Most of the routes up Siabod can be done from Capel, with only the lonely Moel Gid taking you off towards the Moelwynion in the south. Starting by following an easy, riverside section of the Eryri Way, the route soon becomes steep and challenging, while never being too obvious to follow. The summit of Siabod provides a peerless view towards the Snowdon Horseshoe and the Carneddau. There are two options as to the start of the route, either the centre of Capel Curig, or Pont Cyfyng just outside it on the A5 towards Betws y Coed. The route from Capel is described; common sense can be applied to do the walk starting from Pont Cyfyng.
The Route The Sherpa bus, if available (check timetables), can drop you off at Plas y Brenin mountain centre, or if you’ve parked near Joe Brown’s then it’s only a few minutes walk down the road. Just past the centre, where all the drivers stop to take a pretty iconic photo of Yr Wyddfa, there’s a footpath to your left. If the weather is clear, you’ll get one of your best photos from here. Continue over the footbridge and left along the forestry track. It should be pretty obvious where to go, just keep the river to your left until you reach the footbridge at Cobdens. There are some notches in the rock to walk through, and pretty much any route parallel to the river will take you towards the riverbank walk and the last stretch across a grassy field to Pont Cyfyng.
Follow the track left at the end of the field, and then the minor road right, taking care not to follow the track that’s a drive for the houses here. Barely 100m up the road, a tarmac drive leads sharply right. It is clearly signposted “Moel Siabod” as is most of the track as far as the upper Rhos Quarry reservoir. The track soon relents, and once past the farm, the track is obvious.
If you want to tackle Daear Ddu, then continue along the path to the reservoir and follow the path to Llyn y Foel. This route takes us along a quieter ridge directly ahead. The path is unclear in places, but if you keep to the ridge you should be fine. You’ll either be stopped by the sheer cliffs to your left or end up contouring around the hill where you’ll eventually hit the motorway from Plas y Brenin. Some sections are a little steep, but these are followed by easier sections where you can recover.
The final section is along a very pleasant, undulating rocky ridge that could by some stretch of the imagination be called a scramble, but can be avoided by keeping to the grassy path that skirts it right to an obvious stile. If you do take the ridge, there are some tasty drops to your left with views of Siabod’s corrie lake – Llyn y Foel. You’ll clamber over plenty of boulders and then one gully that needs skirting before you reach a grassy path that leads to the summit.
Being beside, but not within the inner circle of Eryri’s elite, means you get a panorama of those hills across from Moelwyn Mawr, to Hebog, Nantlle, Yr Wyddfa, Glyderau and across to the Carneddau that’s one to savour. On a clear, fine day, you could (should?) spend a few hours on here
Descent can be a little tricky as there is no clear path on the summit itself. You’ll need to take a bearing in mist (and quite possibly in clear weather!). Note that there are no footpaths marked on the OS map for this mountain, which considering the clear paths that ascend it, is rather disappointing. This can make navigating off the hill rather difficult without knowing where the paths are before hand – the map is not much use in this respect. At least the Harveys’ Mountain Maps show the path up to the lake, then Llyn y Foel and up Daear Du, and then the eroded ‘tourist’ path directly down to Plas y Brenin.
On the OS map, the path starts at SH711 559, around half way down, and one way to tackle the descent is to take a bearing to this and follow it but bearing slightly to your left as you leave the summit.Of course, the attached GPX file is a log of the route, so that’ll give you an idea if you can download it. Once you’re on the path however, it’s a doddle. I’m always perplexed by these sort of paths which start off wide and clear that then choose to vanish without trace within a certain distance of the summit.
The track is a bit eroded in places, but takes a no-nonsense approach to descent. Once in the forest, you’re soon down to the track you started on in the morning, you just need to follow this back to Capel and a well earned pint!