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Snowdonia Peaks

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Easter Bunny of The Carneddau 17-4-2017

I wanted to take advantage of the Easter break with a visit to an area I hadn't been to for seven years, 2010 being the last time I was in this valley and always vowed to re visit for a longer day out. I have wanted to do the Cwm Eigau Horeshoe since then after seeing a few reports about it and thinking that it would be a great mountain day out. Monday seem ed like it was to be the best day weather wise, as well as being the most favorable day for me to get out as Jill was working so the date was set. CWM EIGIAU sits at the end of a single track road that needs a bit of care but worth the effort to get there. One of the more quiet and wild parts of Snowdonia sits on the Eastern edge of the CARNEDDAU MOUNTAINS The weather wasn't at it's best and I sat out a heavy shower before setting off along the path that takes you towards the LLYN MELYNLLYN. Thankfully the rain had eased off and it was more of a mixture between light drizzle and low cloud coming and going for a few hours. A stiff breeze would come along now and again so it was waterproofs, hat and gloves for the best part, quite unlike my last two days out where sun cream and sun hats were the order of the day!!
My route for the day
Looking down in to Cwm Eigau and the return route
Straight out of the car park towards Clogwynyreryr
Looking back down towards the car park with Moel Eilio as the backdrop
I headed round the path to the stile and fencline junction where I headed off straight down towards the Afon Melynllyn which I had to cross. Despite the rain it wasn't too bad and I managed it without any mishaps :-) A straight plod up the bank following the fencline proved to be a bit tiring as it is longer than it looked, as is always the case. It was also quite boggy but I managed to avoid most of the really wet areas, apart from the stuff coming out of the clouds!! Hood up, hood down, hood back up, the weather didn't really know what to do and it teased with a couple of glimpses of blue sky, more in hope than anything. One thing that did look OK, was that despite the light rain, the cloud was generally off the mountain tops so all was not lost, yet!
Straight down and straight up :-)
All the tops looking ok for the time being
Easter Bunny by the Afon Melynllyn
Afon Melynllyn crossing point
Looking back on the route so far
Following the fencline
Cloud coming in
Easter bunny showing the way forward
The fence bought me out on the ridge between Drum & Foel Fras and also in the clag that had come down and was now rather damp!! Not what was in the forecast but hey, it'll soon clear, won't it???
A straight forward walk along the fence, then wall, to the summit of Foel Fras where that pesky Easter bunny was waiting on top of the trig, how she got there I don't know but at least we were still smiling :-)
The last clear look back of my route
In to the mist
Approaching Foel Fras
Foel Fras rocky summit
Easter bunny trig attack!
A straight forward and damp walk to the next rocky summit of Carnedd Gwenllian before a wrong turn in the mist nearly saw me heading in the direction of Bera Bach!! A quick look at the GPS app on the mobile soon put that one right! Easily done and I know where I went wrong but the excitement of the day nearly cost me an extra hour or two!! Another learning curve and this time without getting panicky about it. Not too many photo's going across from one summit to the other as the drizzle kept coming and going plus no views of any sort apart from the path way and rocky tops.
Follow that path
Carnedd Gwenllian rocky summit
Easter bunny on Carnedd Gwenllian
After my short mishap, it was on to the summit of Foel Grach and a chance to take a bit of refuge in the emergyncy shelter for a bite to eat and welcome hot coffee. It was here that I decided not to carry on with the whole horseshoe route and to head off the misty tops and make my way down in to the valley for a look round the old quarry. I don't like missing out on such a good route but as I have done all the summits before on different occasions I just didn't fancy walking round in the clag and damp conditions when I had the choice of being lower and having a look round the Cwm. Just means I have to come back in better conditions for the full round and it won't take me seven years next time
Foel Grach emergency shelter
Easter bunny in the emergency shelter
Foel Grach wet summit
Follow that stream
Making my way off Foel Grach
The last time I was here I made my way up from the Cwm so knew I'd be able to get down OK even though it was a bit off piste. There is a path but I was quite a way off that so it was another river crossing, waterfalls and what looks like a bit of plane wreckage. There are quite a few crash sites scattered round the area and I have come across one or two small pieces before and also memorial sites but this piece was quite large and just lying in the stream. I didn't see any other pieces or any indication of a memorial.
The way down
A piece of plane wreckage
The way down
Looking down on Cwm Eigiau and the old quarry
Looking down on Cwm Eigau and the old quarry
Afon Eigiau
Afon Eigiau
Cwm Eigiau
Although there was still a bit of mist on the tops, it was slowly clearing and by the time I'd got to the quarry it was looking quite clear if still a bit on the amp side. One of the good things about this area is the quietness as not many folk seem to venture down here. It is a bit of a walk back to the car park so anyone coming this way has about an hour's walk from the car but at least it's all relatively flat. Another feature of this area is the presence of the wild Carneddau Ponies, although today I only had distant sightings across the valley. They do roam more or less freely all over the Carneddau and I have come across them quite regulary when in the area. There is also quite a bit of rock climbing going on, on the crags of Craig yr Ysfa but no one out today, probably because of the wet conditions.
Carneddau Ponies
Mist lifting from the quarry
Craig yr Ysfa the climbers playground
Old quarry houses
I had a good look round the quarry buildings that sit directly under Pen yr Helgi Du as I've not visited these before. I did pass them on my last visit but didn't really have a proper look round. Not much in the way of old workings or tunnels that I could see but interesting all the same. There is another site just down the valley and you can see where the workings and rail tracks were on that site with the old incline going up the bank to the ridge between Pen Llythrig Wrach & Craig Ffynnon.
Eigiau quarry pit
Eigiau quarry
Eigiau quarry
The golden egg @ Eigiau quarry
Eigiau quarry
Disused quarry showing the incline
A straight forward walk back to the car passing the reservoir, Llyn Eigiau with the collapsed dam wall. CLICK HERE

