddau.
Our view as we arrived at the junction with the North Wales Path, but not the way ahead for us today.
The North Wales Path, Anglesy and Puffin Island ahead.
Penrhyn Castle as we headed across the field towards The Spinnies.
The bird of the day at The Spinnies Nature Reserve.
The bird of the day at The Spinnies Nature Reserve.
The bird of the day, now perched in the sunlight.
A few of the Mute swans on the coast as we headed towards Abergwyngregyn along the Coastal Path.
Not just birds we had flowers and butterflies too.
The foothills that we traversed in the morning.
Ed tip toeing through ...!
Cars of the future - flower powered!
This must be the ideal aim for Gove's policy to reduce the impact of petrol and diesel powered cars.
Well it is probably just as likely to work!
Walk stats: Distance: 8.2 miles. Climb: 1159'. Probably a little wind assisted on the GPS.
Time: 5 hours 6 minutes. On the move walk average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h. (Mostly because we spent about twenty minutes watching a Kingfisher at The Spinnies nature Reserve).
Group: Martyn and Ed.
As we approached Abergwyngeryn, we made a last minute decision to park at the free car park in the village, rather than use either of the coastal car parks marked on the route description. This also has the advantage of having a small information centre, beautifully maintained  with toilets too. I'm sure we will use this as a start for walks in the future.
 Just after nine we started our climb out of Abergwyngeryn, heading for the North Wales Path and then to follow it Westward.
 It confused me a little as I remembered it passing through a cross shape woodland, still on the math but now no more!
 This grassy track was delightful, giving superb coastal views, occasionally only marred by power lines.
 We noticed that footpath marker indicated that we were following three walks, the North Wales Path, the Pilgrim's way and the Circular Path. We later came across a sign that said we were on a Penrhyn Estate route.
 So far we had encountered no stiles and lots of very welcome gates  (not there on any of my previous visits) and this continued to the end of the walk, except for one stile, but we were still able to use the adjacent gate.
 However we still encountered a known "hazard", the cow dung enhance track past the farm to the road near The Spinnies Nature Reserve.
 We entered the hide at The Spinnies Nature Reserve, looked on to the pond and all we could see was a few Mallard and Blue tits and Great tits on the feeders  and then simultaneously we both proclaimed "Kingfisher!".
 Thankfully it wasn't put off by our shouts of delight as it perched on a post just a few yards in front of us, and then flew off to perch on  a log that was in bright sunshine - no doubt now the Kingfisher was the bird of the day!
 As we left the hide we saw over fifty Mute swans on the sea close to the tide line, but after having had lunch on the picnic tables at the Aber-Ogwen Car Park, they seemed to have disappeared cf. of a coastal walk with Roger. However on this occasion we did see them again as they moved towards Llanfairfechan along the water edge.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Carrion crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Comon buzzard, Meadow pipit, House martin, Barn swallow, Meadow pipit, Stonechat, Blue tit, Great tit, Chaffinch, Wheatear, Mallard, Little egret, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Eurasian curlew and Kingfisher.
 This was a really enjoyable walk, that I am sure we will do many times more.
 This was a walk that was completed in almost perfect conditions, pleasantly warm, a cool wind at times, only two spots of rain and just half an hour when I should have put on my sun hat!
 On the way home I called in at the Blue Bell Inn for a takeaway for a celebratory glass of cider. Steve and his wife are heading to Scotland for an extended break/holiday. On leaving Steve shook my hand and said "Carry on walking. You will still be welcome".
Who will we see behind the bar the next time we call in at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

