A Whimsical Welsh Walkabout
Sun 8th Oct, 2017
Members: Lorna Marsland, Phil Ramsbottom, Dave Wylie, Sandy Gregson, Jim Gregson
Guests: Geoff Bonney, Dave Swindlehurst, Joanna Klimek,Jacek Piorkowski, Catherine Cmach (apologies – this should perhaps read “Machiewski”)
As Jim and Sandy arrived at Horseshoe Falls, their old expedition pal Geoff Bonney who lives near to Llangollen was already waiting and within a minute or two they were joined by Phil, Lorna, Dave and Dave, and also three very keen and friendly Polish guests none of whom had previously been out with the KMC but were obviously raring to go.
During the long pull up past Rhewl to get up on to the ridges of Llantysilio Mountain, about 500m of steady height gain in a short distance, the conversation hardly flagged as we passed a bunch of “out of puff” mountain bikers, who later on re-passed us with a bit of amiable banter. After a quick detour to look at a Bronze Age hillfort we caught up with Geoff again at the busy Ponderosa Café at Horseshoe Pass for a breather and drink. Onward then, a bit more muddy, by the up-and-down contouring track to descend into the Eglwyseg valley, where Geoff gave us a very interesting and concise geological tutorial on the area, to find the Offa’s Dyke path.
After an all too short horizontal stretch we tackled the final stiff pull up a side valley to reach the main Craig Arthur escarpment just as the till-then fine weather threatened us with a wetting, but only in a half-hearted way, and even this effort did not stem the flow of conversation from our Polish guests who were eager to learn all they could about the KMC and its various activities as well as telling us a little more about themselves.
We wound down, and then back up the hill to make our way to visit the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran with its wide vistas along the Dee Valley, and then happily down into Llangollen and back to the cars along the canal towpath, with everyone just comfortably tired after a really good day out. The smiling faces seemed to suggest that all had had a good time and as the meet leader I was very pleased for the support. I think there is a very good possibility that the KMC will see more of our new Polish friends and I hope everyone else will make them welcome on other meets and maybe they will apply to join the club.
A lesser-known route taking in fine scenery with a number of historical links in the Llangollen area, reached by a shortish approach from Manchester (M56 - Chester and then Wrexham bypasses - A539. Allow approx. 1 hour from south side of M/c).
Meet/Start Point: car park at Gr.Ref. SJ198433, just off B5103 c.2.5km NW of Llangollen, on N bank of R.Dee.
Route: Go to Horseshoe Falls via water leat path (feeder to Thomas Telford's Llangollen Canal) then head NW passing small church.Then short uphill on tarmac, leave road by gate onto paths on E side to reach Rhewl. Keep on to NW up narrow lane then track up to obvious bwlch (col) on ridge of Llantysilio Mountain. (From here, optional short climb to Bronze Age hill fort Moel y Gaer, approx. 1km round trip back to bwlch). Now head due E on obvious track up to Moel y Gamelin then on to Moel y Faen, then down to road at Horseshoe Pass (optional stop for tea/coffee at the Ponderosa Cafe if open). From rear of cafe (E side) find contouring path across steep grassy hillsides for approx. 2km heading E-wards, then S-wards passing by deserted farm at Glyn for further 2km dropping to valley bottom at Plas Yn Eglwyseg (road) Gr.Ref.SJ216463. Go up fields E to join Offa's Dyke Path at top edge of a wood then S for 1km to deep-cut side valley above Rock Farm. Climb up side valley to reach main Eglwyseg escarpment edge, then head along edge turning to SE as far as Trevor Rocks. Cut back a short way on road to T-junction then from narrow lane find grassy track uphill to Castell Dinas Bran (interesting ruins, linked to Holy Grail legend) overlooking Llangollen and Dee valley. Go down W side track from castle, zigzags, and eventually to canal side at Llangollen (another cafe here). Take towpath NW then bending SW to return to Horseshoe Falls car park. Total distance: 20/21 km.
Meet at 0915 for prompt 0930 start. All welcome.
Best map -- OL Explorer 256 Wrexham & Llangollen.