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Date: 07 Nov 2003
Start / Finish: Rhyd-Ddu. Roadside parking near the pub, also a car park (fee) at the south end of the village.
Maps: Outdoor Leisure 17 Snowdon and Outdoor Leisure 18 Harlech & Bala.
|Day 1||The Nantlle Ridge||7 miles / 3480 feet (11.3km / 1060m)|
|Day 2||Cwm Pennant & Llyn Cwmystradllyn||10 miles / 1600 feet (16.1km / 487m)|
|Day 3||Bryn Banog & The Hebog Ridge||7 miles / 2370 feet (11.3km / 722m)|
A backpack of Cwm Pennant with a full traverse of the Nantlle Ridge and returning by the Hebog Ridge.
From the S car park a well marked path leads W to the road corner and a track takes over SW to a ladder stile and the start of the climb to Y Garn. The excellent ridge route needs little elaboration except perhaps that the daunting buttress at the base of Craig Cwm Silyn is circumvented by a path around its R side. The line of 2000' summits terminates at Garnedd-goch, and many don't include this, ending the ridge walk at Craig Cwm Silyn. This route continues the whole length of the ridge to the last top Mynydd Graig Goch.
From Garnedd-goch, a thin path follows the wall SW then turns L contouring the slopes. After a while we left it and aimed S for the wall corner at Bwlch Cwmdulyn (510489) where we planned to collect water from the deeply incised ravine just beyond. However the ravine was bone dry and grassy at the top, and we descended W for a considerable distance before we picked up the sound of a stream flowing under large boulders, which emerged at a tiny fall a little lower down. Climbing back up we proceeded W over pathless but easy grass to the bouldery summit of Mynydd Graig Goch. Descending back E we pitched just below the edge of the rough rocks.
Continuing E to a wall, we joined the footpath that descends with the wall SSW to its end and continues over pathless but mostly easy terrain to some obvious sheepfolds at a cross wall (502455). Just before the wall a footpath follows a sketchy track E through an attractively quiet and wild area reminiscent of mid-Wales, where rocky heathery outcrops preside over colourful expanses of marsh grasses. The navigation needs care though, there are rogue fragments of track that branch away and just after crossing a ladder stile by a small rocky tor, the correct path veers L through a gate (507455) and heads ENE to a footbridge at 513457. Another head-scratching point is reached around 516458. We can't remember the line we followed but we ended correctly at the surfaced track that descends from the old quarry at 524462 to the valley road.
Turning R we followed the lanes to the footpath at 534454 where we climbed E on the R of the stream to the dismantled railway - or at least we thought it was - it was a surfaced track. We intended to follow this to the lane approaching Llyn Cwmystradllyn, but the track must have been much more prominent than the old railway and it terminated abruptly at a ruin. Heading roughly SE and climbing a wall or two we arrived at the phone box on the lane well to the S. Walking N past an old slate mill, we passed the signed point where the old railway emerged onto the lane. Arriving at the lake we took the lakeside footpath to the NE end, collecting water at one of the inflow streams, and continued to the foot of the old quarry. The footpath then climbs R to the S ridge of Bryn Banog where a shallow depression by a wall made a good sheltered pitch with Moel Ddu across the bwlch.
A steep pull N brought us to the top of Bryn Banog. At the N end of the ridge, a thin path descends into Cwm Cyd and threads its way across the hummocky terrain to a tarn at the foot of a wide grassy breach in the E slopes of Moel Hebog. Though steep, this is not nearly as daunting as it looks from Bryn Banog and the top is reached quicker than expected. Following the Hebog ridge NW, we descended on a good path that starts at the NW end of the summit area of Moel Lefn.
Keeping track of exact position is not easy hereabouts as the path snakes down the slopes but it eventually arrives at a fence and quarry chasm at the edge of the forest. Crossing a sort of stile it continues downhill as a slaty surfaced path following the edge of the forest, then contours around Y Gyrn to join the main path by more quarry workings. This heads NE through the forest and past an attractive cascade to descend directly to the track and road corner at Rhyd-Ddu.