Glyders Photos

To read about the walk click here . Hover your mouse over the photo to see the caption.

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2166.JPG" title="Path behind Joe Brown's shop."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2166.JPG" width="200" alt="Path behind Joe Brown's shop."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2167.JPG" title="Cefen y Capel from Joe Browns."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2167.JPG" width="200" alt="Cefen y Capel from Joe Browns."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2083.JPG" title="Snowdon from Capel Curig."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2083.JPG" width="200" alt="Snowdon from Capel Curig."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2086.JPG" title="Capel Curig from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2086.JPG" width="200" alt="Capel Curig from Cefen y Capel."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2090.JPG" title="Pen yr Helgi Du from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2090.JPG" width="200" alt="Pen yr Helgi Du from Cefen y Capel."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2093.JPG" title="Capel Curig and the A5 from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2093.JPG" width="200" alt="Capel Curig and the A5 from Cefen y Capel."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2094.JPG" title="Y Foel Goch from Cefen y Capel.."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2094.JPG" width="200" alt="Y Foel Goch from Cefen y Capel.."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2096.JPG" title="Gallt yr Ogof from Cefn y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2096.JPG" width="200" alt="Gallt yr Ogof from Cefn y Capel."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2099.JPG" title="Moel Siabod from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2099.JPG" width="200" alt="Moel Siabod from Cefen y Capel."></a> <a href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2101.JPG" title="Cwm LLoer from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2101.JPG" width="200" alt="Cwm LLoer from Cefen y Capel."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2103.JPG" title="Looking back to the A5 from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2103.JPG" width="200" alt="Looking back to the A5 from Cefen y Capel."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2104.JPG" title="Looking back towards the A5 from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2104.JPG" width="200" alt="Looking back towards the A5 from Cefen y Capel."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2105.JPG" title="Cnicht and the Moelwyns from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2105.JPG" width="200" alt="Cnicht and the Moelwyns from Cefen y Capel."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2106.JPG" title="Gallt yr Ogof from Cefen y Capel."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2106.JPG" width="200" alt="Gallt yr Ogof from Cefen y Capel."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2107.JPG" title="East face of Tryfan."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2107.JPG" width="200" alt="East face of Tryfan."></a>

<a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2110.JPG" title="Glyder Fach and Bristly Ridge."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2110.JPG" width="200" alt="Glyder Fach and Bristly Ridge."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2112.JPG" title="Slope up to Y Foel Goch from Gallt yr Ogof."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2112.JPG" width="200" alt="Slope up to Y Foel Goch from Gallt yr Ogof."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2113.JPG" title="Looking East from Y Foel Goch towards Gallt yr Ogof."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2113.JPG" width="200" alt="Looking East from Y Foel Goch towards Gallt yr Ogof."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2114.JPG" title="Glyder Fach from summit of Y Foel Goch."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2114.JPG" width="200" alt="Glyder Fach from summit of Y Foel Goch."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2119.JPG" title="Snowdon from the summit of Y Foel Goch."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2119.JPG" width="200" alt="Snowdon from the summit of Y Foel Goch."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2120.JPG" title="Glyder fach from Y Foel Goch."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2120.JPG" width="200" alt="Glyder fach from Y Foel Goch."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2122.JPG" title="Cwm Lloer from Y Foel Goch."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2122.JPG" width="200" alt="Cwm Lloer from Y Foel Goch."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2123.JPG" title="Looking East from Y Foel Goch."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2123.JPG" width="200" alt="Looking East from Y Foel Goch."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2124.JPG" title="Llyn Caseg Ffraith and Glyder Fach."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2124.JPG" width="200" alt="Llyn Caseg Ffraith and Glyder Fach."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2125.JPG" title="Snowdon from Bwlch Caseg Ffraith."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2125.JPG" width="200" alt="Snowdon from Bwlch Caseg Ffraith."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2127.JPG" title="East face of Tryfan from Bwlch Caseg Ffraith"> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2127.JPG" width="200" alt="East face of Tryfan from Bwlch Caseg Ffraith"></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2130.JPG" title="The Cantilever Glyder Fach."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2130.JPG" width="200" alt="The Cantilever Glyder Fach."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2132.JPG" title="Snowdon and the Castle of the Winds."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2132.JPG" width="200" alt="Snowdon and the Castle of the Winds."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2133.JPG" title="Snowdon, Glyder Fawr and the Castle of the Winds."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2133.JPG" width="200" alt="Snowdon, Glyder Fawr and the Castle of the Winds."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2134.JPG" title="Summit of Glyder Fach from Castle of the Winds."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2134.JPG" width="200" alt="Summit of Glyder Fach from Castle of the Winds."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2135.JPG" title="Pen y Gwyrd from Glyder Fach."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2135.JPG" width="200" alt="Pen y Gwyrd from Glyder Fach."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2137.JPG" title="Glyder Fawr from Castle of the Winds."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2137.JPG" width="200" alt="Glyder Fawr from Castle of the Winds."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2139.JPG" title="Castle of the Winds from col between Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2139.JPG" width="200" alt="Castle of the Winds from col between Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2140.JPG" title="Cwm Cneifon."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2140.JPG" width="200" alt="Cwm Cneifon."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2141.JPG" title="Nant Ffrancon from Glyder Fawr."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2141.JPG" width="200" alt="Nant Ffrancon from Glyder Fawr."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2144.JPG" title="Glyder Fach from Glyder Fawr."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2144.JPG" width="200" alt="Glyder Fach from Glyder Fawr."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2145.JPG" title="Y Garn from Glyder Fawr."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2145.JPG" width="200" alt="Y Garn from Glyder Fawr."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2147.JPG" title="Glyder Fawr from Llyn y Cwn."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2147.JPG" width="200" alt="Glyder Fawr from Llyn y Cwn."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2148.JPG" title="Path down to Llanberis path from Llyn y Cwn."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2148.JPG" width="200" alt="Path down to Llanberis path from Llyn y Cwn."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2150.JPG" title="Llyn Peris seen from descent of Glyder Fawr."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2150.JPG" width="200" alt="Llyn Peris seen from descent of Glyder Fawr."></a> </div>