Llyn & Eigiau & Craig Eigiau
Breached dam wall
Looking back down in to Cwm EigiaU
Blue skies over the Conwy Valley and beyond
Well, another great day out and this is one place that I'll definatley be returning to later this year to do the Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe proper

Cheers :-)

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Cnicht & Moelwyn Mawr 2-4-2017

Back to a favourite part of Snowdonia for a re-visit and also a first visit, as CNICHT & MOELWYN MAWR were the days targets. I have been up Cnicht about half a dozen times over the years and never tire of this great little mountain and its surroundings with all the old slate quarries and small water pools dotted about the area. Moelwyn Mawr on the other hand was new territory as this was the first time to the summit. It had eluded me on a couple of occasions as time was tight so when I saw this as another facebook group meet up I thought the time was right to put it straight. Again, like last week in the Lakes, the weather was just about perfect with sun and blue skies for the most part. As with mountains though, the weather can change in an instant and without warning on the summit of Moelwyn Mawr, it did just that, when the mist rolled in, the wind picked up and it went decidedly chilly for twenty minutes or so. We did manage to take in the splendid views before being obscured but it just goes to show that you can't take anything for granted on the mountains as it can change with a blink of the eye. Fortunately no harm was done and it remained dry and warm for the rest of the descent.
We started at the main car park in CROESOR about 9.15am and headed on the waymarked and easy to follow path up through the woods and in to the clearings before heading towards the pointed profile of Cnicht that has the nickname, "The Welsh Matterhorn", despite being considerably less in height than the more famous namesake but the profile sure makes for a great mountain sight. It's like when you're a kid and you draw what a mountain looks like and from this side there's no better view of it. The more height gained the more the views became more clear with mountains and coast being the focus through the walk. From the seaside town of PORTHMADOG to the highest summit in Wales, SNOWDON and all inbetween on this good clear day.
Our route for the day
The pointy profile of Cnicht
Looking across to Moel Hebog above Beddgellert
Down towards Porthmadog on the coast
Looking down on an old slate quarry
The Snowdon Horseshoe looking all clear
Despite some damp conditions over the last few weeks there wasn't much in the way of wet and boggy ground, a few patches here and there but nothing to write home about, yet :-) , as we made good progress reaching the bottom of the very light and simple scramble up to the summit. In fact there are two tops to Cnicht, the true summit being the first before you descend and re ascend to the next one along the ridge before heading down the bank towards LLYN yr ADAR

