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Black Pudding Gaiters

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First hill walk of 2020!

Lock down is tough.
I’m lucky, I’ve had a fairly easy time compared to many but; all trips abroad and a city break cancelled, concerts postponed or cancelled, no camping trips and unable to access the hills for months.

I have tried to average around 30 to 40 miles a week doing local walks (I’m determined to still complete the ViewRanger 1000 mile challenge!).
I’m lucky, I live near woods and quiet country lanes but Wirral is flat, very flat so, as soon as it was announced that Wales was opening it’s borders, I booked some time off work.

I’m very keen to try out the new MSR tent but I’m holding off any overnight stays at the moment as only self contained units (things with their own loo) can be used for overnight stays.
At least, I think that’s the current rule.
To make matters worse, on the drive up I passed signs saying Welsh Covid rules apply.
I don’t fully understand my own country’s rules!

The weather forecast was brilliant. A bonus blast around the country lanes in the Abarth with the top down perhaps.
Needless to say, the weather forecast changed considerably the day before and, to quote Half Man Half Biscuit, the cloud base was low on the Clwydian hills but, to quote HMHB again, no storm warning was going to stop me setting out again.

I parked up in my usual spot in Llanferres and walked through the Druid Inn car park to Rectory Lane. Just past the last house, I headed up hill.
Only a few minutes from the car and the views were lovely.

Clwydian Hills Views


It’s strange how Covid-19 has changed normal activities. Previously I’d think nothing of opening a gate. Now, it was a well planned manoeuvre involving one ‘dirty hand’, a foot and a squirt of hand sanitiser. Other than though, everything was as it has always been.

The first part of this walk was a route I knew well. Up Foel Fenlli and down towards the Bwlch Penbarra car park. The second part was (surprisingly!) new to me. I stayed to the west edge of the foot of Moel Famau then headed to the north of Coed Ceunant.
Shortly after joining a narrow road, I had planned on cutting across a field towards Llanbedr hall.
After crossing a small stream, I noticed a number of cows in the next field. They seemed content enough, munching away on their lunch.
I glanced down at the map, just continue in the direction I was heading, towards a gap in the fence.
I altered my route slightly to give the cows a wide berth.
They noticed me and started heading closer.
I moved further to the right, they started to group.
They were congregating between me and the gap in the fence which I discovered, led to another field of cows.
I wimped out and turned around and crossed back over the stream.
I knew the road would lead me down to the road in to Llanbedr and from there, I could get back on track.

Old St Peters Church Llanbedr

As it turned out, this wasn’t a bad decision. I headed up the track towards old St Peter’s Church.
After a good look around at the gravestones dating from the 17 and 1800s and getting the obligatory photos, I headed to the back of the grounds, through an old gate and on to a path.
I’m not entirely sure I should have been there, but it got me on to the lane where the cow field would have led to.

It was now getting close to midday. The temperature had increased and it had become rather muggy. I was glad of the drizzle to cool me off as the route slowly climbed back to Fenlli.
I stayed on the lower path around the hill before following the path I’d taken earlier to the car.

This route (with the cow detour!) is available to download as a GPX
I’ve also added a Relive Fly Through.

Tuesday was another walk, this time near Ruabon.
Not as hilly and not as scenic but a pleasant walk, despite a detour along the roads. A farmer had decided to grow the world’s biggest and thickest corn right across the path.

Wednesday was back to the realities of Covid, spending over two hours negotiating a full refund for another cancelled holiday, but the hills are back!

