Walks And Walking – Wales Walks Coed y Brenin Forest Park
I was reminiscing about an old walk that has always stuck in my mind as the most daring and probably most ill-advised walk I have ever completed. We were staying in Porthmadog in March 2010 and having completed Snowdon twice, Llanberis on the first ascent and then the Miners and PYG tracks on the second, I was feeling like quite the adventurer and wanted to experience what else the awesome Snowdonia National Park had to offer.
I found a walking route in the Coed y Brenin Forest Park which looked great but noticed that a few miles further out there was a waterfall. My plan was to get dropped off on the A494, I can’t remember exactly where now as my memory has faded but it may have been near Pant Gwyn on the way to Bala, see the waterfall and make my way to a footbridge to cross over the river to join the walk I had found. I was then going to cross straight through Coed y Brenin before joining the A4971 back to Porthmadog, roughly 15 plus miles distance in total.
I didn’t write the walk up afterwards as I got lost. My map reading skills were pretty bad early on so didn’t know which way I was going for most of the walk anyway and I have to admit for a few hours I was really panicking…. I’m so glad that I took quite a few photographs.
As I remember it I got dropped off by a footpath signpost and thought the waterfall would be along the river somewhere. However, the track I was following then started to head away from the river in the opposite direction so I thought that maybe it wasn’t going to take me to the waterfall after all. I kept to the river and started my way through quite thick forestry thinking I would probably find another track. As I climbed steadily up I made my own pathway along the edge of what was starting to feel like a ravine and with a unpenetrable pine forest above me.
My path ahead was now getting narrower and narrower as the ravine and pine forest were starting to meet. At one stage I was climbing up slippery damp moss-covered rocks that were very unstable underfoot. It was at this point that I actually thought I was in serious trouble. However, I was too determined to go back the way I came so I continued my climb thinking I would, at some point, have to jump into the river and hope for the best, swimming over to the other side which wasn’t anywhere near as steep.
Just when I was about to strip off and go all Bear Grylls I picked up an animal trail and carefully followed it all the way down to the river. Just ahead I could see the footbridge across the river that I needed to get to, crossed it and walked up the wooden steps to the top of the hill, sat down and thought I was going to pass out. I have never felt adrenalin like it before, Snowdon was exhilarating but this was a feeling of fear and relief all rolled into one.
The view from my seat was amazing and for the rest of the walk I was able to relax and really enjoy the beautiful Welsh countryside. The walking route in the Coed y Brenin Forest Park followed disused and used railway tracks and there were some great views of Snowdonia National Park along the way. I then followed the estuary back to Porthmadog on the pathway that runs parallel to the railway line.
For more information on Coed y Brenin Forest Park click here.