Tuesday 17 April 2012

The High Carneddau

Carnedd Dayfdd from Carnedd Llewellyn

This is another of my walks in the Carneddau, from July 27th 2011.

Another gloriously hot and sunny day, with just a light Northerly breeze.
I get the early train fro Llandudno to Llandudno Junction, where I change and hop onto the Blaenau Ffestiniog train.
I'm only going as far as Bettws Y Coed, where I'm catching a Snowdon Sherpa bus to Capel Curig. Luckily it all runs smoothly and I am soon being dropped off where the road turns onto the A4086 at around 9 O'Clock..
There's a little bit of road walking to start until I pass Bron Heulog and head off up the footpath and strike out over the moorland towards Llyn Cowlyd. It's fairly easy going.Birdsong fills the air, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks,Wrens and a Whitethroat all joining in.
The trackway brings me to a man made leat, which I cross and then follow  round as it skirts the bottom of Pen Llithrig Y Wrach (The Slippery Slope of the Witch), across Cwm Tal Y Braich. A family group of 3 Kestrels are hunting in the Cwm and smaller birds are popping up everywhere. Stonechats, Whinchats, Grey Wagtails and Wheatears, a mixture of adults and juveniles.
Llyn Cowlyd

Tryfan and the Ogwen Valley
The leat turns in a South Westerly direction and I follow until it reaches the Southern end of Y Braich. This is the start of my climb up to Pen Yr Helgi Du.
It's steepish but steady going and seems to take ages before I at last see the summit cairn. A ring tail Hen Harrier is quartering the hillside nearby. At 2733 ft this is the smallest of todays hills, but the views from up here are amazing and it's an ideal spot to sit, have a drink and a sandwich and look out over Snowdonia. The distinctive shape of Tryfan and Y Garn on the opposite side of the Ogwen Valley. To the North is the lush valley of Cwm Eigiau  and to the West I can see my next objectives - Carnedd Llewellyn and Carnedd Dafydd.
Summit Cairn, Pen Yr Helgi Du

Bwlch Eryl Farchog

Bwlch Eryl Farchog
Before that though, there's the little matter of Bwlch Yr Eryl Farchog. The ridge that runs between Pen Yr Helgi Du and Carnedd Llewellyn. I retrace my steps a little and join a path of sorts that links up with the ridge. It saves going down the rather steep bit from the summit. It's a narrow ridge but not too narrow. There's a fair old drop either side but nothing too worrying. A bit of scrambling at the end of the ridge by Craig Yr Isfa and then Its the start of the slog up to the summit of Carnedd Llewellyn. A well worn track zig zags its way upwards to the top. After a couple of stops to take in the views and take breath, I'm there at the second highest point in Wales - 1064m/3491 ft. I don't linger for long, because I know that I'll be back here again after my detour over to Carnedd Dafydd and back. I didn't want to get all the way up here and not bag Dafydd as well.
Ffynon Llugwy from Bwlch Eryl Farchog

Looking back to Pen Yr Helgi Du from Craig Yr Isfa

Cwm Eigiau from Craig Yr Isfa
So I head down to Bwlch Cyfryw Drum and across Cefn Ysgolion Duon and up to the Summit Cairn of Carnedd Dafydd at 1044m/3425ft the third highest in Wales. The clouds are rolling in now and Llewellyn has completely disappeared. But it's not long before the blue skies return once more.
I retrace my steps. Ravens call from the steep cliffs of Ysgolion Duon and there's a familiar call of a Chough as I pass back over Bwlch Cyfryw Drum.
Bwlch Cyfryw Drum from Carnedd Llewellyn

Low cloud rolling over Carnedd Llewellyn

Carnedd Dafydd

Soldiers heading into the mist towards Pen Yr Ole Wen
There are a few people up on Carnedd Llewellyn, though not half as many as I thought that there would be. I cross over the summit and through the boulder field, North Eastwards to Foel Grach (976 m/3202 ft) my third 3000 footer of the day.There's a fair size cairn on the summit here.
Foel Grach

Bwlch Eryl Farchog from Foel Grach
Next its West over the grass moorland to join the footpath which is marked on the OS map but not recognisable on the ground. I head towards the Northern foot of Pen Yr Helgi Du to join Afon Eigiau. There are old work buildings and spoil tips showing that this was quite an industrious place in its day.I find a proper track which leads me through Cwm Eigiau, past the ruined farmhouse of Cedryn. After a while, I leave the track and follow the footpath up over the hill, past another ruined farmhouse (Eilio), over another hill, down the other side... under the massive water pipe which comes from Llyn Cowlyd and out on to a tarmaced lane near Siglen. It's a bit of a hard slog from here. My legs are tiring and the road seems to go on forever, before dropping steeply down into the village of Trefriw, where I get a cold can of Pepsi and an Ice Cream. From Trefriw there's a long lane to the river, where a footbridge crosses Afon Conwy. A few more yards and I am at the station for a welcome sit down to wait for the train. Ten and a half hours of hill walking, over 20 miles and taking in three more of the 3000 footers and some great countryside. All in all another terrific day in the mountains.  

Old Quarry Workings in Cwm Eigiau

Quarry Buildings in Cwm Eigiau


Bridge over the Conwy at Trefriw

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