We gathered at the viewpoint as cars rolled up. No snow, no storm, just a leaden sky and a fair amount of wind; it looked as though the walk would take place. The long awaited walk up Llanbedr Mountain, or Mynydd Llanbedr, to give it its Welsh name: six miles, nine walkers and Nancy the dog, steep up hill and down, views obscured partially by dense, low lying, black cloud: a peach of a walk.
It has been called off three times before. Once due to heavy snow; once due to a heavy storm and once because we were visiting Nedu Griffiths’ Snowdonia House , Bron y Foel and it got too late to walk into the mountains – even Llanbedr Mountain at 1500 feet.
A descent through the farm, where the farm dog would have gone for Nancy, had Brian not been deft with his sticks and kept him at bay till the farmer whistled him off. The farm dog did a good impression of a frenzy chasing its own tail like the tigers in Little Black Sambo who eventually turned to ghee, before it followed the farmer in his four-wheeled buggy and left Nancy in peace.
Perhaps it was the wind or just his nature that set him off.
We sauntered down to the valley floor, along the tarmac lane to the signpost for the Taith Ardudwy, turning off soon to head steadily up hill to wild and peaty, open moorland. The view was only marginally impaired by dark, lowering clouds and, but for the wind and chatting, there was the deep quiet of the hills. We sheltered for coffee and all put on waterproofs. Carolyn showed us a nifty trick for keeping the inside of your trousers mud free – put your booted foot into a plastic bag before shoving it down the trouser leg, (if you have trouser legs wide enough to take your boot in the first place) Luckily the rain abated leaving just the wind.
Climbing till lunchtime we stopped in the lee of the hill for the last shelter. Once over the brow of the hill for a swift decent the wind ragged us blowing off Rhinog Fawr, almost completely blacked out by weather.
By the time we reached the Nantcol Cottage home to the traitor, whose name and deed I forget now, and the farmhouse, Maes y garnedd, we were almost warm.
Tussocky and marshy through the valley to see the small cascade as the river burbled through, over plenty of styles and makeshift bridges we came to the lane where the old school, now converted to a holiday cottage and the old fashioned telephone box marked the final easy section. Even the uphill sting in the tail of the walk did not seem hard.
No sign of the farmer’s dog as we walked back to the cars.
Tea in the village café where, quite by chance, we met our old friend Nedu Griffiths, who remembered our visit to his house a good few months back. He told us of the more complete history of the house now published on the internet, under the house name, Bron y Foel.