Friday: After a long but scenic train journey, 18 Polyramblers arrived in Barmouth on a sunny afternoon for our autumn weekend. After settling in our different B&Bs, we did an orientation walk that was more challenging than usual, especially for the Strollers. We walked up to St John’s church then up a steep hill to Dinas Oleu, the first land donated to the National Trust and up again to the Frenchman’ grave. We came down through the little alleyways of Old Barmouth next to The Last Inn and then went to the Round House, the old lock-up for the Barmouth drunks. We ended the evening with an excellent dinner at The Captain’s Table.
Saturday: We woke up to grey skies and some rain. The Hikers took the train to Dyffryn Ardudwy to do the southern section of the Ardudwy Way. We stopped to chat with a lady who introduced us to her donkey, black nose Valais sheep, dog and horse. After a second stop at the Neolithic burial chambers, we walked through fields and woodlands following a gushing river until we reached Pont-Fadog. We continued to climb steadily through fields, admiring the view of the sea and mountains. We stopped for lunch before a steep climb and watched Gillian and Stuart drink their coffee and eat a hot sticky toffee pudding (no custard) while we were eating our sandwiches. We arrived at the top of the climb in the mist. Until then, it had stayed dry but it started to rain on and off. We followed an undulating route, avoiding boggy bits, back to Barmouth. The Strollers walked from Tal-y-Bont station, stopped in two pubs, walked along the shore and went to the Neolithic burial chambers.
Sunday: Hard day for 10 Hikers. Our taxi dropped us off at the Dol Idris car park and we started our climb up Cader Idris on the Minffordd Path. Although it is ‘only’ 893m, it is a hard mountain walk and quite steep. We went up to the cliffs around Lyn Cau, the lake in the middle of the caldera, and continued climbing up to Craig Cau in the mist (no views). After a stile, the path went down, the fog got thicker and there was a final steep push up to the summit. Thankfully, there is a shelter there and we were able to eat our lunch inside. Coffee and lemon curd sponge for Stuart. We descended the mountain by the Pony Path which goes down gradually and is not as steep as the Minffordd Path. The walk did not end at the bottom; we continued along a lake, fields and woodland to Penmaénpool. Irene and Stuart rushed ahead and had time for a drink at the George 3rd pub. No drink for the other 8 Hikers as the taxi was waiting for us. The Strollers walked the Mawddach Trail to the George 3rd pub, went across the lovely toll bridge and took the bus back to Barmouth. Dinner was at the Myn-y-Mor hotel.
Monday: After yesterday’s hard walk, only 5 Hikers had enough energy to do a last walk. It was a beautiful sunny morning and, as we were crossing Barmouth Bridge, we could admire the estuary and the mountains in all their splendour. We followed the Mawddach Trail to Arthog (after going the wrong way a couple of times) and went up to the falls. Returning to Barmouth, we managed to find the right path through fields and along the estuary and, as the tide was down, we were able to walk along the shore which was previously covered by the sea. The 2 Strollers walked to Fairbourne and came back by train. After lunch, we gathered at the station for our long journey back to London.