This walk makes use of the Monsal Trail, but gets over it’s linear nature by returning over higher ground...
The approach from Dolwyddelan is shorter and quieter than that from Capel Curig.
Start and Finish: Dolwyddelan
Facilities: Shop and pub in Dolwyddelan
Hazards: Scrambling and some pathless navigation
Dolwyddelan is on the Conwy Valley Line, so well connected from Llandudno Junction and Blaenau Ffestiniog.
Parking: On road in village
Parking Post Code for Sat Nav:
Moel Siabod and Carnedd y Cribau from Dolwyddelan
Moel Siabod is, more commonly, ascended from Capel Curig though there is a perfectly good route from this side of the hill. Not only does it ascend the Daear Ddu ridge, but it extends the route across some less often visited terrain and turns what is usually only a short day into something a little more satisfying.
Starting from the village centre – near the Spar and the Gwydr pub, follow the main road towards Betws y Coed and after 100m there’s a left hand turn past some houses.
This soon turns into a steep green lane and is initially a sharp pull up that thankfully, soon relents and levels out.
Unfortunately though, as it levels out, it becomes a little less interesting as a path and turns into forestry track. It’s thankfully easy enough on the feet though. Follow the track as it turns left and down over the bridge marked on the map as Sarn yr Offeiriad . This used to be a byway across from Dolwyddelan to Capel Curig, though no longer open to traffic and certainly not passable in places to anything but the walker or the mountain biker.
There’s a convenient sign just past the bridge that directs you right to Capel and left up to Moel Siabod. It’s still forestry for a while, and when the track ends, there’s an easy path through the forest.
Where it finally leaves the forestry next to the stream, the path becomes much harder to follow and is easily lost Keep to the right hand bank of the river, and once you regain the path uphill the navigation is a little easier. After not too much ascent, Llyn y Foel appears, out of the mist as it was when we did the walk. Following the bank left, the path is obvious.
You can either tackle Daear Ddu head on, or follow a path to the left of the ridge. Either is a decent option, but the scramble is never difficult and is probably the preferred option. We missed it today in the mist and found the faint path below it. Steepens towards summit and you appear to the west of the summit, but not far below. The actual ridge has the benefit of coming out on the summit itself, which is always more satisfying.
One of the best things about ascending any mountain is the views, and Siabod certainly doesn’t disappoint. With a view directly into Snowdon’s Horseshoe in one direction, and with views of just about all the Eryri hills in the other, you’ll not be disappointed. That is, unless you choose a misty day like I have on about 90% of my trips to the summit.
The shortest route is back the way you came, or to Capel Curig. The more interesting route is down the broad grassy ridge of Moel Gid and down to Bwlch Rhiw’r Ychen. You may need some compass work to get off the summit, but once you reach the fence your navigation is much easier.
At the bwlch, we ascended Carnedd y Cribau, which is one of the area’s hidden gems. Not hitting the so called magic ‘600’ (or heaven forbid, the ancient measure of two thousand ‘foot’) it is generally ignored. It isn’t easy terrain either, with the stretch of Moelwynion from this point up until Ysgafell Wen being the roughest bit of hill outside the Rhinogydd.
The summit of Carnedd y Cribau is certainly a surprise as you find the tiniest tarn on the summit. If there’s good clarity, you’ll no doubt take a classic image of Snowdon from here with the tarn in the foreground. On this trip, we made the most of it and camped here quite early in the day. It was a camping trip, more than a walking one as we’d camped in the forest the previous night and decided we couldn’t be bothered walking to Llyn Edno today. In fact, the summit of this hill proved to be an idyllic spot. With a virtually flat pitch, uninterrupted views, some shelter and a supply of water this is possibly one of the best spots I’ve camped.
Descent from Carnedd y Cribau is either on along the ridge to Bwlch Ehediad, or a quicker return is back to the Bwlch Rhiw’r Ychen and straight on down to Llynnau Diwaunydd. While the dog leg makes the route less elegant, the return route has its own qualities. The initial descent is very steep and walking poles will help. Following a faint path that contours high above the lake, it’s wet in places but you’re quickly down to the far end of the lakes and the ruined boathouse.
It is unfortunately a destination for less responsible wild campers and they’d left a right mess in the form of a large fire, where the lake shore would have allowed them a campfire without the impact. The view from here back towards Carnedd y Cribau has to be one of my favourites in the park, partially because it’s unkown to most people. The images of it here were on a wild camp a few years back.
The final leg of the walk is to follow the forestry track down to the road, and it does seem to go on forever. Once at the road, turn left and after less than a kilometre the road turns right, but you need to keep left and follow the track uphill through the farmyard.
Keep on this track and before long, the track descends rather muddily to pass close to Castell Dolwyddelan.
Continue downhill, and where the track turns right at the junction, take the left hand green lane. This takes you to the A470 a short distance outside the village, and the end of the walk.Conwy Hillwalking Moel Siabod