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Snowdonia Peaks

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Pen Llithrig y Wrach 6-4-2015

Well this was yet another short planned day out and a very welcome one at that as I hadn't been in the mountains since my snowy walk back in early February. Sad I know, but I had wanted to "tick" PEN y LLITHRIG WRACH off for some time as it is my last remaining big summit from around the CARNEDDAU area of the Snowdonia National Park. There are one or two smaller outlying summits dotted about but they can wait for another day.
So another early start saw me get to the Ogwen Valley, parked and booted by 9am in good dry sunny conditions. In fact it was that good I was in my tee shirt from the off and stayed that way till I got back to my car some nine hours later. One thing that I will take from the day is that I need to pack some suncream in my pack as I got a touch of sunburn which I wasn't really aware of!! I was half expecting to see a cloud inversion as there was a lot of fog on the way down and also all round the coast but that had quickly disappeared once I made my way away from the coast. I had a twenty minute road walk from where I parked near to the campsite at GWERN GOF UCHAF to the waterboard service road opposite the campsite at GWERN GOF ISAF, two recommended campsites. The service road is a bit of a pull at first but soon starts to level out the closer it gets to Ffynnon Lugwy which lies below my first summit of the day, PEN yr HELGI DU
My Route For The Day

View towards Snowdon at 8.30am from Plas y Brenin

Waterboard Service Road

On the service road with Pen yr Helgi Du ahead

Looking back down the service road

View down the Ogwen Valley with Glyder Fawr, Tryfan, Y Garn, Pen yr Ole Wen & Llyn Ogwen

Ffnnon Lugwy below Bwlch Eryl Farchog
The path is pretty straight froward to follow as it slowly gains height before it zig zags up and tops out on the ridge of Bwlch Eryl Farchog offering great views down into Cwm Eigiau and across towards the Vale of Conwy. It was good to see that Conwy and beyond were still shrouded in the fog that I had driven through earlier in the morning and it did take quite some time for it to disappear. The views down to Ffnnon Lugwy and surrounding mountains make all the uphill walking very worthwhile and I sat up here for about 15 minutes taking it all in.
View down to Ffnnon Lugwy, a distant Moel Siabod and the iconic Tryfan

The short scramble up to Pen yr Helgi Du

Looking down to Cwm Eigiau and the cloud covered Vale of Conwy

the fog still lingers in the Vale of Conwy and beyond

Old quarry in Cwm Eigiau
I made the short but nice little scramble up onto the summit of Pen yr Helgi Du and the views just opened up. I was half expecting it to be a bit breezy up here but it was as still as it was in the valley and was just a great place to have a good rest and a bite to eat. I have been up here twice before and both times in good clear weather but this time was a bit better as there was hardly any wind. It also offers  one of the finest views looking down the Ogwen Valley and  all the big mountains of the Glyderau & Carneddau as well as Moel Siabod. A great place to while away 45 minutes soaking up solitude as I was the only person up here, perfect :-)
Lunch time view, Moel Siabod, Glyderau & the Carnnedau and even Snowdon was on show

The Golden Egg :-) Well it is Easter

Pen yr Helgi Du summit with Carnedd Llewelyn in the background

The Iconic Tryfan, with Glyder Fach & Fawr and a distant pointy Snowdon summit

Y Garn

I made my way along the broad summit plateau where I was heading for my second and highest summit of the day, PEN LLITHRIG Y WRACH  There are one or two small pools on the plateau and all had some frog spawn in them, a good sign that spring is here, and it looked like some of it had already hatched. There is quite a steepish walk down and then straight back up again and it proved a bit tiring in the warm still conditions, plenty of water was drunk on this part. The views down Cwm Eigiau were getting better as the whole valley was coming into view with the last of the days fog hanging around the coastal area.
On my way over to Pen Llthrig Wrach

Pool with a view :-)

The way up Pen Llithrig Wrach

View back to Pen yr Helgi Du
View down Cwm Eigiau
It was when I got to the summit that I encountered a pet hate of mine and that is people summit hogging. A bit like the middle lane hoggers on a motorway with total disregard for anyone or anything else. Four people spawled out on the summit marker with all there gear scattered about. OK, its not a great summit marker, no trig point, just a pile of stones laid out flat but as anyone will tell you, if you've spent a few hours walking up a fair way it is nice to at least stand on or next to the true summit of any mountain or hill and "bag it" OK it was a lovely warm sunny day and they were only soaking up the sun and chatting away but they could of done it ten yards either side and let anyone else have there moment of glory!!Anyway, I got there and found another spot to have my rest. Again, some great views and this time I was looking down on my descent and my walk along the shore of LLYN COWLYD the deepest lake in North Wales. Before I get to the lake I was to make my way across the boggy ground leading to my final summit of the day, Cribau, a rocky outcrop that lies between Pen Llithrig Wrach and Moel Eilio, the last high point before you drop back down into the Vale of Conwy. I may have to come back sometime to visit that one!!
View down to Llyn Cowlyd

Ogwen Valley and the Big Guns

My way down to Cribau with Llyn Cowlyd on the right and Cwm Eigau and Llyn Eigau on the left

Looking down on the main A5 where I'll be heading back to the car.

I made my way down and past my last two people I saw until I got back to the A5, making a grand total of 14 people on one of the warmest days of 2015 so far. Not bad for an Easter Monday in Snowdonia. It was also where I encountered the wettest part of the walk although thankfully not too wet. The ground here can swallow you up after rain as its very boggy, today though was more of a squelch so was quite bearable. It is also quite rocky with lots of rocks and boulders strewn across the area. I got to my final rocky summit without getting wet and also following a good track that will disappear when the heather comes into flower. As well as boggy ground there is a lot of heather round this area that makes the going that much tougher. Still, a good walk and worth the effort.
On my way to Cribau

Cribau view down to Llyn Eigau

On Cribau with Pen yr Heldi Du & Pen Llthrig Wrach as the backdrop

Coming of Cribau following a fenceline and wall took me to the shore of Llyn Cowlyd where I joined the shore path for a pleasent walk along this quiet stretch of water. It was then just a case of picking up a path of sorts and making my way back down to the road and back to the car.
The way down to Llyn Cowlyd

Lyn Cowlyd

Pen Llithrig y Wrach, Cribau and derelict quarry building

Looking back on Llyn Cowlyd

On the way back to the Ogwen Valley

Service road at the start of the walk

Another perfect day in perfect weather, perfect :-)