Llangollen 2018
Monday 16th July 2018

Our Day Ascent Moorland Summit Christmas Logging Railway Evening Maps Read Me

Our Day

Our walk today was just over 8 miles (13 Km) in length, but we reached 565 metres above sea level, one of the higher points in the Llangollen area. We made our steady ascent out of Llangollen along the North Berwyn Way, which actually goes south of Berwyn! We had nice views towards Llangollen and the Dee Valley. The weather started out well, but as we approached Ceiriog Forest it gradually started to cloud over. We were lucky to reach the metalled logging road which led down to Glyndyfrdwy.

Up on the moors we can appreciate "The Great Outdoors".

As we waited at Glyndyfrdwy station for the train, it started to rain in earnest. No matter, we stayed dry! We had the opportunity to ride the heritage steam railway back to Llangollen. In the evening, we all came together at the Bridge End Hotel for our final - celebratory - communal dinner.

Ascent out of Llangollen

We made our steady ascent out of Llangollen along the North Berwyn Way, which actually goes south of Berwyn! It was getting cloudy, but the dry weather held, and as we went, we had nice views towards Llangollen and the Dee Valley. There was a lot of summer greenery before we got onto the open moors and the public access land.

On the ascent we lookback towards Llangollen.
The white Eisteddfod Pavilion appears in the landscape.

Adrian likes gadgets and here he is consulting his GPS - just for the fun of it!

We enjoy more views towards the English plains.

Summer, ...

... in all her verdant glory, ...

... is all around us.

The Very Great Outdoors - On the Moors

Eventually we reached the open moors (public access land) with their expanses of heather and ferns. The landscape was punctuated by - for obvious reasons - well-hidden and disguised grouse butts. Shooting game is obviously a well-practiced pastime in these regions. However, the grouse shooting season is normally 12th August (the "Glorious Twelfth") to 10th December, starting this year on 13th August because of Sunday. So, the moors were quiet for us - no grouse shooting!

We have reached about 390 metres ...

... so how about some piccies?

"We three Cloggies from England afar ...". Is that how the refrain goes?
Thank you Barbara for the pictures.

At 390 metres ...

... we are indeed ...

... getting some long distance views of the landscape.

Now we really are on the moors.

We tarry awhile to soak up the ambience -
heather, Grouse Butts and the wide-open space.

At the fork, we take the right-hand path.
Why go down when you can go up?

We're still here - in contemplative mode.

We're off along the right-hand path - open spaces, distant views, ...

... heather and ferns. The veritable ingredients of a moorland ambience!

Onwards we go and ...

... ever onwards.

It's the "Great Outdoors"!

Vivod Mountain - The Summit

The summit suddenly "crept up on us". There appeared to be an old tumulus or burial mound, harking back to ancient times when it was thought that prominent individuals should find their last resting places high up in the landscape. Perhaps it was thought that this would get them closer to "heaven". We enjoyed the distant views and posed for the obligatory "we woz here piccies".

Unexpectedly, as we approach the summit, we encounter some trees,
whose silhouettes stand out against the open sky.

We are still on the right path and the trees are larches.

These larches add a sense of drama to the clouds gathering in the sky.

More views from the summit, but methinks rain might possibly be on its way.

Here we are again.

Barbara takes another picture of these three "gentlemen".
Thank you, Barbara!

Christmas Trees - Ceiriog Forest

We still followed the North Berwyn Way. We descended from the summit of Vivod Mountain onto a high-level ridge. On one side was Ceiriog Forest which seemed to be full of Christmas Trees of various shapes and sizes. Many of the Christmas trees seemed to have curly tops which would have to be straightened out if the trees were ever to reach their festive customers. On the other side there was a wide valley which descended to Glyndyfrdwy and offered us some north facing views across the Dee Valley towards Llantysilio Mountain. Anyway, it was time for lunch. Then we set off through fresh aromas of fir trees and eventually reached the logging road into the Dee Valley.

We are still on high ground on the North Berwyn Way. Ceiriog Forest is just to our left (south) and we are in an area of christmas trees, many of which have curly tops.
Ever fancied a christmas tree with a curly top?

On our right is the valley of the Afon Ro, which joins
the Dee Valley (Glyn Dyfrdwy - two separate words) to the north.

To our left, and fenced off, are lots of Christmas Trees and lots of ferns. All very green.

It's a good place for lunch ...

... with a view, before the rains come.

After lunch we continue through a maze of conifers which exuded the pleasant resin aroma which is so often associated with these trees. On our right the fenced-off Ceiriog Forest opens up to give us distant views to the south.

