I have wanted to visit the Berwyns for some time. Although we live quite close and I have been to Snowdonia many times, I have never walked in there. Reading through the Nuttall's book the Cadair Berwyn horseshoe seemed to be the best walk.
Although the weather had been quite sunny for most of the week, it was raining as I drove past Oswestey. I arrived at Llanrheader y Mochnant and spent some time looking at the map trying to work out exactly how to get to Cwm Maen Gwynedd. Eventually I worked out that I needed to go back into the centre of the village and take a sharp right past the pub. A short distance further on I had to reverse back to make the very sharp left turn onto the road leading into Cwm Maen Gwynedd.
I drove up the valley on the look out for the farm called Tyn y Ffrid where the walk started. I hadn't realized that there were two farms with that name in the valley. Eventually I worked out that the walk started at the second farm near to an old red telephone box. There was a large "No Parking" notice next to the farm and I ended up driving all the way along a dirt track at the end of the valley before find somewhere to turn round. There is a small layby by the stream and close to Tan y Fridd farm where I managed to park.
It was almost twelve o'clock by the time I set off and the weather was far from promising. Cadair Berwyn was covered in cloud and there was a cold wind blowing.
I made my way past the telephone box and along the track through Maes farmyard. I slogged up the slope along the edge of the wood to the summit of Mynydd Tarw. I paused at the summit shelter by the corner of the wood to take some photographs. There were good views over Cheshire and Shropshire, but since there was a very cold wind blowing so I didn't stop for long. Part way along the ridge towards Foel Wen it started to sleet, so I stopped to put on my cagoule. The ridge was clear of cloud, but even in mist the route finding would be easy - just follow the line of the fence.
I passed the sharp rock crest of Foel Wen South top and made my way over to the flat main summit of Foel Wen. The path wasn't too wet and the ground hardly eroded by the passage of walkers. However, I imagine if these mountains ever became a s popular as Snowdonia or the Peak District the ridge would soon turn into a quagmire.
I plodded on up to the summit of Tomle, which was marked by a small white quartz cairn by the corner of the fence. The cloud over Cadair Berwyn had begun to lift as I continued walking along the fence and began the final pull up towards the summit ridge.
The cloud was just clear of the ridge as I walked along towards the trig point. I couldn't pick out the Snowdonia mountains, but could see the Arenings and Rhinogs. As I passed the new top, I saw a couple of people sheltering in the huge windshelter. The cloud had begun to descend again as I dropped down to the col between Cadair Berwyn and Moel Sych. I followed the fence to the summit of Moel Sych, which is just beyond a couple of styles. Unfortunately, the clag had really descended and I couldn't see the view. I retraced my steps back to the col and began descending the gully towards Llyn Lluncaws. There was a small patch of snow at the top. Below I could see the two people from the summit shelter.
I followed the fence over to Moel yr Ewig and then on to the North West top of Godor. There is a faint path, but it was very wet so I had to take to the tussocky grass. There were a couple of peat groughs, which reminded me of the Peak District. The going improved as I got towards to summit of Godor.
From the top the way down isn't obvious. I walked down over the fields through a series of open gates until I reached the track at the bottom. It seemed a long way along the track back to the road, I would have been better descending more to the west. However, it was only a short way back down the hill to the car, where I changed my wet socks and trousers while boling some water for a cup of hot chocolate.