Looking down on the Croesor Valley
Across to Moel Hebog & the Nantile Ridge
Admiring the views back down the valley to the coast
Scrambling to the summit
Summit view over to Moelwyn Mawr and more old slate mines
Summit view of the second summit with Moel Siabod in the distance
Summit pano view of Porthmadog, Hebog Range, Nantile Ridge & Yr Aran
Summit views over to the Snowdon Massif
Summit views down the Croesor Valley all the way to Porthmadog on the coast
Looking back at the two summits of Cnicht
 We had a breif rest stop on the summit for the group to regroup and to take in the panoramic views before making our way to Llyn yr Adar and heading down in to what can only be described as a bogfest!! As I mentioned earlier, it had been relatively dry up to now but that was soon to change. The col above the valley sits between the two mountains with a couple of minor tops thrown in for good measure so any rain/snow fall, all seems to gather in this area before making it's way down into the valley and as it's also a quiet part of the world, any paths can soon disappear under water, moss, undergrowth and anything else that decides to grow here, making it a bit hap hazard finding a dry route in any direction. More guess work than following anything but all good fun and at least no one got swallowed up, although that would of been funny :-)
Llyn Yr Adar
The descent route across the bog fields to Moelwyn Mawr
Moelwyn Mawr on the left & Cnicht on the right
Bog fields to Moelwyn Mawr
On the approach to the disused slate quarry
After safely navigating the bog fields we got on to more solid ground and had a bit of time looking round the old quarry. I love snooping round these and could spend a lot more time going in and out of the buildings and looking at the old workings that show how hard the life must of been back then. Very interesting places and also interesting to see how the old buildings were built and the work that must of gone into them. All good stuff. We made our way up one of the steep inclines that must of been an old pulley system
Rhosydd Quarry
Rhosydd Quarry
Rhosydd Quarry
Rhosydd Quarry with Cnicht as the backdrop
Rhosydd Quarry incline
Rhosydd Quarry incline
Looking back down the Rhosydd Quarry incline
After another short rest and regroup it was on the upwards slog and on to Moelwyn Mawr accompanied by some of the local moto cross bike riders. I have come across them here on a couple of occasions and they all seem friendly enough as they go about there business in what is effectively their own backyard, if they are indeed locals. They certainly proved to be no threat to anyone and just seemed to be enjoying the area as much as anyone else. It certainly looked fun and being an ex road biker I know the joy of two wheels :-)
Snowdon Horeshoe over the Cnicht descent ridge
Looking across to Cnicht from Moelwyn Mawr
The smaller Moelwyn Bach
Moto bikers on Moelwyn Mawr
Group summit photo (courtesy of Robin)
Summit pano of Cnicht, Snowdon , Carneddau & Moel Siabod
Moelwyn Mawr descent ridge
Views for miles on Moelwyn Mawr
Out of nowhere the clouds roll in
So this is where the weather changed for twenty minutes or so, so we moved on down the ridgeline as the wind was doing it's best to blow us off!! well not that bad really but it did pick up and had a chill to it. Extra layers went on, only to come off again as we got further down the ridge and onto more flatter ground. A great decent route but looks a bit tiring going up this way as it is quite steep and long, a bit tiring on the old legs.

Moelwyn Mawr and the ascent ridge
Looking across to the old quarries, pools and bog fields
The descent off Moelwyn Mawr
The descent off Moelwyn Mawr
Hello :-)
Across to Cnicht
On flatter ground near to the car park.
A short video from the summit's of Cnicht & Moelwyn Mawr

All what was left to do now was the easy walk back down the lane to the car park where we said our goodbyes to those that had to get going home while a few of us went to the local pub for a last chat and rest before we all went our separate ways back home. Before I made my way home, I called into see the cottage that we used to use every year for a weekend break. A cracking place tucked away down a single track lane next to the Afon Croseor and below a ridge line that for me offers the best views of today's walk and shows off the pointy profile of Cnicht at it's best. Great memories of some great times spent in this area.
Our little cottage
The view from above the cottage. Snowdon on the left, Cnicht centre & the Moelwyn's on the right.
 Thanks to all from the WFP group. Until the next time

Group pub photo ( courtesy of Robin)

Cheers :-)