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Y Garn / 2 days / 15 miles (23km)

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Date: 13 Oct 2005
Start / Finish: Bethesda. Free car park on the main street by Spar (SH 623667).
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 17: Snowdon.

Day 1Carnedd y Filiast & Foel-goch5.1 miles / 3060 feet (8.2km / 932m)
Day 2Y Garn & Twll Du (Devils's Kitchen)9.2 miles / 1130 feet (14.8km / 344m)

A short circuit of the mountains to the West of the Nant Ffrancon valley, culminating in Y Garn and descending via Twll Du and the Llyn Idwal path below the cliffs of Glyder Fawr.

Day 1 - Carnedd y Filiast & Foel-goch

The forecast had predicted sun and good visibility, a promise we clung to as we set off in mist almost down to valley level. Walking S out of Bethesda and turning R on the B4409, a quarry access road branches off L on the W side of the river. At 624656 a walking and cycling path goes L alongside the river at the edge of the huge slate spoil heaps. An information board briefly describes the route of the path and the efforts being made to regenerate the landscape: 'swell-gel' is added to the base material to assist the plants, which retains many times its own weight of water. Trees and other plants are slowly becoming established on the lower slopes and we found the route very pleasant and easy walking, with the added attraction of the waterfalls of the Afon Ogwen which were flowing quite well after the recent heavy rain.

Waterfalls on Afon Ogwen
Waterfalls on Afon Ogwen (13 Oct 2005__08:08:36)

The route ends at the bend in the lane at 630637. Stepping over the slate-constructed fence, only the lower slopes were visible below the mist and ahead lay a long steep climb of 2000 feet. Veering R initially around the bracken then further L, we gained the rough ridge at the first rocky outcrops. At first there seemed to be no natural line up the chaotic slopes, at least as far as we could see ahead, but there are faint signs of an intermittent path. No more than a sheeptrod, this asserts itself further up and becomes easy to follow. Eventually the steep angle levelled out quite abruptly and the summit rocks of Carnedd y Filiast loomed out of the mist a short walk to the R. The very cold wind added to the bleakness of the misty top today, which could have commanded great views from this northerly outpost of the ridge.

Walking along the edge of the windswept summit plateau, traces of blue appeared overhead and a clearing of the mist was imminent. It was still coming and going on the next top Mynydd Perfedd, but finally cleared at Bwlch y Brecan revealing Elidir Fawr, still with a mist cap, and the next top of the ridge Foel-goch. A path zigzags steeply up to the summit, marked by a low pile of stones on the edge of the cliffs above Cwm-coch, and at last we saw the promised clear views. Descending to the grassy Bwlch y Cywion, we pitched the tent below the lee slope for some shelter from the wind and walked out over the yellowish narrow ridge to the spur of Y Llymllwyd, which gave a good view back to the cliffs of Foel-goch and Yr Esgair and over Cwm Cywion to Llyn Ogwen and Tryfan. The inflow stream to Llyn Cywion was flowing just a matter of yards down the slope from the bwlch and yielded very good water.

Mynydd Perfedd from Foel-goch
Mynydd Perfedd from Foel-goch (13 Oct 2005__13:27:12)
Pen yr Ole Wen from Foel-goch
Pen yr Ole Wen from Foel-goch (13 Oct 2005__13:32:52)
Yr Esgair from Y Llymllwyd
Yr Esgair from Y Llymllwyd (13 Oct 2005__13:57:46)
Glyder Fach & Llyn Idwal from Y Llymllwyd
Glyder Fach & Llyn Idwal from Y Llymllwyd (13 Oct 2005__14:00:54)
Y Llymllwyd
Y Llymllwyd (13 Oct 2005__15:32:42)
Tryfan & the Glyderau from tent pitch at Bwlch Cywion
Tryfan & the Glyderau from tent pitch at Bwlch Cywion (13 Oct 2005__15:43:22)

Day 2 - Y Garn & Twll Du (Devils's Kitchen)

We awoke to a dark clear sky and the prominent sight of Orion in the S. As dawn came there were already mist caps forming over Pen yr Ole Wen and the Snowdon range as we set off up the zigzag scree path to Y Garn, the highest mountain of the walk and distinguished member of the 3000' elite. From the stony top we could see Llyn Clyd and companion lake below in the cwm, a delightful spot that we must visit on a future walk. By now the turbulent mist was swirling around the tops and cwms, alternately hiding and revealing the surrounding mountains in a dramatic display.

Dawn sky and Y Garn
Dawn sky and Y Garn (14 Oct 2005__07:25:08)
Dawn sky over Tryfan
Dawn sky over Tryfan (14 Oct 2005__07:58:40)
Foel-goch from Y Garn
Foel-goch from Y Garn (14 Oct 2005__08:40:30)
Turbulent mist and the Glyderau
Turbulent mist and the Glyderau (14 Oct 2005__09:32:08)

Following the edge of the cwm and descending to Llyn y Cwn, our next objective was the head of the falls of Twll Du - the Devil's Kitchen. Walking above the outflow on the R through rocky outcrops and passing a smaller pool, the vertical sided chasm appears, totally out of proportion to the small amount of water flowing through it. This was a very attractive area to savour, away from the predicted stream of people on the main highway. Returning to Llyn y Cwn, we started the steep descent that curves round beneath the Twll Du Chasm and the splendid towering cliffs of Glyder Fawr. The path is pitched like a rocky staircase and, as expected, there were many figures snaking up from Ogwen Cottage far below, including school parties.

Llyn Clyd
Llyn Clyd (14 Oct 2005__09:54:48)
Llyn y Cwn
Llyn y Cwn (14 Oct 2005__11:40:08)
Cliffs of Y Garn from Twll Du path
Cliffs of Y Garn from Twll Du path (14 Oct 2005__12:01:30)
The Idwal slabs
The Idwal slabs (14 Oct 2005__12:30:56)

Where the path fords a stream, we left it and descended towards the W shore of Llyn Idwal to pick up the other path around the N shore and down to the car park (toilets, litter bins, refreshment kiosk). From here we took the deserted open narrow lane along the valley back to the quarry walk to join the inward route. The lane might appear an unattractive option, but it is a quick and very scenic way back, and gives good views of yesterday's mountains from below and across the valley to Pen yr Ole Wen.

Llyn Idwal & Pen yr Ole Wen
Llyn Idwal & Pen yr Ole Wen (14 Oct 2005__12:31:20)
Llyn Idwal & Tryfan
Llyn Idwal & Tryfan (14 Oct 2005__14:06:28)