Slovenia Again Part 2

Wednesday 5th September
Today’s plan was to head to Tromeja,  the border of Slovenia, Austria and Italy. I had a few possible routes planned.  Route one was through Italy but not  on recognised paths. The other two routes stayed in Slovenia just north of  Rateče.
Not knowing how good the paths on the Italian side would be, I decided to stay in Slovenia. 
Tree management was taking place along the route and I concluded it would be easier to get past the workers on the wider track rather than the narrow path through the trees. Besides, I had taken the route through the woods last year, albeit in thick snow. 
Today was another lovely warm, sunny day and I was soon down to t-shirt and shorts. It was a pleasant, easy walk up to the peak.
At the top, it seemed a number of people had taken chair lift up from Austria and strolled to the border. Needless to say they were fully kitted up; “all the gear but no idea”. One of my gripes climbing Snowdon  is reaching the summit to find people swarming around after getting off the train, but I digress.
I managed to find a quiet spot off the footpaths. I dug out the lunch I acquired at breakfast and sat a while with a fantastic, endless view over Austria.

View over Austria

I  returned to the border, a place where, if you had three legs, you can stand in three different countries at the same time.  From there, I retraced my route for a while before taking a track to my right heading south.  I clambered over a stack of logs before heading south through a clearing in the trees. I hit another ‘fence of logs’ and carried on.
Hmmm, I seemed to be heading in the wrong direction. A quick check on my GPS and yes, I was heading down a dead end although, there are worse places to be ‘lost’. I was in a lovely dense pine forest. The smell was fantastic.

Beware of the bull
No translation required!

I went back to the log fence where I saw a group of English people sliding the top rows of logs across. Ah, so that’s how it works!
I pointed out to them that the track they were following was unlikely to be the one they wanted but they pressed on regardless. I do wonder what happened them.
The  actual path was hard to find. It is a track to the left  close to pylons. Once on the right route, I continued though a field of cows who were very reluctant to get out of my way!
The rest of the walk was far easier to follow and brought me out in the village of Podkoren. The path to Kranjska Gora is at the east side of the village, just before the main road and passing over a stream.
The path enters woodland just after passing a field containing ostriches. There are a few routes back to Kranjska Gora. One, lower walk, follows the river, I climbed to a higher path.
This route is available as a GPX file.

After dinner I took a stroll to the edge of town towards the petrol station for some bat spotting.

Thursday 6th September
I wanted an early start to day and woke at around 06.30. I got my bag packed and clothes ready and wandered down to breakfast which started at 7, it was already busy.
I filed myself with eggy bread,  bacon, omelette and croquettes.
After initially thinking, “tea and coffee making facilities, that’s a novelty”, I found myself getting peeved that my supplies hadn’t been replenished. I hid the last of the teabags in a drawer in the hope that would prompt housekeeping to leave me some more.

I decided I’d walk the first half of the route today. 21 miles should be do-able, I’d already proved that earlier in the week, besides, I didn’t want to try and pronounce Mojstrana to the bus driver!
Two hours twenty minutes later, I reached the start to get to start of walk, by  the Alpine Museum in Mojstrana.
The Triglavska Bistrica Trail runs along the Triglavska Bistrica River  along roads and paths to the Vrata Valley and the north face of Triglav.
Once again I passed the Peričnik Fall. Further along the route was the Galerije, an impressive collection of overhanging rocks.
After stopping at Aljažev dom to use their facilities, I continued on to the majestic north face of Triglav.

view of Trigav, highest peak in Slovenia

I decided that it was just a little too much to walk back so I took the bus back from Mojstrana to Kranjska Gora. The bus arrived at 15:30. I couldn’t decide if this was the bus I planned to get running very late or the next bus running early. Either way, it was a comfortable and quick way back to the hotel.
The website https://www.alpetour.si/en/public-transport/bus-schedule-browser great for finding the times of buses, length of journey and cost.


Lake Jasna Kranjska Gora

I was knackered, but resisted temptation to go to room, instead, went to Pri Jezersk, a little bar near the lake. 
It was well worth the 2 mile round trip. I sat with a nice drink and a beautiful view of lake.
I had timed my day perfectly, getting to my room just as the thunder and torrential rain started.  In the room, my coffee supply had been replenished but only decaff….must think I need calming down!

