Walking in the Dyfi Hills
Making use of my Annual leave
I spent much of Wednesday Walking in the Dyfi Hills.
Thanks to all of the weirdness of 2020 I’ve almost made it to the end of the year without taking my full compliment of Annual Leave. I can’t usually take it in term time. There wasn’t enough time to take it all between the end of term and the end of the year so I thought I may just have to lose it. Fortunately, Wednesdays are quiet in the labs at work so I decided it would be OK to take some of them off.
It would have been easy just to have the day off but continue working from home. I’m sure that if I was at home then that’s what would have happened. I therefore decided that a day out walking in the Dyfi Hills would mean that I did actually have some time off.
I don’t take much persuading to do such things to be honest. However, this would be my first time out walking in the hills since I climbed Kilimanjaro at the beginning of the year. The Dyfi Hills were never going to be quite as exciting as Kilimanjaro but I was still looking forward to getting out into the big wide world.
Into the Dyfi Hills
The Dyfi Hills are rarely walked really. The highest point is Maesglase at 676m which isn’t very high. There are indistinct paths but no real trails and no real features to aim for. The main reason people go there is to ice climb on the Maes Glasau falls in the winter. This all means that it is a very quiet part of Wales. Perfect for a realtively easy autumnal walk.
So, after dropping Morgan off at the school bus I was about to head off to Dinas Mawddwy. Before I could I had a phone call to say that Morgan had forgotten his lunch! I therefore headed back home, picked it up and then sped back down to the bus stop where I was able to give it to him just before the bus left! With that done I was able to drive to Dinas Mawddwy in peace.
Here I donned my boots and rucksack and started strolling uphill along a wide, recently re-surfaced forest trail. After about a mile I followed a footpath sign into the darkness of the conifer trees and started heading steeply upwards on steps and slippery slopes.
It was quite a climb through here and I was gaining elevation quickly. I emerged out of the trees and then followed a fence line along the edge of the forest that contoured around the hill. At the end of the forest I had some nice views down to the main road that was now way below me.
Traversing Foel Dinas
The path then petered out a little and become more of a sheep track. It traversed its way around the steep sided hill of Foel Dinas. It was never precipitous but there was a steep slope to my right and I was walking along a tricky camber the whole way. I could clearly see the peak of Maesglase across the valley and the waterfalls ahead of me.
I walked all the way around the Northern and Western flanks of Foel Dinas, climbed a stile and then headed towards the ridge line. Here I had views to the South which were obscured somewhat but the hazy sunshine.
From here it was a steep climb for a while over boggy ground to reach the next ridge line.
This part of the walk was something of a slog through moss and heather as I walked atop the escarpment. I then headed over to a fence line that I followed all the way to the summit of Maesglase. There was little of note really. It was typical highland peat bog. There was no one around, and not much in the way of any other animal life either. Just heather, moss and mud. It was nice though, sunny spells warmed me while the wind kept me cool. It was a little chilly at times but I prefer it that way when walking. There were nice views as I made my way along the escarpment above the waterfall. From here I could see the path I had taken earlier in the walk slicing across the grassy slopes of Foel Dinas.
Further towards the top the view out to the Arans in the East opened out too. The route ahead of me could be seen from here.
Descending the Dyfi Hills
I didn’t hang about long at the top. There is no obvious summit and not much here at all really. Instead I followed the fence line down a very steep slope towards the next ridge. I could just about make out the A470 snaking it’s way up the pass. At one point a jet flew through the valley below. From my vantage point I was looking down onto the top of the 509m rounded peak of Moel Cwm yr Eglwys. The jet was way below this as I saw it disappear behind it and then re-emerge from the other side.
I continued on my way down the shadowy north facing slope, over a fence and then down onto the saddle between Maesglase and Moel Cwm yr Egwlys. Here I joined a grassy track that traversed along and slightly down the wide grassy slopes.
Lunch then Homeward Bound
I stopped here for lunch. It was still quite chilly so once stopped I put on my down jacket. The ground was of course soaking wet so I sat on my backpack cover. After walking through the chill air for a few hours, snuggling up into my down jacket and drinking hot squash from my insulated bottle was just lovely. There was of course no sign of anyone else. It was just me and the hills.
I ate my lunch and then continued on my way. I kept my jacket on now as it should be all donwhill from here on. Indeed it was. After a while I emerged out onto the A470 where I followed it back to the car. That had been a nice relaxed, 8 mile walk in the Dyfi Hills. A good way to actually make some use of my annual leave, even in the midst of a pandemic.
Once back at home I did of course make the mistake of checking my emails and then ended up replying to them and essentially doing some work anyway. I should really have just left them until tomorrow. I’ve got a few more Wednesday’s off between now and the end of the year – Maybe I should plan some more walks. I wonder where I should go next, any suggestions?