CYHA News October 2022

Posted on Sat 01 October 2022 in News

Rowen Rambling

Our August Bank Holiday trip was over to Welsh Wales, but not that hectic busy bit with Snowdon in it. We were a tad further north where the dramatic peaks of Snowdonia ease into the gentler Carneddau before descending down to the sea on the north coast.

For accommodation we were booked into Rowen YH, a traditional old farmhouse set high above the village of Rowen deep in rural Conwy. It has breathtaking views across the Conwy valley and easy access to the Cambrian Way, which follows the ridge line to the north.

Such a remote location takes a bit of getting to, so most of us took the whole day to drive over from Essex. The bank holiday traffic unfortunately meant we needed the whole day. Still the weather was lovely and we arrived in time to admire the jaw dropping views before tucking up for the night.

Saturday dawned with some haze in the valley, but enough sun in the sky to guarantee that all that would burn off before lunch. With the promise of views, there was nothing for it but to climb up the nearest big hill – in this case Tal-y-Fan. From Rowen we walked out on the Roman Road before hacking up the hill to the summit. From the top we had incredible views from Anglesey in the west to the Great Orme in the east. There was even a ghostly outline of the Isle of Man.

After pausing for a spot of lunch we continued along the Cambrian Way for a bit, taking in views across Bangor to Beaumaris and the flat expanse of Anglesey beyond. We descended back down to the Roman Road where there was a parting of the ways between those wanting shorter and longer walks. The shorter walk returned to the hostel more directly with time for afternoon tea and relaxation before dinner. Those on the longer route had two more peaks to climb, but they were stunners. From Foel-ganol we had spectacular views of the heathered banks of the Anafon valley up to Drum, our progress watched by welsh ponies. Climbing back along the ridge, we ducked off just before the summit of Drum (except for Tae who decided to run up to bag it). It was then a steep descent back down to the Roman Road and the long walk back to the hostel. We arrived tired and sweaty with just enough time for a shower before sitting down to Cynthia’s delicious chicken curry.

Sunday had slightly less good weather. The valley team used a 30 year old guide book to negotiate a route through the nearby villages. This wasn’t entirely successful, but they were compensated by free apples and plenty of pub time. The hill team decided to carry on where they left off on Saturday, bagging Drum, Foel-fras and the little side bump of Llwytmor. The hilly walk proved quite challenging with another late return to the hostel, this time to the welcome of John and Judi’s corn beef hash.

Monday came and it was time to head home. Several of our party decided to pop in to Cholmondesley castle to see the gardens. Dave, Tae and I decided to head up to Anglesey to bag a bit of neolithic culture. The coastal cliffs and beaches were stunning in the August sunshine, plus we got to visit a couple of the best neolithic sites in Britain. On the way back we were treated to magnificent views of the Menai Bridges with the Snowdonia mountains beyond, and even had time for a photo stop at Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrn-drobwllllantysiliogogogoch. The perfect end to a fabulous weekend.



Only two sites in the UK have examples of Neolithic art and both of them are in Anglesey. The literal translation of Barclodiad-y-gawes is “the giantess’s apronful”, which I guess must refer to the collection of stones in the mound, five of which are etched with stripes, zig-zags and swirls. Incredible to think it’s been there for thousands of years. Cadw have installed a gate, roof and some spots so you can see the artwork. Well worth a look if you happen to be in the area.

Newport Walk

With Dave J indisposed, Dave P stepped into the breach and led our August walk from Newport out to Wicken Bonhunt, including a lengthy pause in the cool interior of All Saints Rickling to take in the graffiti (medieval and later). A fab way to spend a hot day.