Fri 7th September
Just went for the cereal  for breakfast today, wasn’t planning strenuous day…but what’s the saying about best laid plans?
Again, it was a nice warm day, albeit a bit cloudier.  Took D2 as far as the Zelenci nature reserve.  After wandering around for a short while, I rejoined D2 and walked to Ratece before taking the road to Planica. Work was under way on a new  cycle and footpath from Ratece.
Ski jumping was taking place in Planica, nothing new there, however, there was no snow!   The centre also has an indoor real snow cross country course, complete with snowman!

B24 memorial near Planica Slovenia

Continuing south from Planica, I started a circular walk to the waterfall  Slap Nadiža. Passing the church and Tamar mountain hut, I went to see the memorial for a B24 bomber which had crashed in the area during World War 2.
I then headed towards the waterfall.

 

 

 

Waterfall near Planica, Kranjska Gora

The path soon became a more of a hands on scramble than a walk. 
I gained height quickly over the rocky terrain and the views back down to the valley below were lovely.
Personally, I think Mojstrana is the more impressive waterfall of the two but Nadiža is well worth a visit!

I took the other path back towards Planica to make this part of the walk circular.

After dinner I popped out to see Harley Davidson events.  Sporty bar had stage set up and Harley Village near the village centre. A great AC-DC tribute band were playing and the roads were filled with motorcycles.
A great way to spend the last night!!

Friday 8th September
My last day 😢
Chips on the menu at breakfast so had to have one for novelty value!
This was likely to be my only hot meal of the day so I filled my boots.  Pancake with lemon to start, bacon (which is fantastic), two types of sausage, hard boiled egg, veg and a cheesy bread roll.
For the large part of my holiday, the football team
NK Olimpija  were staying at my hotel. I noticed a signed shirt at breakfast. I suspect it’ll be auctioned off.
The team were busy doing touristy things today, some in cafes, a couple on the Vitranc cable car, saw some more on a coach trip.

It didn’t take long to pack then I wandered downstairs, paid my €15 for the week’s drinks, left my luggage in a cupboard near reception and went for a final walk.
The weather was glorious. Such a shame to be leaving. I circled Lake Jasna before zigzagging around the village and took the D2 cycle way to Zelenci.
Everywhere was quite busy today, especially with the Harley Davidson European Bike Week event which was taking place. The main venue seems to be in Austria but it makes sense to extend it across the border over some great mountain passes.
All too soon and 10 miles later it was pick up time.
We rook road over Karavanke mountains stopping at the same services we did coming out. Had my 50 cents ready for the toilet I was realising Austria is an expensive place especially compared to Slovenia!
I sat out on the grass outside, eating my breakfast banana and chatting to a couple who sat next to me on the minibus coming out . I think most of us could have done without the long wait at the services.
Salzburg airport terrace We arrived at the airport nice and early, before check in. While the others follows the rep, I glanced at the screen and made my way to the front of the check in queue.
After checking in, I went for a wander to the control tower and for a peek at the apron. As I walked back I noticed an open roof top terrace. That’ll do!
There’s definitely more to see and do in this airport before you pass through security. As the flight has been delayed 20 minutes and there was no queue at all for security, I hung around a while. Not that there was much going on on the tarmac. It is a very quiet airport.
Needless to say there are no screens on the terrace so, just in case the inbound flight made up some time, I wandered to security 20 minutes before we were due to board.
Straight through security, I wish all were so quick and easy.

Given the time of the flight (19.35) I thought I’d grab some food to take on the flight. Ideally I’d have got a nice, cheap sandwich from the Mercator but, a baguette can be a dangerous thing to take through airport security so I bought a salami and cheese baguette at the airport for the extortionate price of €7.
Top tip, of flying with Flybe, just buy a sandwich on board. Luckily I’d noticed that rather than pay silly prices for a drink in the cafe, I could get a water for a Euro
This ‘snack’ was getting close to what I’d spent all week in Slovenia!
It always amuses me that people rush to board when its obvious that there is a bus transfer to the aircraft and you have allocated seating. I hung back and charged my phone. Paying that much for a sandwich I was going to use some of their electricity!

