Purely subjective, of course, but I have chosen a handful of our favourite explores this year, some of which have yet to make it to these pages. Mainly because we need to go back and take more photos...
2018 was our time to take a close look at Mid-Wales. I hadn't properly studied that area of Wales since my college days in the seventies, when a friend and I attempted to write a book about the architecture of the Cambrian railways. That project withered somewhat when my Mum burnt all my negs and research documents -for reasons only known to her. Never mind, Petra and I found a wonderful store of treasures waiting patiently for us! Some places still got away...it was just too sunny to do justice to the Clweddog mines, or the Van mine. It was too overcast and wet to get decent photos of Esgair Ffraith...I'm never happy, am I? We will have to return in 2019 for those.
Yes, 2018 was remarkable for the beautiful summer, whether that was a sign of things to come or not, I don't know. Before the heat kicked in, we did an epic stravaige to the lovely Serw quarry, coming to terms with the beautiful wildness of the Migneint. It's an area of moorland between Blaenau Ffestiniog and Bala, part of the Migneint-Arenig-Dduallt Special Area of Conservation. It's become more important than ever as the predictions about climate change are more widely understood, not that the politicians seem remotely concerned.
We also managed to conquer the mighty Moel Hebog this year, after skirting around it and seeing the mountain out of the corner of our eyes wherever we went. That felt really good, tinged with regret that we hadn't said hello to the grumpy old fellow before now :-) The mines and the many prehistoric remains were fascinating.
We had a couple of attempts to bunk the Lliwedd copper mine, but were forced back by the weather, and on another occasion, by my dodgy route finding. That will be one for 2019.
My favourite discovery this year was undoubtedly Llwyn y Betws...a place of mystery and in such a beautiful location.
So what is there to expect for 2019? We want to return to some places that weren't covered due to the weather...that slate mine on the bwlch between Y Geuallt and Allt Maenderyn for a start, and some more tasty sites near Barmouth. I've also got a desire to include more Megalithic sites on the blog, something that has fascinated me all my life. So it should be a good year, if our knees hold up!
I hope you have a great New Year with some exciting explores, wherever you are and whatever you do. Thank you for visiting the site this year and for supporting me, sharing our adventures and our findings.
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!
Here's a selection of unseen images from explores that didn't make it to the blog this year:
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