View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Backpacking. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Backpacking. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Rain in Lleyn…4th Sept 2017

(Not) Backpacking

I’d prepared two dehydrated backpacking meals, different stuff to what I’d normally take so I was looking forward to trying the new stuff out:.

The main meals consisted of:

1) Remains of a Shepherds Pie. All mashed up and mixed prior to dehydrating. It was supplemented with 50gms of Smash.

2) Remains of a chilli con carne + rice. The rice and chilli were dehydrated separately and bagged separately.

3) This wasn’t all dehydrated, but consisted of some smoked Polish sausage, 50gms of Smash, and 1/3rd tin baked beans – dehydrated.

As things worked out the stuff didn’t get used. Read on….

In the beginning:

The Plan was for Lucky the Dog, Mike, Dawn and me to backpack a section of the Lleyn Peninsula coast in glorious sunshine.

Even the best plans fall apart sometimes.

The weather forecast was for a bit of damp followed by a few days of overcast dryness – quite acceptable backpacking conditions.

What ACTUALLY happened was that a huge amount of wind-driven wetness descended on Llanystumdwy….famous for Lloyd George and my dad. And a pub that only opens 3-4 nights of the week. It was quite a nice pub though.

We had two cars and with this in mind Plan B was quickly concocted: instead of backpacking through the wetness we’d go out for linear day walks. Plan B was put into action – it worked quite well. Mostly. Apart from getting lost.

Day 1

It was still raining. So we breakfasted hugely on egg, bacon & tomato butties – washed down with lashings of tea & coffee. After which it was still raining but not quite as much. The Afon Dwyfor at the back of the campsite had risen by about 4ft overnight – the roar of the water thrashing about was impressive.

Dwyfor in spate

That was supposed to be an embedded video but Open Live Writer and YouTube don’t seem to like to talk to one another. Kids, eh?


If the video clip doesn’t work, this photo may illustrate the state of the river.

Some random photographs taken in Llanystumdwy:




Anyroadup, we went to Llanbedrog and dumped a car there in the National Trust car park. Then we went to Abersoch and dumped another car there in the hugely expensive car park. Not having any more cars to dump we thought it would be a bit of a wheeze to walk back to Llanbedrog, and that’s precisely what we did.

The rain had stopped by this time but it was rather grey and only a bit miserable.

We walked east, often a good direction, passing the harbour / marina before dropping down to the beach.


For Alan R:



The tide was out and apart from a couple of dog walkers and a defunct jellyfish that resembled an enormous blob of lumpy wallpaper paste, we had the sands to ourselves.



Anybody recognise this plant found growing on the edge of sand dunes? The leaves are hugely thick – perhaps to store water?



Looking back over Abersoch

As we bimbled along eastwards the clouds lifted and the sun made a welcome appearance – Snowdonia appeared out of the murk:


On the descent to the beach we came across this interesting sculpture:


Aberdaron’s ‘Tin Man’ – it looked more like a woman with a babe in arms to me

I gather that the original statue was a wooden ship’s figurehead – but that suffered malicious fire damage many years ago.

The route down to the beach was seriously steep, it took an age to get down – ask my poorly L knee. It wasn’t too happy.


Llanbedrog’s colourful beach huts


Llanbedrog Beach

Then it was back to the cars and back to Llanystumdwy (via Pwllhelli’s Asda) for far too much to eat and a comfortably large amount of beer. Bottled Hob Goblin Gold seeing as you asked.

The pub was shut.

Day 2

Even though the weather had improved Plan B was still in operation: one car was left at the Aberdaron NT car park, the other at the Whistling Sands NT car park. We wandered off in a nominally south-ish direction, following the cliff-top path as much as possible. I was surprised to come across a young 80+ year old couple from Knutsford, just down the road from JJ Towers. This couple, clad in finest Paramo, were clearly made of the right stuff – it was a pleasure to stop to chat with them.


Looking north over Whistling Sands


Dramatic coastline, similar in character to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and part of the the South West Coast Path.


On Mynydd Mawr:




The former Coastguard lookout at Mynydd Mawr.

The sun was shining brightly and warmly, good conditions for backpacking – apart from the lack of water. Running water was scarce, any that we discovered was decidely iffy. Much of the coast was used by cattle.


Over the sea to Bardsey in the late afternoon sun.



I’m still playing with my Lumix TZ70 camera – in reality the colours in the hedgerows were very vivid than is shown here. I must try harder.

Navigation was a little <koff> difficult, the paths on the ground often didn’t coincide with what appeared on the three different maps we were carrying between us. Being as what we were nominally following an official Long Distance Path this was all a bit of a poor show. You couldn’t even rely on the Coastal Path signposts – on more than one occasion we came across signposts that just pointed into either undergrowth or ground that was clearly impassable.


Back to the cars, Asda and the campsite – for lots of lovely grub (c/o Lucky’s Dad) and more beer. The pub was still shut.

Day 3

The day began with more egg & bacon butties. The eggs came from the farm where we were camping – they were a bit tasty.

It was a windy morning, and that was just the weather. We parked up at the NT car park at Plas yn Rhiw and proceeded to wander off, up what we took to be the coastal path. We had it on good authority that we really were on the coastal path, the Coastal Path signposts should have aroused our suspicion.

As it happened we only got a bit misplaced a few times.

Mist and clag descended a few times, severely curtailing our views.



Hell’s Mouth

Foolishly(?) following signposts we passed a lovely little hamlet overlooking the sea. We  suspected that we were on the right path – but there was always a nagging doubt.