And so after almost 150 miles of walking, fantastic views, lovely people and an unexpected concert, I was heading back to England……. thinking about my next and 10th trip to Slovenia.

 

 

 

Walking Through Cwm

Yep, there is nothing like a rather rude sounding village to get me giggling like a stupid child but (surprisingly) walking through Cwm was a humorous coincidence. I was wondering where to walk, I opened the OS mapping on ViewRanger, found a place with some walks, check for car parking on Google Maps.
Dyserth ticked all the boxes, plenty of paths  and free parking. It was an easy drive there, M53, A55 then not far from the A5151. First impressions, Dyserth is a very hilly town!
I parked up in the waterfall car park. I had arrived early and there was only one other vehicle but I can imagine it can get very busy here.
After paying a visit to ‘Loo of the year 2009’,  I left the car park,  took a left and headed up hill. Following the road up to the traffic lights, I went straight across and joined Cwm Road (cue some giggles), a pleasant, hilly residential road. As I climbed up, I got some great views across to the coast below.
Shortly after taking a left on to Lower Foel road, I got on to the path through Foel woods.
Sign to Cwm North WalesAt the end of the woods I crossed a small road over to the farmland opposite, following the signs to Cwm.
Cwm itself is a small village containing a church and a nice looking pub, The Blue Lion The pub has extremely limited opening times (Thursday to Sunday from 18:00 to 24:00) and needless to say, was closed when I got there.

view from Mynydd y CwmLeaving Cwm, I took a footpath towards Mynydd y Cwm, one of the hills of the Clwydian Range  I skirted the base of the hill then joined the Offa’s Dyke path. This is a trail which is on my ‘Bucket List’. I’ve walked small sections of it many times but I’d love to do more of the 177 mile route. Today, I’d only be following the Acorn signs for a short distance initially to Marian Ffrith  where, on this lovely summers day, the views were fantastic. As with many of the hills in the area, this was once home to a hill fort.
Dropping back down the hill, I crossed the road and headed towards Marian Mill farm. Continuing on the Offa’s Dyke path, I crossed the A5151 road.
I left Offa’s Dyke when I reached the wide, tarmac North Wales Path. Initially I mistook it for a road given how wide and well surfaced it was. As it was school summer holiday, there were a large number of families walking and cycling. I felt rather over dressed in approach shoes, walking trousers and rucksack!
Dyserth WaterfallAs I got closer to Dyserth, I left the North Wales Path and took the path over the bridge through Maes Hiraddug nature reserve  and down towards the impressive 70 foot high waterfall at Dyserth.
After popping my 50p ‘entrance fee’   (Aug 2017 price)  in to the honesty box it was a short walk back to the car park.

The GPX file for this route is available to download.

Manchester Runway Trail

Today’s walk was something a little different, rather than majestic mountain ranges and vast vistas, the views would be of aircraft….lots of aircraft.

At 9.30am, I parked up in the Styal country park/Quarry bank mill car park. According to the website the car parking charges are £5*, however, when I arrived the booth was unmanned and I parked for free.

After a quick scout round in case there was a Pay and Display machine hidden away, I left  the car park the same way I drove in then, taking  a road to my left, headed North, with the Quarry Bank Apprentice House to the left.
IMG_1861I spent a little bit of time looking around this part of Styal which was built  in the late 1700s by  Samuel Greg for those working at his mill.

After passing the two churches,  I headed in to Styal Woods and on to  the North Cheshire Way.
I later discovered the North Cheshire Way is a Long Distance Path (71 miles) starting near my home in Wirral, past the airport and on to Disley Station in the Peak District. Might be one to complete in the future!

This part of the route is a pleasant woodland walk following and occasionally crossing the River Bollin. There is a fairly steep climb up the steps to cross the river at Giant’s Castle Bridge.
Emerging from the trees, passing a field of cows, I could here the distinctive noise of a couple of jet engines powering up. Up until now, it was difficult to visualise a large, international airport was just the other side of the trees.

