Merlin’s First Wild Camp

Here we are, Merlin and me, chilling in the late evening sun next to Llyn Dynas with the steep rock slope of Crib-y-rhiw behind us. A fantastic first day in Snowdonia done with amazing views two mountain tops and a wild camp at the end. But let’s start at the beginning.

A week ahead I had loosely planned a weekend away with tent and Merlin. The days are rapidly getting shorter and the weather wetter eventually so there weren’t many chances for a couple of good nights left this year. I had wanted to go wild camping with Merlin for months now and it looked like we finally got our chance.

Left home Saturday morning 6:45am. The forecast was good and after much to and fro I had eventually decided to head into the Rhinoggs and do the Bodlyn horseshoe, a 22k loop from Tal-y-bont just North of Barmouth taking in two of the Welsh 2000s there, Diffwys and Y Llethr.

Quick break at Telford services 2 hours into the 4 hour journey. Coffee and breakfast wrap at the Starbucks there, then a very lovely drive to Tal-y-bont arriving 11:00.

Ready to go

Started the walk 11:30 taking my time getting ready and transferred the last bits for our overnight camp to my backpack. Merlin boshed his breakfast which I was glad for as that meant he had some energy for the day ahead. He is a fussy eater when it comes to eating outside of his usual routine.

And off we went. Walked through lush woodland first with the Afon Ysgethin merrily making its way over countless rocks next to us. Perfect start for Merlin who was happy like a pig in shit darting in and out of the water and having a good sniff around all those trees, shrubs and moss.

Half an hour later we crossed a bridge and entered the open farm land of the Ysgethin valley. Apart from a few cows early on we saw no lifestock far and wide so Merlin enjoyed even more off lead time.

What a stunning valley though! The coast behind us with Llyn on the horizon, our prime objective Y Llethr ahead and Moelfre to the left framed green and yellow undulating grassland with a pattern of sun and cloud above. Picture postcard like.

Had a quick break at Llyn Irddyn just because we had loads of time. Merlin did a few zoomies through the high grass and then actually chilled a bit with me. Good boy. A year ago he wouldn’t have stopped at all.

It was quite warm at times. The thermometer had xlombed from 7 degrees in the morning to 15 when we headed out, but the wind was cold and it was a bit tricky to stay warm but not sweat.

The grassy path turned off to the right to become a more rocky one with loose chips zigzagging up the ridge. With sheep around Merlin was on his lead clipped to my CaniX harness. I was quite glad for him pulling me up a little bit, doing his part in lugging all our kit up the hill.

Topped out on the ridge with views of the A-list Snowdonia hills to the North and Cadair Idris and friends to the South. Wow. But no time to sit and enjoy, we also had a herd of cows with young to navigate. Took a wide berth to then walk along the wall which adorns pretty much the whole ridge right at the top.

Had to wait once for the mummy cows to ever so casually move out of the way with their young and then we were clear. Yay. Short break behind the crumbling wall at 2pm trying to stay out of the constant cold wind. Not too bad a spot just marvelling at Cadair Idris across the estuary.

Diffwys ahead
Snowdonia A-list
Cadair Idris
A brief chill

Half an hour later Merlin got restless again so we tackled the last bit of the climb up to Diffwys. Merlin climbed over the ladder to scale the wall and get to the trig point. First time he’s done a ladder and no hesitation. Like a pro!

Wow, stunning views on once more… And a chatty group of walkers who kindly took a photo of us. Back on the other side of the wall we went down a rocky path with still great views ahead to the next objective. Y Llethr after crossing the very enjoyable top of Crib-y-rhiw.

On Diffwys

From up here we could already spot Llyn Dynas our plan A wild camp spot. Dumped the backpack at the ladder for the final ascent to Y Llethr. Without the weight we were up there 13 minutes later. 5pm and still a good two hours of daylight. Hm.

Y Llethr ahead, Llyn Dulyn below.
The ridge we’ve just come from
More stunning views at the top of Y Llethr

Went down to pick up the backpack and had another break in the sun with little wind. What to do? Down to the Llyn? We’d be early. Or keep on going and camp further down by the river.

I thought “river” which would make the walk out the next morning shorter. But I didn’t remember if there were loads of sheep and we would also be in pretty good sight from the main paths both sides of the river.

As we walked down the shoulder of Y Llethr we came across a faint quad bike track going pretty much in the direction of the Llyn. Half 5. Hm. Screw it. Llyn it is.

Took our time on the track which pretty much lead us straight to the shore. Took even more time very casually pitching the tent whilst Merlin had great fun playing around the shore dipping in and out of the water. Zoomies included. Had everything set up by quarter past 6. Not too early really.

Dog busy whilst I pitched the tent. Good times.
Dinner with a view
Tie-tie pooch.
A great day draws to a close
Not a bad spot at all.

Enjoyed the last bit of the now weak sun as I boiled some water for my dehydrated food and Merlin boshed his tin of tuna with kibble.

We were just chilling as stated at the beginning when two other walkers arrived. Merlin very much alert to what they were doing having heard and seen them as early as when they were still up on the ridge.

Luckily they pitched right across on the other side of the lake so hopefully Merlin will not wake me up barking tonight.

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