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Carnedd Dafydd via Braich Ty Du from Bethesda

By Dave Roberts   

on May 31, 2020    4/5 (2)

Carnedd Dafydd via Braich Ty Du from Bethesda

Further Details

Route Summary:

A route up the little known Braich Ty Du ridge into the Carneddau from Bethesda. One for the completists only.

This walk includes the Washi of Carnedd Dafydd

This walk includes the 2 Hewitts of Carnedd Dafydd, Pen yr Ole Wen

This walk includes the 2 Nuttalls of Carnedd Dafydd, Pen yr Ole Wen

Route Start Location: Bethesda - Carnedd Dafydd

6.03 km 881 m 3 hours ONE WAY

Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.

Activivity Type: Strenuous Walk

Summits and Places on this Route


All local facilities at start.


The route is pathless and boggy.

Remember that we cannot outline every single hazard on a walk – it’s up to you to be safe and competent. Read up on Mountain Safety , Navigation and what equipment you’ll need.

Parking :

Limited roadside parking in Bethesda.

Public Transport:

Buses available between Bangor and Bethesda

Traveline for UK Public Transport

Recommended Maps


Carnedd Dafydd via Braich Ty Du from Bethesda Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download

Download file for GPS

Carnedd Dafydd via Braich Ty Du from Bethesda

There are a number of walks into the Carneddau from Bethesda, but the route up Braich Ty Du is rarely mentioned. It’s a wild and largely pathless walk up Pen yr Ole Wen’s broad northish ridge that lacks the grandeur of the Cwm Llafar and Caseg approaches, but nevertheless makes an alternative circular route in combination with one of the more popular routes. It would also make an interesting winter approach for those looking for a less technical route. The route described does not include Pen yr Ole Wen, but as the route requires a fair bit of navigation, anyone undertaking the walk should be able to work out how to get there!

Carnedd Dafydd via Braich Ty Du Route Description

1 The walk starts at Braichmelyn at the Ogwen end of Bethesda, at the junction of the A5 and B4409 (near the Austin Taylor factory – SH626 659). Follow the A5 towards Capel Curig until you reach the junction to your left marked ‘Braichmelyn’ and a Snowdonia National Park Marker.

2 Follow this road for a 100m before turning right up Rhes James / James Street past typical Quarrymen’s cottages. You soon come to a farm yard, pass through this to the gate at the far end and enter the forest. It’s a pleasant change to start a walk in woodland, with the only navigation required when you cross a wide forestry track. It’s not immediately obvious, but turn left and then the continuing path to your right becomes clear.

2 You’re soon out of the woodland and onto the open hillside. Navigation depends strongly on handrailing the wall that can lead you most of the way up, but initially it’s best to strike for the high ground ahead. There is a path that contours, but it is not apparent on the ground. Once onto this first section of high ground, you’ll come to the stone wall that should be followed.

3 It’s steady at first, before crossing the boggy area around the Afon Berthen at SH641 643.

4 You’re now on the broad ridge, with a small uphill pull leading to another level area before the ridge becomes seriously steep if you follow the wall. A path veers off to the left that avoids the steeper section. Once you’re past this, all that remains is to climb a uniform slope to the ridge above. You can continue on the ‘ridge’ to Pen yr Ole Wen, but by now you realise there’s not much of a ridge left and you’re best aiming for the bwlch at Carnedd Fach.

5 Once on the ridge it’s an easy pull up to Carnedd Dafydd. From here there’s a number of routes you can take back to Bethesda. You can directly descend down Moel Meirch, but would lead to a short and unsatisfying day. Much better is to continue to Carnedd Llewelyn and either descend Yr Elen or continue onward to descend the Aryg Ridge back into Bethesda.

Dave Roberts founded Walk Eryri in 2004, with the aim of providing routes that are off the beaten track. Walk Eryri is now part of Mud and Routes which continues to provide more off beat routes and walks in Snowdonia and beyond. Dave has been exploring the hills of Eryri for over thirty years, and is a qualified Mountain Leader. Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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