This afternoon we paid our first ever visit to the lovely secluded valley of Cwmystradllyn in the western part of the northern Snowdonia mountains. The valley is reached via a minor road from the Porthmadog-Caernarvon A487 road, just after the village of Penmorfa. Parking near the dam of the lake (reservoir) Llyn Cwmystradllyn, we decided to take a stroll around the lake, but with the benefit of hindsight, we would not recommend this, as the path is very wet, boggy and difficult to follow. However, the setting is lovely, with Moel Hebog and Moel Ddu peaks above the lake, and accessible using the old level that runs up to the large disused quarry at the head of the Cwm. At the end of our walk, we enjoyed a nice cup of tea and cake at the tea rooms (currently operating out of a caravan) at the house of Tyddyn Mawr near the lake dam, a very welcome end to our afternoon.
Better weather today with no rain (initially), lighter winds and occasional sunny spells. We headed south to the impressive Cadair Idris range, to climb one of the westerly satellite summits of Cadair Idris, Tyrrau Mawr (661 metres). Parking at the lovely Cregennen Lakes, the route initially heads west climbing high above the Mawddach estuary, with great views across to Barmouth, and out across Cardigan Bay.
After passing a couple of conifer plantations, we headed east up onto, and along the western end of the Cadair Idris range, crossing the summit of Craig-y-llyn and along to Tyrrau Mawr. There are great views of the major peak of Cadair Idris (Pen y Gadair) and across the Mawddach to the mountains to the north (Rhinogs). The visibility became a bit hazy in the afternoon, so the photos do not do the scenery justice.
From the summit of Tyrrau Mawr, we dropped down to join the Pony Path route descending from Cadair Idris summit, to take us back to the lane leading back towards Cregennen. At this point, the weather closed in and we got a good soaking on the long trudge back along the lane to the car. However, the damp end to the day did not spoil our overall enjoyment of this route over the rarely visited western end of the Cadair Idris range - we only saw two other walkers on this part of the route (although we saw several people descending on the Pony Path).
We are in Rhyd this week. The weather is a bit wet and windy, but seems to be slowly improving. Yesterday, we had a nice walk from Rhyd Ddu up into the Beddgelert forest. Today, we drove to Trefor and walked part of the Wales coast path towards Nefyn, going over the bwlch below Yr Eifl (564 metres), the highest point on the Llyn Peninsula. The going was heavy along the coast path, with strong westerly winds, and frequent squally showers, but between the showers, we enjoyed some great views along the Llyn and back towards Snowdonia.
We passed some wild goats on our walk. We headed back to Trefor after crossing Bwlch Yr Eifl, and considered clambering to the summit of Yr Eifl, but the strong winds and cloud-covered summit put us off. Of course, as we started our descent to Trefor, the clouds parted, the sun came out, and the summit of Yr Eifl was bathed in sunshine. Oh well, we'll have to come back on another day.
Grosmont-Robin Hood's Bay. 15.5 miles, 7 hours. Into the home straight - quite a long day's walking and the feet were really starting to suffer. The day starts with quite a long stiff climb out of Grosmont on country lanes up onto Sleights Moor.
After crossing the busy A169 road, the route drops down to the delightful hamlet of Littlebeck, where we paused by the ford for some refreshments. Whitby Abbey becomes visible in the distance on this stretch, and keeps re-appearing at intervals during the day.
After leaving Littlebeck, the route passes through delightful woodland, towards the spectacular waterfall of Falling Foss. On the way, you pass a carved out rock, apparently created in 1754 for a local schoolmaster, referred to as The Hermitage.
Falling Foss waterfall is a short distance further on, slightly spoiled in our view by a large tea room built on the viewing platform and throngs of day visitors and yapping dogs on the day we visited.
However, a short distance further on we found a nice quiet spot by the stream to enjoy our lunch.
After leaving the woods, the path climbs on a lane and across Sneaton Moor, the last piece of moorland that is crossed on the route. Dropping down off the moor, you get the final view of Whitby Abbey before heading towards the North Sea and the end of the C2C.
The path then passes through the village of Hawsker, which is fairly unremarkable, but does show one of the first road signs pointing to our destination. The distance on the C2C route is slightly more than the road distance, but at least the sign gives encouragement that the end is close.
After leaving Hawsker, we passed through a couple of caravan sites, but at long last the North Sea comes into view directly in front of you, and we re-join our old friend, the Cleveland Way for the final stretch into Robin Hood's bay.
