Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Choughing 'eck!

One of Peter's friends, Mark Haydock, took these photos of the choughs on Mynydd Mawr, and kindly shared them with us.

Choughs (Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax) are an unusual and rare member of the crow family, with distinctive red bills and feet. They are restricted to the western extremities of the UK and Ireland, and are rare enough to be on the RSPB's amber list, with only about 500 breeding pairs in the UK. They are quite acrobatic fliers, and form flocks in the Autumn and Winter, although they are present in the UK all year round.

Chough with the ruined foundations of St Mary's church in the background

One of their most distinctive features is their call, which may have onomatopoeically inspired their common name, you can hear an audio clip on the RSPB website - http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/c/chough/index.aspx

There's Fungus Among Us!

Autumn is the time of year that mushrooms and toad-stools are most common in the countryside, and if you know what you are doing, you can find a rich variety of delicious edible fungi. Unfortunately if, like me, you have no knowledge of mycology, then the though of eating some potentially lethal toadstool is really quite scary. During a walk on the Mynydd Mawr headland this morning we came across these intriguing specimens. Any ideas on what they are, or whether they are edible? If you do know, please let us know in the comments below.

A large mushroom standing on its own.

A bright red growth with a waxy appearance.

Some rather cute little buttons.

A jelly-like fungus with a vivid orange colour

A puff ball perhaps?

Friday, 25 October 2013

National Trust Walks in North Wales

The National Trust have some truly excellent walking routes listed on their website, and available for download. For example, there is a very scenic 3 mile walk in Cwm Idwal listed here.

There are also a number of shorter walks listed on the site.

If you try any of these out, please let us know about your experiences in the comments below.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Cerdded Conwy Walks

Some more upcoming walks as part of the Cerdded Conwy program.

Llyn Glangors in the Gwydyr Forest

Wednesday 23rd October

Manod Mawr

A steep climb through the quarry takes us to the ruined quarry and village of Rhiwbach. Up a steep incline, past Cwt y Bugail quarry, we then take to the mountain before reaching the summit of Manod Mawr. Return the way we came.

Duration: 4-5 hours
Distance: 9km/6m
Meet: 9.45am recycling bins Cwm Penmachno quarry entrance.
Start: 10.00am
GR: SH 752 471
Bookings: Aled Owen: 01690 760112/ aledocwm@uwclub.net

Sunday 3rd November

Dog Walk, Gwydyr Forest

Bring your dog (on a lead) for a walk in the forest with the local ranger. We will follow forest tracks and paths on a circular route passing Llyn Glangors with lovely scenery of the Conwy valley and the mountains. .

Time: 1.15pm for a 1.30pm start
Duration: 2 hours
Distance: 6 km / 3.7 miles
Meet and Parking: Hafna car park, Gwydyr Forest, No toilets
GR: SH 778 600
Booking is essential
Please call: 01492 576012

Os oes gennych ymholiadau am y teithiau cerdded hyn, neu os oes gennych ddiddordeb mewn darganfod mwy am y grŵp Cerdded Conwy Walks a sut i gymryd rhan, cysylltwch â:
Jen Towill (Swyddog Prosiect Cerdded Cymunedol) 01492 575543 Jennifer.towill2@conwy.gov.uk

For enquiries about these walks, or if you are interested in finding out more about the Cerdded Conwy Walks group and how you could get involved, please contact:
Jen Towill (Community Walking Project Officer) Tel: 01492 575543 Jennifer.towill2@conwy.gov.uk

Friday, 18 October 2013

Snowdonia Walking Festival

Betws y Coed will be the location for this year's Snowdonia Walking Festival, on Saturday and Sunday the 26th and 27th of October.

There will be a wide variety of guided walks to suit all abilities. Prices will vary depending on the walk. All walks start 10am and 2pm on Saturday, 10am Sunday (booking is advisable). For more information, or to book, contact Jayne on 01690 720331, or drop them an email at http://www.snowdoniawalkingfestival.co.uk/enquiryform.html?i=22401.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Marathon Eryri

Snowdonia Marathon 2010

A slight change of pace amongst our usually sedate walking blogs. The 31st Marathon Eryri will be taking place in Llanberis on Saturday October 26th, starting at 10:30 am. The race is regarded by many as one of the UK's most beautiful, yet challenging marathon courses. The 2012 winners; Emily Gelder and Rob Samuel will be returning to defend their titles.

Snowdonia Marathon 2011

Event organiser Jayne Lloyd said: "I can honestly say that in the nine years that I have been organising the race we have never had so much to get excited about, whether from a sporting, community, celebrity or charity standpoint."

The event is now full, but you can check their Facebook page for any last minute spaces that might open up due to cancellations.

For more details, see the event website, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter @marathoneryri.