All Around Bryn Alyn 27th July 2017

Which way to Eryrys?
Young rams testing themselves against each other.
A bet you don't know what type of sheep I am?
Badger faced Welsh I presume.
The church at Eryrys.
Ling in flower in Nercwys Forest - in a part that used to be forest!
Crossing one of the new stiles as we cross Nercwys Mountain towards Fron-Deg.
Moel Famau still in rain. Glad not to be there today!
Enjoying lunch in the "sun".
The alternative lunch spot.
After lunch - time to enjoy the sunshine.
Walk stats: Distance: 6.4 miles. Climb: 747'.
Time: 3 hours 48 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, David S and Phil.
Just as we were getting ready to set off, it started to rain, so we all decided perhaps it would be best if we put full waterproofs on. I think that this is the first time this year that I have actually started a walk in full waterproofs.
 At Phil's suggestion we decided to do the walk in the reverse direction to the way that we usually do it. In fact much of the walk was not exactly on the described route whichever way you did it, and truthfully it was all around Bryn Alyn as we never actually took paths that crossed it.
 We decided to take the road past Bryn-yr-orsedd and the track past Llanerch straight to Eryrys. This was a gentle climb and to a large extent pretty sheltered. As we approached Eryrys, the rain stopped and I decided to remove my waterproofs and have my first change of shirt as the first one was on the damp side following the "boil in the bag syndrome" caused by wearing waterproofs. Removing waterproofs was a mistake as withing ten minutes it was raining heavily again. Another stop, waterproofs back on as we headed towards Nercwys Forest at one point through waist high bracken.
 Much of the forest has been felled, so we didn't find an appropriate sheltered spot for lunch until we were on the track on the South side of Big Covert. 
 Although it had stopped raining by now, every time the wind shook the upper canopy a cascade of large drops showered us as we sat on one of the felled tree trunks, prompting Phil to seek out a better spot a little away.
 Birds seen or heard today were very few, but included: Carrion crow, European robin, Winter wren, Common blackbird and Goldfinch.
 As we arrived back at the car, we were in warm sunshine and hints of blue skies, wondering why we had curtailed the walk.
 Nevertheless we had had a good enjoyable walk of over six miles, largely in gentle warm rain, but never enough give us any regrets for having set off in the first place.
 It was good to note that several awkward stiles had been replaced by new easy stiles or even metal gates.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Druid Inn at Llanferres, a Marston's hostelry and now open at a time that may make this a suitable alternative to the one we normally go to when we are on this side of Mold. Hopefully the people that have taken it on will make a go of it and deserve to be supported.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Walks and Dates July 2017

Saturday 1st July 2017.
Revidge and Ecton Hill.
Distance: 10-12 miles; Climb:1600'.
Start: Hulme End Car park (Pay and Display) . Grid Ref: SK103592.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Mark Richard's book "White Peak Walks -Southern Dales". We have done these walks many times under many different weather conditions and conditions underfoot. In fact the Ecton Hill walk relives in our memory as one of the muddiest walks ever, but we now know how to avoid it! These two varied walks allow us to enjoy good views from the tops of Revidge and Ecton Hills finish with a pleasant stroll along the Manifold Valley.
We will probably shorten the walk at some stage to bring it down to about 10 miles.
Thursday 6th July 2017.
World's End from the Ponderosa.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1600'.
Start: Car parking area opposite the Ponderosa Cafe. Grid ref: SJ192480.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's book " Walks Around Ruabon Mountain, the Clywedog Valley  and Hope Mountain."  This is described as an exhilarating walk of great variety, on good upland paths and tracks with panoramic viewscapes.
Saturday 8th July 2017.
Gloddaeth Hall and Bryn Pydew.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Marl Hall Wood Car Park on the outskirts of Llandudno. Grid ref: SH 799787.
Directions to get to the car park. Leave the A55 at Junction 19 and follow the A470 towards Llandudno. At a roundabout turn right signposted to Esgryn / Pydew. Go past Esgryn Road to find a small car park on the right.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Llandudno".  These walks explore the area around St. David's College that we normally visit on our Little Orme walks.  In addition, we will take a short there and back extension to visit the obelisk that we see clearly as we travel along the A55.
Thursday 13th July 2017.
A Ceiriog Trail - Pontricket-Tregeiriog-Pont-y-Melbion
Distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 1700'.
Start: Pontricket, Layby, Grid ref: SJ186343.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines Pontricket Walks A and F.  It starts on a path on one side of the Ceiriog between Pontricket and Treceiriog and returns along the other side of the river. The walk then heads for open moorland and on to a drovers road, Sarn Sws (The Kissing Way).
The descent from the drovers road is on the South side of the River Teirw and eventually joins the riverside path at Pont Meibion. The return section is described as being via two tumbling valleys. This is a walk that Mike and I did in March 2017 and thought that it would be better done in Summer conditions, when open moorland is less hostile!
 We tried to do this walk again on the 8th of June last month, but we again had to postpone the walk because of the weather.
Saturday 15th July 2017.
The Llugwy and Lledre Valley. 
Postponed to enable MD to enjoy Friday evening celebrating his forthcoming escape date without worrying about having to get up early to go on a walk.
Distance: 8-9 miles; Climb: 1000'.
Start: Railway station car park in the centre of Betws-y Coed. Grid ref: SH795565. 
Leave Chester at 8-00 a.m. (It takes about 1 hour 10 minutes from Saltney)

