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Cnicht from Nantmor / 2 days / 12 miles (19km)

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Yr Arddu partial pan > Pan

Date: 28 Dec 2005
Start / Finish: Nantmor. Very limited parking by the church, also a NT car park just off the A4085 (598462).
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 17: Snowdon.

Day 1Yr Arddu & Cnicht5.6 miles / 3080 feet (9.0km / 938m)
Day 2Llyn yr Adar & Moel y Dyniewyd6.2 miles / 1120 feet (10.0km / 341m)

An excellent winter circuit of the hills and lakes to the NW of Nantmor, culminating at Cnicht and returning via the Moel y Dyniewyd ridge. The recent snow approaching from the eastern side of the country had not penetrated this far West, but the ground was frozen hard and the visibility was superb. The Yr Arddu section is the same as the 'Beddgelert East' trip and is copied from there.

Day 1 - Yr Arddu & Cnicht

From the lane heading E out of Nantmor, a surfaced byway climbs NE and becomes a waymarked footpath that descends to follow a valley floor. At 618468 a track branches R down to a footbridge and a footpath crosses the field to the valley road. Across the road is another footpath sign and the start of the climb to Yr Arddu. Climbing through the wood to a wall gap, the map shows the path beyond cutting through the corner of the wood, but the way is around the marshy outside corner of the wall bordering the wood. We followed the wall up to its highest point. From here, a faint path sets off L through the heather and zigzags up the slopes, climbing steep rocky heathery gullies and cutting back along shelves, then petering out beneath the summit rocks. This leaves a hard but short trackless climb to the top, which gives an instant reward with great views and a splendid aspect of Cnicht and Moelwyn Mawr.

Moel y Dyniewyd
Moel y Dyniewyd (28 Dec 2005__10:36:56)
Yr Arddu
Yr Arddu (28 Dec 2005__11:18:40)
Cnicht from Yr Arddu
Cnicht from Yr Arddu (28 Dec 2005__11:18:55)

Unlike other hills in this area, Yr Arddu is dominated by heather and bouldery knolls, reminiscent of the northern Rhinogydd but without the attitude, and is a wild and little visited Welsh gem. A trackless but quite easy walk leads down to the superb Llyn yr Arddu, where an easy grassy path appears on the R of the lake. This climbs to the dip on the R of the highest rocky top ahead, where the first lake of Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt comes into view. From the shore, a short climb L to the saddle reveals the second lake with the Snowdonia mountains beyond.

Llyn yr Arddu
Llyn yr Arddu (28 Dec 2005__11:34:34)
Llyn yr Arddu & Nantlle ridge
Llyn yr Arddu & Nantlle ridge (28 Dec 2005__11:41:46)
Llyn yr Arddu & Moel Hebog ridge
Llyn yr Arddu & Moel Hebog ridge (28 Dec 2005__11:44:46)
Llyn yr Arddu & Moel Hebog
Llyn yr Arddu & Moel Hebog (28 Dec 2005__11:47:32)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt #1
Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt #1 (28 Dec 2005__12:09:35)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt #1
Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt #1 (28 Dec 2005__12:11:11)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt #2 & Cnicht
Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt #2 & Cnicht (28 Dec 2005__12:18:28)

Making our way around the knolls SE into the valley towards an unnamed lake and collecting water, we picked up a faint path that ascended the slopes of Cnicht and joined the main path on the ridge. Climbing steeply through the rocks and passing some day walkers trying to find the way down, there were great views down the steep slopes that give Cnicht the nickname of the Welsh Matterhorn and there was a splendid panorama from the top. An easy walk along the frosty ridge and brief ascent gains the recently promoted Cnicht North top, and the ridge then descends gently to Llyn yr Adar. Just before the lake we decided to go back a short way to gain some height and pitch on the grassy ridge, while the sinking sun illuminated the lake and slopes with a reddish light.

Snowdon from ascent of Cnicht
Snowdon from ascent of Cnicht (28 Dec 2005__13:15:44)
View East from Cnicht
View East from Cnicht (28 Dec 2005__14:50:05)
Pitch on Cnicht ridge
Pitch on Cnicht ridge (28 Dec 2005__15:34:19)
Evening light on Llyn yr Adar
Evening light on Llyn yr Adar (28 Dec 2005__15:54:16)

Day 2 - Llyn yr Adar & Moel y Dyniewyd

A clear sky overnight produced a very hard frost, outside and inside the tent this time. There was an attractive dawn sky over Moelwyn Mawr and the Arenigs, and orange light bathed Llyn yr Adar and the rocky knolls as we crunched around the shore. Walking NW to the top of Craig Llyn-llagi, a thin mist cap swirled on the Snowdon massif and Llyn Llagi could be glimpsed below the cliffs. The path contours around well past the lake before turning down below the cliffs and heading down to the valley road, emerging at 635490.

Dawn sky over Moelwyn Mawr from pitch on Cnicht ridge
Dawn sky over Moelwyn Mawr from pitch on Cnicht ridge (29 Dec 2005__08:17:40)
Dawn light on Llyn yr Adar & Snowdon
Dawn light on Llyn yr Adar & Snowdon (29 Dec 2005__08:31:59)
Llyn yr Adar & end of Cnicht ridge
Llyn yr Adar & end of Cnicht ridge (29 Dec 2005__09:00:32)
Mist cap on Snowdon
Mist cap on Snowdon (29 Dec 2005__09:09:29)
Moel Hebog from Craig Llyn-llagi
Moel Hebog from Craig Llyn-llagi (29 Dec 2005__09:11:40)
Llyn Llagi
Llyn Llagi (29 Dec 2005__09:19:24)

The obvious path W doesn't follow the exact line on the map at first, rather it veers L over a minor rise and descends to follow the L side of a wall. Crossing over a surfaced track, the way continues on the R of a small plantation to a ladder stile and on past the buildings at Hafod-Owen. After the ladder stile beyond, we turned L up the pathless slopes and crossed a wall at a breach, ascending further to the fence on the skyline. Following this W a short way to a fence junction, there is a ladder stile. There is a very faint trace of a path SW through the thick heather alongside the fence, which improves considerably past Mynydd Llyndy and undulates easily along the ridge to Moel y Dyniewyd with fine views on either hand.

Approaching Moel y Dyniewyd
Approaching Moel y Dyniewyd (29 Dec 2005__13:02:45)
Snowdon from Moel y Dyniewyd
Snowdon from Moel y Dyniewyd (29 Dec 2005__13:53:09)

The path descends NW passing a few stiles and arrives at the ladder stile on the old mine track, which gives an easy finish directly to Nantmor. Passing the old winding gear, the path descends Cwm Bychan to the dismantled trackbed above the NT car park, and turning L along it through the cutting we arrived at the lane to Nantmor.