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Cnicht from Beddgelert / 2 days / 13 miles (21km)

Outline Map → Map Route file →

Date: 23 Aug 2006
Start / Finish: Beddgelert. Car park (fee) or limited roadside parking.
Maps: Explorer OL17: Snowdon.

Day 1Moel y Dyniewyd & Yr Arddu4.4 miles / 2520 feet (7.1km / 768m)
Day 2Cnicht & Llyn Dinas8.4 miles / 1920 feet (13.5km / 585m)

A leisurely circuit of delightful hills and lakes culminating at Cnicht. This is an extended version of the Beddgelert East trip and much of the route description is copied from there.

Day 1 - Moel y Dyniewyd & Yr Arddu

Heavy rain cleared away in the morning earlier than predicted and we made a mid-morning start. Crossing the footbridge at the eastern end of the village, the signed footpath starts just beyond the R end of a row of houses and climbs steeply to arrive at the minor top of Mynydd Sygun on a path resembling a stream after the rain. The high mountains were wreathed in veils of mist but these lower tops were clear. A path descends NE along the broad ridge and over another shapely small top, finally undulating around to a ladder stile. A good track leads past the old mine and orange spoil to a multi-way path sign, where we turned R signed Aberglaslyn. Where the path turns R over another ladder stile, we passed it and continued in the same direction climbing steeply to Moel y Dyniewyd. This summit was clear but the high mountains were still obscured by mist. We confounded the leader of a group of walkers sitting at the summit who had just assured them that nobody else would come by on this hill.

Moel Ddu from Mynydd Sygun
Moel Ddu from Mynydd Sygun (23 Aug 2006__11:44:35)

Continuing NE on the heathery ridge, we left the path and descended to a nameless lake, which is in a very attractive setting. Walking around the far side, we followed the outflow stream down to a wall and through a narrow sort of gate made from two fenceposts and wire. A little further on is a sheepfold where a path descends to the stout wall below, though unlike the previous trip it was obscured by chest-high sopping wet bracken. Eventually we reached the wall and located the walkers gate that leads round to a ruined building below. The old access track descends to the obvious public footpath, where we turned R (SW) and later L down the unsigned footpath to the footbridge and valley road.

Lake on Moel y Dyniewyd
Lake on Moel y Dyniewyd (23 Aug 2006__13:58:30)

Across the road a footpath climbs steeply through the trees to a wall gap. The rain started here which made it difficult to get a grip on the steep earthy path and we were clutching at the wet vegetation to assist progress. The map shows the right of way cutting through the corner of the wood, but this path ascends towards the marshy outside corner of the wall bordering the wood. The rain stopped as we collected water at the stream just beyond and followed the wall up to its highest point. From here, a faint path sets off left through the heather and zigzags up the slopes, climbing steep rocky heathery gullies and cutting back along shelves, then petering out beneath the summit. This leaves a short trackless climb through the rocks and heather to the top and we made our pitch by the summit tor which has a cairn and two vertical stones, but thick mist obscured the views.

Day 2 - Cnicht & Llyn Dinas

At dawn the local mist had gone and the sky was clear above. 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 rarely visited Welsh gem. The best was yet to come in the three lakes which were a sheer delight. A short trackless walk N is Llyn yr Arddu, its steely reflections looking a little sombre this morning under the grey clouds as we squelched along its shore, but wild and magical as ever nonetheless in the growing light. 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, a typical rockscape of this group of hills with extensive greyish-white boulders and heather. Soon the first lake of Llynnau Cerrig-y-myllt comes into view, another superb location bordered by rocky knolls and little cliffs. From the shore, a short climb L to the saddle reveals the second lake with the Snowdonia mountains beyond. The sun finally broke through and gave superb views of the lakes and surroundings, rendering the heather a deep crimson red.

Snowdon massif from Yr Arddu
Snowdon massif from Yr Arddu (24 Aug 2006__06:55:17)
Llyn yr Arddu and Moel Hebog
Llyn yr Arddu and Moel Hebog (24 Aug 2006__07:27:14)
Yr Arddu rockscape
Yr Arddu rockscape (24 Aug 2006__08:00:02)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 (24 Aug 2006__08:05:23)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 and Nantlle ridge
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 and Nantlle ridge (24 Aug 2006__08:12:40)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 (24 Aug 2006__08:17:20)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #1 (24 Aug 2006__08:18:44)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 (24 Aug 2006__08:21:59)
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2
Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt #2 (24 Aug 2006__08:27:03)
Snowdon group from Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt
Snowdon group from Llynnau Cerrig-y-mwllt (24 Aug 2006__08:40:18)

From the NE end of the saddle between the lakes, a faint path slants easily SE along the grassy hillside to Bwlch y Battel and we joined the path to Cnicht. Few people climb it from this side and the bottom section of the final steep climb is loose scree, but it improves higher up towards the prominent notch in the skyline. An enjoyable climb gains the summit which gives excellent views, though the Snowdon massif and Carneddau were plagued by intermittent mist for the rest of the day despite the warm sun. Many of the numerous lakes in this area can be seen from here.

View to the sea from Cnicht
View to the sea from Cnicht (24 Aug 2006__10:12:05)
Yr Arddu lakes, Moel Hebog & Nantlle ridge from Cnicht
Yr Arddu lakes, Moel Hebog & Nantlle ridge from Cnicht (24 Aug 2006__10:19:56)

An easy walk along the ridge above Llyn y Biswail leads over the N top and down to Llyn yr Adar, a lake of more open character with a deep blue irridescence in the sun. Walking NW to the top of Craig Llyn-llagi, there is a fine view of Snowdon and the lake could be glimpsed below the cliffs. The path contours around well past the lake before turning down below the cliffs with a good view of the long series of waterfalls swollen by the recent rain and cascading down the slopes. The path picks its way down to the valley road, emerging at 635490.

Llyn yr Adar
Llyn yr Adar (24 Aug 2006__11:56:13)
Llyn Llagi
Llyn Llagi (24 Aug 2006__12:20:28)

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. The way continues on the R of a small plantation to a ladder stile and on past the buildings at Hafod-Owen and finally descends through woodland to the lakeside path by Llyn Dinas. Traversing a wooded headland, there is a fine view down the valley and the attractive riverside path leads to the Sygun Copper Mine building. An access lane is joined that emerges at the bridge onto the main road. The riverside path then completes the circuit to Beddgelert