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East Berwyn #1 / 1½ days / 15 miles (24km)

OS Route Map → Map GPX Route file →

Date: 23 Sep 2004
Start / Finish: Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog. Good roadside parking.
Maps: Explorer 255: Llangollen & Berwyn.

Day 1Mynydd Tarw3 miles / 1380 feet (4.8km / 420m)
Day 2Cadair Berwyn & Cadair Bronwen12 miles / 1670 feet (19.3km / 509m)

A very short trip using an eastern approach to the Berwyn ridge via the Mynydd Tarw ridge, returning along the Nant Rhydwilym valley.

Day 1 - Mynydd Tarw

A mid-afternoon start gave us enough time to gain high ground for the pitch. Taking the lane SW and ignoring the first footpath sign on the R, the second unsigned footpath goes R up a very short track to a pair of gates and through the left gate. Slanting up the pasture to the L of a plantation, a farm gate is reached with a waymark on it. Don't go through the gate, keep on the R of the fence and cross a tied up hurdle at the top, then ascend up the centre of a long field to a farm gate on the skyline. Through the gate, a grassy cart track appears and the views open out to the valley L, and it leads easily up the E ridge to a gate by some sheep pens.

Through the gate and turning half-R on the R of the fence uphill to another gate, a fainter track continues to a decrepit stile. Crossing to the L of the fence, a thin path leads on to the forest corner. The cold northerly wind was getting really strong at this point and we started scouting for some standby pitch spots in the generally unfavourable heathery terrain, though any degree of shelter was at a premium!. A thin path follows the fence through the heather to the summit of Mynydd Tarw at the forest corner. We could barely stand upright at the cairn, but we spied a small patch of grass just large enough for the tent a short distance from the summit, which gave a little shelter from the worst of the blast.

Summit of Mynydd Tarw
Summit of Mynydd Tarw (23 Sep 2004__18:12:32)
Turbulent evening sky from tent pitch on Mynydd Tarw
Turbulent evening sky from tent pitch on Mynydd Tarw (23 Sep 2004__18:42:26)

Day 2 - Cadair Berwyn & Cadair Bronwen

Despite the loud roar of the wind in the trees, we slept very soundly - too soundly, in fact. We have our wristwatch alarms set a few minutes apart as a backup, but we slept through both of them!. Fortunately we awoke in time to capture the unusual fiery sunrise picture above the treetops, trying to hold the camera steady in the still quite strong wind. Setting off W, the wet peaty path picks its way along the ridge, taking in the two tops of Foel Wen and then Tomle, which always seems harder work than it ought to be, and finally climbing to the main Berwyn ridge. The mist rose as we reached the highest point of Cadair Berwyn New Top, but quickly cleared to give extensive views to the ranges of Snowdonia in the W, and the Llangollen and Clwydian hills in the NE.

Fiery sunrise from tent pitch on Mynydd Tarw
Fiery sunrise from tent pitch on Mynydd Tarw (24 Sep 2004__07:07:52)
Early rainbow from tent pitch on Mynydd Tarw
Early rainbow from tent pitch on Mynydd Tarw (24 Sep 2004__07:09:36)
Llyn Lluncaws
Llyn Lluncaws (24 Sep 2004__10:08:10)
Cadair Berwyn & Tomle from Cadair Berwyn New Top
Cadair Berwyn & Tomle from Cadair Berwyn New Top (24 Sep 2004__10:10:49)

Returning along the ridge, the worst of the boggy bits en route to Cadair Bronwen have been laid with sleepers and plastic netting, and the N top was not as wet as expected given the recent rain. At the Wayfarers memorial stone at Bwlch Llandrillo, a good track leads E down the valley of Nant Rhydwilym and crosses to the S side at a bridge. This was a very attractive return route, and the track contours high above the little falls in the steeply incised valley and descends to the valley lane, which parallels the Afon Ceiriog back to Llanarmon.

Nant Rhydwilym valley from Bwlch Llandrillo
Nant Rhydwilym valley from Bwlch Llandrillo (24 Sep 2004__12:37:22)
Nant Rhydwilym valley
Nant Rhydwilym valley (24 Sep 2004__13:38:45)