This is one of the best walks in the area. If you want to get a feel for these spacious hills, then this walk provides all that. Of course, you could start from the North, or even from Bethesda or the remote Eastern cwms, and all of them excellent choices.
The main advantage of this one, is that you minimise ascent, and it’s a short walk considering the ground covered (shortest walk from Ogwen to Aber). The sun is also to your back, but a lot of the view is behind you. The ascent via the short scramble from Glan Dena is a more interesting ascent, meaning you can take it easy on the long, rambling descents to the north.
The Route starts at the Capel Curig end of Llyn Ogwen, at the farm marked on the map as Glan Dena. Follow the track as far as the next farm, Tal y Llyn Ogwen which is private according to the sign on their gate. The Ordnance Survey show a footpath going through the farm, so it may be that old trick of Private – as in no cars etc. Anyway, we’re not going to argue with them today, as our route takes us right, along the flagged path.
Views from here are excellent of Tryfan and Y Garn. However, keep going as there is far to go. Soon, you will come to the ford shown on the 1:25000 map. This was not apparent on the ground, as there had been heavy rain and the river was in spate. I eventually had to wade across, well, it was halfway up to my knees anyway. What didn’t help was that the rocks were all slimy with algae, making the use of stones nigh on impossible. The path now becomes less distinct, either that or i’d lost the path again. However, you will eventually get to the stile in the wall, next to a padlocked gate, and just beyond this you need to leave this path and start the ascent proper.
The junction in the path is soon found to your left, and again this path is rather difficult to follow. Above you, some distance away, you can see a gully in the cliff. This is what you’re aiming for, and if you can’t do a bit of simple scrambling, then this walk isn’t for you. Still, if I can manage it, and can barely lift my left foot above my right knee, then it shouldn’t be that hard. If the rocks were wet, then it’s possible that the gully could be treacherous, but then, any rocky scramble isn’t going to be improved by rain.
Beyond this short, but steep, scramble you will find an easier and more distinct footpath. This is easily followed to the unremarkable summit of Pen yr Ole Wen. Make sure you take advantage of a few promontories for views over Ffynnon Lloer far below. Now, and not for the last time today, you will have to wander aimlessly on a rocky plateau before regaining the path. Keep to the right, but beware the drop! If you are uncertain, then take a bearing. In heavy mist, you will need to take a bearing from all the summits to find the way down. Once found, the path will follow the ridge around, and, less clearly, to the summit of Carnedd Dafydd.
The ridge to Carnedd Llywelyn is much longer, and a little more exposed to the left, but easy to navigate. The path will take you, directly up to the summit cairn. You could descend here and bag Yr Elen while you’re at it, or return to Ogwen via Pen yr Helgi Du, it is definately the hub of the range. Probably why it was the busiest point on the walk. This walk will descend to Foel Grach along a broad, grassy (and boggy) ridge, before arriving at Garnedd Uchaf, neither of which are summits worth writing home (or on a webpage) about. You do though, have a great view of Yr Elen, and wish perhaps that you’d gone off course to get there. Next time perhaps.
It’s downhill all the way now. You could, of course, carry on over Foel Fras and descend to Aber that way, although it is slightly longer. The path we take allows you to explore some interesting tops, if time permits, and you stay up high for longer. The path from Garnedd Uchaf (always has been and always will be!) is indistinct and boggy. It tends to wander off towards points of interest, as opposed to getting you off the hill. So, depending what you want to do, keep to the right path. If you want to descend as soon as possible, then keep left, without dropping too much altitude, you should be crossing across the ridge a few kilometres down and don’t want to lose altitude you’ll then have to regain.
Secondly, you can visit the stone playgrounds of Bera Bach and Bera Mawr. Ok, Bach is Small, and Mawr is Large, but someone got it wrong. The smaller one is a full thirteen metres higher. The two tops are piles of rocks that would not be out of place on either of the Glyderau. If it’s a pleasant day, then you could well spend an hour or so here, but if not, then it’s up to you. You could even tackle Bera Mawr and then descend to Aber Falls as an alternative, there is a path that crosses above and then
across a scree slope. The track becomes much clearer from now on, and often rutted by tyre tracks.
You will soon arrive at a wide, flat col (need I add, boggy?) where you need to veer right and follow a path that contours Moel Wnion. This is clear for most of it’s length, until you arrive under the large pylons. An obvious track leads right, and this is missing on the OS map, and could presumably be an easier way down. Our route takes us downhill, and through a couple of rough meadows (Ffridd Ddu) before we arrive at the North Wales path. (Note that there is no right of access here, but I’ve never had a problem.)
Take this right and follow for a short distance until it turns left sharply downhill. The track then either takes you left through the trees or right, sharply downhill. Turn right, and you should be in Aber in about fifteen minutes.Conwy Hillwalking Ogwen