Setting Off From Sandwell valley

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Snowdon and Anglesey - now May 4th 2010

Thanks to Priors Field School, Kenilworth, and Jasmine for the donations to the RSPB. Brilliant and gratefully received.

Now in the library in Holyhead relaxing after a few hard days but obviously if you know what I'm like, immensely enjoyable ones.

After leaving the Osprey site at Glaswyn near Porthmadoc, cycled to the Snowdon ranger youth hostel. A quite full traditional hostel and superb dormitory company with Stuart, a zander fisherman from Hebden Bridge and his brother.

Saturday 1st May

From there walked up the Snowdon ranger path to the summit; a path stated to be the easiest route to the top. Grasshopper warblers trilling on the way up and pleasant company with Norman from Chester made the walk seem quick. What a shock at the top. Hundreds of people. The las time I'd been at the summit of a mountain was in the Pyrenees last year, atop the Petit Vignamale, and then there were only 3 of us. This time there was a queue to get to the summit viewpoint. Mind you didn't stop me getting a year tick as a female snow bunting dodged the legs.

Pyrenees - griffon vultures and alpine accentors. Alpes - alpine chough and golden eagle. Snowdon - herring gulls, lots of them and all to willing to share my 'Oggie', a very large Welsh version of the Cornish Pasty. The gulls didn't have too much. I was hungry and the new cafe was full. £4.50 an Oggie and a coffee - so was lunch.

Walked towards Crib Goch, with the cloud sometimes obscuring the area; sometimes allowing views of the |Isle of Man and the Lake District. Sat on the highest peak, the other one over 3,000ft and waited for the Aston Villa result against Man' City - disappointed after a couple of hours but never disappointed with the views.

Back down to the Youth Hostel in pouring rain. Who would believe that I could go through Wales and only get wet twice?

Sunday May 2nd

Back up to the first ridge on the same path as yesterday to look for the grasshopper warblers again but this time it was blowing a gale.

Cycled to Morfa Dinlle, which I eventually found but not with the help of any RSPB signs because there weren't any. 2 whimbrel here but little else at a very high tide.

Through Caenarfon but wasn't allowed into the castle because of the bike. Disappointed but wasn't prepared to argue. Couldn't leave it locked to the railing outside as was suggested because of the risk of the theft of the collection box on the front happening again.

Over onto Anglesey via the Britannia Bridge. Shame that electricity cables spoil the view down the Straits.

A burial chamber visited after a quick photo opp at Llanfairp................  well you know the rest!

Slept by camping near the RSPB reserve at Malltraeth Marshes but not before seeing swift at last. [187] and then had a lesser whitethroat singing close by as I snuggled into my sleeping bag.

Monday 3rd May

Rain in the night and lots of snow on the Snowdonian peaks in the morning. Stunning views in the strong sunlight. Still a cold NE wind. Explored the reserve and saw a female marsh harrier, a dozen or so wheatear and lots of reed warblers singing. Met a local birder, Tudor Williams. Saw a weasel whilst chatting and then went down to the Cob to pay my respects to the late Charles Tunnicliffe.

To Valley Wetlands RSPB reserve and lunch of Primula sandwiches. Few birds, a few ducks but there was 3 ruddies there. Memories of before the cull when Belvide Reservoir used to have hundreds of them. Smashing little ducks with their brilliant blue bills.

And so to South Stack RSPB reserve and instead of the expected thousands of guillemots and razorbills there were ..... 2 guillemot and 9 razorbills! There were chough flying around and the shelter from the wind afforded by Holy Mountain was welcome.

OK time to move on. Thanks for the donations and thanks for the interest.

All the very best everyone



  1. Hi Gary,

    What's happened to all the seabirds at South Stack? Are they no longer breeding there or is everything late this year?

    Still on target for breaking the record I take it? My year total is lagging well behind on c.130, although I've only been out of Worcs three times, and one of those was only just into Warks, so perhaps not surprising!

    Am,azed they won't let you bring the bike into Caernarfon Castle, what do they think you're going to do - wheelies around the ramparts!

    Cheers for now

  2. Kev said...
    Hi Gary, hope the tour is still going well, We met last week in the hide at Spinnies, Aberogwen.(Bangor) I was there trying to take some pictures but not much luck sadly.

    Good luck with the rest of the tour


  3. Thanks for getting in touch Kev. I'm just about to try to catch up on my blog. Good luck with the photos. all the best. Gary