I must admit my aviation nerdyness got the better of me and I did leave the path, waking up a grassy embankment to take a look over  Runway 2 05R/23L.  Unfortunately all aircraft movement was on the far runway, Runway 1, 05L/23R but I still got some great views of the departing aircraft (unfortunately, arriving aircraft were just a bit too far away).
Virgin 747 take off

Returning to the North Cheshire Way, I continued until I reached a roundabout.
To the right is a dual carriage way passing underneath the runway, however, the route continues almost straight across this fairly busy road.

Manchester Airport
The raised grass section just off the road looks over towards the airport and is a good spot for photos.
Continuing along part of the walk allows you to  get right up close to the runway, albeit from the other side of a high metal fence.
The path passes around one of the airport’s fire station and follows along the entire length of the runway.

I left the North Cheshire Way at the end of the runway, taking a right to towards the landing lights. Manchester airport landing lights

The path swings round to the opposite side of the runway. There are no views of the runway on this part of the walk but you do have departing aircraft fying just a few feet over head at the location marked ‘1’ on my  route map

The path  joins a quiet road which continues in the direction of the runway before crossing the River Bollin. I took a  right,  following the river through the tunnel , beneath the runway.
This brought me out near the fire station and I retraced my steps back towards the roundabout on the main road, however, rather than return following the river  I stayed closer to the perimeter fence, climbing an embankment to look right across the airport.

 

The runway path stopped at Altrincham Road which I followed in to Styal, a picturesque village with thatched cottages and cosy pubs.
After taking a right on to Styal Road, I took the footpath at the end of Holts Lane back to Quarry Bank Mill.

The GPX file for this 9.5 mile/15km walk is available to download

 

* Prices August 2016

Back to Bled

Saturday 4th June
For the first in a long while, I was flying out to my holiday destination at a decent time, I didn’t have to leave my house until 10 am. The traffic  flowed freely and I arrived at Manchester airport before check in opened.  It was interesting to see how many pairs of  shiny new walking boots I saw  in the check in queue, perhaps new to walking? During the course of the week it became worryingly obvious how little experience and knowledge of the outdoors some people have.

Adria airways view from window This would be my seventh time  to Slovenia. The first visit was when the former Yugoslavian country was still outside the EU and my old passport has a few Brnik stamps.
I was now returning to the area where my love for the country first started, Lake Bled.

So what’s changed?
Well flight wise, a lot. Slovenia’s national carrier,  Adria Airways  still have the traditional check in at Manchester i.e. no online check-in (although it is slowly being rolled out) The only seat choice you get is aisle or window.
I was sat by the window on seat 9A on the Airbus A319. The place between me and the aisle seat was free which allowed me to spread out a little.
Gone are the days of the free meal and drinks, the only free beverage now is water although various drinks and snacks were available to buy.
The airline’s ‘OnAir’ service is good. Connect with the WiFi on your phone or tablet to play games, read magazine articles, play games or chat with other passengers. The aviation section  of the magazine is a particularly interesting read and, when the views were lost beneath clouds, the 2048 game passed the time.
It was a nice flight with a smooth landing.
Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport is small enough to allow you to pass through quickly and, once outside, a number of shuttle buses to Lake Bled were parked up. .Despite the terrible weather forecast, we saw blue skies when we landed and remained as I made my way to the Hotel Jelovica in Bled.

Balcony view hotel Jelovica Bled Slovenia
Balcony view

I was told at check-in that the hotel has no single rooms so I was given a good sized double room (369) with views of the church and castle. As with most hotels in Europe, there are no drink making facilities in the room, but there is a vending machine on the second floor filled with soft drinks and a few snacks.

Dinner is an all you can eat buffet which included free drinks; wine, beer, water or pop. As I entered the restaurant,  I gave my room number and was shown to my table for the week then just got up and helped myself.
My meal started with the Slovenian staple, thin beef soup with noodles. The salad came with a choice of dressing (I went for pumpkin oil), then it was steak  in a porcini sauce with duchess potatoes. There was also an impressive array of deserts which were very popular with those with a sweeter tooth than I!

