Wednesday 28 April 2021

Post-Lockdown trip to Llandrillo

 Sunday 25 April 2021

It's over eight months since we were last out in the van and we're very happy to be back! Our last trip away was a couple of days on the Llyn Peninsula in early August 2020, although the last time I blogged was our stay on a C&CC CS in the village of Cynwyd in July last year.

We're now on a CL about 3 miles south of Cynwyd, very close to the village of Llandrillo. We've had a relaxing day, enjoyed our dinner and are now chilling out in the van with a cup of tea and a cherry bakewell, having watched the sun set over the hills to the west. The CL is full, so it's clearly a popular one.

With some Lockdown restrictions only recently lifted (although pubs, restaurants and cafes are still closed in Wales) we didn't want to travel too far from home.  So the hour and a half's journey here was about right.  We'd packed up the van over the past few days and loaded some foodie treats to celebrate our first van trip for many months. Salty loves being in the 'vanny' but for some reason he seemed very spooked during the journey.  Over the past months he's spent quite a bit of time in the van as we worked on a few internal improvements, but that was static on the drive.  He seemed very unsettled and ended up crouched under my driving seat, unwilling to come out.  It didn't help when we stopped at the Rhug Estate - just a few miles short of our destination - to find the car park rammed with hundreds of revving motorbikes.  

Shortly after we arrived at this C&MC CL - called Tynant - part of a working farm.  It's a lovely spot, with 360' views and surrounded by newly born lambs.  It's a long time since we had a van trip, so it took a while to get back into the routine of using the levelling ramps, getting hooked up to electric and getting the kettle on!  Lunch was a quiche bought at Rhug and a sliver of lemon drizzle cake!  The sun was shining in a cloudless sky, although the breeze was quite chilly.  We relaxed for a couple of hours, soaking up the peace and quiet. The CL has an information 'shed' - literally a wooden shed with lots of information inside.  Some local walks from the site are displayed, so we decided to take a short walk along a footpath track through the forest, mainly to give Salty some exercise and work up his appetite, as he hadn't eaten all day.  The track took us through a lovely old deciduous forest, with a few delightful old Welsh long-cottages and small-holdings.  This is shooting country and there were a lot of pheasants on the path and close by in the woods. Our passing flushed them out of cover and poor Salty didn't know which way to turn!  He's a terrier; flushing and chasing prey is instinctive, so he's always on a lead.  The sun felt warm in the still shelter of the trees and we enjoyed listening to the birdlife and the river flowing below. This path is part of a longer walk we'll do on another day, so we didn't go too far before retracing our route back to the van.  On the way down we met one of the owners as we walked through the farmyard and Cathy had a good, long chat with her entirely in Welsh, whilst Salty said hello to their docile black labrador in his usual grumpy terrier style!

Dinner was pre-cooked fried chicken with salad and a bottle of white wine, enjoyed in the warmth of the van, looking out over the fields and hills.  The sun eventually set over the  wind turbines set on the brow of a hill to the west and the sky slowly turned pink then purple.  The wind has dropped and the silence is only broken by the new-born lambs calling for mum.  Salty has settled down thankfully and spent the evening sat in the driver's seat watching the lambs (from the safety of a locked van), before snoozing.  

We've recently invested in a new memory foam mattress, replacing the uncomfortable coil-sprung one; it's going to be much kinder to our backs, the springs won't be sticking in me and we won't be rolling into the middle any more!  I think the deafening silence here, combined with new mattress and pillows, will result in snoring all round....not too long from now!  Tomorrow we'll explore a bit more, with a walk up to a circle of cairns in the Berwyn mountains.  Goodnight all.

View from the Galley

Relaxing after a stressful journey for Salty

Monday 26 April 2021

We slept really well and didn't surface until gone 0800, mainly due to Salty reminding me that he really needed to go!  It was warm, sunny and still, so we had breakfast outside.

Our walk today started off in the same direction as yesterday, but instead of heading into the forest, we took the right track and started to quickly ascend, pausing regularly to take in the view (aka - get our breath back). The tarmac track soon turned into rougher ground as we climbed, passing through a few gates and past some 'christmas' tree enclosures.  Just past Coed Elin, we left the path and headed north-east uphill to the summit of Moel Ty-uchaf.  There we found a cairn circle with a depression in the middle.  It wasn't hard to imagine this as a meeting place in the Bronze age, with panoramic views all around.  We stopped a while (to 'take in the view' again!) with a panad, before descending back to the path and continuing south east, climbing steadily.  

