28 May 2016

Wooler and the Cheviots

A few days in the good weather in the second week of May staying at Wooler youth hostel and doing a couple of walks in the Cheviot hills.Link to photo album here

After arriving late Monday afternoon I took a quick look up the Harthope Valley from the parking area near Langleeford before returning there again the next day for a clockwise walk up Harthope Burn,Cairn Hill, Auchope Cairn,The Cheviot,Scald Hill and back down Hawsen Burn to the car.

Langleeford and Hedgehope Hill
Lower Harthope Valley
Main street Wooler

Langleeford Hope
Harthope Linn
New flagstones floating on the peatbog
Cheviot summit trig

Hawsen Burn
Sheep stell
Harthope Burn and Housey Crags
The Wooler youth hostel building was home to the Women's Land Army during and just after the 2nd WW but then fell into disuse before being bought by the YHA.Externally it has quite a utilitarian appearance but the inside has been well adapted and refurbished with modern amenities. Like the Elenydd hostels it's another one which was sold off in the mid 2000s for being too nice and a proper youth hostel and is now run by the local Glendale Gateway Trust
As the way things go ,online bookings are still done via the YHA site.

Some shepherd's huts have been added by the Trust
The next day I did a walk from Old Yeavering based on the Tors Walk round of geocaches, parking at  Gefrin and going anti-clockwise up Easter Tor,Wester Tor,Hare Law,down to Commonburn House, with a final ascent to Yeavering Bell.
Gefrin and Yeavering Bell are steeped in history. The weather was a bit murky ,still warm but with a cold front promised.

Old Yeavering

Wester Tor
Commonburn watershed looking south to The Cheviot
Commonburn House

Yeavering Bell from the common
Summit cairn looking north
Remains of wall defences

5 May 2016

Elenydd trip

A Monday to Friday trip to mid Wales in the third week of April co-incided with the warm spell before winter briefly returned last week.
Link to photo album here

I stayed at the two Elenydd Wilderness Hostels which were once part of a whole chain of simple hostels in the Welsh mountains. Nowadays the YHA seems set on having urban hostels to compete with Travel Lodge and have sold off many in the countryside which apparently don't fit with their "model".
Enthusiasts purchased these two when there was a mass sale and now run them with volunteers.These and others like them can sometimes still be booked via the YHA website if they have an promotion arrangement in place.

Towy valley above Dolgoth
 On the Tuesday I did a circular walk from Dolgoth to include Drygarn Fawr which at 641m is the highest point in the area.Fairly featureless terrain but with two huge summit cairns.Hard going with my old Landranger map as there has been considerable forest planting and felling since 1974!

Llanerch farm
Irfon valley
Dolgoth from the east
On the Wednesday I moved on to Tyncornel and diverted northwards to have a walk up to and around the Teifi Pools from the end of the road east of Strata Florida.I stopped at Tregaron on the way and bought an up to date 25,000 scale map which made navigation much simpler.While I'd been to Strata Florida before this was my first visit to these lakes.Quite unique landscape.

Llyn Egnant
Llyn Bach
Llyn Teifi
Frongoch farmhouse

Resupplied with food and drink on my way back through Tregaron ,including meat from the local butcher and Welsh and Black Country beers from Spar.Convenience stores in Wales always seem to have an interesting selection of beers.
Road access to Tyncornel is up a narrow lane from Llanddewi Brefi and the final section just a rough potholed track.

Tyncornel hostel with new day shelter/bike shed in foreground

Still a good forecast for Thursday so an anti clockwise walk,over the hill to Bryn-amor,then the hill track SE and down to and across the Doethie ,returning along the path back up the valley to the hostel.I'd been up this valley many years ago as part of a Hay on Wye to North Wales coast walk (a forerunner of the Cambrain Way) Thought back to all the simple hostels along the way most of which have now been sold off as second homes.

Doethie valley from above Troed-rhiw-cymmer

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path up the Doethie valley
Long abandoned dwellings
Upper valley