This is another walk taken from Dave Berry's new book "Walks Around Betws-y-Coed and the Conwy Valley". This walk links the beautiful wooded Llugwy and Lledre Valleys. It takes in Sarn Helen, the former Roman Road, and reaches over 800' before descending in to the Lledre Valley. It involves a steep climb to Llyn Elsi or at least that is what Dave Berry says!
 Ed and I last did the walk in February, but I'd like to do the walk again with the chance of doing it in good weather. Hopefully we will get get good weather this time.
Thursday 20th July 2017.
A Walk Around Waen Aberwheeler and Llandyrnog.
Distance : 10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Layby in Aberwheeler on B5429, just after play area and opposite Bro Llaweni. Grid ref: SJ096694. The last time we went, the layby could not be used, so we went past and parked in the next road on the left, turning round and parking alongside the houses.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is a walk taken from R.J.A. Dutton's book "Hidden Highways of North Wales". It explores the  Roman and Medieval Roads between Waen Aberwheeler and Llandyrnog. As far as I know. the only section that we have done before is along the Afon Clwyd from Llaweni Hall.
It may give us a chance to visit the new Brunning and Price pub at Bodfari and assess its potential.
Saturday 22nd July 2017.
A Walk From Llyn Brenig.
Distance: 8 miles. Climb: 1000'
Start: Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre car park (Pay and Display). Grid ref: SH968547' . (Remember to pay just for parking, there are dearer options if you intend to go fishing)
Leave Chester 08-30 a.m.
This walk is taken from Lorna Jenner's book "Walks in the Vale of Clwyd and the Denbigh Moors" or in the revised book "Walks in the Vale of Clwyd and the Hiraethog Moors".
 This walk explores the the Afon Alwen valley South of the dam. It passes through the village of Pentre-llyn-cymmer and heads along the river to visit Caer Dunod. 
Some of the paths are waymarked Mynydd Hiraethog.
 A varied walk. Bring your binoculars if you have them, the last time I did this walk we had good views of Redstarts.
 The only downside to this walk is that the last half a mile from Pente-llyn-cymmer is uphill, especially as the track heads up to the top of the dam.
Thursday 27th July 2017.
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. In the past it has often been a challenge to our route finding skills through Nercwys Forest,  th last two times we seem to have got it right without too much trouble!
Saturday 29th July 2017.
Traeth Lafan and Its Foothills
Distance:7-8 miles. Climb:1000'.
Start: Aber Ogwen Coastal Car Park. Grid ref:SH616724. 
Alternative start: Abergwyngeryn Free Car Park Grid ref: SH 6527282. PC (opens about 09-30) nearby and a cafe at the outdor centre that allows walkers to use the toilets (opens earlier than PC.)
This walk uses taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks On the North Wales Coast". The Traeth Lafan and it Foothills walk is an annual favourite and has in the past given us some wonderful experiences, especially in Winter trampling through soft fluffy knee deep snow that didn't stick or wet our legs. Unfortunately at this time of the year we shouldn't get any snow, but with a bit of luck the fields as we approach the farm near the Spinnies shouldn't be waterlogged either. It should be worthwhile bringing binoculars with you as we may visit the Spinnies Nature Reserve on the way back to our car.
This walk is described as walk of contrasting coastal and upland scenery with good views from the higher points on the North Wales path.
 This will be the first time that the walk will be completed without adding any extension to the walk.
 High tide is at about 15-45 and is about 8.3 m (27.3'), so the coastal birds may be better seen as we arrive back at the car.