The Logging Road to Glyndyfrdwy

There was a choice of paths for the descent to Glyndyfrdwy. However, because the sky had become cloudy and overcast and we had already felt a few drops of rain, it seemed prudent to take the metalled logging road into the valley. We had some good views on the descent despite the clouds coming lower. We were impressed by the layers of rock on the right-hand side of our route. Further down we went through some lush forest where bright green larches held sway. Eventually we reached the fairly busy A5 and then descended further to catch our steam train back to Llangollen.

Once "safely" on the metalled logging (forest access) road we look back up the hill - the way we started our descent to The Dee Valley. In Welsh, this is called
"Glyn Dyfrdwy" as opposed to "Glyndyfrdwy", which is where we are going!
To try and be accurate, "Glyndyfrdwy" is in "Glyn Dyfrdwy".

On our descent, the cloud is coming low ...

... but we stop for a few moments to wonder at the layers of rock deposited over aeons of time.

Indeed, a closer inspection is called for.

Onwards we go ...

... and ever onwards.

We encounter a wood of bright green larches.
The enchanted forest?

There are nice views ...

... all the way into the valley.

The Iron Road to Llangollen

Glyndyfrdwy Station had been lovingly restored to its Great Western Railway (GWR) splendour, even down to the last detail of the typical GWR "Pagoda Shelter". This shelter was to prove useful as the rain came down in earnest. A member of the station staff was busily sorting out back numbers of railway magazines and I chatted to him for a while about railway topics. Eventually there was the tinkling of a bell in the signal box, the level crossing gates were closed, and our train came. It was headed by a GWR "Large Prairie" Tank Engine of 1934 vintage. We decided to add to our experiences of the day by seeing some more of the scenic Dee Valley. So, we travelled the full length of the steam railway, out to Corwen and - staying on the same train - back to Llangollen. By the time we reached Carrog, the rain had gone and, for a while, the sun shone.

Glyndyfrdwy Signal Box.
They don't make signal boxes like that anymore.
Now it's starting to rain!

Adrian feels he wants to make a phone call
so braves the rain by stepping outside the Pagoda Shelter.

Our train cometh, headed by GWR 2-6-2T number 5199 which first saw the light of day in 1934.

The new Corwen Station is scheduled to be completed in early 2019. In the meantime, the engine has to push the train back from Corwen to Carrog - the next station east of the present temporary station at Corwen - and run around its train there.
The train stops long enough at Carrog for us to get some tea and cake.

We "power" along the Dee Valley towards the east.

We are riding MK1 carriages which are the first standard type British Railways carriages; they were new in the 50s and 60s. Unlike later rolling stock, the MK1s have large windows which are suitably spaced so as not to block the view of the passing landscape. To give an air of elegance, the walls and the sides of the seats are finished in teak, not plastic! Those were the days of travelling in some style, even in second class (or was it third class then?). I took the picture in the tunnel, which at 630 metres (689 yards), is, according to the railway publicity, the "longest single bore tunnel on any preserved line in the UK". I thought you might like to know!

At Berwyn we see the newly restored chain (suspension) bridge across the Dee, providing ready foot access between the station and the up-market hotel on the opposite river bank.

Here is another view of the River Dee, the Chain Bridge and the up-market hotel.

After a short stop at Berwyn, we round one of the final curves into Llangollen, ...

... where we have a chance to see how to drive the engine, ...

... and to admire its typically GWR brass number plate (here with blue availability code) ...

... before the engine ...

... runs around its train.
Now it's time to get ready for our communal evening dinner.

Our Evening at the Bridge End Hotel

This was our last evening together, so we had a communal meal in the Bridge End Hotel. As the name implies, it is located at the north end of the Llangollen Bridge, and as down-town Llangollen is quite compact, the Hotel was easy to reach. Before we left for our meal, Nigel displayed his musical skills by playing some tunes on the piano. It's at times like these that we often learn what interesting skills Cloggies have! Suitably regaled - musically - we headed for the hotel where we had some pleasant fare over which we could recount our respective experiences of what had been yet another interesting and enjoyable Clog away break. Of course, we took the opportunity to thank our event organizers, Dan and Adrian, according to the time-honoured custom.

At the hostel, Nigel "tickles the ivories" and then we are ready for the Bridge End Hotel.

Yes, there is quite a crowd of "Cloggies" ...

... enjoying the ambience of the evening.

It's time to savour some beverages ...

... and generally socialize. Lots to talk about!

And so, it's Goodbye until our next CLOG away break!
Thank you Dan & Adrian!
Thank you event organisers! Thank you everybody!