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Snowdonia Peaks

Monday, 29 July 2013

Beddgelert Weekend July 19th-21st

Well what a weekend this was. A fantastic two days camping, walking, a fair few laughs and a couple of beers with a group of like minded friends from across the UK. It was a joint celebration meet up of a couple of internet groups I'm on, the Walkers Forum and it's sister facebook group, WFP, and to mark the 1st anniversary of the groups, it was decided that a weekend in Beddgelert was to be arranged. A great bunch of people with a common interest, to be out there walking the mountains, hills and valleys of the UK. I have met everybody on this meet up before, bar a couple, on different walking meets and a friendly bunch of folk they are too. I think there were about 30 on the meet with about 25 doing the first walk which was to visit the summit's of Moel Hebog (782 mtrs), Moel yr Ogof (655 mtrs) & Moel Lefn (638 mtrs). Quite a few of us camped out at the Cae Du Campsite in Beddgelert, while some stayed in the village at the Royal Goat Hotel, and a few dotted about at various other places.
So, on Saturday 20th July 2013 at about 9.15am on a very warm sunny morning, the happy campers set off through the village to meet the rest of the party at the Royal Goat, where we were to make our way up through the fields along the distinct track as we headed for Moel Hebog. It was clear to see that we were in the middle of a very hot and dry spell as the river levels were really low. So low in fact that there was hardly any water in them. There are two rivers in Beddgelert that join in the centre of the village, the Afon Colwyn and Afon Glaslyn,that flows down the gorge known as the Aberglaslyn Gorge
Happy Campers
A dry Afon Glaslyn
A dry Afon Colwyn
The Flower Pot Men amongst our happy bunch
Moel Hebog high above Beddgelert
As we made our way along the tracks it was quite clear that this was going to be quite a tiring day as at this point there was very little in the way of a breeze and cloud cover. There was cloud around some of the summits that made the views quite hazy at times and when we came out on the summit there was quite a bit of cloud cover that held the temperature down a notch or two. Plenty of liquid was to be consumed through out the day. Once we started to gain a bit of height the views started to open up and it wasn't long before Snowdon was to appear and become the prominent focal point through out the day as the summit went in and out of cloud for a good few hours.
First view of Snowdon poking out from behind Yr Aran

One of many rest stops with fine views
The view from our rest stop looking back down on Beddgelert with Llyn Dinas down the valley
I have been up Moel Hebog before, about five years ago with Jill, when I got her into camping and to try this mountain walking malarkey, and I remember from then that this is quite a steep ascent for most of the way and in this heat it claimed a couple of our group. Unfortunately, two members of our party called it a day before it got to late for them to turn back. One of them was a youngster who has walked a lot with her dad and the other was a female member who has also walked and wild camped over the years. Unfortunate but best be safe than sorry. It was a pity really as this steep ascent was probably the worst bit and it did turn out to be a bit cooler on the summit. We did learn later that they had a good day with ice cream and games so all was not lost.
After the steep pull up the grassy tracks we were to hit the steep scree path that zig-zags up for a few hundred metres or so before it tops out at a col where its a quite easy walk along a wide grassy path to the summit plateau
The rocky crags of Moel Hebog
The zig zag scree path to the col
Another rest on the scree path
As with all large groups, some walk at a faster pace than others and by this time we were a bit spread out. Not that anyone was racing off but mainly the heat and the steepness of the ascent meant that there were quite a few stops of different lengths. No one was left on there own and we all made it safely onto the summit plateau where the coolness of the breeze and a chance to lie down, take in a bit of food and have a few relaxing fun filled minutes was greatly received by all.
Final pull up to the col
On to the last steady walk along the grassy plateau with the Snowdon Massif as a backdrop
The final approach to the summit of Moel Hebog
A great team effort
A great lunch spot
Time for some fun and games
The views from the summit can stretch all the way down the coast from Porthmadog towards Barmouth and the Cardigan Bay and North towards the Isle Of Anglesey but with the cloud cover and the heat, it made for some very hazy views in all directions
A hazy view south towards Porthmadog and Tremadog Bay
A hazy view up the north coast towards Anglesey
The view towards our next two summits of Moel yr Ogof & Moel Lefn with the Nantlle Ridge behind
With the fun and frollics on the summit over and done with, it was now quite a steep descent down the grassy bank wher we made our way to the junction of paths that take us up and onto the next summits or down and through beddgelert forest and back to the village. The ascent was quite steep and a bit hard on the knees so it was a case of just taking our time. Unfortunately, again, this was to prove a bit too much for some and as we got to the junction, four of our party decided to take the track through the forest while the rest of us carried on over the tops. It is quite a task with the steep ascent as well as the steep descent in the heat but again, they all got down safe as we all met up later in the evening.
On the steep descent off Moel Hebog
Steep descent off Moel Hebog
Looking across to Moel yr Ogof
The way up to Moel Oglof was to follow a wall through quite a large looking opening that brings you out at a small Llyn with a boardwalk bridge over it making it quite a good resting place.
The short steep descent up to the opening
Looking back down and across to our descent off Moel Hebog from the rock opening