Llyn Brenig and Its Southern Environs 22nd July 2017

Looking across Llyn Brenig from its dam.
Looking South from the dam.
Llyn Brenig from the East side of the dam.
The Afon Alwen East of Pentre-llyn-cymmer.
Caer Ddunod rising to the right of the Alwen Valley.
"Which way do we go?"
Why this photo of a Foxglove in flower?
We were climbing steeply up a road and I needed a rest!
Distant views of the hills - probably the Berwyns.
Photo taken a little South of Hafoty Llechwedd.
Vacating our lunch spot North of Hafoty Llechwedd.
The dam at the East end of the Alwen Reservoir,
viewed from the path heading North to Pentre-llyn-cymmer.
Looking North over Pentre-llyn-cymmer towards Llyn Brenig.
Looking towards Llyn Brenig from road East of the dam.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.9 miles. Climb: 956'.
Time: 4 hours 29 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Ed.
The forecast looked good, well at least late afternoon when rain was likely to arrive. 
The start of the walk is a pleasant stroll from the Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre,  across the dam and down hill to Pentre-llyn-cymmer. The walk from the Outdoor Centre at Pentre-llyn-cymmer became more challenging as there was no path on the ground and we had to trek through long wet grass as we contoured round above the Afon Alwen, but worse was to com! As we approached Caer Ddunod we had to negotiate a rather overgrown and boggy section on the edge of a wood quite close to the river. Thankfully as we reached the end of the wood with Caer Ddunod in sight a marker post pointed us in the right direction away from the river.
 The walk passed through delightful countryside, especially in the Alwen Valley, but our only views of any hills came as we reached the highest point on the road to Hafoty Llechwedd.
 Lunch was taken just after Hafoty Llechwedd when we spotted the remains of an old boundary with plenty of large stones that we could utilise as seats.
 Throughout the morning it had been a rapid changes from warm sunshine and the need for a sunhat and cloud cover when hats needed to be removed to allow heads to cool! Lunch time was no exception.
 Our best views came just after lunch as we started to descend into Pentre-llyn-cymmer when we had superb views of the Alwen Reservoir and Llyn Brenig with the rest of our walk ahead of us.
 After a slight change from the described walk where we took a path on the West side of the village to avoid retracing our steps up the road. This was a pleasant alternative if you can forget the climb through long wet grass to reach the road and the way ahead along the Elorgarreg Trail back to Llyn Brenig.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Greylag goose, Canada goose, European robin, Pied wagtail, Barn swallow, House martin, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Common buzzard, Common kestrel, Goldfinch, House sparrow, Grey heron and Mallard.
 Overall a very enjoyable walk, with only one or two Horsefly bites and Nettle stings to worry about, and equally as important no sign of imminent rain.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Sportman's Arms, the highest pub in Wales, a place I last visited in 1972. Now open again, serving food as well. Hopefully they will get enough passing customers to make a go of this venture. BSA bitter from the fairly local Buzzard Brewery based at Llandyrnog did well to quench our thirst before we headed honeward.
 Eventually it did rain as we approached Broughton on the way home, and quite accurately it could be described as torrential as it bounced up from the road.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

An Aberwheeler Adventure 20th July 2017

The Start of the walk in Aberwheeler - lay-by and bus stop.
On the track from Aberwheeler to Llaweni Hall.
Greylag geese enjoying rich pastures South east of Llaweni Hall.
The view from my lunch spot, well behind me - a field of potatoes.!
The real view from my lunch spot, directly in front of me - a field of maize and two red blobs!
Looking across the Vale of Clwyd towards Snowdonia and the Carneddau.
Bodfari ahead!
Is it a real bird? Well not one that counts on the blog!
Two red blobs or is it piggy in the middle?
The final objective for the day - the Dinorben Arm at Bodfari.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.7 miles. Climb: 743'.
Time: 4 hours 55 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Ed, Jim, Mal, David S., and Celia.
This walk didn't quite turn out as we expected. We set off from Aberwheeler at about 10-10, a little later than the planned departure time of no later than 10-00.
 The forecast was good, and remained dry throughout, but at times was a little on the humid side in the absence of the refreshing breeze.
 As we walked along the banks of the River Clwyd, some of us were lucky enough to see a Kingfisher, but soon afterwards our plans were to change. This section of the route crossed many field boundaries and the consequent stiles, many of them in a poor state or rather awkward for some of us to get over. Unfortunately, Celia managed to catch her shins on the step of one of these stiles, resulting in an injury requiring a visit to A and E.
 We thought that we had found a short cut if we used a path on the OS map. unfortunately this was not present on the ground and we ended up taking the original route planned as far as the main road back to Aberwheeler. Michel at this point went ahead and manged to pick up a lift back to Aberwheeler and bring his car back to take Celia of to the Countess. Thankfully she didn't have to wait too long for the treatment and reassurance that she needed and was feeling much better back at home. Hopefully it won't be too long before she gets back walking again.
 Meanwhile the rest of us continued the walk, not quite as planned, but at least we managed to find a lunch spot of sorts and avoid the disappointment of taking our packed lunches back home! 
 However it did mean that for the first time ever, I now had a change of footwear in my rucksack as well as the plastic bottles and glass bottle that we had picked up to fill the blue string bag that I carry just for that purpose!
 At lunch we had done just over 5 miles, so the improvised part of the walk put on nearly four miles and a few hundred feet of climb.
 The route taken took us from our lunch spot South west of Plas Ashpool along a minor lane past Fron Vox and Gelli to Castell Berth farm and Northwards towards Aifft where we briefly picked up the Offa's Dyke path on the way back to Aberwheeler.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Housem sparrow, Barn swallow, Greylag goose, Kingfisher, Grey heron, Grey wagtail, Mallard, Canada goose, Goldfinch, Jackdaw, Great cormorant, Carrion crow, Common buzzard, Chaffinch and Stonechat.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Dinornben Arms at Bodfari, sitting out in one of their many outdoor areas with good views towards the Clwydian Hills.
 This impressively renovated hostelry has a good chance of winning our favour for our 2018 annual walk and meal.