04 September 2021

Making the most of a sunny bank holiday weekend

 I feel a bit under pressure as term is almost upon us. But we are having a bit of an Indian summer, and it would be completely stupid to not enjoy that when it was even a bank holiday. So between the chores I did manage to squeeze some outdoorsiness in. On Sunday I went for a short walk to Llyn Anafon with Caro. I had guessed that that wouldn't be too busy, and I was correct! We saw the odd dog walker, and, strangely enough, two cars driving up to the reservoir. No idea why people drive up there. But I was chuffed with our choice. It's beautiful there! We could have walked back over the crest of the hill but Caro didn't think that was a good idea, so we went back the way we had come.

With Caro in Cwm Anafon

Llyn Anafon

That wasn't the end of my outdoor plans. I went home to do chores, but I had decided I was going to spend a night in the hills. I had not slept outside since the Slate Trail, and opportunities would not be coming thick and fast any more. This was one I should take! And I first had to decide on where to go. And I decided on Cwm Gwern Gof, as this was a nearby valley I had actually never been in. That really needed to be remediated! There were no public footpaths in it, so it was probably to be quiet there. And there was parking available too. Decision made!

I left just after dinner. I drove to the parking lot by the campsite, and started off on my way on the path that I had so far only used for getting to Craig Caseg Ffraith. If I go there, over year off to the right, but now I kept going straight ahead. There was a path, and it even had things like the occasional gate or stile, so even though there was no public access, it's clearly not unusual to go there. And really close to the campsite I saw a man come the other way, but after that I neither saw nor heard anyone.

The start of the valley

View back over the Ogwen Valley

I didn't have a clear idea of where I wanted to camp, but at least I wanted to not be able to see the campsite any more. That was fairly quickly done! And then I decided that I was in no hurry, and I wanted to at least be able to see the head of the valley. But I also wanted to have a bit of shelter, as my small tent isn't very windproof. And I saw a bit of a cliff from the distance, so I decided I was going to have a look in that area.

I walked a bit further than the cliff, just so I would have had a good look at the entire valley. And when I decided it was time to cross the valley, I first dropped my bag, and walked up the ridge of the valley on the right. From there I could look down into Cwm Tryfan. It looked glorious from this side! And the sun was just trying to peek through the clouds between Tryfan and Glyder Fawr. What a view. But it was time I find a place to sleep, so after walking along the ridge for a fair distance just because the view was so beautiful, I went back down to my bag, and then crossed the valley. I know that could be a challenge; these valley floors are often very swampy, but it wasn't too bad. I made it across without difficulty. And then I came to the stream by which I wanted to camp. It looked rather orange! Would it be drinkable? And where would the orange have come from?

Late sun between Glyder Fawr and Tryfan

After some brief scouting I found a small flat area right by the river that was a bit lower than the surrounding topography, so a bit sheltered. And it had two big rocks, one of which at a lovely angle for leaning against. That did it! I had found my spot for the night. I pitched my tent. And then it was time to have wash. I was quite sweaty from the walk up! But the river sorted me out with that. And I always feel really good just after a cold bath. I did make sure to put on warm clothes. It was feeling autumnal! I had also tasted the water; it tasted of iron, and as far as I know there is nothing wrong with drinking water has a lot of iron in it. That was reassuring.

Me and my home for the night

The washing room

I then drank tea (fresh mint tea from my own garden!) until it was time to call it a day. The last thing I did was stare at the stars that are coming out, and at an unexpected light on the hillside on the other side of the Ogwen Valley. There were more people out at this hour!

I slept well. When I woke up it was getting light. I saw it was quite early, so I dozed on for another half-hour. Then I got up. It was looking even more autumnal than it had done the previous evening! But that was okay. I made sure to wear lots of clothes while I was making my breakfast. And after breakfast I packed up. I had decided I was going to walk to the head of the valley, then go back to the ridge approximately where I had left it the previous night, and then walk back over the ridge. I knew it was possible to descend the ridge at that end, as I had done that before a few weeks before. So I set off!

Morning scene

I enjoyed my views into Cwm Tryfan again. And when I got to the plateau, I enjoyed that view as well. And I wasn't the only one! I noticed another little tent perched by the edge of a little lake. Nothing was stirring there.

It was a decidedly autumnal morning. I had put on a hat for breakfast, and it didn't look like I would be taking that off any time soon. I slightly regretted not having brought gloves. And it was still August! And I wasn't at a particularly high altitude. There were no autumn colours yet, but then again, you don't get these in an area like that. I don't know where the nearest tree would be but it would be a fair distance! The grass doesn't change colour much.

Autumn vibes

Due to bogginess, I had to make a bit of a wide loop to get to the ridge I wanted to follow back to the Ogwen Valley. That was okay! I was not in a hurry. The views were not necessarily as good as they could have been, as I spent some of the time with my head in the clouds, but it was nice to walk there. In all these seven years, I had not been here!

Gallt yr Ogof: the ridge over which I walked back 

The landscape went from grassy to heathery, and surrounded by heather I had another coffee break. And soon after that I reached the fence which indicated it was time for me to now make a left turn and return to the valley floor. I knew the path was small, and easy to lose, and I duly lost it at least once. I did end up in some treacherous terrain where I was acutely aware of the potential for mis-stepping and injuring my knee, but I got away with it. And I got back to my car without incident. I got back at about 9:45. It had been a good morning! Will I squeeze in another night like this this year? Stay tuned!

Gallt yr Ogof turns heathery

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