The summit of Moel yr Ogof from the rock opening
Board walking
A nice peaceful resting spot before the climb to the summit

The walk up to Moel yr Ogof was quite pleasant as it winds up through the rocks to the summit. Again some fine views all round but as with Moel Hebog, a little hazy
On the ascent to Moel yr Ogof
Moel yr Ogof summit with the North coast in the background
Moel yr Ogof summit with Moel Hebog in the background
Moel yr Ogof summit looking across to Snowdon and down to Beddgelert
Next it was on to our third and final summit of the day Moel Lefn. Again not a steep path but a short descent before the final climb led us up to another small rocky summit where we all had another good rest before making our way down and into Beddgelert Forest
On the way to Moel Lefn

Moel Lefn summit looking back towards Moel yr Ogof and Moel Hebog

Taking in the views
Making our way off Moel Lefn towards the forest
Pano of the Nantlle Ridge, Snowdon Massif and down to Beddgelert
The descent was proving to be quite interesting as we passed over rocky outcrops, and good tracks with some fine views and plenty of photo's being taken by our party. Also the contrast in colours of the heather, trees and rocks took your mind of any steep parts and made it quite a joy to be out in this quiet part of Snowdonia. Again, we had a few rest stops as it was getting warmer the lower we got down and out of any wind. There was certainly a marked difference in the temperature from the summits to the valleys that's for sure.
on our way off Moel Lefn
Photo time
Another rest stop
Old disused quarry pit
It wasn't long before we found ourselves on the many forest tracks, quite literally, as we did go down two which we shouldn't of done, mainly due to a dodgy GPS and too much heat!! Luckily there was other reliable GPS's and good knowledge amongst our ranks :-) Not too far down the wrong way but enough to have a laugh about it :-) It was also a bit cooler in the shadow of the trees and we marched onwards ever closer to the village.
Down through the forest
Through the forest
Erm, which way is it!!
Across open land again with great views of Snowdon
Great colourful heather amongst the rocks
Moel Hebog high above the froest
A refreshing cool head wash
Moel Hebog from near Beddgelert
Afon Colwyn from Beddgelert footbridge
After we got back down to the Goat Hotel it was a short 10 minute walk back to the campsite where a good sit down with a beer was in order before a hot shower and a bbq. The evening saw a few go back to the Goat to meet up with others, but a few opted to stay on site for a drink and to gang up on the midges. A fun filled evening was the way to end a great day on this great weekend in and around Beddgelert
Hit squad getting ready for action
We will not be beaton
Attack of the midges
A rough idea of the walk

After a warm night in the tent it was soon time to get up and get ready for the second walk of the weekend which involved a twenty minute car drive to a favourite place of mine, the Croesor Valley and a walk up Cnicht (689mtrs) We all got packed up and made our way to the car park in Beddgelert where everyone was meeting up. Not as many as the Moel Hebog walk as some had other plans but there was about a dozen of us.
So, Sunday 21st July 2013 at about 9,45am we made the pleasant 20 minute car journey down beside the Aberglaslyn Pass before turning off towards Croesor where we made our way to the car park next to the community funded cafe. I think we started off walking about 10.30ish and again it was a good sunny warm day but this time with a welcome breeze blowing now and again. I have come to really like this quiet corner of Snowdonia and Jill & I have now been coming here for the past five years and stay in a lovely little cottage tucked away with great views of today's mountain walk, Cnight.
Straight out of the car park and on to a well laid out and signed path that is quite steep at first as it goes up through a wooded area. Once we got out of the woods and gained a bit of height we reached the main well defined path and it was views, views and more views all around and with the angle at which we are on the approach to Cnicht, you get that proper mountain feel as it's pointy shape is on display all the way. It has the nickname The Welsh Matterhorn.
Our first sight of Cnicht
Looking back towards towards the coast and Porthmadog
Across the rocky outcrops towards Moel Hebog
Old ruins amongst the rock outcrops
 Once we had reached the path out of the woods it was a good steady walk before we started to get to the steep setions. Not as steep as the Moel Hebog walk, more a gentle steepness and with a breeze blowing it made for a great walk up and of course the views were getting better with every step which took your mind of any hard work. To the right of us, Cwm Croesor and across to Moelwyn Mawr
and the old ruins of the Croesor Slate Quarry and to our left are the mountains of the Hebog range, Snowdon Massif and more, while in front is our target for today. Awesome :-)
Getting a bit steeper and a bit nearer
High above Cwm Croesor with the bulky Moelwyn Mawr looming large
Looking back down the valley towards the coast
Making good progress
We were making good steady progress and we were soon to reach a col before the easy short scramble that takes us up to the summit of Cnicht. This was a great area for a rest and a great photo place. It was also the place where one of our party decided that he couldn't go up the final steep scramble as his knee was beginning to twinge. To be fair he had managed to come this far but from now on there was going to be a bit of up and down and a fair walk to be had. Disappointing really as it's a great area but as always safety comes first and he did well in his decision making. So after a rest and a good look at the spendid views it was up the last climb to the summit where a surprise was in store.
Last stop before the final pull to the summit
Fun in the sun
Lots of little Llyns below

