A question we have been asked frequently by people we have bumped into in this area is “have you visited Cregennen Lakes?” It is another cracking day so we head off along the A493 towards Arthog and just before the village turn sharply uphill. This is what the Freelander is designed for and we negotiate the steep road without difficulty.
Along the route we encounter some gates across the road. These have never been a favourite with Lynnie, because she is the one that gets out and opens and closes them whilst I drive through. When the children were small and we were holidaying in the Yorkshire Dales we used a couple of gated roads in that area. Lynnie would open the gate and I would drive through with Ben and Lolly encouraging me to continue and leave Lynnie running behind. I am sure many other families have similar tales to tell.
Today Lynnie opens the gates safe in the knowledge that there are no children to gee me on. However she fails to account for Crosby and his playful ways, he watches Lynnie intently as we go through then I am sure he tells me to keep going! Eventually she catches us, none too pleased. Boys will be boys.
As we drive up the views are stunning and we crest a hill to get an outstanding view of the largest lake. We are soon parked up alongside the Cregennen Lakes and ready to go. We leave the car park and turn right to walk along the tarmac road leading us uphill and through a gate. Around the corner we encounter some young inquisitive bears. They eye Crosby with suspicion, so we give them a wide berth and walk around an outcrop which gives us a stunning view of the smaller lake as we rejoin the road we come across a standing stone. I always find these fascinating, easy to miss yet at some time in the past they held great significance.
We follow the road to the junction with another lane and turn right. There is no traffic and we only encounter a couple of chaps rebuilding a dry stonewall. Hard work on a hot day like this, but what wonderful surroundings to work in.
After passing a disused farmhouse we take a footpath through a gate on the right. We follow the path across a field and then into a second field where we walk alongside a wall for a while, keeping beside it through several further gates. As we walk along we see a big bull bear in the adjoining field, he opens an eye to look at the dogs but does not stir. It is a hot afternoon and he has the look of one who has just completed a day’s work.
We have learnt it is foolish to assume that just because bears are in one field that they cannot get through to the next. Farmers have a tendency to leave the gates open between fields so their livestock can roam. Therefore, I maintain a watchful eye as we proceed ensuring that we are not about to be ambushed. It soon becomes clear that we are safe so I can start to breath normally again.
At a T-junction in the path we turn left to follow a track straight down through a gate and then across a grass bank to a clapper bridge crossing the Afon Arthog. This is a cracking spot, ideal for a picnic so we are soon seated on a couple of rocks and munching away. It is another one of those places where you can sit and imagine all those that have used the same packhorse route over the centuries before you.
For those wondering; a clapper bridge is a flat stone bridge standing on stone piers, usually the flat stone is granite. Great on a sunny day but if it is wet and muddy around the bridge you need to watch your step. This one across the Afon Arthog is a bit narrow and I would imagine that with a loaded packhorse on a dark wet evening there was no room for a false step.
Over the bridge we turn right and then climb a ladder stile. One which Dexter has to be lifted over whilst Crosby takes it in his stride. Our route is besides the river, initially on a gradual descent but soon the gradient is steep as we enter a wooded ravine. Along the way there are a number of ladder and traditional stiles to be negotiated.
As we descend we reach the Arthog Waterfalls, even with the river at low levels this is an impressive sight. We don’t want rain but a sudden downpour would make these falls magnificent. After taking pictures we retrace our steps back up the hill to again cross the clapper bridge and head back up the track.
Our walking book advises us to turn at the junction, I am too busy looking at the map to listen to Lynnie’s directions and lead us onto a footpath and along a farm track down to Pant Phylip. Here I stop to consult the map and whilst I study it a friendly farmer offers us advice on the route to take. He promises us that if we go back up the hill and take a path on the left we will be treated to a wonderful view.
We head back uphill and at the junction of paths turn left to follow a footpath taking us across a field alongside a dried up stream, we cross this to briefly join a walled path before crossing a ladder stile. It is here that our farmer friend promised us the view, he was not wrong it is truly stunning. If I lived here I would not get anything done, I would spend all day sat here looking out over the estuary.
We continue on a way marked path that leads across crags and then over another ladder stile to follow the path down to a tarmac lane. Here we turn right and follow the route we had driven earlier back to the car park.
On reaching the lakes we sit and admire the view. This is a tranquil place and there are less people here now than when we started. After sitting on a bench for a while we engage in conversation with a lady who has spent the afternoon besides the lake knitting. She tells us that this is her favourite place and that she is a frequent visitor and has been holidaying here for over thirty years. I wonder how many items she has knitted in that time!
This has not been one of our longest walks, we have probably only covered between five and six miles. But it has been a good stroll and the scenery has been wonderful.
[To follow our walk you will need Ordnance Survey Outdoor Leisure Map OL 23 –Cadair Idris & Llyn Tegid]
© Two Dogs and an Awning (2014)