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Snowdonia Peaks

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Quieter Side Of The Glyderau 14-8-2016

OK, not all the summits were reached on this day, just the three, ELIDIR FAWR, FOEL GOCH & Y GARN. Altough I have done this walk before, about five years ago, where I took in the outlaying summits of MYNYDD PERFEDD & CARNEDD y FILIAST, this was just a good relaxing day out and another very short notice one as the weather seemed good and work was put on hold. I do like these last minute decisions :-)
An early start saw me parked up at LLYN OGWEN about 8.30am in good conditions. High cloud meant that all the summits where free and all was looking good for the day ahead. It was also quite still with hardly a breath of wind that made for some good reflections on LLYN IDWAL. I had decided to take the direct route up the East ridge of Y Garn that follows a good path although a bit on the steep side. As it's a few years since I have ventured up this part of the GLYDERAU I had forgotten  how steep it was, unless I'm not quite as mountain fit as I was. Even so it was hard work and with it being quite warm and windless, a few stops were well earned. It was also very quiet with only two other walkers in sight and they were in front of me by a few hundred yards or so. The higher I got the more the views started to open up
My route for the day
Ogwen Valley Visitor Centre
Start of the path next to the visitor centre
My way up to Y Garn

Welsh Black Cattle in Cwm Idwal
Reflections on Llyn Idwal

Reflections on Llyn Idwal
 The path goes from being well laid out, to rocky scree and a grassy ridge as it tops out a couple of hundred yards from the summit. Fine views down the Nant Ffrancon Valley, over to PEN yr OLE WEN and down to Llanberis and the Snowdon train. Good views also over to my first summit of the day, Elidir Fawr and the North Wales coast. It was when I topped out that I had my only sighting of the feral mountain goats that are in this area. You usually spot them on the crags and hard to get places but there was a small group on the grassy plateau enjoying the grass no doubt.
Across to Pen yr Ole Wen and down the Nant Ffancon Valley
The way up Y Garns ridge
View down the Ogwen Valley
Mountain goats
View back down the Ogwen Valley from the top of the ridge
My way forward to Elidir Fawr the highest summit
Billy & Kid
The Snowdon train making it's way up from Llanberis
 I had decided to take the lower path towards Elidir Fawr that goes under Foel Goch summit as I was going to visit that on the way back. At this time I wasn't sure whether I'd carry on to the other summit's or not, just a case of seeing how it panned out and if my legs could take it. There was a fair bit of descent & re-ascent to do as I wanted to make my final descent down through the Devils Kitchen and back along the shoreline of Llyn Idwal. (The Devil’s Kitchen is the name given to the dark, black crack which splits the rock of Clogwyn y Geifr (Cliff of the Goat) between Y Garn and Glyder Fawr. The Welsh name for Devil’s Kitchen is Twll Du, meaning ‘black hole’. Twll Du is known as the Devil’s Kitchen because of the plume of steam that is often seen rising from the crack resembling a chimney. It’s said when steam can be seen rising from the chimney, the Devil was cooking)
There is some mild scrambling to be had on the ridge up to Elidir Fawr but I stuck to the path this time round. It was also the place where I saw quite a few other folk coming and going and also where the weather changed in an instant!. Good views, warm and still, suddenly became not so good views, with low cloud and drizzle being blown in from the coast. Not in the weather forecast at all but just shows how it can all change. Gave me a chance to try out my new waterproof but the rain, thankfully didn't amount to much, just made things a bit damp really so the waterproof will have to wait another day :-)
Taking the path on the left
All clear on Elidir Fawr, for now
Snowdon in cloud
Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir
View over to Foel Goch & Y Garn from Elidir Fawr Summit
A misty Elidir Fawr Summit
Views disappearing
Marchlyn Mawr Reservoir through the mist
Y Garn in the mist
I stayed on the summit for about twenty minutes or so while I had some refreshments but the lack of views and drizzle made me move on. Another factor with moving on was the midges and some rather spooky looking black flies knocking about!! They just seemed to come out in sync with the damp conditions that made a relaxing summit not very relaxing! Time to move on. It was here that I made my mind up not to bother with visiting the other two summits as there was no point really in the conditions. I've been there before and as it would of meant just gong there and back I didn't fancy the slog of it. The weather was bound to clear up so later so I made my way back round and up the scree to Foel Goch for some good views down the valley's!!
The scree path up to Foel Goch
Foel Goch Summit
Summit view of Y Garn on the left & Elidir Fawr on the right

Again, on this summit the midges were out in force along with the spooky flies and no views. One thing that did get my attention was the sound of a helicopter somewhere in the Ogwen Valley. It was there for quite some time and when there was a break in the clouds I saw that it was on TRYFAN. I also found out the next day that one or two folk were in a bit of trouble, not fatal but needed assistance. Following the fence line took me back to the ascent path upto Y Garn, my final summit of the day and one that provides the best views, most of the time. To be fair, the damp conditions had disappeared but there was still clouds moving in and out making it a bit atmospheric. Again the midges told me to get a move on and not to hang about too long!
A break in the clouds and the helicopter on Tryfan
A super zoom in on the helicopter
View over to a now clear Elidir Fawr
Y Garn summit in view
Y Garn summit
Summit view down the Ogwen Valley
Summit view of my ascent path to Llyn y Cwn under Glyder Fawr

My ascent path was quite easy to follow, going straight down to Lly y Cwn before picking up the path that takes you down by the Devil's Kitchen. Although the ascent from Y Garn is straight forward the Devils Kitchen path can be a bit awkward in places. There are lots of laid out stepping stones but it is steep in places and crossing a stream or two but the views do take your mind of it and I was soon at the Idwal Slabs where quite a few folk do a lot of rock climbing
Looking back up to Y Garn from Llyn y Cwn
Reflection on Llyn y Cwn
View down to Llyn Idwal with Pen y Ole Wen as the backdrop
Llyn Idwal from the Devils Kitchen
The Devils Kitchen
The Devils Kitchen
Climbers on Idwal Slabs
A straight forward walk back to the car following the path from this morning taking me on the path that brings you out next to the information centre. There was a coastguard helicopter flying around Cwm Idwal for quite a bit that looked like they were on a training exercise that made for some good viewing as they hovered and made there way very carefully round the Cwm.  I also had a first look at the old Roman bridge that sits under the main A5 bridge. Been over it a thousand times and I suspect thousands of other people have as well and not realized it's there. I have seen photo's of it but before today, never seen it for real. A little piece of history tucked away.
The Devils Kitchen & Y Garn above Llyn Idwal
Y Garn

Cwm Idwal
Cwm Idwal
Path leading to the Information Centre
Roman Bridge
Roman Bridge

Back at the car for 4.30pm so another great day in the Glyderau mountains of Snowdonia :-)