I took a leisurely  wander to the lake after dinner, returning to room at 9.30 pm  for a drink and early night. Luckily, the church which was a few feet from my balcony turns the bells off at night, however, the ringing starts again at around 6.

Sunday 5th June
Woke fairly early after a decent sleep.
After breakfast, I took a stroll to the shopping centre by Hotel Golf.
Bled hasn’t changed much over the years but the supermarket opening times certainly have! Gone are the days of the Mercator closing Saturday afternoon and staying shut until Monday morning. Supermarket wine
One supermarket just up the road from my hotel on Presernova Cesta is open 7am – 9pm Monday to Saturday and 8am – 5pm Sundays & holidays. It even has a 24 hour vending machine offering drinks, sweets, ham, cheese and sandwiches.  I think this shop also has draft wine for you to fill your own bottles, I’m not 100% sure of this but have seen something similar in Pescasseroli, Italy.

The shopping centre contains a few bars and restaurants, the supermarket, pharmacy, clothes shops and the tourist information office.
Shopping in Slovenia is cheap – although compared to England almost everywhere is!  50p buys a half litre of Cola, 40p for a can.  80p gets a half litre bottle of beer.
Not that you go to Bled for the shopping!

After stocking up on a few drinks for the walk and for the room afterwards, I headed to the lake.
It was 9.15am and still reasonably quiet as I walked along the path on the ‘road side’ of the lake. It’s worth doing the lake walk early as it can get busy later in the day.

The 88 StepsNot far from the bottom end of the lake, there are three paths all heading to Osojnica, I took the third option.
Here came the start of the climb.
Although the path was through woodland and it was still early in the day, the temperature was already quite warm and humid.  I was glad of the drinks in my rucksack!

At one point there are 88 steps to ascend and some climbing, assisted with an iron rope and footholds but the views from the top are amazing!
Staza Hill dominates the right hand side of the lake with Bled directly ahead and Mlino on the right. I could also make out the mountains of the Karavanke range which mark the border with Austria.

Views over lake Bled

I continued on route 6 to Velika Osojnica. My map implied that once I got there I would need to retrace my steps a bit. The lack of markings past the view seemed to confirm that.
chamoisTo be honest, there are better,  unobstructed views along the walk but it’s another peak ticked off (756 metres) I returned to the junction of paths and continued straight on, passing some local wild life!

The path descends through woodland back to the Lake. I carried on around the lake until reaching a path to Visce. The route around the lake was getting busy and I was keen to get off the beaten track again.  (Continuing around the lake would make the walk five half miles in total)

SnakeIt didn’t take long to loose the crowds…. and come across  a snake doing battle with a frog!
Both went their separate ways when the sensed me coming, much to the frog’s relief! The masses on the lake path would probably have no idea of the types of wildlife just a few metres away.

I zig zagged around, passing the monument to Adolf Muhr, a merchant who once owned Bled castle.
The path eventually came out near the castle and from there I returned to the hotel to plan the next route.
This walk  was 7.45 miles/12km in total (starting and finishing at Hotel Jelovica)  and can be downloaded from the ViewRanger website

Given that it was early afternoon and the sun was still shining, I headed out again. I followed the single track roads through some villages to the South East of Bled.
It doesn’t take long to leave the centre of Bled and begin walking alongside fields with views of the mountains beyond.

Ribno
Ribno

This route took in the villages of Koritno, Bodešče and the larger village of Ribno.
Although I was  walking, I imagine it would make a nice bike ride which can be easily extended to include other villages.
I was walking mostly on roads but they are so quiet that it  never caused a problem. I also find the drivers in Slovenia to be extremely patient with walkers and cyclists.
This 5.8mile/9.44km route is available to download.

Dinner tonight was  tomato soup, salad, garlicky cray tails, venison ragu with 3 grains and mixed vegetables. Once again, very nice!

