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Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt

Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt

Postby yokehead » Fri May 18, 2018 8:10 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Dduallt, Rhobell Fawr

Date walked: 15/05/2018

Time taken: 7.8

Distance: 21.1 km

Ascent: 967m

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Y Lliwedd or Rhobell Fawr today? I had the 2 routes planned and I would decide on the drive over, I wanted the former in clear weather for what I had planned. It was a fine day but from the high point on the A470 it looked cloudy near the coast so I decided on the Rhobell round. On the map I liked the look of the climb to Rhobell from the west and that also meant descending the steep ground toward Ddualt rather than slogging up it! The village of Llanfachreth looked fine in the early morning spring sun as I drove through and parked in the carpark of the lovely closed school. Done for sound economic reasons no doubt but a school closes, a post office closes, a pub closes, soon all that remains is the church and a graveyard full of dead folk. Maudlin thoughts on such a day, ah well.

rhobell fawr.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts

A delightful bridleway behind the school leads gently uphill straightaway but I soon went on the wrong path and had to retrace my steps. Concentrate man! Passing a small bluebell-covered woodland the track goes through a felled area where I was surprised to see a deer, it was more surprised to see me I think as it panicked to dash away. Then a cuckoo called, and called, and called. Rhobell came into view and was a fine sight, very enticing. The track curves to the right and joins an old road heading north. This good stony track has remnants of tarmac in places and at one time was perhaps a key route. It climbs gently to its high point of Bwlch Goriwared at around 400m, where the climb to Rhobell begins.

Rhobell looking good

the way up alongside the wall

Across a ladder stile, it is a simple matter of following the wall on a faint path all the way to the summit. This is a wonderful, mostly gentle approach with great views and I thoroughly enjoyed it, a most relaxing way to climb a hill! And there were few wet sections. I could see that Barmouth was cloud covered again, those poor folk who perhaps weren't aware of the sunny conditions just a few miles inland. The Snowdon massif was cloud-capped and looked murky.

looking west to the Rhinogs

cloud on the coast Barmouth way

just follow the wall

I veered away from the wall near the top and reached the trig point and cairn less than 2 hours after starting which was quite fast considering my no-rush approach. I had my first sight of Dduallt and wondered what was to come. Second breakfast was calling as I made my way further north to take in all the ridge top on offer before dropping down to the east. Across a ladder stile and I found a fine perch amongst the rock slabs for an enjoyable long stop. Today it was Welsh Oggi and inroads into the salami and cheese sandwiches made for me by my wonderful Sarah. I found a perfect rock seat to enjoy it all, what bliss that stop was! Whilst chewing I contemplated the route up Dduallt. I had planned to follow a firebreak through the forest to its northern end and up to the summit from the west, but I could see no sign of that break in the trees so ditched that idea. Perhaps I could contour the hill near the forest edge then get to the summit and back down the ridge? I didn't want to cover the same ground twice if possible, you see. Naively it didn't look bad from a distance but the map doesn't lie, boggy ground was indicated. And often understated. The map does lie of course, a good deal of the forest hereabouts shown on my map was felled and there was new growth in some previously felled areas. Well, a case of let's see when we get there!

Rhobell summit, Dduallt on the right

toward Snowdon, clouding over fast

time to stop for second breakfast

I packed up and threaded my way between the slabs to gain the path by the wall to descend steeply down to the forest. On the way I passed 4 folk I'd seen coming up and we stopped for a quick hello. We were all surprised to have met anyone on the hills today! It had been clouding over fast and now was fully overcast and remained so for most of the day, a complete change from earlier. Reaching the track I headed to the north and looking out for the way through, I was surprised again - to see a sign pointing the way. This firebreak heading northeast has some wet patches and after 500m there is another sign pointing to the right. Turn right and it is blocked by fallen trees so go just to the left where a path treads alongside a small steam. It is 250m to the forest edge, detouring around more fallen trees. There is a stile over the fence which is followed to the east, then over another stile that has a white marker pole, to head north on your chosen route to Dduallt.

which way is it?

path blocked

so use this

A path to the north keeps next to the fence but I, perhaps unwisely, soon moved away from this heading for some rock outcrops. The light-coloured ground which from a distance I'd hoped might be good going was in fact dry grass in large tussocks surrounded by wet, hateful stuff. And dragging whinberry bushes. All manner of nastiness. I followed sheep trods at the base of the outcrops, stringing them together, and headed up a slope next to larger rock slabs which gave better going. I reached another forest corner then headed up a bit, continued traversing to the north, then finally up to the ridge top. I stopped for a moment to get a drink out of my sack. I put my sack on a large rock and my sunglasses next to them. Sack back on and off I went......

about to tackle Dduallt

wonderful ground, I don't think

Just a short distance to get across the fence and to the other side of the ridge to see the steep drop below and views to the recently-climbed Arenig Fawr. I went to the north a bit further to view the ridge descending to the north, then turned back to the summit.