<div class="thumbnail"> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2152.JPG" title="Metal bridge just above Gwastadant."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2152.JPG" width="200" alt="Metal bridge just above Gwastadant."></a> <a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2162.JPG" title="Bryn Tyrch."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2162.JPG" width="200" alt="Bryn Tyrch."></a> </div>

Glyders Traverse Photos

To read about the walk click here .

Path behind Joe Brown's shop.

Capel Curig and the A5 from Cefen y Capel

Pen yr Helgi Du from Cefen y Capel

Y Foel Goch from Cefen y Capel

Moel Siabod from Cefen y Capel

Looking back to the A5 from Cefen y Capel

Cnicht and the Moelwyns from Cefen y Capel

Sunrise.

Glyder Fach and Bristly Ridge

Slope up to Y Foel Goch from Gallt yr Ogof

Looking East from Y Foel Goch towards Gallt yr Ogof

<a class="fancybox-thumb" rel="fancybox-thumb" href="/images/2010-06-glyders/DSCF2113.JPG" title="Looking East from Y Foel Goch towards Gallt yr Ogof."> <img src="/images/2010-06-glyders/thumb.DSCF2113.JPG" width="200" alt="Looking East from Y Foel Goch towards Gallt yr Ogof."></a>

Glyder Fach from summit of Y Foel Goch

Glyder fach from Y Foel Goch

Looking East from Y Foel Goch

Llyn Caseg Ffraith and Glyder Fach

Snowdon from Bwlch Caseg Ffraith

The Cantilever Glyder Fach

Snowdon, Glyder Fawr and the Castle of the Winds

Pen y Gwyrd from Glyder Fach

Castle of the Winds from col between Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr

Nant Ffrancon from Glyder Fawr

Sunrise.

Y Garn from Glyder Fawr

Path down to Llanberis path from Llyn y Cwn

Metal bridge just above Gwastadant

Mammut Champ Trousers

For a few years I have worn Craghopper Kiwi trousers almost all the time. I am in the lucky position of being able to wear whatever I want most of the time, so I tend to choose clothes that are both practical and I feel comfortable in.

The Kiwi's are great and if you shop around you can pick them up for around £25, rather than the rrp. of £40. They are reasonably wind proof and dry very quickly when wet. However, one problem is that they also get wet very quickly in a shower, or if you brush against something like wet bracken.

If it's really cold I have my Buffalo salopettes, but at anything above freezing they are far too warm. I wanted something that was more water resistant than the Kiwis, but not too warm to wear in Spring and Autumn. Initially I considered the Paramo Cascadas, but decided that these were probably too bulky and heavy for me.

There are a bewildering number of "Mountain Trousers" available at various price points. I made a short list of desirable properties:

  • Reasonably windproof and light.
  • Water resistant.
  • Articulated knees so I could use them for scrambling and climbing.
  • Hard wearing - I tend to use my gear a lot and want it to last.

