Good morning people and pooches. Joe the Cocker here again after a chilly night in the tent. Don’t get me wrong, me and the big feller were toasty in our sleeping bags. Mine is a fleece sleeping bag liner, doubled over and it keeps me nice and warm. We spent the night at Llyn Gwynant campsite. If you want to know what we did yesterday have a read of my blog about Dinas Emrys & Llyn Dinas. We both slept really well after a couple of disturbances in the evening. One with a hooting owl and the other when a helicopter was overhead. I’m not complaining about the helicopter, I really hope that if someone is lost or injured on the mountains that all is ok. We were supposed to be waking up to thick fog and frost. We were surprised that although there was a light frost the fog had not materialised. It was a beautiful, still winter morning. What a place to wake up in. After a swift breakfast my dad packed everything away and threw the wet tent into the boot of the car.
We were ready for the day quite early for us. Before we were to go on a hike my dad wanted to drive up the hill to the viewpoint that we were at last night looking towards Snowdon and its adjacent giants. After he took a couple of photographs we headed back down the pass towards Beddgelert where we would start our walk from. It was about 8:30 when we parked in the Welsh Highland Railway Station carpark. We walked through a deserted village to the confluence of the Afon Glaslyn and Afon Colwyn where we headed south towards Aberglaslyn. Beddgelert, which is actually named after a sixth century saint and not the legendary dog of Prince Llewellyn, is a sleepy place in the winter months compared to the busy tourist destination in warmer times. The writer and illustrator of Rupert the Bear, Alfred Bestall, lived here and his house, Penlan, is now a self-catering cottage. The movie Inn of the Sixth Happiness, starring Ingrid Bergman was filmed in part in the village.
Today’s song was a great choice by my dad. It was Hard Sun by Eddie Vedder. A great song, yes! But, as he is vocally challenged, it was no fun having to listen to him. Perhaps he should have singing lessons? Maybe not, it would only encourage him.
On leaving the village on the banks of the Afon Glaslyn we passed St. Mary’s Church which was built on the site of a 7th century Augustinian Priory. Towering above the village is Moel Hebog which was visually on fire in the morning sunlight. We passed Gelert’s Grave that we visited yesterday. Further along the concrete path we came to a railway line crossing that took us to a stony path leading to the banks of the river. We crossed the river over a footbridge to the eastern side of the gorge that runs parallel to the railway bridge. The river entered the Aberglaslyn Gorge shortly and the path became rockier with large boulders to navigate. The river became more dramatic with plenty of white water as it rushed downhill through the rocks. We stopped on numerous occasions, admiring the scene in the quiet of a glorious winter’s morning. I had to pose, as usual for my dad when all I wanted to do was climb up and over the boulders. There are some precarious rocky overhangs on the path with steel handles embedded into the rocks to help walkers along the more dangerous sections. It was along the rocky section of the gorge that I nearly came a ‘cropper’. I tried to climb up a boulder that was steeper and smoother than a pooch should attempt. I slipped and fell backwards, landing on my back. I let out a bit of a yelp and ran to my dad. I think that I had winded myself. My dad checked me over and after a short stoppage I was ok again. I think that my dad was more shocked than me. I stayed close to him for a few minutes until I had forgotten all about it.
When we reached Pont Aberglaslyn, the road bridge over the river, my dad sat me down to make sure that I had recovered. I was fine and ready to carry on with the day’s hike. We took the stone steps uphill just before the road heading east through woodland. We soon came to the carpark at Nantmor and passed under the railway bridge. It was a steady climb on a wet and rocky path to Cwm Bychan. To prevent erosion, over some of the wetter sections, stepping-stones have been laid. I managed to ignore most of these and got myself wet and muddy as usual. The path split on a flattish section of the cwm and we took the left fork towards the Mountain Walk that leads downhill to Sygun Copper Mine. It was a steady and stony path that passes a small lake on the left.
Sygun Copper Mine has a history dating back to Roman times when tunnels were dug into the mountain. During the Industrial Revolution mining for copper became a more large-scale industry until, due to cheaper imports, during the mid-1800’s forced the eventual closure in 1903. The mine was opened again in 1986 as a tourist and educational attraction where underground visits take place. Below the mine we joined a minor road heading west towards the Afon Glaslyn. We walked down this quiet lane until it reached a bridge over the river. Rather than cross the bridge we joined the waymarked path along the eastern side of the river that led us to Beddgelert. The village was still very quiet with hardly a person to be seen. It had been a very peaceful morning and we had only seen one other person on the entire walk. All that was to be done was for us to return to the car and for my dad to drive me home while I slept. Outside of Beddgelert we stopped at Llyn Gwynant for a quick drink and a snack while my dad took a photo towards the spot we had camped the previous night. Till next time!