Day 86 - A day with the best and worst companions
Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
147Trip End Nov 18, 2010
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Where I stayed
Plas Efenechtyd B&B
We know today will be a challenging day as we walk up into the Clwydian Hills. We pause at the local store before starting our walk to look for food. The offering is pretty sad so we limit our purchases to the inevitable pork pie for Keith and a double Snickers bar for him. He’s determined not to lose any more weight. We are also carrying a pair of two day old pasties purchased in Prestatyn so we figure we won’t starve. Our path takes us across a pleasant small bridge over the tiny River Wheeler and then we are on a path going southeast rising up through bracken. We pass just south of Moel Y Parc (398 m) and the nearby radio mast, probably reaching about 320 mtrs above sea level before going on some steep climbs up to a Hill Fort at Pen-Y-Cloddian (440m). We now have glorious views all around us and despite the slogging up hills Keith reflects on just the perfect companionship of expansive views. One can be perfectly at peace with oneself as views make no demands, but speak silently of times past and stimulate with a patchwork of variety taking one out of oneself, always lifting and inspiring as all weariness is cast out. The Vale of Clwyd that is offering such support today is a rare gem which we feel we discovered and as we look out across the green valley floor with its historic towns of Denbigh and Ruthin, we realise we are in the midst of something quite special
Unfortunately walking through hills involves descents which no sooner are completed than another climb presents itself. So we descend to face the steep climb back up this time to Moel Arthur (455m). Once again we are thrust steeply down to cross a small road before having to tackle a real killer climb straight up, very steep, near Moel Llys-Y-Coed and on to Moel Dywyll (472m). We still continue upwards ever higher to a cairn where Debby attempts unsuccessfully to stop for lunch, and we drop down a few metres to gain some protection from the wind which is now fierce. We sit down and eat our pasties and pork pie. We probably get more sustenance from the wonderous views of the valley we are soaking up. We gird ourselves for a short descent which takes us down to our next steep climb all the way up to Moel Fammau (555m) which is English means Mother Mountain, the highest in the range of Clwyd hills. Here we look at Jubilee Tower which was built in 1810 to celebrate George III. The Tower is in a ruined state despite the fact it has been rebuilt many times. It is here the wind and the forces of nature that reign supreme.
The wind today is frightening
We retreat down on a long stretch from Jubilee Tower spending a passing moment with a Russian PhD Classics student from Leeds University. It never ceases to be interesting and diverse, the people one meets while walking. This young man, despite carrying a damaged knee, had run off to collect Debby’s backpack cover which had been ripped off by the merciless winds up at the tower. There was one final climb back up again to skirt Foel Fenlli (511m) which when Keith suggested we bag this peak Debby exclaimed in no uncertain Australian terms that was out of the question. Keith has been in Australia over 20 years now and he understood the expletive well despite being somewhat shocked!! And so the day gradually wound down as we descended through farmland past the brown-est of cows and some lovely old Hawthorn trees. It was in an uplifted and exhilarated state of mind that we walked in the Restaurant Café at Clwyd Gate on the A494 road to await our pick up by the owners of tonight’s B&B
After two coffees and over an hour to consider the menu, we were quite keen to simply spend the night here at the Clwyd Gate restaurant. However, David and Marilyn had different ideas which turned out really good. They drove us from the restaurant to their charming hideaway B&B in the tiny centre of Efenectyd, close to Ruthin and yes, we do now know how to pronounce the village name thanks to Marilyn’s brief Welsh lesson. How marvellous to be surrounded by wonderful countryside and be greeted by a clutch of chickens and a 25 year old deaf and blind duck. To walk up the footpath to this delightful house around a magnificent Holyoak Tree immediately reassured us we had made a good choice for the night and we have to give thanks once again to Dee for recommending it. Our hosts ran us in to the town of Ruthin where we consumed a delicious Welsh lamb shank with roasted root vegetables, really yummy with an Australian red to accompany it.
By the time we slid into bed, just after 9 pm, it was with a feeling of real satisfaction