New run planned: adjacent glacial valley skyline incorporating two highest Rhinog peaks; dawn sky grey and clear as forecast but tops hidden in cloud from melting snow. Park up on the old London coach track: open moorland valley with three lakes and central crag with iron-age fort; 18th century New Inn (Ty Newydd), now just a ruin of waist-high walls and massive fireplace; stone bridge over a torrent demonstrates narrow coach widths; rocky zig-zag track up the mountain-side revealing strength and hardiness of horses and men. Llyn Eirthyn lays cold and grey below; two black Ravens glide out from the mountain side.
Topping the ridge we follow the dry-stone wall rising and falling over hill and crag, delicate Fox & clawed Badger tracks through drifts of snow. Clouds gather close as we climb hard up to Diffwys in biting winds. A stile at the top shows a better way, wall offering shelter as well as a narrow, snow-free channel. Ground drops away to the right, cloud obscuring the bottom of the abyss whilst a hazy sun tries to break through overhead. Down a rocky saddle with deep snow security against ankle-turning terrain before final stile and stiff climb to Y Llethr at 2756 ft.
Turning to descend, another wall takes us 2 miles down a long bare ridge, cloud opening briefly to reveal thin black vertical line bordered white, top lost in mist: eventually recognised as same stone wall climbing Moelfre, the bald mountain ahead.
Lengthening strides over tussocks of grass, rushes and Sphagnum, we drop down the mountainside to the Water Board track with just a half-mile to the car, now stood amongst many trucks and pick-ups: farmers from both sides of the mountain gathered to watch the hounds scour mountain flanks for foxes amongst sheep heavy in lamb.
Wildlife Wales Activities: www.wildlife-wales.co.uk