Even more foolishly I suggested a change in direction of travel. This change entailed a bit of a scramble. Okay, a LOT of a scramble. I’m not very good at scrambling. Oh well.

Eventually, and blindly following Lucky, Dawn & Mike, I got to the top of an Everest of a hill, Mynydd y Graig I think. There were signs of a Hill Fort and a Standing Stone. I didn’t look too hard, I was more concerned in not falling off this mountain of a, er, little hill.


Lucky & Mike, climbing without oxygen


The Tenzing moment

Once at the top the walking was much easier, we even had some views when the cloud lifted.


Another hill beckoned. This was either a Munro or a Marylin or something. Whatever it was 177m ASL and Mike needed it for His List. Penarfynydd was actually a bit non-descript, but what the hell. It would probably be better on a sunny day.


Time to turn round and return to the car. More misleading signposts successfully misled us. In spite of this we managed to find our way back to the car and a far easier navigate to a nice little car park at the east end of Hell’s Mouth.

Dawn had planned a dip in the sea at Hell’s Mouth but the wind was far too strong and the sea currents looked a bit perilous.

Instead she rolled up her trouser legs and went for a paddle with Mike. Lucky didn’t play with a ball very much. I flew my kite, the one I use to support vertical aerials when I play radio. The wind was so strong that I began to wonder whether the line was going to be strong enough to hold on to the kite. It was, but I’ll be more careful in future.


Once back at the ranch more lovely grub followed, again c/o Lucky’s Dad. Dawn had an early night, so did LTD, Mike & me, but our early night involved a visit to the pub which was now open. The beer and the welcome were both good.

There were only half a dozen customers in the pub that evening. It’s good that it stays open, even if it’s only for a few evenings in the week. I hope it survives, we’re losing too many pubs.

We had a good few days away, it wasn’t what we’d planned but it worked out well in the end. Thanks to Lucky, Mike & Dawn for a fun time…we must do it again soon. Next time we’ll do it in an area with less confusing paths.

More photographs are here.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Camping in Keld with Knackered Knee Knipe….

….and Dawn. And LTD too. Just to add some sobriety and sensibility to the trip.

That Dawn had organised a static camping visit to Keld, famous for not having a Youth Hostel anymore so that Pennine Way and Coast to Coast walkers would have to struggle to find budget accommodation in the area. Clever or what?



The last time I was in Keld was when No2 son and I did the Coast-to-Coast. He was 8 and I was just a bit older than him. We stayed at the Youth Hostel and very pleasant it was too. The loss of yet another hostel in a remote-ish area is grievous to say the least.

Anyroadup, Mike & Dawn had arrived at Rukin’s Campsite before me and had gone for a wander and a swim. This left me to set about fighting (single-handed) Keld’s famous ferocious midges whilst putting up my tent. My chosen tent for this little adventure was my Sil Hex Peak V4 – a nice and spacious shelter.


What the well-equipped Ultra-Light Backpacker carries this season

By the time KKK and Dawn had returned, the midge attack had subsided. But this wasn’t a retreat, the cunning buggers had merely regrouped and called in reinforcements to launch an even more determined attack.. Little sods. Anyway, all was not lost: they hadn’t reckoned with Dawn’s very effective joss-sticks, a good dollop of Deet, and a very smoky fire. And then we had a beer to calm our nerves.


Our Midge Repellent Machine (Pat Pending) & the KKK shelter


A dog and his dad

Mike had arranged a slightly huge stew-type thing for tea, it was a bit good but there was rather a lot of it. This was where Lucky stepped in to help out, there was no way that we 3 mere mortals could eat all that lovely grub.

Then it started to rain.

So me and KKK had another beer, a good chat to put the world to rights and a not particularly early night. During the night it rained noisily and heavily.

The following morning, and after all that energetic nocturnal snoring, we surfaced with an enormous appetite for bacon butties – fortunately I’d packed the necessary.

The rain had stopped, the sun was sort of shining and most of the midges seemed to have vanished – drowned probably.

A great packing up of the tents followed which in turn was followed by a wander Swaledale to a rather pretty waterfall where neither KKK, LTD or Dawn would swim.


River Swale waterfall: Wain Wath Force….probably.

Two children were having a ball in the water, the young lad was having a great time leaping into the water:




I’m still learning how to use my Lumix TZ70 and hadn’t got to grips with the ‘Burst Mode’ setting – hence I only managed to take these 3 sequential shots. A shame, the camera is capable of taking more….I now know for next time.


Free Range Egg’s

A couple for Alan R:



A decision was taken by someone to go and annoy the delightful Amanda Owen, famous for being a shepherdess and having lots of children. Her family live just 3-4 miles from the Tan Hill Inn – where we didn’t go.



A sometimes quite muddy path led us to Ravenseat, the Owen family’s farm.


Amanda & family live what appears to be an idillic life, miles away from anywhere (if you exclude the Tan Hill Inn) and a wonderful playground for the children. In reality I suspect

that life in that remote spot must be quite hard at times. For all that, they make excellent scones (with cream and raspberry jam they’re REALLY yummy) and brew a fine pot of tea.



Swaledale Field Barn




River Swale (Currack Force?)

The return route to Keld avoided the muddy horribleness of the outward leg and we were soon back in Keld and back at the car park….and then it was time to go home. I couldn’t be mithered cooking so a visit to the Timperley Fish Bar, my favourite fish & chip shop, was called for. I ate too much. Again.

Thanks to Lucky, KKK and Dawn for inviting me along – it was good, in spite of the midges…..and my own knackered knees.