The hot weather (think 26 - 30C) continues in the Welsh borders and I am thinking that a visit to the seaside would be enjoyable but we are a long way away from the coast here. However when we were staying in North Wales a fortnight ago I had a chance to activate a SOTA summit (GW/NW-067 Moel y Gest) and walk down to the clearly visible seaside and have a paddle.
I was dropped at the llama trekking centre (didn’t see them this time, unfortunately so couldn’t hitch a lift) on the road west from Porthmadog to Morfa Bychan. Rod (M0JLA) was on his way up the valley towards Beddgelert to activate GW/NW-056 Moel y Dyniewyd so that I could get a S2S - plus he wanted to try a new route up (and I don’t like the steep ascent near the top). Having used this route up Moel y Gest before, I followed the footpath through access land and fields and, this time, remembered to wait until the wide path which led over the wall and to the steep ascent, appeared rather than trying to take a ‘short cut’ and force my way through the high bracken … All went well and the 262m elevation meant that I had got a cooling breeze which was very welcome as there was no shade from the sun.
Looking over to Snowdon and M0JLA
After the promised 2m fm S2S with GW/NW-056 (10Km) and a very unexpected one with G/DC-002 Brown Willy (261Km!! there was a bit of a lift on…)
and he couldn’t hear me on the stick aerial from the VX7 although I could hear him!
From my lofty perch I could see the sea and the large sandy beach which was busy on Black Rock Sands but almost empty to the east towards Borth-y-Gest (where I was being picked up) and Porthmadog. I could have retraced my steps to the road and then taken a footpath down or walked down the road about 2Km to the beach but I preferred to take a rather winding set of footpaths through the (well-walked - or so I thought) access land, across the golf course and down to the dunes. I think it best if I don’t go into details about the next 90 minutes that I spent on the public footpaths (and off them when I lost them) edging through the high bracken desperately trying to lose height and attain the promised land (or sea). I eventually found the house in the middle of the bracken - so I knew where I was but then ended up looking down a steep scarp with fields below but no paraglider in my every incresingly heavyand hot sack. At last light dawned, I retraced my steps to the house and trudged along its access track and trudged and trudged … and joined my route up, went past the (still absent) llamas, got to the road, funked the narrow footpath (more high bracken) and followed the road (with wide footpath/cycle track) down to the golf course (where the notices clearly said that it was the duty of the pedestrians on the public footpath to avoid any balls hit in their direction …on their own heads be it, literally!) and, at last towards that water.
If you’ve got this far then the real reason for the post - how many SOTA summits are there where the walk (say within 3 hours) can be finished by a dip in the sea? Certainly some of the Isle of Arran summits (eg Holy Island!!) would qualify and also some memorable Outer Hebridean hills. Perhaps summits on islands should be banned but how do we define an island?? From dim memory, long before SOTA, I remember visiting Brandon Mt in SW Ireland and then going for a swim but it is possible a car was used. I realise that landlocked countries are at a disadvantage so we could try including large lakes - Lake Geneva etc?? Any thoughts? Extra marks for those who actually DID make the trip down to the sea and the sand rather than thinking it ought to be possible.