Marhofn 38 - May 1999

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Hall Highs and Lows:

Richard Webb

Caeliber Isaf in mid Dec was bad. It's agricultural, two and a bit fields from a road, no right of way. The shortest way up is in full view of the farm, only the summit is on another farm so there is a fence/hedge with no gate shutting off the summit field. It is not possible for a person under 6' 2" to cross the boundary without damage to it, and I tore my trousers on the wire striding it with the help of a tree. Because of the open approach I went up at night, and was treated to Orion rising over England and a strange sense of the world being smaller; the horizon seemed more curved and closer. Stayed up for a while as it was one of those places you want to hang about but my car would be generating suspicion where it was parked, so thought it prudent to leave. Other than the fence it is a real quickie.

Went up the hideous Carnedd Wen that day. I dodged the farmer of evil repute at Clegyrnant only to find someone had built a new house and garden across the path I was using. They escorted me off the premises, politely but resentful, back to Clegyrnant territory. It was easy to follow a road to the summit, but I would have needed to hide quick from any vehicle. Near the top there was a Keep Out sign. I found a series of rides through waist deep heather aimed at a forest road which I saw from Esgair Ddu (where they are about to build a wind farm). Finally hacked through the trees to find that the road had been cut so deeply into the hillside that a 20-50' crag, iced, was in the way, eventually scrambled down the 20' bit - probably the most dangerous day I have had in Wales, except an ascent of the Black Ladders in full thaw. Ironically Carnedd Wen is a 'drive up'. Llanbrynmair Angling Club has the fishing rights to the two lochs up there. For a fiver you can cross the divide and be a sportsman for the day, the permit allows you to drive to the summit, with some good fishing thrown in.

On a positive note I was up the utterly wonderful Sgurr na Dubh-creige at Morar recently (10D). A rough little beast but what a view.

I was on Rum for a week of heatwave. Access to Mullach Buidhe is very liberal now but it is closed off for the boffins on about three days a week (used to be six). It is closed all June/October though.

Met the electric anti-personnel fences of Ardnamurchan. Horrendous, never seen the like anywhere. Locals are resentful too.

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