Rhinogs, Southern Snowdonia

Present: Claire (organiser), Alan, Sarah, Bruce, Simon H, Keyna, Shaun, Pam, Martin L, Pokey, Annie, Isobel, Dan, Beckie, Maisie, Ange, Mick, and Ayla

It seems to be becoming the norm, that club weekends in mid summer turn out to be rather wet affairs, particularly if Wales is involved. Our weekend in the Rhinog mountains of Southern Snowdonia was no exception.

The instructions and signposting for the Nantcol Waterfalls campsite left a lot to be desired for some club members who spent hours touring the back roads of the Rhinogs in the thick mist (don’t believe the satnav), but everyone eventually found their way by midnight, arriving to the welcome sight of a roaring log fire (Pokey having secured the best spot by a large fire pit earlier that day) and the flow of alcohol. The campsite is in an idyllic setting by the river, but having recently become a registered campsite there are now some important rules to follow – no groups, no chainsaws, and no kids on ATV’s!

On Saturday morning the walkers set off up the Nantcol Valley to conquer some Rhinog hills. The cloud level was low, but there was just that tantalising glimpse of sunlight every now and again for the optimists to predict a good day. The rather bold looking footpath shown on the map taking us up the valley from the campsite turned out to be an unmarked route through a bog, so when we finally started the walk proper up Rhinog Fach, most of us had wet, cold feet. It wasn’t long before we were in the cloud, and that’s how it stayed for the rest of the day, with much map and compass work required. We climbed our way up Rhinog Fach boldly led by Alan, but although we took a group photo on the top, we couldn’t be sure it really was! The wind then kicked in during our descent to cheer us up further, and we hardly noticed the beautiful Llyn Hywel through the thick cloud. After the top of Y Llethr we decided to cut the intended route short and headed instead up Moelfre. We didn’t even stop at the summit, our thoughts now firmly on getting out of the cloud and back to the campfire. The direct route down involved some wall traversing, on which Alan appreciated a helping hand from Bruce (Alan, our optimist, was not having a good day it must be noted). We arrived back at the campsite by 7pm, after what seemed to have been an epic day, but only 12 miles had been covered.

Rhinog Fach… maybe? (Bruce)

Into the mist. (Bruce)

The families had chosen a far better option, walking in the valley below the cloud level, and even enjoying some sunshine at Barmouth beach.

The evening was one long BBQ extravaganza, and the campfire and alcohol kept many going until gone 2am.

Unfortunately, the early morning drizzle on Sunday turned into heavy rain by mid morning, so the most anyone did was visit the campsite waterfall. Another foray into the hills just did not appeal. However, Alan and Claire completed a tour of the campsites in the area getting ideas for a future club trip – the Rhinogs are unfinished business!

Claire White

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