|Outline Map →||Route file →|
Date: 13 Jan 2005
Start / Finish: Llanberis. Good roadside parking and several car parks.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 17: Snowdon & Conwy Valley.
|Day 1||Garnedd Ugain & Clogwyn Du'r Arddu||8 miles / 3725 feet (12.9km / 1135m)|
|Day 2||Moel Cynghorion & Moel Eilio||6 miles / 1900 feet (9.7km / 579m)|
A circuit of the mountains South of Llanberis culminating in Garnedd Ugain (Crib y Ddysgl), including an exploration of the cwm of Clogwyn Du'r Arddu.
We joined the lane that leaves the A4086 at 583597, which climbs to the start of the main Snowdon path that gives good views across to the return ridge. After a few weeks enforced layoff from backpacking, the easy angle of the ascent was a welcome starter and we soon crossed the railway through a little tunnel to reach Halfway station. A short walk beyond where the path starts to curve L, we left it to climb directly E over pathless but easy slopes towards the prominent rockpile of Llechog. Crossing the railway again, the summit is quickly gained, a short clamber to the top of a rocky tor on the edge of the cliffs giving a grand view across the valley. Looking ahead, the mist was swirling around the highest tops and the pinnacles of Crib Goch could be seen in silhouette.
Descending back to the railway, we climbed alongside the track to Clogwyn station, where Llyn Du'r Arddu could be seen below cradled by the cliffs of 'Cloggy', and rejoined the main path. Shortly after, the path curves R directly to Bwlch Glas but we abandoned it here and ascended L to join the edge path above Cwm Glas that climbs steeply to Garnedd Ugain. There was still a thin covering of snow and ice on the rocks here around 3500', but unfortunately the mist blotted out the views except for a brief glimpse of the N ridge. Descending to Bwlch Glas, the mist was coming and going giving intermittent views of Snowdon and the lakes below to the E.
The Snowdon Ranger path descends NW above Clogwyn Du'r Arddu but bypasses the cliffs, so we left it to follow the edge where there were good but rather misty views over the rocky towers and down into the cwm. Just before Bwlch Cwm Brwynog, a path climbs R to a stile where we picked up the thin path that ascends E below the cliffs through the rocks to Llyn D'ur Arddu. This is not easy to follow from this side, and the few tiny cairns are almost invisible against the jumble of rocks. After exploring the cwm and collecting water, we returned to the stile along the same path, which starts from the S side of the outflow stream and is easier to follow from here. We made our tent pitch on a flat grassy area by the stile and enjoyed the turbulent picture in the West, where Mynydd Drws-y-coed looked like an erupting volcano against the orange sky background.
A strong wind developed overnight, which made depitching quite an experience after retrieving one of our backpacks which had been blown fifty yards down the slope despite being half-filled!. The early sky was overcast and hazy but most tops were clear as we climbed to the flat grassy top of Moel Cynghorion, tacking against the wind to avoid being blown into the fence. Descending the W ridge, the mist loomed again from the West and we were soon engulfed.
Climbing to Foel Goch, the mist became intermittent and we could enjoy occasional clear views of Mynydd Mawr and the Nantlle mountains and down into Cwm Dwythwch as we followed the cliff edge to Foel Gron. Climbing to Moel Eilio, most of the mist had gone and there were good views over the sea and to the shapely cone of Yr Eifl on the Lleyn coast.
The NE ridge of Moel Eilio follows a fence and where it divides, we took the R fork. Staying on the L side of the fence, the right of way is reached at a farm track where we turned R to the lane end at 573591. The lane leads directly back to Llanberis.