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Around Blaenau Ffestiniog / 3 days / 31 miles (50km)

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Date: 14 Sep 2003
Start / Finish: Llan Ffestiniog. Large layby at the road junction SH704423.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 18 Harlech & Bala and Outdoor Leisure 17 Snowdon.

Day 1The Manods, Y Ro Wen & Llyn y Foel13 miles / 4030 feet (20.9km / 1228m)
Day 2Moel Siabod, Moel Meirch & Llyn Edno7 miles / 2290 feet (11.3km / 697m)
Day 3Ysgafell Wen & Moelwyn Mawr11 miles / 2750 feet (17.7km / 838m)

A backpack of the Manods and Moelwynion passing through one of the most attractive areas of small lakes and knolls in Wales.

Day 1 - The Manods, Y Ro Wen & Llyn y Foel

From the layby a lane heads NE and becomes a surfaced byway. At 727439 we crossed the stream at a footpath sign and headed W to the track around the base of Manod Mawr to Llyn y Manod. An easy track ascends the slopes, and approaching the quarry we struck out R to the summit and enjoyed the fine views. Descending NE we joined the quarry road, which is by far the easiest way to the N top, though signs proclaim the danger and ask walkers to keep to a notional 'path' well outside the road. This was a Sunday - no blasting but other work was in progress. Forking L uphill the N top is easily reached.

Llyn y Manod & Manod Bach
Llyn y Manod & Manod Bach (14 Sep 2003__10:37:25)
The Moelwynion from Manod Mawr
The Moelwynion from Manod Mawr (14 Sep 2003__11:14:25)
Llyn Newydd & Llyn Bowydd
Llyn Newydd & Llyn Bowydd (14 Sep 2003__12:27:33)

Descending N and passing the reservoirs, a wet plod leads to the forest edge and a gate, where we joined a path NNE to the cairn on Y Ro Wen. From here a stony track sets off along the NE ridge with good views of Siabod across the valley and descends to join an easy byway to Dolwyddelan. Crossing the A470 a lane climbs to a footpath signed R and a short way after L uphill. The waymarked path winds N and NE to enter the forest and cross a footbridge, and shortly beyond joins the main forest road. Turning L the road climbs gently and crosses the Afon Ysrumiau to a path sign directing L to Moel Siabod. The track curves NW to arrive at a stream, where a good path continues on the far side up through the forest to emerge by a waterfall at 721546. Just out of the forest we crossed the stream to the R side and joined the excellent path that climbs steeply by a series of waterfalls to Llyn y Foel. Most of the ground around the lake is rather boggy and tussocky but we found a fairly good pitch.

The Arenigs from Y Ro Wen
The Arenigs from Y Ro Wen (14 Sep 2003__14:35:27)
Waterfall on Moel Siabod
Waterfall on Moel Siabod (14 Sep 2003__17:48:22)
Llyn y Foel & Daear Ddu
Llyn y Foel & Daear Ddu (14 Sep 2003__18:21:30)

Day 2 - Moel Siabod, Moel Meirch & Llyn Edno

From the western end of the lake rises the steep rocky ridge of Daear Ddu (or, as we once called it after an exhausting ascent in deep snow, Die Hard 3). An excellent climb leads directly to the summit of Moel Siabod, which has great views. Descending W, the ridge is the start of a crescent of tops that leads all the way around to Allt Fawr. The ridge narrows at Bwlch Clorad and a small rocky top gives good views of Llynau Diwaunydd before an easy climb to Carnedd y Cribau. The descent SW however seemed to sap our energy, picking our way down many steep little rock faces and crossing boggy depressions and it went on for a long time. The compensation though was the superb views of the Snowdon horseshoe and its gradually changing aspect.

Glyder Fach & Tryfan
Glyder Fach & Tryfan (15 Sep 2003__08:40:26)
Snowdon horseshoe & Glyder Fawr from Moel Siabod
Snowdon horseshoe & Glyder Fawr from Moel Siabod (15 Sep 2003__08:46:15)
Carnedd y Cribau & Llynau Diwaunydd
Carnedd y Cribau & Llynau Diwaunydd (15 Sep 2003__10:43:26)
Llynau Diwaunydd & Moel Siabod from Carnedd y Cribau
Llynau Diwaunydd & Moel Siabod from Carnedd y Cribau (15 Sep 2003__11:40:10)
Pool on Carnedd y Cribau with the Snowdon Horseshoe
Pool on Carnedd y Cribau with the Snowdon Horseshoe (15 Sep 2003__12:00:54)
Snowdon Horseshoe
Snowdon Horseshoe (15 Sep 2003__12:32:42)

