Thursday, March 21, 2013

Silent Spring

Mynydd Poeth

Following last weeks discovery of the Hiraethog Trail and two new-to me- little peaks within the Hiraethog area, I set off to take a peek at the intriguingly named Mynydd Poeth (Warm Mountain). I'm not sure how a pretty desolate, wind blasted peak gained that name but according to the OS Map, there are ancient settlements scattered around the slopes. For the past few mornings we've woken up to heavy snow in the NE Wales uplands and yesterday, we had the added winter ingredient of low lying mist. The landscape of Hiraethog was monochromatic with hardly a hint of colour between the snow covered fields and the blue grey clag which muted the light to the extent that cars travelling over the high roads needed their lights on.

I noticed that the OS map showed a footpath breaking off the main forest track to emerge on the open ground under Mynydd Poeth. Despite walking this track dozens of times, I'd never noticed anything suggesting a footpath through the dense forest at that point. Using a GPS I gauged the point were the footpath disappeared into the conifers. It did look possible and deeper into the forest there seemed to be a stream with a wider break heading off in the right direction. Sure enough it was indeed a path which emerged at a stile at a fence line which appeared to have been built in the middle of a had !

Beyond the bog, the lower slopes were caked in snow. Fergus the hound was in his element, running around following every scent and rolling on his back in ecstasy. We wandered up towards the clagged in top, passing several stone piles which I'm guessing are the remains of old homesteads? As for the summit- if you could describe a 460m top as a summit- it was rather spoilt by a fence line- sans stile- separating the lower western slopes from the nondescript top. A nice cairn occupied a position below the top. Not sure why it had been placed here? Looking east towards the little tops I had been on a week ago, revealed a desolate landscape. The mist muted all detail from the more distant points and everywhere was bathed in a strange blue light.

Behind us a wall of baaing sheep had gathered in expectation of a feed. It was lambing time and the upland farmers couldn't be having a worse time of it with the sub zero temperatures, Siberian winds and snow. Accompanied by a moving tide of ragged, noisy ewes, Gus and I headed back down. I'd worked out that Mynydd Poeth could be slotted into a decent circular walk, taking in last weeks peaks. It beats following a crocodile of walkers up the Pyg Track; for me anyway.

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