walk in the Rhinogs

walk in the Rhinogs

At the weekend we waved off our very polite motorbiking guests on Sunday morning and headed for the hills. Driving up the lush green valley from Llanbedr you leave the trees behind and reach the lovely Cwm Bychan lake and the rocky wilderness that is The Rhinogs – it’s basically the area behind the hill tops you can see from our terrace. We followed a medieval pack horse route through a pass known as The Roman Steps and skirted Rhinog Fawr in an 8 1/2 mile circle. The Rhinogs cover a massive area consisting mostly of splintered granite crags and rough heath. In a long afternoon of walking we saw more of the shy wild goats that live there than any other people. We spotted our first mountain goat watching us from high on a crag, and after various “Is it a goat or is it a rock?” “No, I just saw it move it’s head” deliberations, we confirmed it was a goat with massive curving horns keeping guard over a few of its grazing hareem. A bit further on we got close enough to some more to see their sooty collars and long, silky looking coat. Part of the walk ws well off any kind of beaten track, with the dogs and us scrambling uphill through thick heather and whinberry bushes. The bees were feasting on whinberry nectar in the warm sunshine so we did too – tastes a bit like pomegrante, though I think you’re supposed to wait until they ripen to a darker purple, and these were pink. Apparently they are a traditional remedy for night blindness and WWII fighter pilots used to eat whinberry preserves before heading off to battle. The uphill scramble was well worth it – from the top of the ridge we could see Snowdon ahead, Cardigan Bay curving below us, the Llyn Peninsula on the other side and Rhinog Fawr and Rhinog Fach behind us. So now we know what lies behind the skyline we see every day…

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