I read numerous reviews and trawled various forums looking for advice. Eventually, I settled on Mammut Base Jumps. They had many positive reviews and are available in a wide range of sizes - I have long legs, so wanted to make sure I didn't end up with something that was too short. However, just when I decided what I wanted, Mammut decided to discontinue the original Base Jump and bring out a new model. No on in the UK had a pair available in my size.

When the new design became available, it was even more expensive than the already expensive old Base Jumps. Luckily, I found out that I could buy Mammut Champs, which are basically the same as the Base Jumps, but more expensive. They were now cheaper than the new range of Base Jumps. I took a deep breath and bought a pair of Champs from V12, who are the main distributor in the UK. The price of £116 was more than I have ever paid for a pair of trousers before.

I was initially very uncertain about paying so much for a pair of trousers. However, having worn them a number of times I am very hapy with them. They are very comfortable and whilst not completely wind proof, the fabric is very breathable so I don't sweat. This makes them great for both walking and cycling. I hate waterproof over trousers and though I have a pair I almost never wear them. The Champs are water resistant to the extent that I don't bother carrying my waterproof over trousers, thus saving some weight. I think that rain heavy enough to soak the Champs would get through over trousers too.

The bottoms are expandable, so the trousers will fit if you are wearing big boots in winter. There are two zip pockets and a single large thigh pocket. The material seems to be durable, time will tell how long it lasts.

Night On Moel Siabod

A Night on Moel Siabod - April 2010.

I have always liked the idea of spending a night on the summit of Moel Siabod. The views over Snowdonia and the other Welsh mountains to the south are unrivalled. In the recent spell of settled fine weather I decided it was time to actually go and do it.

Moel Siabod from the end of the farm track.

I arrived in Capel Curig about 4:30pm and parked in the small car park at Bryn Glo. I packed my sack and started walking along the A5 crossing the bridge at Pont Cyfyng. I walked up the farm track, familiar from many past ascents of Siabod, reaching the final ladder style at the end of the track. It was sunny and the sky was almost clear, but there was a slight haze.

Ddear Ddu Ridge.

My intention was to walk up past Lyn y Foel and ascend the Ddear Ddu Ridge to the summit. However, when I reached the lake the shore was very wet and boggy after the snowy winter. I traversed along a good path on the headwall above the lake, thinking that I could climb up onto the ridge about half way up. I made my way up to the foot of the ridge and began climbing up what looked like a good way onto the crest. However, the final hundred feet up a steep corner filled with grass proved harder than expected. I was carrying quite a heavy sack and it all felt very insecure. I wimped out and climbed back down, traversing back to the path. The path continued directly up a gully filled with loose scree. It wasn't difficult, but it was unpleasant.

Finally I emerged on the summit ridge close to the summit trig point. I hadn't stopped all the way up was very hot and sweaty. I sat just below the trig point, sheltered from a cool breeze to drink a Fruit Shoot and eat a couple of almond slices. I left the sack close to the stone shelter, just below the trig point and reconnoitred for a good camp site. There was a cool north easterly breeze, but the forecast was good and no high winds were predicted.

There is a nice flat grassy area just to the north west of the summit shelter, which is where I decided to pitch the tent. By the time I had got the tent pitched and unpacked my gear it was getting very cold. I boiled some water to make a hot chocolate and to rehydrate my pasta and cheese meal. It was now cold enough that I needed to wear all my layers, plus gloves to stop my hands freezing.

The Tent and Sunset over Snowdon.

The sun was rapidly disappearing, so I wandered round taking some photos. I also managed to get a couple of pictures of myself outside the tent by perching the phone on a rock and using the self timer. I retreated inside the tent and got into my sleeping bag to warm myself up. Surprisingly, there was good T-Mobile coverage on the summit, so I sent a couple of photos from the phone back home.

When I had warmed up I went back outside the tent. By now it was completely dark. The sky was clear and I could see the bright lights of what I presumed was Bangor in the distance. The clear sky and north easterly breeze mean that it had now got very cold. My fingers were numb within a few seconds of removing my gloves, so I scuttled back inside the tent and got back into my sleeping bag.

This was the first outing from my Thermarest Neoair. I was surprised at just how comfortable it was, definitely a good purchase. I drifted in and out of sleep finally getting up about 5:30am. Sunrise was supposedly shortly after 6:00am, but I could see a red glow on the horizon. It had been cold outside the tent during the night. My little keyring thermometer showed that it was around -4C and the outside of the tent was covered in a layer of ice.

