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Mwdwl-eithin & Hiraethog Lakes / 2 days / 29 miles (47km)

Outline Map → Map Route file →

Brenig & Alwen Trails map → Map

Date: 08 Aug 2007
Start / Finish: Cerrigydrudion. Good parking areas by the clinic in the village centre.
Maps: Explorer 264: Vale of Clwyd.

Day 1Mwdwl-eithin, the Aled lakes & Llyn y Foel-frech12.1 miles / 1790 feet (19.5km / 545m)
Day 2Llyn Brenig & Alwen reservoir16.7 miles / 1580 feet (26.9km / 481m)

Another short 2-dayer to make good use of a dry weather window in a showery weather stream, or at least that was the forecast before we set off. It was actually the start of a good sunny spell of a few days and we could have done a good mountain trip, but we enjoyed this route in a new area for us which visits the isolated Marilyn Mwdwl-eithin and the Hiraethog lakes and reservoirs to the north, including some fragments of the Clwydian Way and the recently created Alwen Trail (map link above).

Day 1 - Mwdwl-eithin, the Aled lakes & Llyn y Foel-frech

The route follows footpaths and quiet narrow lanes NW to the foot of the south ridge of Mwdwl-eithin, where a path climbs easily to the summit. There is a large cairn, trig point and windshelter with extensive views from the Snowdonia mountains around to the Llangollen hills.

View from Mwdwl-eithin
View from Mwdwl-eithin (08 Aug 2007__11:27:16)
Snowdonia mountains from Mwdwl-eithin
Snowdonia mountains from Mwdwl-eithin (08 Aug 2007__11:29:46)
Cairn on Mwdwl-eithin
Cairn on Mwdwl-eithin (08 Aug 2007__11:31:24)

Our descent was NNW by a fence then NE and E along a sketchy tractor track. At the ruined building of Nant-Heilyn by a solitary tree, a rough path contours N to a footbridge and the A543 where the Clwydian Way follows the lane to Llyn Aled. Further on the water level in Aled Isaf was extremely low but there was a major engineering project in force at the dam, and only a small flow issued from below into the attractive Rhaeadr y Bedd gorge.

Rhaeadr y Bedd at Aled Isaf
Rhaeadr y Bedd at Aled Isaf (08 Aug 2007__15:37:44)

A short ascent of the rough pathless slopes to the E brought us to the charming Llyn y Foel-frech, another little known remote Welsh lake, and very few feet have ever walked here. We made a good pitch on a grassy patch in the rough moor at the highest ground at Cefn Du.

Llyn y Foel-frech and Mwdwl-eithin
Llyn y Foel-frech and Mwdwl-eithin (08 Aug 2007__15:56:00)

Day 2 - Llyn Brenig & Alwen reservoir

It was quite a cold night and there was a small cloud inversion in the valleys accompanied by a lovely sunrise sequence with a crescent moon.

Dawn sky and moon from pitch on Cefn Du
Dawn sky and moon from pitch on Cefn Du (09 Aug 2007__05:09:04)
Dawn sky from pitch on Cefn Du
Dawn sky from pitch on Cefn Du (09 Aug 2007__05:38:42)
Pitch on Cefn Du and Snowdonia mountains
Pitch on Cefn Du and Snowdonia mountains (09 Aug 2007__06:09:17)
Dawn sky from pitch on Cefn Du
Dawn sky from pitch on Cefn Du (09 Aug 2007__06:09:42)

Returning to the A543, we rejoined the Clwydian Way which continues NE to meet the B5401. The way now differs a little from the line on the OS map, it follows a very good path entirely on the S side of the road and curves around to the N end of Llyn Brenig, where the toilet block is closed - this was 11:15 in August so we must presume the closure is permanent.

North end of Llyn Brenig
North end of Llyn Brenig (09 Aug 2007__10:58:10)

In contrast to the Aled lakes, Llyn Brenig is popular with quite a few walkers on the good track around the shore to the dam at the S end and day trippers at the visitor centre.

Llyn Brenig from the dam
Llyn Brenig from the dam (09 Aug 2007__13:14:30)

A path ascends from the SW corner of Llyn Brenig to the B4501. Directly opposite is the start of a new section of trail shown by a thick yellow line on the trail map above, which winds through the forest and joins a newly laid path leading to the Alwen reservoir dam. The new trail now goes all around the reservoir.

For our onward route, we couldn't see any trace of the mapped footpath heading SW from 952527 but fortunately there is a much easier way: follow the shore trail path around until it climbs away from the lake to meet a forest track at 949529, then turn left and follow the track as marked on the OS map to the buildings of Craig-yr-iywchen-fawr. From here we followed the narrow quiet lanes S to Cerrigydrudion.

Alwen reservoir
Alwen reservoir (09 Aug 2007__14:45:45)