New Year’s Eve jaunt

Written by Haydn Williams

A broken boiler meant that I wasn’t able to make the trip to Scotland which was scheduled for New Year, so instead I ended up working. It wasn’t all bad news, however, as the need to visit my Dad’s garage to get an MOT done meant that I had an excuse to nip over to North Wales. Dad kindly leant me a Porsche from the forecourt as a courtesy car, so the logical thing to do seemed to be take it along the back roads and eventually up to the end of a singletrack road into a remote cwm at the back end of the Carneddau.

The road to Cwm Eigiau stretches ahead of my toy for the weekend. © Haydn Williams 2011
The road to Cwm Eigiau stretches ahead of my toy for the weekend. © Haydn Williams 2011

I had a couple of hairy moments on the incredibly steep hairpins coming out of the Conwy valley, but got up and through the gates unscathed. It did indeed seem remote, until I arrived at the jam-packed car park. I managed to fit the car in somewhere, and set off on my run.

Heading up towards Craig y Dulyn. © Haydn Williams 2011
Heading up towards Craig y Dulyn. © Haydn Williams 2011

The ground was really swampy on the way up the valley, and I resorted to walking on the bits where each step caused me to sink up to my ankles! I passed the Dulyn reservoir – a dark and foreboding place – and went along the side of Melynllyn, then onto the broad ridge of Gledrffordd.

View down the valley from the miner's path between Melynllyn and Dulyn. © Haydn Williams 2011
View down the valley from the miner's path between Melynllyn and Dulyn. © Haydn Williams 2011

I’d considered going up onto Carnedd Gwenllian and Foel Grach, but it looked a bit manky up there, and keeping east had saved me getting rained on so far.

Nice on the tops. © Haydn Williams 2011
Nice on the tops. © Haydn Williams 2011

It turned out to be a good choice, because the drop down into Cwm Eigiau and the main path proved to be a really fast run. Soft ground and few rocks meant an all-out speed descent, with some ponies present on the valley floor to applaud my performance (they actually just stared impassively, which I thought was a bit rude).

Wild Carneddau ponies and the bottom of Amphitheatre Buttress. © Haydn Williams 2011
Wild Carneddau ponies and the bottom of Amphitheatre Buttress. © Haydn Williams 2011

From there it was back along the track, past the breached dam which used to hold back Llyn Eigiau, and to the car. From there I went to spend a very enjoyable New Year’s Eve with friends, and visited Llandegla the following day. That turned out to involve meeting an old school friend, and going for a ride with a load of people wearing bikinis, but that’s another story entirely…

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