Day 32: 24 Apr 2014; Maentwrog to Beddgelert

Day 32: 24 Apr 2014; Maentwrog to Beddgelert
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 32
Date Thu 24 Apr 2014 Start to end time 09h 19m
Start point Maentwrog End point Beddgelert
Miles today 16.04 Cu miles 602.02
Ft today 4,496 Cu ft 100,444
Route miles left 873.30 Route ft left 99,436
Today’s weather Bright and sunny with occasional white clouds in morning. Rain showers, some heavy, after about 2 pm. Light north westerly wind
IMG_0932 IMG_0931
Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)

The more the walk progressed today, the more glad I was of the decisions I’d made yesterday.   Firstly I was glad that I’d stocked up on food in Trawsfynydd, because there were no shops in Maentwrog or at any point on the route today.   And secondly I was glad that I’d extended yesterday’s hike, in order to shorten today’s.

I must admit that I hadn’t studied the route of today’s walk very closely.   I’d noticed that there seemed to be quite a lot of contours, but there appeared to be lots of well-defined paths crossing the rather blank area on the map between Maentwrog and Beddgelert, so I was confident the journey would be straightforward and indeed quite short.

How wrong I was!   The haul up from the campsite to the embankment of the Ffestiniog railway was clear enough, though a long uphill pull.   But then at the point where my map showed that there should be a right-of-way leading north up to the upper reservoir, there was no sign of it on the ground.  Yes, I had failed to learn my lesson from Monmouth, and had forgotten that a right-of-way on a map doesn’t necessarily equate to a path on the ground!   And that was the story for much of the rest of the day.   Wandering about on wild moorland, trying to pick up the faint paths that criss-crossed the region, and only slowly making progress in the right direction.

But what the day lacked in easy terrain, it more than made up for in spectacular scenery.   There was lots of industrial heritage on show – the Ffestiniog railway is the oldest surviving railway company in the world (founded 1832) and was built to transport slate from the quarries around Blaenau Ffestiniog to the ports on the coast.   And the power station which the route passed is one of the UK’s first pumped water storage generators – electricity is used at off-peak times to pump water to the upper reservoir, which is released to generate electricity at peak hours during the day.   At the time I passed, the upper reservoir was full and the bottom was empty – presumably it had been using off-peak electricity overnight to pump water uphill.

And the views were stunning, in all directions.   From the high plateau, Cardigan Bay was visible to the West, and Snowdon made its brooding presence known to the North.   Snowdon was looking its most impressive today – shrouded in black clouds and half hidden behind a veil of rain curtains.   Not a very inviting prospect for tomorrow’s hike!

I’m in Beddgelert tonight, working out my route for the ascent of Snowdon and basking in the achievement of 600 miles walking!.   But now I can’t wait to get going tomorrow, and tick off the next major milestone on my journey North.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
IMG_8075 IMG_8077
Checking out the Ffestiniog narrow gauge railway near Dduallt (pronounced Thee-achth-t, apparently, and not like the toaster..) Yes – this really is narrow gauge
IMG_8119 IMG_8133
This is a picture of Blaenau Ffestiniog, with a steam engine in it. Honestly.. The route of my path this morning
IMG_8157 IMG_8179
Surreal industrial wasteland at the Rhosydd quarry, 2000 ft up on the bleak plateau north of Moelwyn Mawr Snowdon – my destination for tomorrow – gloweing in the afternoon rain
View looking south from above Llyn Stwlan upper reservoir
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line
Solid line blue