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Snowdonia Peaks

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Snowdon 23-11-2013

Back to Snowdonia again and this time to go up Snowdon via the South Ridge from the Ryhd Ddu car park and descending via the Rangers Path then cutting through boggy ground, pass the old slate quarry and back to the car park. This walk was organized by a fellow Walking Forum & Walkers Forum member who had to be rescued by the Llanberis MRT back in the summer after falling ill on his way to the summit from this route. After making a full recovery he asked members if anyone wanted to join him as he wanted to complete the route that he started out doing and so seven of us met up at 8.15am on a cool and sunny early winter morning in the car park at the small welsh village of Ryhd Ddu. Shortly after his rescue, a few members off the forum did a sponsored walk to raise money for the MRT by going up and down Snowdon by six different routes, three up and three down, all in one day! A fantastic effort that has raised over £1000.00 to this day http://www.justgiving.com/Nigel-Laughton
The weather couldn't of been any better as we set off from the car park along the Ryhd Ddu path where we headed for the old slate quarry under Yr Aran
Our route for the day @ approx 10 miles
On the Ryhd Ddu path with Y Garn (Nantile Ridge) as a backdrop
The slate quarry with the Nantile Ridge as a backdrop
Looking down on our route from the quarry
Ice covered slate along the path through the quarry
 There was quite a bit of ice covering the ground here as it was still in the shade and made for one or two tricky steps of the Torvil & Dean variety but thankfully no mishaps. We made our way through the quarry and to the wall at Bwlch Cwn Llan where it meets a path that branches of the Watkins Path, coming up from Cwm Llan and another old quarry right under the twin peaks of Y Lliwedd. We rested here before the steep climb up to Allt Maenderyn
Looking back down on the icy quarry
View down Cwm Llan and quarry's under Y Llwiedd
Rest on Allt Maenderyn with a snow capped Snowdon in the background
Good clear views over Southern Snowdonia
As we hit the snowline we were still in good clear weather and it was still quite still apart from a stiff breeze blowing up and over the ridge every now and again. The tracks were in good condition along the snow and we didn't encounter any problems as we made our way along the ridge line. This is where we put on our mircrospikes and crampons for added security and it's suprising how much more confident you feel with then on. More of a precaution as anything but it left you to enjoy the views and the ridge walk a lot more.
Hitting the snowline
Along a snow covered South Ridge
Easy does it
Snow & ice covered rocks against a now grey sky
The final approach to Snowdon Summit
Looking back along Y Llwiedd
Looking back from the steps of the Snowdon Summit Cafe
As luck would have it, the blue sky that we had enjoyed all morning was now slowly being taken over by more grey looking cloud. At one point it did feel and look like we were about to get a bit wet but thankfully the threat of any more snow/rain didn't come. There was a bit of low cloud that spoilt any clear views but it did add to the winter atmosphere. At least the wind stayed at bay on the summit so it didn't really get too cold. In fact despite it looking like the inside of a freezer, it didn't feel that way as plenty of people were sat/stood about having something to eat and drink and just chatting away. A very relaxed summit. After our intake of food we headed off and up to the summit of Garned Ugain just for the hell of it and also because Nigel hadn't visited this summit before. Now this one felt more like a winter walk as it was shrowded in mist and the trig had quite a lot of ice on it. It was I suppose my first taste of a proper winter summit as we were the only ones there and it just felt so different to the hustle and bustle of a fairly busy Snowdon. So quiet and so isolated.
View over to Crib Goch from the summit
The very tricky snowy and icy zig zag section of the Pyg Track under Garnedd Ugain
Snowdon Summit Cafe and a distant sunny Cardigan Bay
Snowy train track
View down to Glaslyn & Llyn Llydaw form the Garnedd Ugain path
Snowdon & busy Pyg track
Out of the mist on Garnedd Ugain
Icy trig Point
Garnedd Ugain Summit
Crampons at the ready
Descent off Garnedd Ugain

We made our way off Garnedd Ugain and made our way onto the Rangers Path for our descent back to Ryhd Ddu. It was still quite icy as we made our way out of the remaining mist as we approached the last of the snow and got back onto a more familiar rocky scree path. This was another first for me as I haven't been on the Ranger path before. I found it OK going down but I don't think I'd like to make an ascent from here as it's too much like hard relentless rocky scree. Not really to my liking. As we got into the more colourful surroundings it seemed like a differnt world again to the snowy summit. It was also quite breezy with a bit of a bite to it and also a lot different to the blue sky morning we had a few hours earlier.
Our descent down the Rangers path and out of the winter conditions
Back on more familiar ground
Great views over to the Nantile Ridge
Beams of light everywhere
Llyn Ffynnon y gwas (reservoir)
It was quite a trek down the Rangers Path before we turned off and headed across farmland and over stiles towards more old quarry's. It was quite boggy in places as we crossed various streams and man made bridges and it was also getting quite dark.
Snowdon from the boggy fields
Over a bridge on the way to the quarry
Old quarry buildings
Old Quarry building

Back on boggy ground

One of the many stream crossings
Getting dark as we approach Ryhd Ddu
We eventually made it back to the car park dead on 4.30pm which was great timing as it was just about getting dark.
Back at the car park in the fading light

Another fantastic day out in this great part of the world. My thanks go out to my companions from the walking forum's, Kirsch, Joe, Foz, Chip, Woz and Archie the dog :-) Also a big pat on the back to Nigel who completed his mission and also organized the day

