Walkers taking a scenic long-distance trail through Eryri National Park have reported the mysterious disappearance of several wooden post markers along the route.
The markers have gone missing from the Snowdonia Slate Trail (SST), leaving holes in the landscape where they once stood.
The posts are installed to guide hikers across the moors and 83-mile circular trek. This is particularly key in an area which can become misty and therefore difficult to navigate.
The disappearance of the heavy 6ft posts has left many scratching their heads. As no posts have been recovered or found abandoned nearby, some people commenting online suspect theft - others an “organised act of sabotage”.
Aled Owen, an SST trustee, said at least three of the five markers are missing on the Gwaun Gynfi moors between Mynydd Llandegai and Deiniolen.
The Slate Trail has updated its Facebook page to give advice to hikers looking to navigate this section of the route.
While occasional vandalism occurs on the walk, the theft of entire marker posts is unprecedented.
“We will have to replace them,” said Mr Owen.
“On this section, the path is fairly indistinct and when the mist descends, it can be hard to follow the trail."He added: “It’s weird they have disappeared altogether, and not just discarded nearby. These posts are heavy and to remove them off the moor you’d probably need a quad bike.”
One walker posted on Facebook: “They are going one by one. One just over the stream was still there a couple of days ago. Very mysterious!"
Each marker post is topped with yellow plastic so it can be seen easily, helping hikers navigate when visibility is poor due to the weather.
Mr Owen said: “It is very inconvenient for us. Replacing the posts is not straightforward as the equipment will have to be carried up to the moors.”
Opened in 2017, the Slate Trail starts at Port Penrhyn, just outside Bangor, and heads towards the mountains of Eryri. It takes seven days to complete the full route.
It takes walkers through the region's UNESCO World Heritage status slate landscape, forests, lakes, all of the national park's major mountain ranges, past restored railways and abandoned quarries.
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