Mar of To & Fro shares a Days of the Month post at the start of every month and this one inspired me to write this post. Today is Old Rock Day which is apparently to celebrate rocks – see this for more info. If you ask me what my favourite “rock” is I would have to say, slate. I LOVE slate… Welsh slate in particular. I’m from a slate mining town in North Wales and grew up surrounded by beautiful slate slag heaps. Some people might find them depressing but honestly, there is nothing that says home more than seeing those slate heaps.
Now I’m not going to share photos of slate but I am instead going to share a lovely walk through the old slate mines with you. I’ve done a fair bit of walking with my Taid, Dad and Jimmy Jones* when I was a child. It was Taid’s favourite pastime! After he died I gathered all of his photos and started scanning them and I can tell you, there’s so many photos of his walks!
(* if you read this post, the very first photo is actually me and Jimmy in Cwm Orthin! How funny!)
Here’s just one of those photos:
Anyway I digress. As an adult I haven’t done that much mountain walks but a couple of years back hubby and I did walk from Tanygrisiau over to Llanfrothen over the pass between the Moelwyns and the Cnicht.
It’s a fairly lengthy walk – not sure if it was 7 miles in total. But you get to walk through amazing scenery! From Taid’s house we walk up to the teeny village of Dolrhedyn and then up to the old slate mines of Cwm Orthin.
Cwm Orthin has a large lake and the footpath takes you along the lefthand side of the lake so you don’t actually get to explore the mines – unless you take a quick detour. Along the lefthand side of the lake there’s the old quarrymen houses and an old chapel which have both now fallen into disrepair. I actually remember when this chapel had four walls standing!
From there you walk up again to the old mines of Rhosydd. Up there you’re standing between the Moelwyns on the left and Cnicht on your right and are looking down to Cwm Croesor.
From Rhosydd you walk down to Cwm Croesor but along the way have to navigate a steep incline to make it to the road. That was fun!!
Once you get to the footpath/road at the bottom of the Cwm you’re on a steady decline all the way to Llanfrothen. You walk through the tiny village of Croesor although to be fair there is a cafe/gallery there and an outdoor pool. Well there used to be a pool there when I was a child, made up by having a little diversion in the river to a man made slate pool.
Along the road down you will walk past many of the houses that are owned by the Brondanw Estate. You can tell if they’re part of the Brondanw Estate by their white and green colouring. Further down the road you will also pass Plas Brondanw which was the home of the late Sir Clough Williams-Ellis (the designer and creator of Portmeirion). The original house was burnt down in 1951 and apparently Sir Clough was devastated. He had an urn placed near the house which is still there today. On our walk we didn’t go passed it as it was slightly out of the way. But I’ve been told that the urn can be seen from Sir Clough’s bedroom window. Not sure if that’s true or not!
A little walk further down the road you join the main road which leads into Llanfrothen itself. We walked down to the pub – Brondanw Arms or as the locals know it, “Y Ring”. No-one knows why it’s known as the Ring but that’s what I know it as. After a long walk I can tell you that the pub was a very welcome sight!
One tip, be sure to take money/card with you so you can have a fantastic pub lunch! We forgot our wallet/purse so had to settle for a drink only with what little cash we had in our pockets. Since I don’t drink I settled for a lemonade but the hubby had a pint!
After recovering we managed to convince someone to give as a lift home – I wasn’t going to walk back over the mountain that’s for sure!
I haven’t done this walk often but I couldn’t recommend it enough! I would love to do it again this year. This time with the dogs. Possibly not the girls because it would be too much for Little Miss’ tiny legs at the moment!
What do you think? Interesting walk or not?