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Next time we'll check the aerial photo first... - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
heleninwales
heleninwales
Next time we'll check the aerial photo first...
Last Wednesday we walked up from Ganllwyd, following the forestry tracks that ran in approximately the same direction as the Afon Gamlan until we reached the open mountain. The first part of the walk was easy. Just a long plod up the forestry track.

Road to quarry

The old conifers are being cleared and new broadleaved trees are being planted.

Clearing trees



The little peak in the distance is Rhobell y Big. We climbed it last April on a day with much better weather.

Distant peak

This was the little slate mine we had come to see, though there were also interesting and different rocks along the route to the mine and these will be described in the geology book.

Slate mine


There were several footpaths clearly marked on the map that no longer exist on the ground. G had planned a circular walk but we were thwarted over in that distant wood you can see in the photo below. After leaving the mine and floundering across a mile or so of very rough and boggy moorland, with no sign of a path, we reached stile over the wall into the wood, so we had clearly been following more or less the right line. We then managed to follow the path for a few yards, but fallen trees and new saplings had obliterated the path completely. Trying to force a way through would have been impossible. We struggled our way out of the wood whereupon I spotted a footbridge in the distance and suggested that footbridge meant path and perhaps we could cross the river via the bridge and make our way back uphill to the track we had followed to the mine.

Well, it turned out that the innocent looking open land in front of the wood is a bog! G went into it up to his waist.

Beware of the bog!

We eventually escaped to terra firma by backtracking to the stile, floundering across more rough and boggy moorland to finally reach the bridge and the faint traces of an ancient lane and path that linked a scattering of ruined cottages. At one time, with the mine and six or seven houses, there must have been quite a little community up in that valley, but now it's absolutely deserted and there was only a handful of sheep and a couple of ravens to be seen.

Ruined cottage

So the walk took a lot longer than planned and was far more exhausting than it was supposed to be, but we saw a part of the local area we'd never visited before and we do now have a safe and sensible route to put in the geology book. Basically, up the track, look at the mine and return the way you came. Do not, repeat DO NOT venture off the track!
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Comments
sartorias From: sartorias Date: March 18th, 2018 03:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful subtle colors!

It always makes me happy to read of trees being planted.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: March 18th, 2018 05:54 pm (UTC) (Link)
The conifers are just a crop really, except they're a crop that take a long time to reach the point where they can be harvested. However, this wood is now owned by The Woodland Trust who are working to replace all the conifers with native trees.
puddleshark From: puddleshark Date: March 19th, 2018 10:06 am (UTC) (Link)
Beautiful pictures.

It is so frustrating when there are footpaths clearly marked on OS maps, and yet on the ground there is not the least trace of them.

The waist-deep bog bit sounds not merely exhausting, but quite scary. Glad you managed to flounder your way back to terra firma, and I hope there were no ill effects.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: March 20th, 2018 03:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Fortunately the only ill effects were that G's boots got soaked and I'm hoping that once they've fully dried out, they will stop smelling of musty bog water. Which reminds me, I need to go and see how they're doing. They've been by a radiator in the conservatory since the incident.

G hauled himself out easily enough, but I was worried that he'd lose a boot and we'd be stuck miles from the car with him having to walk across rough ground with just a sock on his foot. Anyway, all was well in the end, but it just shows that innocent looking grassland may not be what it seems.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: March 20th, 2018 03:42 pm (UTC) (Link)
I don't know how long it is since those paths were used. The stile and bridge were in pretty good condition, but they were lost in the middle of nowhere with the paths that once would have been well trodden, now vanished.

Unfortunately there isn't a notable peak up there to attract walkers and the paths aren't part of a long distance trail, so obviously no one goes up there any more. There is a little mountain hut/outdoor centre, but people must get to it up and down the old track, which, apart from a few muddy sections is absolutely fine.
lab_jazz From: lab_jazz Date: March 19th, 2018 10:50 am (UTC) (Link)
G went into it up to his waist.

That sound really bad :( did you have to physically haul him out?

A bog isn't like quicksand is it, where you can keep going down ...down...down
We don't have bogs over here in Australia
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: March 20th, 2018 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thankfully, Welsh mountain bogs are not anything like quicksand. They are thick blankets of moss floating over a pond or lake. When it gets thick enough, you can walk out onto it without realising and then you find the ground under you gently swaying, which is very disconcerting!

A bog can be deep, but in this case, as it was just the edge of the bog, it was about thigh deep. My husband hauled himself out easily enough, but I was worried that he'd lose a boot and we'd be stuck miles from the car with him having to walk across rough ground with just a sock on his foot. Anyway, all was well in the end, but it just shows that innocent looking grassland may not be what it seems.
7 comments or Leave a comment