Our feet were really aching now, so we found the final 2-3 mile clifftop walk into Robin Hood's Bay quite tough, even though it was lovely to see the sea.
Robin Hood's Bay remains intriguingly out of view until you are less than half a mile from the end of the walk, but it eventually appears as you round the final curve on the clifftop path.
We staggered (almost literally) into town, dropped our rucksacks at our B&B (Raven House) and rewarded ourselves with fish and chips at the Fish Box, with nice sea views.
We then made the final walk down the steep hill to the finish line outside the Bay Hotel by the dock, with the obligatory photo/selfie by the wall plaque:
So, we had done it - it had only taken us 4 years, but it was very enjoyable in spite of the sore feet. We were blessed with pretty good weather on our trip, with only one total washout day on the Bampton-Orton section in the middle. We would quite like to go back and do the final clifftop walk into Robin Hood's Bay one day, when our feet are not hurting so much, so we can really enjoy this wonderful final section of the walk.
Blakey Ridge-Grosmont. 13.5 miles, 6 hours. We left the Lion Inn in perfect walking weather - clear, crisp sunshine with a cool gentle breeze. The first couple of miles are on roads, walking around the top of Rosedale, but with glorious views of the moors.
There are a few road-side crosses and stones on this part of the route, including a stout white-topped stone by the side of the Rosedale road, known as Fat Betty. Wayfarers traditionally left coins, food or drink on the monument in thanks for safe travel, and to aid other travellers, a tradition which still continues to this day.
The route leaves the road on Danby High Moor, passing the isolated Trough House before skirting the edge of the wonderfully-named Greatfryup Dale.
The route continues across Glaisedale moor, then starts to descend towards Glaisedale along the top of Glaisedale Rigg. The village of Glaisedale is a convenient lunch stop, with a well-stocked village store.
The route then follows the Esk Valley, passing through the charming village of Egton Bridge (which we appear to have no photos of, for some reason) and on to our destination for the day, Grosmont.
Grosmont is a lovely location being the northern terminus of the North York Moors Steam Railway, which now also runs steam trains on the National Network through to Whitby. Grosmont boasts various cafes and speciality shops, and the Station Tavern provides good food and drink. We stayed for the night at Grosmont House B&B, a very comfortable guest house with views of the steam trains on the NYMR from our bedroom window.
Clay Bank Top-Blakey Ridge. 9.5 miles, 5 hours. We were dropped off at Clay Bank quite early (0830) by the landlord of the Buck Inn, so there was no hurry today. The weather was fine with clear sunshine but a brisk north-westerly breeze that got stronger as the day went on. Today's walk started with a steady climb up on to Urra Moor, but after that the walking is almost on the level right through to our destination for the day, the Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge. You really feel as though you are in the true wilderness of the moors on this section of the walk, with huge vistas across the open heather-clad moorland in all directions.
The walking here is easy along a clear track, passing various stone markers, some of which have faces carved into them. The cairn at Round Hill marks the highest point on the moor at 454 metres.
Shortly after Round Hill, the path drops slightly to Bloworth Crossing, where the Cleveland Way strikes off in a northerly direction and the C2C route carries on over Farndale Moor using the old trackbed of the Rosedale railway, built in Victorian times to serve the local iron mining industry. The route follows the old railway track for five miles, until eventually the remote location of the Lion Inn comes into view.
The Lion Inn at Blakey Ridge is the fourth highest pub in Britain and enjoys a stunning location on top of the moors overlooking Rosedale and Farndale. We arrived quite early, and had a nice room with a bath and great views over the moors. The staff are very helpful and friendly, but the food we found rather heavy and stodgy with the emphasis on quantity over quality. It is definitely worth staying there for the location and atmospheric interior, just don't expect Michelin star cuisine !
Ingelby Cross-Clay Bank Top (12.5 miles, 5.5 hours). This last week we have tried to escape from lock down and complete our C2C walk. We picked up where we left off last year at Ingelby Cross, to cover the last stretch over the North York Moors to the finish line at Robin Hood's Bay. Once again, we stayed at the Blue Bell Inn in Ingelby Cross - a nice place to stay with reasonable food/drink and accommodation.