Crossing Bwlch y Rhediad the terrain turns more heathery and an intermittent wet path climbs the E slopes. We found this section strength-sapping too, with several ups and downs and more very boggy depressions despite the long dry spell. In some places, pairs of ladder stiles are provided to cross and recross the fence in an attempt to avoid the worst marshes. The path improves as it climbs the shoulder of Moel Meirch and just as it starts to descend near an isolated metal fence post, a side path turns R over grass and shortly R again to climb N to the edge and then the summit. Moel Meirch falls just short of the magic 2000', but it has a fine rocky top with a large pointed boulder complete with a rock platform and parapet to admire the views. Returning to the edge a path descends directly SE to rejoin the original path. Arriving at Llyn Edno well behind our planned schedule, we called it a day and pitched in this beautiful and deserted spot.

Moel Siabod from Moel Meirch
Moel Siabod from Moel Meirch (15 Sep 2003__15:57:28)
The summit of Moel Meirch
The summit of Moel Meirch (15 Sep 2003__16:03:30)
Llyn Edno
Llyn Edno (15 Sep 2003__16:28:19)
Pitch by Llyn Edno
Pitch by Llyn Edno (15 Sep 2003__16:53:06)

Day 3 - Ysgafell Wen & Moelwyn Mawr

A very clear morning with mist below in the valleys gave unforgettable views westwards over the lake to Snowdon, the Nantlle ridge and Moel Hebog. Rejoining the path along the fence the next objectives were the three tops of Ysgafell Wen and a delightful series of lakes and rocky knolls, where one is frequently tempted to linger. The ridge continues past Llyn Coch, where a short climb L is Moel Druman, and passes to the L of Llyn Conglog to Allt Fawr. Returning to the S of Llyn Conglog and easily crossing the outlet, we followed the rim of the steep gorge SW, which gives extensive views over the quarry to Moel Hydd, to arrive at Llyn Cwm-corsiog where we crossed the outlet to join the path S to Rhosydd quarry.

Dawn sky from Llyn Edno
Dawn sky from Llyn Edno (16 Sep 2003__06:34:51)
Moel Hebog & Nantlle ridges & Yr Aran over Llyn Edno
Moel Hebog & Nantlle ridges & Yr Aran over Llyn Edno (16 Sep 2003__07:09:31)
Dawn sky & mist from above Llyn Edno
Dawn sky & mist from above Llyn Edno (16 Sep 2003__07:12:59)
Snowdon horseshoe & Glyders over Llyn Edno
Snowdon horseshoe & Glyders over Llyn Edno (16 Sep 2003__07:38:01)
Snowdon Horseshoe from Ysgafell Wen
Snowdon Horseshoe from Ysgafell Wen (16 Sep 2003__07:40:24)
Llyn Coch & Cnicht
Llyn Coch & Cnicht (16 Sep 2003__08:39:46)
Llyn Conglog & Moel-yr-Hydd
Llyn Conglog & Moel-yr-Hydd (16 Sep 2003__08:56:17)
Llyn Cwm-corsiog
Llyn Cwm-corsiog (16 Sep 2003__11:36:47)
Rhosydd quarry buildings
Rhosydd quarry buildings (16 Sep 2003__12:15:21)

Ascending the old inclines and turning R along the old rail track we veered R for a short climb to the recently designated Moelwyn Mawr N top. From here a steep pull over grass leads to the main summit. Descending S the minor rocky top of Craigysgafn is reached and a steep descent leads to Bwlch Stwlan. We took a path ENE to the reservoir and picked our way down to the public footpath SE, which follows a series of steep grassed-over inclines to the railway line just S of Llyn Ystradau station. Turning R, a good path climbs a little to cross the Nant Ddu and descends to cross the outlet of Tanygrisiau reservoir and continue S. Turning E through the forest the footpath arrives at the Afon Goedol where a footbridge crosses by the fine thunderous waterfalls. At Rhyd-y-Sarn we followed the public footpath ENE that roughly parallels the Afon Teigl. With careful mapwork, and staying close to the river and more waterfalls around 698427, we turned R on the track that climbs S and emerges at the lane at 703426, which leads SE to the layby.

View from Moelwyn Mawr
View from Moelwyn Mawr (16 Sep 2003__13:26:48)
Craigysgafn from Llyn Stwlan
Craigysgafn from Llyn Stwlan (16 Sep 2003__14:34:36)