Visit Wales Autumn Walking Campaign

With all the talk of cutbacks and austerity, you might be forgiven for thinking that the marketing budget of the Welsh Assembly Government would be threadbare this year. However, Visit Wales have been able to develop a properly organised campaign for this autumn. They are publishing these leaflets to be distributed in newspapers and magazines, allowing walkers to request brochures by post.

The campaign will also involve digital advertising on the web, direct mail and email, and a partnership with Classic FM, offering phone in competitions for short breaks to listeners.

We are greatly heartened that the Welsh Government are continuing to give high importance to the development of tourism and the Walking Holiday industry in particular.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Upcoming Walks in Conwy

Just a quick reminder of some of Cerdded Conwy's upcoming walks:

Wednesday 16th October
Upland Lakes of the Gwydir Forest
This walk visits the many secluded lakes set high up in the Gwydir Forest. From them we can enjoy views of mighty Moel Siabod and the distance peaks of the Snowdon Horseshoe.
Duration: 3-4 hours
Distance: 6km/4m
Meet: 9.45am Llyn Sarnau car park.
Start: 10.00am
GR: SH 778 592
Bookings: Gill Scheltinga 07901628367 / gill.scheltinga@hotmail.co.uk

Saturday 19th October
Capel Garmon Circular
Enjoy a pleasant walk from Betws y Coed up to Capel Garmon village through pretty countryside.
Duration: 4 hours
Distance: 12km/7.5m
Meet: 9.45am Betws y Coed station car park.
Start: 10:00am
GR: SH 795 565
Bookings: Doreen White 01492 573727

Sunday 20th October
Royal Courts of Abergwyngregyn
Follow the pleasantly easy path up to Aber falls in the company of local historian who has been involved in recent archaeological digs. Hear about the royal courts of Aber and the importance of Aber valley in ancient times.
There are cafes open for refreshments and a chat after the walk.
Please note this walk is a Llanfairfechan/Penmaenmawr Rotary Charity Walk for Polio Plus. Donations will be most welcome to help eliminate Polio in the World.
Duration: 2-3 hours
Distance: 6km/4m
Meet: 11.45am car park left of the bus shelter, Abergwyngregyn.
Start: 12 noon
GR: SH 655 728
Bookings: No booking required

Sunday 20th October
Creigiau Gleision and Llyn Cowlyd
Creigiau Gleision is a rather secluded summit, being separated from the rest of the Carneddau by Llyn Cowlyd. The mountain is a double topped (most southerly 678m/2224 ft, most northerly 634m/2080ft) and reaching it involves a number of ups and downs along the way, but affords splendid views in all directions, northwards to the coast, down the Ogwen Valley and Mymbyr Valley towards Snowdon.
From Creigiau Gleision we will descend to Llyn Cowlyd, Snowdonia’s deepest lake. The return journey is a romp back to Capel Curig across moors.
Duration: 5-6 hours
Distance: 15.5km/9.5m
Meet: 9.00am car park behind Joe Brown’s, Capel Curig.
Start: 9.15am
GR: SH 721 581
Bookings: Sue Hibbert: 01352 711648
If leaving a message please give a Landline number on which you can be reached

The Princes of Gwynedd return to life.

Visitors to Snowdonia will now be able to follow in the footsteps of the princes of Gwynedd for the first time, thanks to a new heritage tourism scheme launched today (14 October 2013) at Dinas Emrys, the mythological home of the Welsh Dragon. The scheme is a consortium led by Conwy County Borough Council in partnership with Gwynedd Council, Snowdonia National Park Authority and the National Trust. 30 iconic heritage sites linked to the princes have been interpreted to tell the unique story of the longest and most successful dynasty in medieval Wales - from the castles the princes built to the royal courts where they ruled. From Maelgwn Gwynedd to Llywelyn the Great, visitors to Snowdonia can explore the colourful lives of the princes and witness their lasting legacy on today’s landscape, using new themed walking, cycling and driving routes to get around, promoted through a new website and guidebook. Six information hubs have been created, at Betws-y-Coed Tourist Information Centre, Criccieth Castle Visitor Centre, Conwy Tourist Information Centre, The Oriel Pendeitsh Gallery in Caernarfon, Beddgelert Tourist Information Centre (Canolfan Hebog) and at National Trust Craflwyn to act as a starting point for visitor journeys. Around 10 million people visit the area annually and it is hoped the Princes of Gwynedd scheme will attract an additional 12,000 visitors to the heritage sites throughout Snowdonia before the end of 2014.

