This will be the first year since 2009 that I’ve not visited the Carneddau and Maeneira. For those that don’t know, Maeneira is an abandoned farmstead (built c. 1800), above Tal-y-Bont on the Afon Dulyn.
High above the Conwy valley and sheltered on the west by one of the ridges that extends from Carnedd Llewelyn, it’s an idyllic spot, especially when the sun is shining. Its rough pasture provides superb camping on either side of the Afon Dulyn.
I first camped there in 2004, although I’m fairly sure that I’ve walked past it well before that, noting its potential as a place to camp. In 2004, the weather was quite gloomy, but even so it had a magic about it.
I returned five years later with Alan Sloman. We had a glorious walk over Carnedd Llewelyn ending at Maeneira. It was a crisp March day with deep azure sky. A camp at Maeneira was a perfect end to a perfect day.
One remarkable feature of Maeneira is the trees that grow on top of some of the boulders and rock outcrops. I don’t know whether they are natural or have been deliberately planted there, but they add to the magic of the place.
I’ve spent about thirteen nights camping there all told. It always surprises me how it changes. Sometimes there’s deep, lush, green bracken on the hillside, sometimes it’s bare. One magical trip, the hillside was covered in purple foxgloves. Other times, it’s surrounded by brown, dead bracken.
Mostly I’ve camped in the shelter of the walled fields on the western side of the Afon Dulyn, often beneath a rocky outcrop with a tree growing out of it. It’s a lovely sheltered spot. Last year, I decided to camp on the eastern side, where there is a tussocky unenclosed pasture.
While it is a beautifully peaceful spot, it must have been a hard life living there and scratching a living in the hills. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful place. There must have been some sadness when the farmhouse was abandoned.
For one reason or another, I’ve not managed a trip to the Carneddau this year. Hopefully, next year, I will be able visit my beloved Maeneira again.