Moel Mawr across the valley
At the top of the scramble
There is of course another route up to the summit if you don't fancy the scramble and that is by way of a path, a bit rocky in places but easily defined. As I said earlier, we had a pleasant surprise at the summit as another member of the walkers forum who lives locally was waiting for us with a welsh flag as a greeting. So another face to a name and another really great chap who is always around this part of Wales and who has inspired me and others to explore the area.
So we made it to the summit where we had a good break taking in all the views of the fantastic area
Final walk to the summit with a great backdrop
Cnicht Summit
Great views back down to Porthmadog and the coast
Cloud drifting across a distant Snowdon
Team photo on Cnicht Summit
High above the valley with all the old slate quarry's as a backdrop
After about 30 minutes eating, talking, taking photo's and the like we moved off towards the lower second summit and then towards an area that was a first for me and a great surprise in finding a really tranquil place around a large pool of water, Llyn yr Adar. What a fantastic place high up in the welsh mountains this is. With the sun shining, the mountains of Snowdonia making a great backdrop we decided to have another half hour here just taking it all in, well some of us did whare as the Walkers Forum wild swimming club was formed as six braved souls braved the cool waters and a flock of canadian geese to dip their toes! Well actually, abit more than their toes as they went full in and swam to a small island and back just for the hell of it!! A bit braver than me and the rest as we just watched from a good vantage point and chilled. All good fun and just another great relaxing moment on this great weekend :-)
On the descent towards the 2nd summit
Cnicht 2nd summit
Cnicht 2nd summit
Llyn yr Adar
A great place just to chill and relax
It's lovely, lets go
And there off with Snowdon as a backdrop
And the winner is..............
After the swimmers had had their fun and the medals were given out it was time to move on and around the top of the valley. There had been talk of visiting the old ruins across the valley from Cnicht if there was time on our side so as we made our way round to the juction of paths that went down the valley to the car park of over to the mines I asked if anyone wanted to visit them or head off to the car park. As I had been here before I volunteered to lead the way to the mines and five brave lads decided they wanted a look round while the others decided to make their way back. Some had quite a few hours driving ahead of them so we split up at the path junction and said our goodbye's till next time
Looking down on Llyn cwm y Foel with Cnight on the right & Moelwyn Mawr on the left
Llynanau Diffwys with Moelwyn Mawr as the backdrop
Llynnau Diffwys and cotton grass
Croesor Quarry under Moelwyn mawr
Looking down the Cwm Croesor .
The path junction where we said our goodbyes till the next time
Looking down on the Croesor Quarry
 So the seven trepid explorers made our way down to the old quarry buildings for a look round and to see an insight as to what life would of been like back in the day and it must of been bloody hard work in hard conditions. When you stand alone, quiet, you can almost feel the atmosphere and share in the working conditions. I find these places really interesting and can spend a lot of time looking in all the nooks and crannies and exploring the area.
Old ruins with Cnicht as a backdrop
Old wheel house
This is the remains of an old pulley with a steep incline down the mountainside in to Cwm Croesor
Walkers Forum Exploration Team
The team inspect the old pulley house
The old wheel house next to the main entrance
Old pulley house and incline
Cnicht from the old pulley house
Overcome with excitement :-)
We thought that we would go for a little explore down the main entrance to the tunnel for a quick look round. I have been down the tunnel before and found it interesting so as we had torches/headtorches we went into the dark and damp surroundings of the main adit We had hoped to go down as far as the old chambers and pool but as we got to the main air duct we found that our way was blocked by water!! yes it was flooded with 6 inches of water from here all the way down the tunnel. hard to believe after weeks of clear sunny and very warm days and all the rivers and water courses were dry! We were a bit gutted but at least we had a small adventure and an insight to the quarry. Just to add that it may be advisable to make sure you have good torches/head torches with you as it is very dark and quite cool in the tunnel. We did have a member of our party waiting outside the entrance as she didn't want to come with us so may be an idea for that as well just in case.
Off we go then
Old sleepers on the damp floor
Approaching the water
Underneath the main air duct
Flooded tunnel
Team explorers
A rough idea of the walk
All that remain now was the straight forward walk back down to the cars by way of the track that runs down to the car park under Moelwyn Mawr. We stopped at the cafe for a nice cold drink as the valley temperature was a lot warmer than up in the mountains and it was warm enough up there.This was a great way to finish off a great weekend in great company. Many thanks to the members of both walkers forum & WFP for a fantastic weekend in this most fantastic area.
Cheers all :-)

An older TR of when we visited the quarry's a couple of years back can be FOUND HERE