After dinner, at around 9pm I got my head torch and went for a walk round the lake. Initially I wondered if this was the best idea, lots of midges flying around but (unusually) none bothered me (perhaps it was the garlic) so I continued on for around  four miles.
Most of the path has some street lighting but it’s well worth taking a torch as it can get very dark in places particularly on the wooden walk way on the side furthest from town. It’s also worth taking a tripod, there are some lovely photo opportunities.

Lake Bled at night

This brings me on to something else, safety.
Despite being a female travelling alone, I am sometimes a little blasé  especially in Slovenia. I didn’t think twice about a night walk, however,  Slovenia is a very safe country, the World’s  10th safest in 2016 . Yes, there is a small amount of petty crime in the larger cities but the risks can be reduced by taking the usual common sense precautions.

Back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep….another walk planned for tomorrow!
Part 2 >>

  • Note – click on any image to view full size

 

Alternate, solo Valentine’s

It’s Valentine’s Day. The cards, presents and flowers are nowhere to be seen so, rather than a candle lit dinner, I decided upon a slice of malt loaf up a hill.

Parking up in the upper Moel Famau/Bwlch Penbarra car park, I eventually tracked down the one working pay and display machine and headed up Foel Fenlli. I glanced over to Moel Famau behind me, watching the hordes of people strolling up to the Jubilee Tower like ill equipped sheep.  I concluded I’d made the right decision with this route….albeit not a well planned route. I had planned nothing other than head up and over Fenlli and just go where ever I fancied. Somewhere different would be preferable but, given the crisp sunny day it was just nice to be out, and away from the masses.

It’s quite a steep climb to the top of Fenlli (511 meters) but once at the peak there are some lovely views and  the remains of the Iron Age hill fort can clearly be seen.

View from Foel Fenlli
Foel Fenlli peak

From the peak,  I continued South down a steep scree path to join the Offa’s Dyke path to Bwlch Crug-glas and on to the junction of paths to the East.
It was at this junction I drew up a rough route plan. I had never ventured over to the East of the A494 so quickly devised a route towards Mount Pleasant.

The first step on this hastily arranged plan was a left, heading North East, passing through plenty of mud and a farm gate.
Where the path splits, I could take either, both led to the same location. For no particular reason I continued on the ‘top path’ before taking a right and dropping down to Plymog and crossing a A494.

River near LlanferresThe next path was almost directly over the road. Crossing over a river, I continued to where a spring joined the river and plonked myself down on a large piece of concrete jutting in to the water.
An ideal place for lunch.
Here, there was nobody about at all and I was far enough away from the main road for a peaceful break.

Crossing stream

I eventually made my way on to the path in to the woods, using stepping stones and a small wooden bridge to make my way over the water.
The trees became fewer as I walked towards what was presumably an old quarry at Bryn-yr-ardd.

As the path became more of a track, I took a left almost going back on myself, into the woods. As I passed old, derelict buildings, I crossed a stile to my right, deeper in to the woods towards the buidlings at Mount Pleasant where I took another right heading initially East and then turning to the North.
The original ‘plan’ was to take the next path to the West towards Llanferres, however, I spotted a cave marked on the map so continued North through the woods of Big Covert. Unfortunately, as this was a very haphazardly planned route,  I didn’t have the exact co-ordinates of the cave. After a short wander in the general vicinity proved unfruitful, I decided to return another day (with my head torch!) and rejoined the path.to the small village of Maeshafn.

Woods near MaeshafnTaking a left when I reached the road, I took the next footpath on the right, walking South West to the track. At the crossroads, I took a right towards the houses and continued West to the A494, crossing the road and taking the narrow road almost opposite through Llanferres.
At the end of Rectory Lane I took the path through the field heading North West, passing to the left of the farm at Fron Hen.

When reaching the road, I took a left and another left at the t-junction heading to the lower Moel Famau car park. From there I followed the path parallel to the road back to the top car park.

The gpx file for this 7 mile walk can be downloaded from the ViewRanger website

Candles and Canals

It was a chilly buy sunny day in mid-February, a nice change from the storms that had been battering the UK for much of the year. With a day off work, it could only mean another walk!

