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All the Walking Routes up Cnicht

By Dave Roberts   

on May 10, 2018    4.5/5 (4)

All the Walking Routes up Cnicht

Facts and Figures about Cnicht

Cnicht Facts: 
Where is Cnicht?

Cnicht can be found in the Moelwynion hills in Snowdonia, North Wales. That’s very roughly between Beddgelert, Porthmadog and Blaenau Ffestiniog.

How High is Cnicht in metres / feet?
689 metres or 2260 feet
How long will it take to walk up Cnicht ?

The usual route from Croesor shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.

How Far is it to the top of Cnicht? 

The usual route from Croesor is 3 km long, or just under 2 miles long.

How hard is it to climb Cnicht 

Compared to something like Snowdon, then the walk up and down Cnicht is comparatively easy at under half the distance. However, the Croesor route does have a very short section of scrambling just below the summit.

What’s the best walking route up Cnicht?

Take a full day out and walk the Cnicht and Moelwynion circuit.

Which is the easiest walking route up Cnicht ?

The route from Croesor would be the easier route as it’s the only one with a clear path all the way, just be aware of the ‘bad step’ just below the summit.

Map showing all the routes up Cnicht

View the full route map

All the Walking Routes up Cnicht Introduction

Cnicht is known as the Welsh Matterhorn owing to it’s pointy shape when seen from Porthmadog and nearby. However, this is an illusion, and from other angles the mountain looks far less impressive as it’s a long ridge. The usual approach is from Croesor, but despite it being a relatively simple mountain, there are a surprising number of approaches that can be taken to climb it.

Effectively, Cnicht can be approached either from one end of the summit ridge, or the other. That would make for a tedious article, so what we are describing are the different practical approaches that can be taken in order to reach these two points. You can also include Cnicht as part of a full traverse across the Moelwynion, either across Cnicht to Dolwyddelan, or over Moel Siabod, or as an outing along with Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach.

Why is it called Cnicht –  It’s the Old English word for a knight’s helmet.  That probably makes Cnicht the only mountain in Snowdonia that doesn’t actually have a Welsh language name. Arguably, neither does it have an English one – just Old English.

What pubs are good for Cnicht. None really convenient, but the Ring Llanfrothen is the best in the area. If you’re setting off from Beddgelert, then we usually pop into the Tanronnen Inn or the Prince Llewelyn.

Cnicht From Croesor

Height Gained – 490 metres ,  Distance – 3 km, Time –2 hours

The most popular approach, but don’t let that put you off. It’s a varied walk, that isn’t shy of getting on with the important job of gaining altitude. It becomes steeper as you get higher, culminating in a short and steep scramble to the summit. As it seems all mountains seem to have one, let’s call it the Cnicht “bad step” – as there is one section of scrambling that appears tough at first but can be easily avoided around the side. Anyone who loves a scramble will of course lap this bonus up.

Cnicht via Llyn Llagi and Llyn Yr Adar from Llyn Dinas

Height Gained – 665 metres ,  Distance –8 km, Time –3 hours

This is a lengthy route that essentially starts on the Nanmor back road, which you can walk to either from Nant Gwynant, Llyn Dinas or even Beddgelert if you want a really long day. The distance given is from Llyn Dinas, reduce it to 5km with 520m of ascent if ascending directly from Nanmor. The route up is on a rough path, which can be wet in places. The highlights are the views back over towards Snowdon and the cliffs of Craig Llyn-llagi with their waterfall that towers over Llyn Llagi. Llyn yr Adar is a surprise when you finally top out, with Cnicht a short and occasionally boggy plod away.

Cnicht Gelli Iago Bwlch y Batell

Height Gained – 480 metres ,  Distance – 2.6 km, Time –2 hours

Another approach from Nanmor, though you could approach from Llyn Dinas o Nant Gwynant, sets off from Gelli Iago. This property was restored by the National Trust and is run as the Nantmor Mountain Centre – which can be hired out by groups (or extravagant solo walkers who want to stump up the £100 minimum nightly charge!). Setting off along the stream of Blaen Nantmor  up Cwm Gelli-iago, the route takes a grassy shoulder up to just below the summit of Cnicht. You then have to join the hordes on the final section as it shares the final few 100m with the Croesor Path.

This route can also be reached from Croesor for an alternative circular walk that’s outlined – here.

Cnicht From Llyn Edno

Height Gained – 750 metres ,  Distance – 10 km, Time –3.5 hours

This is essentially an alternative approach to the Llyn yr Adar approach starting from Nant Gwynant. The approach path is rough, non-existent in places and follows the Afon Llynedno for most of it’s length. You’ll need to be able to read a map for this approach, which can be tricky in descent on one of the final sections. But it’s worth it when you arrive at Llyn Edno! It’s a wet plod over the multiple summits of Ysgafell Wen before you take a pathless route to join the Llyn yr Adar route to Cnicht.

Cnicht from Beddgelert

Height Gained – 770 metres ,  Distance – 9 km, Time –3 hours

Cnicht is a feasible day walk from Beddgelert, and arguably has the most impressive approach via the Aberglaslyn Gorge. This route joins the old road over towards Croesor and joins the Croesor Path for the remainder of the walk.

Cnicht via Rhosydd from Croesor or Tanygrisiau

Height Gained – 620 metres ,  Distance – 7.5 km, Time –3 hours

You can also approach Cnicht from Croesor by going via Bwlch y Rhosydd as an alternative to the more direct route – essentially joining the Llyn yr Adar approach for the final section. There are so many different ways in order to get to Bwlch y Rhosydd that it would justify an article in itself – with an approach from Tanygrisiau -which would be an interesting day out.

Cnicht via the Moelwynion

Height Gained – 1000 metres ,  Distance – 12.5 km, Time –5 hours

The longest approach to Cnicht is via the Moelwynion – Moelwyn Bach and Mawr. There’s little doubt that this is the best circulat hill day out to include Cnicht! We say that, as the complete traverse of the Moelwynion from Cnicht to Dolwyddelan or to Moel Siabod is a recommended big day out!


Local Information and Recommended Maps and Guidebooks

Recommended Maps

Cnicht Guidebooks:

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Dave Roberts

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