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Conwy Valley West / 2 days / 27 miles (44km)

OS Route Map → Map GPX Route file →

Date: 20 Jun 2003
Start / Finish: Mount Pleasant on the West outskirts of Conwy 773774.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 17 Snowdon (East).

Day 1Tal y Fan & Foel Fras11 miles / 4390 feet (17.7km / 1338m)
Day 2Carnedd Llewelyn & Pen y Castell16 miles / 2190 feet (25.8km / 667m)

The Carneddau ridge from Conwy via Tal y Fan to Carnedd Llewelyn, returning via Pen y Castell.

Day 1 - Tal y Fan & Foel Fras

This was an 'open' backpack where we started with a basic idea but no defined plan - set off from Conwy up the Carneddau and play it by ear. A footpath heads NW to a footbridge and climbs to the ridge of Conwy Mountain. The North Wales Path (NWP) has convenient waymarks through this hummocky terrain and twists its way around to the Sychnant Pass, giving good views of the sea and Great Orme to the N&W and Tal y Fan to the S with the huge behemoth of Foel Fras behind. Crossing the pass the NWP twists some more past Maen Esgob and arrives at 740750. A track now heads SE then hairpins W & SW and bends S to the foot of Tal y Fan 737736. A quarry track took us most of the way up then an easy climb led to the summit 610m.

Conwy Castle & bridge
Conwy Castle & bridge (20 Jun 2003__08:20:36)
Conwy hills
Conwy hills (20 Jun 2003__08:53:32)
Sychnant Pass
Sychnant Pass (20 Jun 2003__09:13:08)
Foel Lus
Foel Lus (20 Jun 2003__09:44:20)

Descending the rocks and a short climb over the minor rise of Foel Lwyd led to a steep descent to Bwlch y Ddeufaen. A stiff pull led to the main Carneddau ridge and a succession of tops, Carnedd y Ddelw, Drum and finally Foel Fras. The summit area is rocky but on the E side of the wall there is very good grass nearby and we pitched there. This location was also fortuitous as there was a strong cold NW wind (on midsummer eve) and the wall gave shelter.

Conwy hills & bay
Conwy hills & bay (20 Jun 2003__11:34:14)
Eastern Carneddau & Glyder Fawr
Eastern Carneddau & Glyder Fawr (20 Jun 2003__14:54:23)
View from Foel Fras
View from Foel Fras (20 Jun 2003__16:16:27)
Western Carneddau from Foel Fras
Western Carneddau from Foel Fras (20 Jun 2003__16:20:23)
Pitch on Foel Fras
Pitch on Foel Fras (20 Jun 2003__16:57:59)

Day 2 - Carnedd Llewelyn & Pen y Castell

The first surprise was that several groups of walkers with torches passed our tent in the night. When we looked out at 06:00 everywhere was beautifully clear despite mizzle on the tent around 04:00 and the cold wind had gone. According to another group, who passed us as we were packing, many were attempting the round of the Welsh 3000' tops around now to maximise daylight hours, and there were several groups bivvying in the hills and a fleet of minibuses was parked in Llanberis. What timing!. In the superb conditions we made haste to Carnedd Gwenllian, Foel Grach and Carnedd Llewelyn. Given what we had heard we expected to find a crowd but we were alone and lingered for a while taking in the views.

View from the ladder stile on Foel Fras
View from the ladder stile on Foel Fras (21 Jun 2003__06:23:37)
View from Carnedd Gwenllian
View from Carnedd Gwenllian (21 Jun 2003__06:52:08)
View from Carnedd Llewelyn
View from Carnedd Llewelyn (21 Jun 2003__07:53:19)
View from Carnedd Llewelyn
View from Carnedd Llewelyn (21 Jun 2003__07:53:28)
View from Carnedd Llewelyn
View from Carnedd Llewelyn (21 Jun 2003__08:07:27)

We really wanted to continue over Pen yr Helgi Du but there was no easy way back to Conwy, so we decided to backtrack to Drum and make an easy descent SE to Pen y Castell. From here we walked roughly parallel to the fence NE to the byway at 731700. Where it becomes enclosed, this degenerates into one of those Welsh jokes - two fences with standing water bog between them. We walked on the left side through the field instead and it led to a farm gate and metalled track and the lane at 743707. The lane leads NW to Cae Coch at 733715 where an attractive route leads high above the valley past Caer Bach fort, Cefn Maen Amor and Cefn Llechen. The descent is via Craigyfedwen to the Lodge at 758765. The rain started here so we took the road to Mount Pleasant.

Craig Eigiau from Pen y Castell
Craig Eigiau from Pen y Castell (21 Jun 2003__11:35:56)