Thursday, September 19, 2013

Weekend in Snowdonia...the Snowdon Loop

Its well worth taking off a weekend to spend some time in Snowdonia and hike up Snowdon. The second highest Mountain in the British Isles and highest in Wales, its well worth the effort.

We drove up from the Sussex Coast on a Friday night, giving us Saturday to hike Snowdon, and Sunday afternoon to drove back home again.

We were very lucky, with incredible views over the surrounding Mountains, Mynydd Mawr and Trum y Ddysgl to the West and across the Irish Sea beyond and to Angelsea in the North.

We stayed in a fantastic little B&B called the Ty Mawr B&B and Tearoom. You MUST stay here, the rooms are comfortable and very charming and its run by a well travelled and extremely friendly and professional couple called Emma and Menno. Emma is from the UK and Menno, her husband is Dutch. After your hike, and if fancy, Menno will make you a most splendid Welsh Cream Tea!

Ty Mawr B&B and Tearoom

Emma and Menno recommended a route up Snowdon, taking the Snowdon Ranger Path, which starts about 1.5 miles up the road (20-30 min walk) from the B&B, and coming back down the mounatin on the Rhyd Ddu Path. The total hike is about 10 miles.

After a good breakfast at Ty Mawr, turn left and head up the country road towards the start of the Snowdon Ranger Path.

Rhyd Ddu

Keep going and enjoy views of mountains and glorious countryside on either side of you.

Eventually the road takes you past Lake Cwellyn to the left.

Lake Cwellyn

Keep walking and you will eventually reach the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel to your right, and after another 25 meters to the right you will reach the start of the Snowdon Ranger Track.

Start of Snowdon Ranger Path
Now begins the climb! You zig zag up a path, that crosses the Welsh Highland Railway,  and up and yonder you trek towards the summit.

The path is well marked and you may well find yourself walking with others hikers, on the same quest for the summit.

Snowdon Ranger Path

Cloud Covers Mount Snowdon

Cloud clears near the top

Snowdon Summit and other Hikers
If you cannot be bothered to walk up, there is a mountain steam train from Llanberis that will take you to the top, there is also a little cafe and as such there can be hordes of people with you at the summit!

We very quickly slipped around the back of the cafe and found the Rhyd Ddu path, which takes you back down the mountain. We found a sheltered spot among some rocks and ate our packed lunch, with splendid views of the Irish Sea in the distance.

Lots of Hikers and Mountain Train Passengers at the top, looking West towards the Irish Sea

The climb back down is spectacular, above you Rooks glide and hover on the mountain wind emitting low and pleasant 'kaah' calls, and disappear into the silent mists.

On the Rhyd Ddu path back down the mountain
High Path

Good Country

Almost down

We popped into the Rhyd Ddu Village Pub, the Cellwyn Arms for a stonkingly good supper, worth trying their pies!

The drive to Rhyd Ddu is about 6 hours from the South Coast or about 5 hours or less from London...ENJOY!!

Map Snowdon Ranger Path and Rhyd Ddu path (Red Line) on Google Earth

Location of Hike, North Wales

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Easy Sunday Walk in the South Downs

This is a splendid little 3 hour walk, starting and ending in Patching, West Sussex, just North of Worthing. Its weaves and meanders around paths on the South Downs.

 Map: OS Explorer No: 121. Start Point Grid Ref: 880068

To reach the start of the walk, follow the A27 and come off on the roundabout at the A280 heading North and you will see a small 'B' road to the left, drive down it past Patching Pond and turn right to Patching village. Drive as far as you can go, passing Patching Church and at the very end of the road you will find parking places next to a farm gate.

The Route we followed was a zigzag loop, so that we could have the rare January sun in our faces as much as possible.

Start: facing the farm gate next to your car, you will see three footpaths, take the far left option and head up North West over open ground. Some great views from the top of Patching Hill, wind in the hair and up your kilt if you are wearing one! You will eventually come to the boundary of Angmering Park Estate and a thick wood ahead of you.

Approach to the Angmering Park Estate Wood

Walk into the wood climbing over over a stile or through the gate as you go. Keep walking and you will happen upon a cross roads of paths.This is the point where we meet the Monarch's Way,  take the track to the right, down the Monarch's Way it follows the contour line of the hill to the heading left as it goes down.

