Tag Archives: Maeneira

Carneddau September 2018

Last week I had a window of opportunity for a short trip to the Carneddau in North Wales. It’s been three years since I last visited, so I was looking forward to returning. As regular readers will know, Maeneira is one of my favourite places and it was a joy to go back.

Maeneira

My original plan was to camp at Maeneira and then walk the next day to Carnedd Llewelyn, down to Ffynnon Llugwy to camp and the next day to return to Maeneira either via Pen yr Helgi Du or Llyn Cowlyd, depending on the weather.

However, when I reached Ffynnon Llugwy, the spot that I had used before for camping was covered with sheep droppings. No amount of clearing could make it fit to pitch. Unfortunately the other potential pitches had only thin soil and secure pegging points were problematic.

The weather forecast overnight and for the next morning was poor with wind and rain, so I decided to return to Maeneira. This made it a long day, over ten hours of walking and more than 25km of distance (over 1,100m of ascent too).

I didn’t get back to Maeneira until dusk, although one advantage was that I was able to swing by the car to pick up a warmer base layer as it was surprisingly cold at night.

In the end it was a good decision as it started raining during the night and was pretty foul with wind and rain until early afternoon. Lazing in the tent was definitely preferable to trudging along in the rain. Amazingly, about 2 p.m., the clouds broke and I was treated to a glorious sunny afternoon (although the wind was quite cold).

Overnight there was some further heavy rain, but by the next morning it was clear, so I was able to pack an almost dry tent and return to the car to go home.

True to form, I met very few people, which is one of the joys of the Carneddau. It has a real feeling of solitude, unlike Snowdon or the Glyderau. Despite having to collapse two days walking into one, it was an enjoyable trip. Enjoy the video slide show!

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Maeneira, O how I miss thee

DSC00688This 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.

P1020581High 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.

DSC00702I 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.

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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.

DSC00689One 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.

DSC00686I’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.

P1000378Mostly 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.

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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.

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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.