The Princes of Gwynedd scheme is the first strand of the Pan-Wales Heritage Interpretation Plan, led by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s Historic Environment Service, which aims to bring Wales’ heritage to life for locals and visitors to explore and enjoy while maximising the economic value of heritage tourism. Cadw plans to roll out more themes across Wales over the coming months through its Heritage Tourism Project, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government. John Griffiths, Minister for Culture and Sport, said: “This is the first of 12 interpretation projects which will help to celebrate and share the story of Wales’ rich and diverse heritage and culture. We want to make physical and thematic links between places and sites so that people can follow stories across Wales with the help of inspiring interpretation. The princes of Gwynedd were a hugely important part of how Wales developed and their story still leaves a mark on today’s landscape. The project team has led the way in ensuring visitors are met with exciting and thought-provoking experiences that will benefit the area’s local economy. We hope that the new trails will encourage local people and visitors alike to learn about the princes by retracing their steps and will be inspired to explore the rest of Wales’s fascinating story.”

Today's launch at Dinas Emrys near Beddgelert. Michael Roberts, as Llewelyn The Great, dresses Ysgol Beddgellert pupil Bronwyn Butler, aged seven.

Councillor Dilwyn Roberts, Leader of Conwy County Borough Council, said: “I am delighted that Conwy has had the opportunity to lead on this innovative partnership project, which brings our iconic heritage sites to a wider audience and generates economic benefit to the communities of Conwy and Gwynedd.”

The Princes of Gwynedd is one of six story strands in North West Wales with more to follow as part of the wider Our Heritage scheme. Councillor John Wynn Jones, Gwynedd Council\'s Economy Cabinet Member said: “Our Heritage aims to bring intriguing historical sites to life for everyone from seven year old “˜Horrible Histories’ fans to families who want a taste of how the princes of Gwynedd lived in Snowdonia, and serious history buffs eager to meet the ancestors. “It is no exaggeration to say that there are hidden historical treasures of national, international and global importance just waiting to be discovered and explored in every corner of Gwynedd and Conwy.”

Trystan Edwards, National Trust General Manager for Snowdonia and Llyn, said: “The condition, accessibility, and promotion of Dinas Emrys has been on our agenda for a number of years and so we have been delighted to play a key role in the Princes of Gwynedd project, and our welcome and information facilities at Craflwyn and in Beddgelert will be the ideal destination for all who want to learn more and explore.”

Jonathan Cawley, Director of Planning and Cultural Heritage for Snowdonia national Park Authority, said: “Upland Snowdonia was both a defensive bastion and important economic resource for the Princes of Gwynedd. The castles, palaces and grazing pastures of the Princes and the abbeys and churches they sponsored have shaped the historic landscape of Snowdonia. The National Park Authority is pleased to have been involved in the partnership to promote classic sites like Dolwyddelan and Castell y Bere castles as well as many hidden gems to local residents and visitors. The itineraries will draw people to some fantastic areas of Snowdonia that they might have otherwise missed.”

For more information about the Princes of Gwynedd, trails and exhibitions visit www.snowdoniaheritage.info/princes.
The above press release and photos were kindly provided by Equinox Communications.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Best of the Lleyn Peninsula on Youtube

These days, many holiday makers make fantastic movies of their time here in Wales and upload them to Youtube. We thought we would put together a blog post with some of the best ones shot in our neck of the woods, the Llyn Peninsula.

The above was shot by youtube user Justine Curgenven while paddling to Bardsey Island. She was lucky enough to come very close to a pod of Risso's Dolphins. Just some of the surprising wildlife to be found in or around Wales.

Here we have the video guide to Llyn par excellence...

Well... in our opinion anyway. Nothing to do with the fact that we made it ourselves to promote our walking holiday business, of course ;-). And speaking of our walking holidays, one our customers actually shot a series of stills and edited them together into a holiday video back in 2007.

Here's a very thorough one about the coast path near Aberdaron. The picture quality is a little low resolution, but the narration makes up for it.

Finally, here's a semi professional one, made as a sort of "making-of" documentary of a Countryfile segment on Bardsey's wildlife, with a lovely shot of a baby Manx Shearwater.

If you know of any other good videos of the Llyn, please send the links in the comments below.

See Snowdonia in its Autumn Glory!

The Snowdonia Society is planning 2 walks this Autumn.

Wednesday the 30th of October, - "Rail 'n' Trail" walk, Beddgelert
Ride the famous Welsh Highland Railway from Beddgelert to Rhyd Ddu, before returning on foot along the new forest trail and picknicking on route. David Firth will provide information about the history of the railway and local area. The train fare will be an additional cost.

Saturday 9th of November - Turbine Walk, Plas Tan y Bwlch.
Guided woodland walk along the route of the newly installed hydro-electric scheme. Hear about the history of the original 1884 installation making this the first house in Wales to be lit by its own electricity supply, and the challenges of routeing a pipeline through precious habitats. Morning walk.

For full event details or to book a place contact the Snowdonia Society office (Monday - Thursday) on 01286 685498 or info@snowdonia-society.org.uk. There is a a suggested donation of £3 for members and £5 for non-members for attendance on all events unless otherwise specified.