Track down along the Monarch's Way
 Follow the track down and you meet a small, 'friendly' tarmac road.

Track Meeting Small Tarmac Road
 Keep Going until you reach a set of red Estate Gates, standing out at you.

Road Approach towards Estate Gates

Estate Gates
Pass through the Gates and keep enjoying the surrounds, you pass by a few old buildings,  and then you wander out into open country again.

Footpath Gate
Out in open country by Jove
Follow the road and on a left bend you will see two footpaths heading off to the right up a small incline. Take the one that goes to the North East, it zig zags down into a small quaint little valley.

Path follows fence line heads down the contour line into a small valley
You eventually reach a gate in a fence at the top of the other side of the valley, pass through it and turn left, heading up in to great open country. Depending on the time of year and crops grown the field will be flourishing with winter crop. On this occasion winter rape crop.

Winter Rape Crop
Keep walking and enjoy 360 degrees of good vista with the sea glinting in the distance to the South. 

Keep walking and in due course you will reach another path to the right, heading sharply back to the South East, pass through the gate and follow this path.

Looking South East towards Blackpatch Hill
Sea Glinting in the distance!

Maintain your route and skirt the base of Blackpatch Hill. Keep going down the path, after a while you will come across a jumble of horse stables and onto another rather 'friendly'  tarmac road. Follow the road and take the first path to the right, which takes you again onto the Monarch's Way. Follow the way and you pass through small farms plots and horse paddocks and then a long and old crumbling wall, covered in ivy and character to your left.

We spied what looked like a Red Kite flying high over the wall
Mosey on and you will reach again the tarmac road Estate Gate that you went through earlier. Turn left and follow the road down, instead of going up the Monarch's Way back to the car, which is the same path you came down from the thick wood, keep going for a nice little alternative route back to HQ.

Byepass the Monarch's Way path to the right and follow tarmac for a while
Walk down towards the trees and little farmstead ahead

As you walk through the small farm , you will spy a footpath to the right, climb over the stile and keep left going behind a couple of wooden stables and up a hill. Carry on up and over to Patching Hill.

Up Patching Hill
Keeping a stiff upper lip for the squelchy track, veer to the left and in due course you will see your car parked up ahead, perhaps you may spy a dog relieving itself on your car tires as i did, adds body to the rubber. You have just completed a 3 hour section of the South Downs National Park. Enjoy!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Mr Fox Goes Christmas Shopping!

There is a great little shop in Brighton that sells unusual and rather cool and very colourful funky lights  called Cable and Cotton: in Meeting House Lane, in the Lanes, Brighton. Yesterday the staff were rather surprised to see a good looking wild Fox at the door in broad daylight at about lunchtime. They opened the door of the shop and the fox trotted in and looked the wares up and down, then wandered through to the back of the shop, into the toilet and jumped up on a shelf and sat there, quite calmly for an hour. 

After a while, the fox jumped down, wandered through the shop again, looking rather intently at the lights for sale, went up to the door and was let out into the street. Perhaps he took a real shine to my lights on sale, but could not pluck up the courage to talk to the staff and ask them for a box, for fear causing a fuss...a talking fox in Brighton?!!

Mr Fox Goes Christmas Shopping

Friday, September 21, 2012

Backwater Gems

Britain has many rivers, streams, and waterways. If you happen to pass over an old stone bridge and peer down below, you may just find a little magic. A perfect place for a picnic or to spy a coot or water-rail with its chicks bobbling along on the surface and disappearing into lush grassy reeds...

                        Arundel: Inlet to Swanbourne Lake  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Glorious Countryside

Britain has a plethora of natural gems. Green rolling hills, fields of golden wheat and barley, these images spring to mind when one is abroad for a while and thinks back and longs for 'Blighty'.

Footpaths galore, hills, lakes, rivers, mountains, seas, valleys, spinneys, forests, magic, laughter, fish and chips and amazing people. Its all there, never too far...and if you just try a little, you will find it and then loose yourself in its magic...  

                                     West Sussex Summer Field, Houghton Forest, Arundel

                                   South Sands, Devon: Transport out to meet the Ferry to Salcombe

                                                           Arundel Castle: Eccentric Water Gardens

                                                  Croyde Beach: North Devon...great spot to hike and surf