Moel Famau: 25th September 2014.
We started the day with a gentle stroll in the hills. There’ll be more about that later, but for this post, I’ll concentrate on where we took refreshment afterwards.
At the top of the pass, where the path up Moel Famau starts, there’s a car park, and in that car park, there is usually a refreshment caravan. No ordinary caravan, though; it’s a mobile shepherds’ hut. Usually, if you keep mountain sheep, your flock is spread far and wide across that mountain, and sometimes, to attend to them, especially at lambing time, the shepherd had to walk or ride a considerable distance. It would have been advantageous, therefore, if he spent the night … or even a number of nights … on the hill, and, to ensure his relative comfort, the shepherds’ hut was designed, where he could make his bed and keep any equipment he needed.
Since the hut was on wheels, a horse could be hitched to it, and it could be positioned as needed.
Nowadays, of course, a shepherd can be where he needs to be in a relatively short time, by means of a quad bike, or something like that. But, a few huts did remain in use, as bothies for climbers and hill walkers.
The Shepherds’ Hut doesn’t actually date from these days, but is a faithful reproduction, designed by Dominic Lawrence. It’s fully mobile, and is taken down into the valley each night, and repositioned the following day. They sell not only tea and coffee, but a range of cakes and crafts from local businesses. I was very good, though … I settled for a mug of hot chocolate, and just feasted on the tempting cakes with my eyes.