Our tour of Snowdonia is over and Val has written about each ramble to accompany the photos so please take a look. She has also written this overview for us:
I think the Welsh Tour was an unqualified success, very well organised and planned. Some of the categories were difficult but the feeling of achievement and gaining some expertise is well worth the challenge. Luckily, after the long-haul rambles we had a very easy and enjoyable ramble at Penrhyn Castle, which gave us all a rest.
So, we had Beddgelert Forest with good tracks, lovely views, the steam train chugging past, then Bwlch Cwm Llan, the shortest of the 6 rambles and also the most challenging I think as nearly all of the route needed care and attention, but very good fun and we all enjoyed it. Following that came the Drum Mountain Challenge, it was a Cat 4 and was undoubtedly not for the faint hearted but was do-able with a good scooter and care, not for the beginner – that’s for certain. We all had a really super time that day and the scenery was unforgettable. Again, Lon Las Ogwen from Penrhyn Castle gave us all the breather we needed and was a well attended ramble, lots of old friends to catch up with. Then came Aber Falls & Llwytmor Bach the tracks were perfectly reasonable but the steep and constant uphill climb made some of the scooters catch their breath! It was a day of contrasts, heathland, mountain-scape, views across the Menai Straits, and finally the long uphill trek to the Falls themselves, a sight worth seeing but tricky on the wet paths, the rain never helps on this sort of terrain. The last day was Ynys Llanddwyn at Newborough Forest, the bay at Newborough was just amazing a large sweeping panoramic coastal scene, not to be missed, and so much history attached to it, then to go into the Forest so near to the sea was two rambles in one, so to speak.
Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed the 9 days I was away very much indeed, as did everyone else I spoke to. Wales has so much to offer and seems like a smaller, softer, cosier version of Scotland not so sweeping and austere (Scotland is undeniably beautiful – just bigger and wilder), and so many places and sights to see. We were so lucky with the weather too, didn’t really get too wet at all, and being intrepid Ramblers – no one moaned anyway!
We did have a couple of incidents, but I think that given the amount of people attending that was a very small number, and as far as I know there was no serious hurt caused to anyone, a lot of tension perhaps – but all were walking at the end of each ramble concerned. It is inevitable that something will happen, they are adventures after all, and if you don’t want risk – stick to city parks etc.!!
The management and organisation is second to none, if you have never run or led a ramble it is easy to criticise – so do try to organise one if you had any complaints, I think you will find it is a very stressful thing to do and takes a lot of effort and worry to cope with it all. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes in order to put these rambles on, and I am sure we are all very grateful to John Cuthbertson, Robin Helby, John Birmingham, and all the volunteers who we all know and love, for their dedication and commitment to arranging and putting these events on. Special thanks to Liz too, she and John put such a lot into it all.
Well, our rambling year is nearly over so I hope everyone is looking forward to 2014 and all the exciting rambles that are being planned as we speak, don’t forget that as well as the current programme being put on we are still reccying and planning next year’s routes – it never stops for the ramble Leaders.
Regards to all,