A guest walk with my friend Gillian Owens from North Wales.
In this time of limited ‘permitted’ daily walks there is obviously less walking than usual in my life and on this blog. So I’m grateful for the walk here with my friend Gillian. We often walk together, since meeting a couple of years ago on a Phone Photography course Liverpool photographer Jane MacNeil and I ran.
But of course I wasn’t really on the walk here as it takes place around Dyserth in North Wales where Gillian lives. So this is one of her own local daily walks. Over to Gillian then, who’ll describe and show us where she’s taking us, and why it’s such a nostalgic walk for her.
This is the view of Moel Hiraddug, known as the Foel from my back yard. It’s the most northern of the chain of Iron Age hillforts along the Clwydian Range and was ravaged by limestone quarrying up until the early 1980s – we’re going up there.
From my house, it’s a short step to Dyserth High Street, past shops still there and those long gone.
Until an important landmark on the corner is reached. When my sister and I were kids, the house below was the sweet shop at the bottom of Nana and Grandad’s road. I can still picture the low shelving on the left as you went in, and my favourite packets of Floral Gums and Cherry Lips. And I remember walking down the road, on hot summer afternoons, for a brick of Walls vanilla or raspberry ripple (wrapped in newspaper) and a packet of wafers.
My Nana Lil was Liverpool born and bred, but ended up here eventually, at No.1 to be precise. This is what it looks like today.
And here we are in the late 1960s. My sister is probably 18 months old here, and I’d be nearly 6.
A few hundred yards up the road from No.1 and you were in open countryside. It’s little changed today, which means this is always a very nostalgic walk for me.
We’ve only been walking for 15 minutes, barely half a mile, before reaching one of several paths that lead to the summit.
Up the Foel then. There’s no ‘v’ in the Welsh alphabet; a single ‘f’ is a hard ‘v’ sound, so it’s pronounced ‘voel’ (rhymes with ‘boil’). ‘Moel’ translates as ‘hill’. Although it’s around 870 feet and looks fairly daunting in that back yard shot, the ascent is fairly easy from this side. A brisk 15 minutes traversing the fields and lower slopes.
Vestiges of limestone pavement and hut circles are dotted around the summit, and the evening air is thick with the coconutty scent of gorse blossom.
There is a more challenging scramble of a descent back down into the village, but we’ll retrace our steps after looking over the fence into the limestone quarry.
This circuit usually takes 60 to 90 minutes, depending on the choice of route and is a distance of 3 to 4 miles.
For more information, the village website is an excellent resource.
Thank you Gillian, that was great and a big change from walking round The Mystery and Penny Lane over here in Liverpool.