The Three Parks Cycle trail is a reasonably long path between Cross Keys and Parc Taff Bargoed. From the...
Wild and pathless route up Moel Siabod.
Start and Finish: Pen y Gwryd to Capel Curig
Facilities: Pub at start and end
Sherpa buses between start and finish.
Parking: Limited and paid for at Pen y Gwryd.
Parking Post Code for Sat Nav: LL55 4NT
Weather Forecast: Met Office Snowdonia Mountain Weather
Carnedd Moel Siabod from Pen y Gwryd
This is another of those quiet, wild and pathless routes that were typical of the routes I published on Walk Eryri. Carnedd Moel Siabod is probably better ascended from the Capel Curig side, usually by scrambling up Daear Ddu.This walk was more of an addon to a wild camp than anything else, but shows you can ascend Siabod from this side too if you fancy a change.
The walk starts from opposite the Pen y Gwryd hotel. There’s a stile here, cross over it and follow the path past the pill box and veer right. The path becomes faint in places, and rather boggy. I found this out about the same time as I realised that it wasn’t the best walk to be testing out my Scarpa Helium trail shoes. So, a new record was set for getting feet wet during the walk of eight minutes. Was I glad I’d packed extra socks.
As the path is quite faint, you might be best heading uphill to your left. You arrive within about ten minutes at some rock outcrops, with a large flat, boggy expanse between you and the ascent route. The best bet here is to keep right, where there are some grassy rock outcrops, and skirt around the boggy section. Just past this, the route starts to go uphill again along a river. This was to be our wild camp for the night. It had taken us over half an hour to cover the terrain, which considering how rough it was, was quite respectable.
The pitch was probably one of the best ones I’ve found. Pristine, plentiful water supply that was easily accessible and flat. Oh, and probably the best view of the Snowdon Horseshoe that you can get from anywhere. If you need one reason to do this walk, it has to be the view. As they say, seeing is believing, so click on the picture above and below to see for yourself.
The sun had set while we pitched the tent, but instead of the Horseshoe we were rewarded with an exceptionally starry night. The Milky Way was visible, and we ended up cooking and eating outside until about 9pm. The lights from cars on the Llanberis Pass occasionally illuminated us, reminding us that we weren’t that far from civilisation. We observed lights low on Snowdon for a while too, wondering what they were up to. I can imagine that a small group of people were camped there, staring intently at the small lights moving about low on Moel Siabod and wondering what we were up to.
Morning was later than planned. I blame that on the luxurious Exped down matress I had lain on. So it was about 10am by the time we’d restarted out walk, and we continued along the stream and headed for the rocky outcrops above.
It’s very much a head for the skyline, but avoiding bogs, sort of route and you aren’t likely to keep your feet dry for most of it. The point on the map you are heading for is Bwlch Rhiw’r Ychen, and just prior to this, there’s a large expanse of bog. We veered left around it, towards a fence we spotted. This fence is shown on the map, and at SH 676 542 four fences converge. Cross the stile and keep to the left, and you soon start uphill.
The walk up to Siabod from this side is quite grassy, and with little drama. The highlights are the views down to Llynnoedd Diwaunydd, and views back over to Yr Wyddfa (why you should be walking this route in reverse). After an inital climb, you descend a short slope before the ascent begins in earnest. It’s not a slog, it’s mostly a gently climb, with a few sharp pulls. The biggest decision is which side of the fence to ascend. There is a path on both sides, but we kept left as it was the clearest path.
Towards the summit, the path does fade out. The best bet is to stay close to the fence as you near the summit as the path follows that for most of the way. The fence isn’t on the map, but is a continuation of the fence that is shown, along the parish boundary markings (the … symbol). The summit itself is to the right on the plateau, and is only a brief walk off the path to the trig point. Views are extensive, but the haze had cut this off today. At the very least you can look down the impressive Daear Ddu and wished you’d come up that way.
Leave the summit towards the shelter, and pass it. We kept right along the summit ridge, but you need to drop off left to hit the main path. In good visiblity you can see it from the ridge and clamber down to it, but it’s not too obvious otherwise. Neither is it’s start so you need to be aware of where the path is – which for starters isn’t on the map. Once on the path, it’s an easy walk down to Capel. Some bits are boggy, others eroded, but it’s reasonably easy underfoot.
The final section is a pleasant walk down through the forest, which is never too steep. You will arrive at a track across the path, turn left, then immediately down a path to your right. This brings you out opposite Plas Y Brenin. Cross the footbridge, admire the iconic view of the Horseshoe, and follow the path to the main road. Turn right here and you are by the Pinnacle Stores in 5 mins.