Waterfall near canal, CheshireThis walk started in the Cheshire Workshops in Burwardsley where there is plenty of space in their free car park.
After a quick visit to use their ‘facilities’, we headed out of the car park taking a left on to Barracks Lane passing  the Pheasant Inn pub
Staying on this road, we walked about 400 meters to join the Eddisbury Way path on the left, continuing until it reached another road, we take a right around the side of Outlanes farm  before continuing on the Eddisbury Way, heading North East.

Eventually the path comes out on to another road, Wood Lane. Walking up this road, we passed several orchards before taking a left then immediate right at the end of the road.
Muddy footpath The Eddisbury Way path continues to the right after about 100 metres.
The route passed under the busy railway line, we then followed the path heading North, ignoring right hand track.

We somehow managed to miss the path we wanted leading on to the canal and remained on the Eddisbury Way, hence the detour which can be seen on the route map.
We’ll put this mistake down to all the mud covering the paths!

After that slight change to the route, we eventually reached the Shropshire Union Canal, taking the tow path heading East.
We took Dale’s Bridge over the water which provided a good sheltered, sunny spot to fire up the meths burner for a nice warming coffee.
Continuing East along the side of canal, we past the  Shady Oak pub. I can imagine the beer garden here being very tempting on a summer’s day!

Shropshire Union CanalAt Wharton’s Lock, we took a right, joining the Sandstone Trail to the South, crossing back under the railway line.
The path  joins the road around Beeston Castle. If time allows, the castle is worth a visit. Built in 1220, a lot of the ruins remain intact and, on a clear day, climb to the top of the castle for some great views over to the Pennines and the Welsh hills.
We followed the road around the castle clockwise, taking the Sand Stone trail which continues on the left hand side, just after the second road junction.
The navigation gets a lot easier here as the route is very well signed.

Following the path South, we reached the grounds of Peckforton Castle, now a hotel and wedding venue.
We took a right to go around the extensive grounds before joining the road back past the Pheasant Inn to the Cheshire Workshops.
After this 8.6 mile walk, I think we earned the coffee back at the Workshops!

View a map and download the GPX of this walk

 

Lynn Brenig

Sunday, and it was unseasonably warm and sunny for the end of September.
I had already done quite a lot of walking on the Monday and Tuesday (more about that in a later post) so I was wanting something not very technical but where I could still rack up the miles. Cue Lynn Brenig, near Denbigh.  A reservoir and one of the largest areas of inland water in Wales.
The area isn’t just for walking, fishing is popular as is cycling. Bikes can be hired from the visitors centre. There is also an  archaeological  route which passes visits a number of prehistoric burial and ritual sites.

Lake Lynn BrenigAfter parking up in the huge car park, paying the £2 parking fee  and making a quick use of the ‘facilities’ in the visitors centre, I headed toward the water which looked lovely with the sunshine shimmering.
The plan was to do the 9 or so miles around the lake, turning right from the visitors centre to go around anti-clockwise.
The path is very easy to follow, a large track designed for walkers and cyclists that follows along side the lake up to the damn at the far end, however, this track soon becomes a road with the occasional vehicle going past.

End of lakeFor about half of the walk, the path/road is some distance from the lake and perhaps the walk would have been better done in a clockwise direction as the views do become rather disappointing the other way round!
At one point, near the far end of the lake, you do have the option to leave the road for a while, however the track here can become a bit muddy.

All in all, it’s an easy walk with little in the way climbing or descending, a good way to rack up a few miles, however, it’s a shame that most of the walk is on what is, in essence, a minor road.
If I returned to the area, I would probably head out towards the Clocaenog Forest.

I stopped off at the visitor centre cafe for a quick coffee before heading home. The cafe veranda offers great views across the lake, however, given the lovely weather, it was full when I arrived. Decent cuppa  and a good choice of snacks and meals.

Download the route
 The walk can be extended to around 14 miles by continuing on to the Alwen Reservoir

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