Cambrian Way, revisited
Cader Idris and The Rhinogs
I have in a photo album some black and white photos I took I think in around 1985, when along with a friend Andy Sweetnam took the train to Machynlleth and walked over Cader Idris and the Rhinogs as part of a week long walking trip in the tradition of the Venture Scout trips we'd made to North Wales. I'd done a solo trip to North Wales I think the year before walking between youth hostels starting at Ogwen, but this time we went up to the Corris YHA. I remember a damp Welsh village, a trip to the pub and a very quiet hostel, before an interesting walk over Cader Idris, I'm assuming to the Kings hostel, before going via Barmouth up to the Llanbedr hostel. I think we then walk up to Cwm Bychan, up the Roman Steps on the Rhinogs. I don't think we attempted the traverse to the south because the weather was bad.
North to South in 1991
In 1991 after finishing my degree at the then Polytechnic of Wales (and getting a somewhat surprising 1st Class Honours), I decided to do a walk starting in Conwy and head south. I'd seen a copy of The Cambrian Way guidebook (not sure what edition but an early one) and had also seen a coffee table book on walking from Snowdonia to Gower.
I've got some photographs of the trip in an album but the memory is a little hazy. I don't remember having a guide book to work on, but wasn't too fussed about a specific route and had more a head-south mentality.
Remember borrowing a PeaPod tent (one of the latest designs) as well as a fairly heavyweight sleeping bad with a trusty Berghaus rucksack I'd used to walk the GR5 in the French Alps the year before. I'd camped near Conwy mountain after hitching up from South Wales during the day having got an amazing lift from Frankley Services on the M5. First day I walked the Carneddau to Ogwen Cottage and then over the Glyders to camp over looking Snowdon (must have been fitter then I think). I didn't go over Snowdon (looking at the photos as the weather wasn't stunning) but headed across toward Blaenau Ffestinog.From there headed to Trawsfynnydd before heading over the footbridge on the lake and up on to the Rhinogs.
I do remember a pretty wild night camping somewhere near Llyn Du below Rhinog Fawr, with the following day walking down the ridges down into Barmouth across the estuary before camping near to Castell y Bere with the plan to go over Cader Idris the next day. However, it didn't happen with a combination of wet weather and knackered feet meant I headed instead to Machynlleth and a train back to South Wales. Not great weather as I remember and probably tried to walk too much too quickly. One of the nicer moments of the walk was on the southern Diffwys looking south and thinking this would be a great spot to spread my ashes. I think this is still in my current will, though since then I've learnt that its not always best to choose a remote spot for such an activity.
However it leave me with a hankering to walk the Cambrian Way at some moment in the future, but it has taking quite a while (25 years) to think about doing it.