Sunrise.

Stupidly I had left the stove outside the tent. Even though I was using Coleman Propane/Butane mix there wasn't enough pressure to work the stove properly. I stuck the canister in my sleeping bag for 10 mins and tried again. This time it worked fine. My Primus Spider stove has a pre-heating coil, so once the stove was lit it was soon roaring away. I made a cup of hot chocolate and had some more almond slices. I wandered around taking more photos. The sky was completely clear and yesterdays evening haze had completely dispersed. The valleys to the south of Siabod were filled with mist, but those to the north were clear.

I hung around for about an hour waiting for it to get a bit warmer before packing up and descending the north east ridge to the farm track. I got back to the car about 8:45am and drove round to Llanberis for a well deserved breakfast in Pete's Eats.

Photos.

Hover the mouse over the picture to see the caption. Click the picture to see a larger version. Javascript must be enabled in your browser.

Pont Cyfyng.

Glyders and Tryfan at Sunset.

Llyn y Foel from summit.

South East Ridge from Summit.

Summit trig point.

Rab Generator Jacket

*

In the last couple of months I have been buying some new walking/climbing gear. Quite a bit of my outdoor clothing is getting rather battered and worn out (a bit like me). In the past I have used a tee shirt/fleece/Goretex jacket layering system.

For cold weather I have a complete Buffalo system, which was very kindly given to me by Hamish Hamilton about 20 years ago. For cold snowy conditions e.g. Scotland/Alps this is excellent and I am sure that it will last a few more years yet. However, once the temperature gets above freezing it's far too hot, even with maximum venting.

In the last couple of months I have bought a couple of Paramo tops, which keep my nice and warm when I am walking or cycling. However, if it's very windy, or when I stop for a while I need something to put over the top. I do have a Buffalo belay jacket, but that's far too warm and bulky. In the past I have packed a fleece jacket in my sack, but even that was relatively heavy and bulky.

A couple of weeks ago I noticed a Rab Generator Smock in the sale at Joe Brown's in Llanberis. This has a Pertex Quantum inner and outer with Primaloft 1 fill. Primaloft is a man made fibre, similar to down. However, unlike down it doesn't transform itself into a soggy lump when it gets damp. The smock weighs around 330 grammes and packs up into its own chest pocket, so I am happy to carry it with me all the time.

I gave in to temptation and bought one. I am very glad that I did.

Caernarfon Dinorwig

This week we have spent a few days in North Wales. We were very lucky with the weather - it was cold and clear. Following a day walking we wanted to do a short cycle ride. The children wanted it to be traffic free and flat!

This ride, which is approximately four miles long, follows a dismantled railway along the Menai Straight to the old port of Dinorwig. There are good views over the Menai Straight to the island of Anglesey.

Starting Point and Route.

I am assuming that you start in Caernarfon, but you could of course start in Dinorwig. You can park at the Victoria Dock next to the Castle. Follow the one way system around the Castle and look out for signs for Lon Las Menai, National Cycle Route 8. The route takes you through the town to the Morrisons car park. There is alteernative parking next to this, behind the old church, which is now a children's play centre.

Descend from the Morrisons car park onto the old track next to the Menai Straight. It's now simply a matter of following this to Y Felinheli. Cycle along the waterfront towards the town to the Garddion Inn. From the outside this looks quite run down. However, inside it's very friendly with lots of interesting old photos and serves very good food.

The return journey involves retracing your route back to Caernarfon.

Mynydd Mawr

Mynydd Mawr is an outlier of the Moel Hebog group and is situated between Snowdon and the Nantlle Ridge. It's not very high - 698m or 2269ft, but because of it's position the views from the top are spectacular.

Looking NW from Mynydd Mawr

Most people start from Rhyd Ddu, the route going past the Craig y Bera, which has the excellent climb Angel Pavement. However, we were staying in the adjacent valley at Hen Ysgubor, which is at the foot of the mountain, so that's where I started my climb.

Craig Cwm Du

Please note that you can't follow the exact route I describe unless you are staying in the house, as it crosses farmland belonging to the house. However, it's possible to start on the road between Waunfawr and Rhosgadfan (SH 514583).

From Hen Ysgubor I walked up the fields behind the house to reach the edge of the trees at approximately 532566.

