Wednesday 24 May 2017. Fatigue seems to be setting in amongst the group with some mutinous mutterings towards the end of today’s walk. Amanda has already said that she is taking tomorrow off from walking to look around Chirk Castle and I suspect that she may be joined by both Josephine and Karen. I wouldn’t mind a day off myself.
Back to today’s walk. We met at Chirk Castle for a walk through the grounds and then downhill 500ft towards the River Ceiriog. Although the gradient wasn’t too steep, I felt some twinges of pain from my knee so out came the walking poles to take some of the load. The next section of the walk was undulating until we stopped for coffee in a meadow beside the river. As we crossed the road bridge at Chirk Bank we saw a sign indicating that we were leaving Shropshire and crossing back into Wales.
Lunch was taken in the welcome shade of the trees in Chirk churchyard. The shops were just a 100 yards or so away enabling me to buy a Cornish pasty. Leaving Chirk, we dropped down to the canal to walk through the unlit tunnel. A narrow boat went through just ahead of us but we quickly overtook it as the helmsman struggled to avoid hitting the sides of the canal.
Out into the daylight again we returned to the grounds of Chirk Castle once again for a steady 300ft pull back to the cars and a welcome cup of tea at the Castle kiosk. The walk was 6.6 miles with just over 1,100ft of ascent.
Chirk Castle – walk route
Tuesday 23 May 2017. Just a short walk this morning as “the ladies” were going off to visit nearby NT Erddig in the afternoon and I wanted to watch the Queen Stage of the Giro d’Italia on TV. Our 4.6 mile walk with just over 500ft of ascent started from Ty Mawr Country Park. The first mile or so was on pavement alongside the B5605 and this was followed with a section of the towpath beside the Llangollen Canal. These hard surfaces did nothing for my feet or my sore knee.
The highlight and reason for the walk was to walk over the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. To my English tongue this is almost unpronounceable so you can listen to it being spoken correctly here.
We stopped to use the facilities at the end of the aqueduct and to have a coffee at a canal-side pub where we asked the young barman to pronounce Pontcysyllte for us. Although he too was English, he had clearly been asked this many times and had no problems with the Welsh language.
The last part of the walk involved a descent down many steps (ooh my knee!) to join a path beside the River Dee back to Ty Mawr.
Pontcysyllte – walk route
Sunday 21 May 2017. I’ve been joined by Amanda and Josephine who will be with me for the rest of this week. I wanted to start them off with a gentle walk however, with a 650ft climb right from the start, it was anything but easy. I had a choice of routes today all of which should have started at Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog, passing through Tregeiriog on the way. There was a wedding taking place in Llanarmon DC this weekend and parking was a problem so we drove back to Tregeiriog to start the walk.
The steep climb up to Rhyd Caledwynt required a couple of breathers along the way and a coffee stop near the top. Having climbed uphill, we then descended just as steeply for lunch in Llanarmon DC. The last part of the walk, running east along the Ceiriog valley, took us through some beautiful bluebell woods which made a nice end to a good walk. It was only 5.7 miles with a total ascent of just over 1,000ft.
Ceiriog Valley – walk route
Friday 19 May 2017. I met up with Jacqui again today for a walk from Ruthin which sits in the western foothills of the Clwydian mountain range. We could see the summit of Moel Famau (our last walk) towering above us in the distance. Although this was a much lower level walk, we still clocked up 8 miles and almost 1,500ft of ascent.
The first leg of the walk from Ruthin Rugby Club to the edge of the village of Rhewl was over farmland with many stiles to be crossed, some of which were in need of repair. We stopped for coffee after a couple of miles sat on the parapet of the bridge over Afon Clywedog. The second part of the walk was on a good surface along Lady Bagot’s Drive. It was here that we met a couple walking their one year old Boxer dog. It was full of life, bounding about as if on springs. They asked us which route we were walking and told us about a nice cafe in Rhewl that served great welsh rarebit.
Lunch was taken sat on a hillside above Bontuchel looking out west. The clouds were building as we approached Galltegfa and a sharp shower had us donning our rain jackets. This didn’t last long and stopped almost as soon as it started. It was 2pm by the time that we finished our walk and we then drove to Rhewl in search of the Sugar Plum Tea Room. It was difficult to find and we had to call in at the village pub for directions. Finally we were rewarded with tea/coffee and most excellent welsh rarebit. The heavens opened on the drive back and I’m glad that it waited until we had finished our walk.
Ruthin – walk route
Wednesday 17 May 2017. I had decided before leaving home that I wanted to walk up Moel Famau (pronounced Moel Fameye) but Jacqui joining me today and the following YouTube vlog gave me added impetuous to tackle a walk which was much as I had expected at 7.5 miles but to my surprise there was almost 2,000ft of ascent.
We met at the Loggerheads Country Park to start the walk up Moel Famau. It seemed fairly gentle to start with and we lost some of the height already gained as we diverted to a picnic spot for our coffee stop. It was uphill all the way from here with the last half mile or so being at least 1in4; it certainly felt like it. Our efforts were suitably rewarded with the views from the derelict Jubilee Tower perched on the top of Moel Famau. We could see across to Cadair Idris and Snowdon 30 miles or so away to the south-west. To the north-east we could see the Dee and Mersey estuaries. We had lunch at the top enjoying the views. I didn’t find the wall used by Damian Waters in his vlog but used the path down from Jubilee Tower as my own leading line.
I’m pleased to say that our route down was considerably less steep which was greatly appreciated by me and more so by my knee. We called in at the Loggerheads cafe before the drive home. My tea and toasted Perl Wen cheese sandwich on granary bread was delicious.
Moel Famau – walk route
Tuesday 16 May 2017. I had an uneventful transfer from Harlech to Chirk yesterday. It was raining when I broke camp but was dry on arrival in Chirk. It was showery this morning so rather than walking, I waited until after lunch to explore my surroundings.
A short walk directly from my caravan site took me through the Llangollen Canal tunnel. I needed my head torch to start with but the blinding light at the end of the tunnel came from two narrow boats coming towards me.
I had a drive to look around a caravan accessory shop at Ruabon and to visit the nearby Ty Mawr Country Park which is the starting point for a walk across the Pont Cysyllte aqueduct. Finally I drove 7 miles from my caravan site to Glyn Ceiriog to try to find the holiday accommodation where “the ladies” will be staying next week. This was mission impossible and we will have to meet at the Ceiriog Centre which is a more prominent landmark. On my way back I stopped off for a quick look around Chirk Castle.