Trip report: Penmaenmawr to Drum, North Wales

Stats for Sunday
Total Distance: 12.4 miles
Total Ascent: 850 m
Total Descent: 1,168 m
Duration: 7 hours 30 mins

drum_route

Saturday 10th
It had been a lovely day visiting family in North Wales, the weather was pretty good. By early evening, as I started my short walk up to my overnight wild camp, a beautiful sunset was beginning to form. It was taking me a while to walk the couple of miles, I was trying to Social Hike and had started tweeting, and I kept stopping to look at the sun setting over Anglesey and the Irish Sea, it was lovely.

Sunset

 

It was getting dark pretty quickly now so I got a move on to get up to my camp. I pitched my Trailstar just off the main track. I decided, for testing purposes to pitch it in a low configuration and set the centre trekking pole to 100cm. The Trailstar went up beautifully first time. Nice and tight, low to the ground and the door was low too. This made getting in and out a little tricky and the headroom inside was restricted but the wind was shed really well and the shelter was rock solid, very comforting.

MLD Trailstar pitched low

 

Sunday 11th
I had a cold night, a very cold night. I seemed to be awake alot but I did get a solid three hours between midnight and 3am. This was my first night under canvas in my Western Mountaineering Summerlite sleeping bag and unfortunately it is not warm enough for me as I sleep cold. There is nothing wrong with the bag at all and it always get rave reviews but I sleep cold and it just wasn’t warm enough.

The cloud descended overnight and I gradually lost the views of the lights of the North Wales Coast during the early hours of the morning, it looked like I was in for a cloudy day and no views.

The plan for the day was to walk west along the North Wales Coastal Path to Llanfairfechan and then head south into the mountains as far as Drum. Then retrace my steps off Drum and cut north east back to Penmaenmawr where I had left my car.

I was up and away early, walking by 7.30am. It was lovely to be up and about that early, even though it was very cloudy. I wondered why the North Wales Coastal Path took the route it did when there were more direct routes, but it soon became apparent that it was designed to give you some lovely views as you descend off the hills and then back up the other side.

I followed the North Wales Coast Path to Llanfairfechan, past some nice houses that had tremendous views, and then started the climb to head into the hills. Next stop was the pylons that cut through the landscape. There is something interesting about pylons and I took a few photographs.

Pylons

 

I stopped at the pylons to make a cuppa using the Pocket Stove Ti and a meths burner. I’m just trialing using meths at the moment to see how I get on with it. It can be a bit of a fiddle to use and tricky lighting without one of those flint and steels but I did manage to get the meths lit in the breezy conditions and enjoy my cup of tea.

Refreshed I continued my walk to Drum. As I approached the summit I suddenly realised that it was getting a bit brighter and the sun was trying to shine through clouds. Every now and then I could see small patches of blue sky and I became hopeful that I would get the odd view between clouds from the top.

I got more than I hoped for. Almost at the summit and I suddenly walked out of the clouds into glorious warm sunshine, it was beautiful. I sat on the summit for some time and soaked up the sun. The views came and went over various parts of the landscape stretched out before me, and I tried to capture the atmosphere in a photograph or two. I also sat my camera on a rock and let it taking video the cloud as it gently billowed and drifted as it revealed the landscape.

Above the clouds Summit

 

Just off the top of Drum, in the saddle, the ground was quite boggy with pool of peaty water. These pools were making a funny noise. As I got closer the noise stopped then I realised they were full of frogs (or toads) and loads of frogspawn. I couched at one of the pools for a while hoping to catch a photo or some video but they knew I was there and did not reappear. The walk back down the rest of the way was a bit of an anti-climax as I walked back into the cloud. It was rather dull until I was nearly back at the car and saw a few patches of sunshine again. the descent was but a bit tough on my knees and I was thankful for my trekking poles.

It was a great day out and lovely to get a wild camp in, even though I was cold. I’m looking forward to the next wild camp in a few weeks – in a warmer sleeping bag!

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6 thoughts on “Trip report: Penmaenmawr to Drum, North Wales

  1. Nice trip report Bryan, looks like you enjoyed it. Wales is somewhere I neglect, having only visited for a couple of blasts up Snowdon and Tryfan and have never backpacked there. Perhaps next year a jaunt up the Glyders for me.

    Great pics by the way – I especially like the pylon, despite the blot they make on the landscape – a fab picture.

    • You should go again Carl, it is a lovely area and there are some other less busy parts besides the Glyders and Snowdon.

      >Great pics by the way
      Thanks :)

  2. It is a great place to walk.
    Shame it is going the same way with wind turbines as Scotland.
    Did you have a bivi bag as well as the sleeping bag?
    I have just got the MLD Ultralight bivi from Ron.
    It is excellent, and only weight a tad over 200g

    • Hi Andew. I didn’t use a bivvy bag on this occasion but I have done in the few times I have used my Trailstar, for a number of reasons. The first being that I have not fully sealed my Trailstar yet and so it will give me some protection in the rain should it drip. The second being that I have been pretty cold and the bivvy adds a little warmth. However, I have a new sleeping bag, a Western Mountaineering Apache MF, which has a Microlite XP shell and I am not planning to use a bivvy bag in future. I will be using some sort of midge protection on the TGOC though but I’m not sure what form that will take at the moment. 200g for the MLD bivvy is pretty good, nice and light!

  3. Nice report Bryan. My mum has a seasonal caravan pitch in Penmaenmawr and I`ve wondered what it`s like up on the top when I`ve visited. Now I know, I`ll be taking a stroll up there!
    Cheers

    • Thanks Alan.
      Basically, if you walk south(ish) you end up at Llyn Ogwen, over/passed the Carnedds, and that’s about 14 miles as the crow flies if I remember correctly. It’s starts off low and you are then soon up into the bigger mountains and you have great views of the coast too.

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