From the top of the first steep rise trending generally left brings you out to a stone wall at !!!!! It's possible to cross the wall in the corner of the field via the stone sheepfold (528559) by going through the holes under the wall. There are also several big flat stones on top of the wall at various points. If you are very careful not to damage the wall, you can climb over the wall.

The track up the Eastern slope (not marked on the map) of the mountain is obvious from here. There is a steep pull up to some old mine workings, surrounded by a fence (be careful not to fall in). The path continues steeply upwards and contours along the edge of Craig Cwm Du. These vegetated cliffs provide some good Winter climbs in suitable, but rare, conditions.

As you reach the top the path becomes fainter and you need to bear right. In poor visibility you will probably need to use your compass. It seems a long pull up to the summit, which isn't visible until your are about a hundred yards away. However, once you get there the views are stunning. Like Moel Siabod, Mynydd Mawr is an isolated summit and so provides extensive views of the other peaks. On one side you have the Nantlle Ridge and on the other Snowdon and the Glyders. There are also good views over Caernarfon and Anglesey.

From the summit you can descend to Rhydd Ddu, or simply retrace your steps.

Nantlle Ridge from Mynydd Mawr

Snowdon from the summit of Mynydd Mawr

Looking towards Anglesey from the summit of from Mynydd Mawr

Moel Famau

I had passed the Clwydian range hundreds of times on the way to Snowdonia, but I had never climbed any of its hills. Amongst other things the hills are famous for the range of iron Age hill forts, with six forts along the crest of the ridge. The crest of the ridge is heather moorland and Offa's Dyke path follows almost the entire ridge.

The weather forecast predicted a cold, clear day, so I decided to Cilcain for a walk up Moel Arthur and then along the ridge to Moel Famau, the highest top.

I had found an interesting route that traversed the ridge from Moel Arhtur to Moel Famau on the Walking Britain website. I drove to the start of the route in Cilcain, which is just off the main Mold to Denbigh road. I stopped briefly in the car park opposite the church which has a notice stating "The gate may be locked at any time”. The Walking Britain site suggests that you drive down the lane next to the church over a stream and park near to the tree by the large grey steel framed building, so that's what I did. There was quite a bit of space and only one other car there.

I parked up and started heating some water for a flask using my new Primus Gravity II stove. I was using a Coleman's gas cylinder, which is a propane/butane mix, so even though the temperature wasn't much above freezing the water was soon boiling.

From the car I walked back into Cilcain and then took the path opposite the church running North West on the right hand side of the car park. I followed the path over a few stiles and arrived at a small lane. On the way I passed several clumps of snowdrops, a nice sign that Spring can't be too far away. Careful study of the map showed that I need to turn left, walk a few yards and then follow a small lane off to the right down a hill.

I followed the lane until reached a T junction, where I climbed over the stile directly in front of me. The path continued in more or less a straight line over several fields. When I reached a small wood on the left, I went diagonally to the right hand corner of the field. There I had a short chat with two people hanging a gate. I wasn't sure about the way ahead, but there was a yellow waymark pointing along the line of the fence to the left. I continued along the line of the fence, through some very boggy ground and crossed the stream via some convenient stones without getting my feet wet. I turned left, expecting to find a gate after a short distance. However, there was a new looking fence made from pig netting and barbed, with no apparent way through. I walked backwards and forwards along the fence a couple of times, but couldn't find an easy way over or through. Luckily, I found an empty feed bucket and by standing on top of this I was able to get over the fence.

I crossed the field and found the stile in the hedge by the road at grid ref. SJ162670. I climbed over the stile and went in a generally leftwards direction to cross over a stream. Once over the stream, I followed the path straight up the hill into the corner of the wood. I continued along the path straight ahead for a short distance and then took the forestry track to the left, which led uphill. This lead to a gate at grid ref. SJ156677, with a wooden horse jump to its left. I climbed over the jump and turned left along the wide path, which skirted the woods to my left. The views from the path were extensive, as I was on the crest of a ridge. Eventually, the path started to drop down towards the car park at grid ref. 147657. I should have turned right here and carried on up the eastern slope of Moel Arthur to the summit, but I carried on along the path. About two thirds of the way down to the car park I realized my mistake, so I cut directly back up the side of Moel Arthur to the summit.

After taking a few photos I made my way back down the slope to the car park, which was quite busy. I crossed the road and started to make my way directly up the hill opposite. The path goes up through a small gully, which was still full of snow. I stopped just below the snow and had a chat with a man who was in the process of putting on a pair of small crampons. I reached the snow, which turned out to be iron hard neve. Luckily there was a ladder of steps and the slope was short.

