River Witham

River Witham
River Witham near Barkston, Lincolnshire

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Back from my little trip to North Wales

Well that was great, ...while it lasted!

Last Thursday I was up early, packed the car and headed off to Corby to meet my brother, Marten.  From there we headed across country via M6/M54 to North Wales, our destination the Gwernan Hotel, at the foot of Cader Idris near Dolgellau.  We arrived at midday, meeting up with our parents, and checking in.  After a tasty lunch of Welsh Rarebit (of course!) washed down with a pint of 'Butty Bach', we put up our rods and headed down to the hotel's own 12 acre lake, to catch some wild brown trout and a few stocked rainbows. Great little boats (rowing of course) awaited us, and a light breeze stirred a surface frequently broken by rising fish. I'r dim!
Llyn Gwernan
Mother ghillied for my 79 year old father, whilst Marten and I fished from the other boat and a delightful and successful afternoon was had by all.  A total of 17 fish between the three of us all released and Marten won the numbers game with 12 fish including 5 wild browns, all to a traditional sedge type pattern.
Gwernan wild brownie

Gwernan Rainbows!
 The day was rounded off with a delightful meal and a few drinks.  Sleep came easily, in the peace quiet and country night air.

Friday dawned with the threat of rain, and I enjoyed a brisk walk along the delightful path around the lake with its lovely views of Cader Idris.
Gwernan valley

Lake with Cader ridge in background

Morning rises on the lake

View across lake to the hotel

Cader ridge

View up the lake

Cader Idris
 After a hearty full Welsh breakfast, Marten and I headed to the Ty'n y Cornel Hotel on Tal y Llyn, a wild trout lake in the next valley over the otherside of Cader Idris. Phil the ghillie at the hotel issued our permits (which include lunch at the hotel), advised on the best drifts, holding areas, and flies.  Wild brown trout and sea trout were on offer. We tackled up and headed across the lake in the boat to set up a drift with the drogue in a stiffish breeze.  Whilst the fish rose reasonably frequently hooking one was something else.  The lake is fairly shallow, between 6 & 8 feet, and consequently there was a lot of weed, which I have say was rather easier to catch! We caught a fish a-piece before we headed in, away from the drizzle, for a welcome lunch of hot soup and a sandwich washed down with a pint of real ale.  During lunch the heavens opened, and torrential rain fell and the wind switched ends to boot.  

Hook up on Tal y Llyn

Tal y Llyn brownies
 In a lull we headed out again, but with the cold wind coming up the valley from the sea, with rain squalls the fishing became far more challenging. It appeared the fish had simply put their heads down and were sulking.
Weather coming in on Tal y Llyn

Ty'n y Cornel Hotel, under Cader Idris
 One small brown took a deep wet fly in the late afternoon and after suffering several more torrential downpours, we headed for the dock.
Time for home!
 Saturday morning dawned with a stiff breeze and after packing and checking out we again fished the lake before lunch.  Father elected to fish from the boat jetty, catching and releasing a small rainbow, before retiring to the shelter of the bar. Our boat however, with drogue, stormed up the lake making casting frequent and somewhat ineffective, except for 1 rainbow hooked by Marten in the shallows at the top of the lake. Trouble was this fish had other ideas, than being brought to the net, and made a dash to round the bows, this resulted in Marten trying to follow stepping on my landing net, breaking it whilst nearly falling in! The fish meanwhile was round the windward side and under the drogue. I took the rod whilst Marten recovered his feet, and pulled in the drogue, an action which helped to land the fish (in broken net), but meant that the boat now hastened on to the lee shore unimpeded! After releasing the rainbow we returned to the vicinity of the dock and tried anchoring, this slowed our progress but still we drifted.  Changing to a green & black montana bead head, I caught and released a nice 'bow in a sudden downpour.  It was time for lunch, say our goodbyes and to head back home to family and responsibilities.  Sigh!


  1. Wow that place is absolutely stunning. Sorry to hear the weather was so blustery and rainy. Glad you were able to enjoy the lake and the weather cooperated for a while. Excellent photos and great looking fish too. Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Tight Lines.

  2. Wild browns in a beautiful setting. Sounds like a wonderful time.

  3. Cracking piece, very nice. Do they ever get sunshine in Wales??

    I love the remoteness of such places, it good for your soul.