the Degree Confluence Project

United Kingdom : Wales

4.8 km (3.0 miles) WNW of Blaenau-Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, Wales, United Kingdom
Approx. altitude: 518 m (1699 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreetMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 53°S 176°E

Accuracy: 5 m (16 ft)
Quality: good

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: East #3: South #4: West #5: Location #6: Altitude #7: Oscar at the CP #8: Steep drop, a long way down #9: Lost mining village #10: Not worked for a long time #11: Mine entrance #12: It's very remote here #13: Get off my land #14: Frog spawn #15: Panorama

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  53°N 4°W (visit #15)  

#1: North

(visited by Gordon Spence and Oscar the Dog)

23-Apr-2013 -- Let's call this one "Oscar's toughest challenge so far!". This will be Oscar's 8'th confluence visit, his first few were on the A1 corridor heading north at 53N-01W, 54N-01W & 55N-02W. Followed up last Saturday by the easiest confluence in the UK, the drive up, park and you've done it at 53N-03W.

Time for a tougher challenge and one that I've found quite taxing in the past, there are three steep climbs to it, as you leave the car park a stiff 40 degree incline for a few hundred yards, a long ascent up the side of the mountain, then a sharp scramble up to the edge of the lake, but we're getting ahead of ourselves...

...we are on holiday in North Wales staying on the Isle of Anglesey, one road on, one road off. The north Welsh coast is actually two islands, Anglesey where we are are and Holyhead where the ferry leaves for Ireland. On the way here we parked up and completed 53N-03W, this time I settled for staying on the road. Couldn't see the point in getting Oscar into the field and getting him muddy. Sunday was a rest day, Monday was spent in Llandudno going to the tourist shops, having fish & chips on the sea front (Oscar likes a battered fish) & a walk to the end of the pier and back.

Today is confluence day, up at the crack of 8.30am and have my breakfast. Normally to get to this cp is a 3-4 hour drive, today I am only 27 miles as the crow flies, or 50 miles as you drive it, the roads don't go up and over Snowdon [highest point in Wales] for some reason they go around it instead. Luckily it is dry though with patchy cloud, wonder if it will be like the time I came here with Wojciech Czombik where it was bright sunshine 5 miles away but the cp was in the clouds! We'll see.

Load up the car and off we go, about 75 minutes later we park up in the lower car park - as usual I forget about parking in the upper car park, which would shave about 300 yards off the round trip. Trainers off, boots on, waterproof coat on - we are heading up to 1700 feet - and off we go. Walking up the first steep incline I see a "closure notice", hmmm, preparing myself to ignore it and walk around the closure I see that is the bridge over to the mine monument.

Over our first slab of slate bridge to the start of the main lake and Oscar gets to go off lead, straight down to the lake for a quick drink. As I expected the path is wet underfoot, long puddles in places. After the next gate Oscar is back on lead as there are loose sheep off in the distance. Way off in the distance, but his eyesight is keen and he has a strong hunting instinct. Past the old chapel and we are soon at the foot of the "slope", not looking forward to this very much.

The very first time I climbed this path which was 8 years ago I found this very tough going, needing to stop every 30 steps or so for a minute to gather my breath and rest the burning quads. Today, I walked straight up, no stopping and no muscle burn in the legs - all 670 steps of it. I must be a lot fitter, I expect it's the 2 hours walking that I do with Oscar every day.

The view is absolutely fantastic.

Once onto the main plateau you are into the abandoned miners village with long derelict ruins, very long abandoned machinery and a mine entrance. We wander along through and come to a fence that I knew was there, there are steps up and over it. The wooden set are far too steep for Oscar and the metal ones there is no way he can climb up and over (slats too far apart). Nothing else or it but to lift him over, as I lean against the fence I feel the wire digging into my legs, err... make that pulsing an electric shock into my legs, only 12v but it stings all the same.

Start along the path and we are now only 450 yards from the cp, but it is up and over a ridge or two. I have yet to find an easy way into this. The last bit of climb isn't all that long but some of it is STEEP, requiring holding on to rock outcrops. Made all the more interesting by having Ocar on his lead - there are some sharp drops so he can't be let loose. Over the last bit of hill and we are at the lake.

Just two hundred feet lower and you can see 7 miles to the coast, here at 1700 feet we are in the low clouds and visibility is about 100 feet, I'm beginning to think that getting clear weather like I did this time is the exception. Snap off all the required photo's and set off back for the car. Even though we are high up, going back down the obvious route (when you look at it from height, you can't see it from below) you go through boggy patches.

Back to the fence, find the lowest bit possible and lift Oscar up to place him over the fence. This time he "fidgets" and doesn't like it when his paws touch the electric fence! Get him over and hop over myself. From here it is downhill all the way back to the car.

When I get level with old ruined chapel I meet another walker (could he be on the way to the cp?), he is just out for a days walk, we pass the time of day and head off in opposite directions. We get to the last little bit and this time I decide to take a little souvenir - a 6" square piece of slate - normally I wouldn't do this but there are millions of tons of the stuff lying around...

A very satisfying walk in the countryside - 6.42 miles.

 All pictures
#1: North
#2: East
#3: South
#4: West
#5: Location
#6: Altitude
#7: Oscar at the CP
#8: Steep drop, a long way down
#9: Lost mining village
#10: Not worked for a long time
#11: Mine entrance
#12: It's very remote here
#13: Get off my land
#14: Frog spawn
#15: Panorama
ALL: All pictures on one page
In the Snowdonia National Park.