7 Jul 2021 Moel Famau Leader: Peter & Simon, Length of walk: 9.5 miles, Driving Distance: 41 miles, Number walking: 15
The group last visited this mountain in July 2015 but only two of those present on this occasion took part in that walk. The weather in 2015 started off with light rain but delivered blue skies when the group climbed Moel Famau itself.
On this visit the day started with sun and cloud, interrupted by heavy showers on the journey to Wales. When the walkers left Loggerheads Country Park, the waterproof jackets were packed away although some waterproof trousers were still in place. They would be needed later.
The leaders stopped for coffee after passing through Llanferres. The route then went round Fron Hen rather than over the top and then took the walkers to the edge of the woodland that covers the eastern side of Moel Famau. The convenient picnic tables by the car park provided a suitable spot for lunch and it was towards the end of the rest period that the first spots of rain arrived. This was the warning to pack up the rucksacks but gave no indication of just how heavy the rain was to be. It was one of the heaviest showers in the history of the group and went for 10 minutes while the walkers huddled under trees hoping it would cease. It carried on falling so the group eventually started climbing. Substantial streams of water swept down the paths as if someone had emptied a large bucket at the top.
When the walkers emerged from the tree cover, the summit was still hidden from view but it was obvious that there was some distance to cover before hitting the top.
As the walkers scanned the clouds hoping for the sun to break through, a Beluga Airbus came low to see how the group was getting on. A few minutes later they finally reached the summit to see the Jubilee Tower (remains of). The tower was intended to commemorate the golden jubilee of George III and the foundation stone was laid in 1810 by the 2nd Baron Kenyon, a now-forgotten aristocrat. It was designed to resemble an Egyptian obelisk with three tiers but the money ran out and it was never completed. Whoever proposed building the tower must have thought it was a good way to curry favour with the monarchy, but there would not have been much tourist traffic to this remote area in pre-railway days. The regular rain and low cloud in North Wales meant that few people would see the tower from a distance.
In 1862, a major storm brought down the incomplete tower and the rubble was removed leaving just the base.
After a celebratory picture taken by a passing scouser, the group set on the long downhill track to the river Alyn, which passes through Loggerheads Country Park. The final section followed the riverside path, which passed the Devil’s Gorge and other remnants of the mining that used to go on.