Llyn Tegid from the summit

Arenig Fawr and Moel Llyfnant

My stomach was calling for a lunch break so I went a few hundred metres to the south and found a grand soft seat. Off with the sack. But where are my sunglasses, I thought they were slotted in the front of my top? Check again, had I put them away? No sunglasses, my heart sank. They are special to me, very good kit bought as a birthday present by my kids for my walking trips quite a few years ago. Think, think, where had I had them last? I remembered putting them on a rock so on with the sack and back up, trying to retrace my steps. back over the fence to the summit, back again and there was the rock. My sunglasses were there, waiting. What a relief! When I pack up from a stop I normally get ready to go then have a final look around to check I have everything. Clearly not that time. Isn't it good to keep on learning?! I went back to the spot I'd found and had a good lunch, enjoyed even more from having overcome the loss.

there they are!

Rhobell Fawr

I'd planned to follow the ridge top south all the way to level with the forest corner, I did this for about 1km then chickened out at the thought of unknown bog and headed back to roughly join my earlier track, glad of sheep trods once again.

over this stuff to the edge of the trees in the middle, it's worse than it looks

I stopped where the path goes into the forest and looked south along the edge of it which I'd planned to take on my return. Should I go that way knowing now what the terrain was like hereabouts? No, go back along the known forest paths FFS! But madness took over and I just headed south. Someone or something had been this way so I was initially encouraged, but soon realised my error as I crossed bog next to small streams coming out of the woods. I was too pigheaded to turn back so ploughed on to another fence where there was a larger stream to cross. I could see lichen on the rock under the water so avoided that, the other parts of the rock were like ice though and nearly had me over. Ha ha ha beat it. Skirting the stream that runs along the forest edge I reached a corner, another fence to cross then turn right into post-felling devastation. Staying at the edge near the stream was the best option. The branches remaining from the felling were bone dry and brittle, standing on them was a mistake since I broke through and had trouble extracting my foot from the gap below. I reached the track at last, it seemed an age since I'd been on it earlier after Rhobell Fawr. In hindsight it wasn't too bad I suppose, or was it?

shall I go this way instead of the path through the forest? ok let's do it

second part through the felling remains

It is a good track continuing south and after a short way I turned right onto another track. This was also good going as it skirted the base of Rhobell, through an echo chamber and another mostly-felled forest and just after the old mine workings I turned right on a signposted path. This was a superb path, ascending briefly over a small ridge then descending and with marker posts, across probably little-visited country for 1.5km to join a track at a lovely stone house. Now it was just another 2km along tracks, a lane and paths back to join the path where I'd gone wrong at the start of the walk.

the track heading back

turn onto the path over the low ridge

down the other side

looking back to the route down from the ridge

In summary: Rhobell Fawr and to the forest - joy, then to Dduallt and back - semi purgatory, from the track post Dduallt - joy. Sorry Ddualt, I doubt I'll return! Although maybe when the ground is frozen, and there is snow........
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Re: Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt

Postby Alteknacker » Wed May 23, 2018 5:10 pm

I had to smile at the forestry pics - I had a similar and somewhat challenging experience!

Your Ddualt route was DEFINITELY preferable to mine!
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Re: Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt

Postby davekermito » Thu May 24, 2018 8:25 pm

That forest on Dduallt brings back bad memories!

I remember we drove up the forestry road out of Rhydymain past the end of the road shown on the map. Few gates to open and voila ended up parking pretty much next to the sign post for Dduallt! Quick up and down of Rhobell Fawr and then a horrible muddy trudge to Dduallt.

I still believe it was karma for the cheating starting point!
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Re: Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt

Postby yokehead » Fri May 25, 2018 2:22 pm

Alteknacker wrote:Your Ddualt route was DEFINITELY preferable to mine!

Having now viewed your trip report, I had in fact looked down from the top at the side you'd ascended and I must say it all looked, well, a piece of cake to me. Are you suffering from that well known affliction 'things appear to be vertical-itis'? If you lie on the floor do you feel like you're climbing a mountain? I suggest you go out and practice some more, maybe you will overcome it ha ha ha.

davekermito wrote:I still believe it was karma for the cheating starting point!

Yes, quite. Shocking behaviour and not to be condoned. Why didn't I think of it?
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