Friday, 15 November 2013

Cnicht 10-11-13

This is a walk that goes straight out of the front door of our little hideaway to the pointed mountain that has the nick name, The Welsh Matterhorn It isn't really that pointed, only when viewed from the direction of Porthmadog and the front door of the cottage but in reality it's more like a ridge that takes you on to the disused quarries of the Croesor Valley and round to the bulky Moelwyn's Fawr & Bach and various other paths leading in all directions exploring this great quiet area of Snowdonia.
I have done this walk before, once a couple of years ago and also in July of this year and I had wanted to do it last year, when we again stayed at the same cottage, but on the Saturday evening we had a right old thunder storm that produced quite a bit of hail and snow on the tops and by morning it had frozen so that put paid to that as I didn't have my spikes with me! This year however was to be quite the opposite weather wise and the walk was done in the most perfect of conditions with a sunny blue sky day with very little in the way of wind. Quite spring like really and I'm glad that I left early when it was a bit cooler. In fact it was at 7am that I made my way out of the door just as the sun was getting up. I decided to leave early as I wanted to be back by midday as we were to have a bit of a drive round in the afternoon and visit a place where we used to take the kids on holiday many years ago! Anyway, 7am and off I went out of the door and along the lane to the woods where you go up onto the ridge at the back of the cottages and have the first full views of the Welsh Materhorn, the Moelwyn's, Moel Hebog and back down to Porthmadog
The hail storm last year
An icy looking Cnicht from last year
My route for the day, a straight there and back
Cnicht and the Moelwyn's about 7.30am
The sun starting to light up Moel Hebog
The sun just catching Cnicht
 The ridge along the top of the woods provide some great views all round and also a great way to watch the sun come up and to light up the valley and surrounding mountains. The path is easy to follow and in recent years there have been a few marker posts put up along the way to help guide you round some properties and through the woods that can get quite boggy after rain. After about 40 minutes you reach another old white washed cottage just before the main path that comes up from the village car park at Croesor.
Info sign
Path comes from behind the house and pass the outbuildings
Old Stone cottage with Cnicht in the background
Looking back at the cottage with a blue sky background
The main path from Croesor car park
On to Cnicht
The path is easy to follow and you soon get a sence of the wilderness this place has to offer. Away from the crowds the silence is pure golden with only the sound of the streams and birds filling the air. With the sun getting to work on the clouds it was turning out to be just one of those mornings where nothing else seemed to matter. It was just a joy to out in this wild and rugged place
Clouds breaking up as the sun gets to work
A sunny Moel Hebog
Clear view back towards Porthmadog
Old ruins in the valley
It was warming up nicely now as I was coming out of any shelter from the ridges. The Croesor valley was in the shade from the bulky Moelwyn Mawr for most of the time but I was now in full view of it and it really was a very pleasent day with little or no wind. It was quite a contrast a little further north as the Snowdon Massif and the Carneddau range were in cloud for most of the day. It turned out that they were getting there winter coats on as the first snow of this years winter were falling. So while I was basking in the spring like sunshine and removing layers, anyone out and about across the valleys were no doubt putting extra layers on to keep out the elements.
Croesor Valley in the shade of Moelwyn Mawr
Looking back along the ridge towards Porthmadog
Looking down on the Llyn's that I want to explore another day
Snowdon Massif & the Carneddau with their winter coats going on
The last scramble up to the summit of Cnicht
From here it was just one last easy scramble up to the summit and to take in the views. I reached the summit at 9.30am so just over two hours of pleasant walking. No one else around and how fitting that it should be so silent on top on this day, remembrance day. Just so silent, I stayed around the summit for about an hour as I went across to the second summit where I had a rest and a bite to eat and took in the fine views and solitude of the place.
Cnicht summit view down to Porthmadog
Summit view over to the second summit
Summit view over to a cloud covered Snowdon
Summit view to a distand Moel Siabod with a sprinkling of snow
Second summit view of the main summit of Cnicht
Panorama view of Cnicht, Moel Hebog, Nantile Ridge, Snowdon Massif & Carneddau Range from the 2nd summit
Moelwyn Mawr and the old quarry's of Croesor
I left the solitude behind me as I made my way back down the same way as I came and this is when I saw the first person of the day, well in fact between now and by the time I had reached the old stone cottage I bumped into another 13 walkers on there way up so I guess I made the right choice in setting off early. If anything the views back down were getting a bit better as the clouds from above had all but gone as the day was getting warmer. Most people I passed were in tee shirts and it was hard to believe that there was snow falling across the valley.
The way back down

Good clear views over old mine buildings
Clear view back to Cnicht
The main path into Croesor
On pass the old cottage
Cnicht & The Moelwyns through the field of bracken
A steady walk through the woods and along the ridge back to the cottage with views over to a now clearing Snowdon showing of her new white winter coat
Through the woods and over walls
Back through the grounds of the old house
Through more fields
The hole in the wall
Back along the ridge
Snowdon now clear of cloud
Snowdon Horseshoe with a new winter coat
One final panoramic view of Moel Hebog, Snowdon Massif, Cnicht & The Moelwyn's
After a brew and something to eat we decided that we would go for a drive and visit Black Rock Sands where we used to take the kids when they were small when we used to stay at the Greenacres Holiday Park just outside Porthmadog. We haven't been here for about eighteen years and it's changed a bit in that time!! A lot bigger and most probably a bit better although with the amount of caravans there now, it looks like it could get very busy. Still it was good to see it again and also have a walk along the long stretch of beach. A lot colder by the sea than up in the mountains though!!
Black Rock Sands
Part of Greenacres Caravan Park
Sun going down over black Rock Sands
Finishing the day off in style :-)

Another great day out in this rugged part of Snowdonia :-)

Video from the summit of Cnicht