This was actually quite a tough day's walking for the first day of our resumed C2C walk with lots of ups and downs over the escarpment edge of the Cleveland hills - there is more than 1000 metres ascent on this day according to the guide book, so that is a Mount Snowdon almost from sea level !. The walk starts up through Arncliffe Wood, passing above Mount Grace Priory, which is a diversion off the route recommended by Wainwright and several guide books. However, we found all paths off the route leading down to the priory were blocked off, or festooned with 'no right of way' notices. We pressed on up through the wood, to where the C2C meets the Cleveland Way, which the route follows for the next day and a half.
Climbing out of the woodland (said to have spectacular bluebell displays in spring), we soon passed out on the moors proper, crossing Scarth Wood Moor, with views over Middlesbrough (not that great unless you like chemical factory and refinery chimneys), but with the pointy peak of Rosebery Topping (the Yorkshire Matterhorn) visible in the distance.
More ups and downs follow, over Live Moor, Carlton Moor and Cringle Moor. There is then a steep descent followed by the final energy sapping climb of the day, up on to Hasty Bank and the impressive rock outcrops called the Wain Stones.
Another steep descent then follows to meet the road at Clay Bank Top. There is no accommodation at Clay Bank, but there are various options nearby at Great Broughton or Chop Gate, many of which will pick you up at Clay Bank and drop you off there again the following morning. We stayed at The Buck Inn in Chop gate, which we would definitely recommend for comfortable accommodation and excellent food, with a slightly different menu to that offered by most local pubs (the pub is run by a German-English couple). Quite a tough day, but we had a good first glimpse of the North York Moors, with better to come.
A very happy new year from Rhyd. The Christmas and New Year weather has not been great in North Wales, so it has been difficult to get up into the mountains. However, we did manage our traditional walk up to the Arenig bothy by Llyn Arenig Fawr on Christmas Eve, with mulled wine and mince pies in front of the log fire.
We travelled south to Dinas Mawddwy on Monday to walk up Maesglase above the spectacular waterfalls in the cwm. We slogged up the steep climb to Bwlch Siglan, but dense hill fog stopped us from crossing the top of the cwm to the summit - the path runs close to the cliff edge, so would have been a bit tricky in the poor visibility.
A break in the weather on New Year's Eve allowed us to enjoy a nice coastal walk from Borth-y-Gest to Black Rock sands, with good views of the Moelwyns across the Cob at Porthmadog.
New Year's Day forecast was for a sunny morning, with cloud and rain due in the afternoon, so we made a dash for the summit of Moelwyn Bach behind the cottage. The weather held with some good summit views before the weather closed in.
After fairly damp and gloomy weather in Snowdonia over recent days, the skies cleared and the sun came out today. We headed south to Minffordd to climb the lower part of the Cader Idris path, as far as the dramatic setting of Llyn Cau below the steep cliffs of the Cader Idris range. The mountains looked glorious, and if the day had been longer, we might have headed up to the summit of Penygadair. We'll save that for another day. After our walk, we headed to the Tyn-y-Cornel hotel at the end of Tall-y-lyn lake for coffee and cake - a lovely setting for post-walk refreshments.
Danby Wiske-Ingleby Cross (9.5 miles, 4 hours). Fairly easy and also fairly tedious walking today. Leaving Danby Wiske, you cross the East Coast main railway line, then head out across more flat farmland in the Vale of Mowbray. There was some light relief at Wray House farm, with some Halloween-themed adornments at the stile (refreshments are also available from an outdoor fridge at Wray House).
Just beyond Wray House, the path crosses the railway line that branches off the East Coast main line to Middlesbrough and Sunderland.
More trudging across farmland follows, but eventually, the Cleveland Hills and North York Moors come into view in the distance, the grande finale to the coast-to-coast walk.
We walked on to our destination for the day, Ingleby Cross, with a slightly scary crossing of the busy A19 dual carriageway shortly before we walked into the village. There is a nice cafe in the village, the Joiner's Shop, with a good selection of drinks and snacks.
Just a few yards further on was the Blue Bell Inn, our accommodation for the night, and the end of our journey for the moment. We plan to come back next year to complete the final 50-mile stretch of the path over the North York Moors to Robin Hood's Bay, so watch this space ! The Blue Bell Inn was a pleasant place to stay, with good food and drinks and a comfortable room, albeit with a rather small shower room.
Peter and Lorraine, owners of Ty Uchaf since 2011. We will post occasionally items that may be of interest to our guests, past, present and future !