Once I reached the ridge there were views of Snowdon, Cadair Idris, the North Wales coast. I could see snow on the peaks on Snowdonia, but Cader seemed to be snow free. I followed the path along the crest of the ridge towards Moel Famau. I wished that I had brought my binoculars to help me identify all the towns, buildings and hills I could see. Out to the West were the mountains of Snowdonia, whilst over to the East most of Merseyside was clearly visible.

I wanted to be back home by 4:00pm and I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get back to the car, so I didn't stop until I got to the Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau. Apparently, this was built to celebrate the 50th year of George III's reign, but it was never completed. I sat under the North side of the tower, which was sheltered from the breeze and ate my lunch.

From the tower I walked short distance to the North East. Once away from the shelter of the tower I was exposed to the very cold North Easterly breeze. I joined the descent path, which dropped down steeply North Eastwards along the left hand side of a wood and once I reached the wood I was sheltered from the cold wind. I reached a small finger post where my path crossed a track. I carried straight on down hill making for the left hand side of the reservoir below. Following the path beside the reservoir, I reached a gate at the end of the lane. Walking along the lane brought me out next to the car. It was 2:30pm, so I just had time to make another cup of hot chocolate before I set off for home.

Bothy Bag

I have only recently discovered bothy bags. For many years I have been carrying round my Wild Country Goretex bivvy bag in the winter time. I have used it many times for planned bivvies and a few times for unplanned ones.

Now that I take the children into the mountains, I wanted some sort of emergency shelter. Buying five Goretex bivvy bags wasn't really an option, especially as I would have to carry them all. Reading various outdoor web sites, I saw bothy bags mentioned. For the other person in the world who hasn't heard of them, they are essentially a large waterproof tent, with no ground sheet. They are made of very thin material, pack into a small sack and weight 500g or less.

Using the Bothy Bag in the Shropshire Hills.

The theory is that you pull the bag over your head and sit on the small "seat" at the bottom. The "seat" is just a bit of material, whose primary purpose is to keep your bum dry and prevent the shelter blowing away. The fabric stops the wind and rain getting in and helps stop body heat leaking out. Although bothy bags can be used by one person, they are most effective when used by two or more people, as this generates a warm micro-climate inside the bag.

The simplest form of bag is just waterproof material. However, you can get bags with windows and pockets, into which you can slot walking poles to help suspend the shelter. Bags are available in various sizes which will accommodate groups from two to twenty.

Since there are five of us, I ended up buying a bag suitable for four, reckoning that I could fit two adults and three children inside. You don't need to wait for an emergency to use your bothy bag, they make great lunch shelters. I recently used mine on Moel Siabod in freezing rain, and a high wind. I was warm and comfortable and I wished that I had bought a bothy shelter years ago!

The shelter that I bought was a Terra Nova Bothy 4. This has a couple of windows and slots for trekking poles. A nice touch is that the stuff sack is permanently attached to the bag, so it won't blow away or get lost.

Skiddaw

We often go to the Lake District in the October half term for a short break. At that time of year the hours of daylight are short and the weather can be dreadful. However, the autumn colours are always worth seeing and sometimes you get those cold clear days when you can see for miles.

John and Ella on Skiddaw

This year we were staying at the Lairbeck Hotel in Keswick. This is a very friendly small hotel in a Victorian house. The great advantage for us is that they have a room large enough for all five of us to share.

The weather forecast for the three days we were staying was very bad, with visibility on the fells predicted to be zero with heavy rain. Luckily for the first two days the weather turned out to be much better than the forecast.

On the second day we decided to climb Skiddaw, as it was close to Keswick and not too strenuous. I had climbed it once before in the 1970's and remember the walk as being pretty boring, but with good views back over Keswick.

Rather than walking from the hotel, we cheated by driving up to the car park at Latrigg. The tops were clear and it didn't look as though it was going to rain in the next few hours.

As we plodded along the path towards the summit ridge the wind was gradually increasing in force. Rather than continue plodding all the way to the main summit, we turned off at the fence at the top of Jenkin Hill and headed up to Little Man. The last few feet to the summit were exposed to the full force of the gale. I had trouble staying on my feet, even though I was carrying a fairly heavy sack. Ella was blown off her feet a couple of times. We sat down next to the rusty remains of the old fence posts and I took a couple of photos. It would have been dangerous to continue along the summit ridge, as there was a distinct possibility of Ella being blown off. We dropped back down to the path at Jenkin Hill and were soon out of the worst of the wind.