Just before the summit of Moel Pearce, we sat on the dry, mossy grass and had our lunch. We took the same route down back to the campsite for a panad outside the van, before a dinner of chicken jalfrezi (which I had cooked at home) heated in the Remoska and naan (warmed up on the gas stove in the Ridge Monkey).  As the evening cooled down I could feel the heat of the sun on the back of my neck - must remember to spray the suncream there tomorrow.  We're now relaxing in the van with a cup of tea, Salty snoozing on the passenger seat and again deafened by the silence surrounding us.

According to the forecast, the weather will start breaking down tomorrow - cooler, cloudy, 50% chance of rain showers.  The clouds are already building from the west. We have a walk planned but we'll play it by ear.   

Circle of Cairns - Moel Ty-uchaf

View from our lunch stop

Tuesday 27 April 2021

A cloudier and cooler day with the threat of a few showers, but not enough to put us off our walk.  

Today's route took us back through the forest we explored on the first night here, firstly through Coed-y-Glyn, then Coed Llynor, running alongside Afon (River) Llynor and out the other end and up on to open moorland, before descending to cross the river at Pont Rhyd-yr-Hydd.  We stopped here to sit on a lovely slate bench, provided in memory of Maureen Stone; a peaceful spot with a small waterfall and pool.  There's also an old sheep-dip here, with dry-stone walls forcing the sheep down and into the river.

Climbing back up on our homeward route along the Tegid Way, we walked above Coed Llynor with lovely views to the west, noting some rain on the distant mountains.  Now descending, we turned right on another path that took us pass the farms of Ty'n-y-cae-mawr and Moel-is-y-goedwig-isaf, before returning to the path by the yard of Ty-Nant, where the CL owners live.  A short walk down and we were back at the van, walking boots off (and feet steaming!) and kettle on.  Sat in the van with tea and cake, a few gentle rain showers came through, but not enough to dampen the grass.  The rest of the afternoon has been spent by Cathy and Salty snoozing (gentle snoring to the left and right of me!), while I caught up with some Mon SAR emails and sorted out the photos.

Tonight's dinner is baguette and bratwurst (both cooked in the RidgeMonkey) and some salad.  We're all tired after two good days of walking and it'll be an early night tonight before we pack up to head home tomorrow.

Poor photo of a red kite

Pont Rhyd-yr-Hydd

"Maureen Stone - a woman of grace, joy and laughter"

Sheep dip

A small splash of colour

Nido....panad a teisan!

Wednesday 28 April 2021

A rainy night, but it had stopped by morning, which made striking camp a little easier.  I'd looked for a place to stop for lunch and we decided on Llyn Brenig.  There were a couple of stops marked on the Park4Night and Search for Sites apps at the adjacent Llyn Alwen, but we decided to visit Llyn Brenig instead, which was just as well, as the Alwen car park is closed until 18 June.

We parked up near the Llyn Brenig Visitor Centre.  I paid the £2.50 daily charge for parking and we walked along the lake, past the Sailing Club and towards the Osprey exhibition and hide.  We could an Osprey on the nest perched on a large post on a small island in the distance, but didn't have binoculars to get a better view.  There's a livecam of the nest on YouTube if you're interested.  It was much colder here, so we didn't hang around for long.  But we noticed plenty of other parking areas away from the visitor centre, so on returning to the van, we drove to one of these for a better view of the lake and the Osprey nest.

Kettle on, I 'baked' a baguette in the RidgeMonkey and we had a tapas lunch, followed by a panad and cake sat overlooking the lake.  It was a really peaceful spot.  It's possible to walk (a long walk!) or cycle around the lake.  We were happy to sit, relax and chat.

Our journey home didn't take long, with a quick stop at Betws-y-Coed as I wanted to look at some walking shoes in Cotswold Outdoors, but I could only look at the shoes 'by appointment' (due to Covid), so I'll get them online, with my SAR team discount.

We enjoyed our few days away.  We stayed on a lovely CL, enjoyed some great walks, had some excellent weather (on the whole) and relaxed.  We'll be planning another trip shortly, perhaps towards south-west Wales - or anywhere else we fancy!


Nearly after!

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