Carnedd y Filiast Cwm Ceunant Circuit
Short, but tough route more suited as a start to a full traverse of the Glyderau Ridge (or as a descent of course!)
|6 km||625 m||3 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Near Bethesda
All usual facilities in Bethesda.
Navigational skills essential on this route.
none – you’ll need to walk from Bethesda.Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable):
very very limited!
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Carnedd y Filiast Cwm Ceunant Circuit Route Map and GPX Download
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Carnedd y Filiast Cwm Ceunant Circuit Details
The Northern end of the Glyderau receive far less attention than the popular area around Ogwen, but can provide an interesting and quieter approach to these hills. This was an interesting afternoon circuit around Cwm Ceunant, with either leg being suitable as a starting point for a more substantial walk across the Glyderau.
Don’t be fooled by the short distance covered as this is all challenging terrain. Expect it to take a good three hours or more.
1 The route starts on the old road parallel to the A5 in Nant Ffrancon. Parking may well be an issue here, with very limited parking for a car or two. You could start in Ogwen and make it a longer circuit for a full day’s outing. We stopped off at SH631 633.
2 Follow the road away from Ogwen, and past the outdoor centre at Tai-newyddion. There’s a stile to your left which you’ll need to take into the rather wet field.
3 The next section is steep and largely pathless, but doesn’t pose any major issues other than climbing steeply. We attempted to find an easier route up by contouring around, but it wasn’t an elegant route, but serves the purpose. There’s an intermittent path, which you may or may not find.
4 There’s certainly a path once you reach the 400m contour (SH625 635) that provides some relief as it follows this contour south for a few 100m until you reach some sheepfolds (marked on the map).
5 You need to turn right at the sheepfolds, along the best path so far, and the route becomes much more obvious as you approach the wide ridge up to Carnedd y Filiast. Aim for the far right edge of the ridge, where a path works its way up. It’s a bit scrambly in places, and like many of these type of routes, the path seems to vanish over rocks at each turn. However, the next section is usually easy enough to find and we found we could follow this path up to the summit without problems.
6 The summit area can be complicated, but we headed on along to the right of the summit (which is also the descent point),which is a direct and boulder scramble. You can also follow a path from the grassy area below the summit (approaching from the NE) which is the descent path we took. Views from Carnedd y Filiast are extensive, especially towards Elidir Fawr and Tryfan.
7 Descend the path NE, towards the grassy area below the summit and NW through the ‘notch’ that marks the descent to Fronllwyd. It’s not an easy summit to descend in mist, as the path isn’t on the map, and it seems someone has marked red blazes on the rocks to make this easier. It now seems to be the trick to actually try and obscure these in some way on the way down. We’ve already mentioned this as being pure vandalism of the mountain, and keeping them obscured is the least offensive option.
8 The path is steep and loose in places, but it’s best to keep to the lip of Cwm Ceunant until you reach the bwlch. Continue to the next summit, a 721 spot height sometimes known as Fronllwyd, which is actually the ridge you’ll be following down. The views are now dominated by the Penrhyn quarries.
9 Follow Y Fronllwyd (which is named Fronllwydd on some maps) along an initially clear path, which descends steeply along and between heathery rocks towards the final sections. It reaches a wet, flat area at SH621 641 where a faint path contours on to your right.
10 Follow this final path, which contours around towards Cwm Ceunant until you can head downhill safely. There was a faint path on the route we chose, which was steep in places, but not so steep that we were holding on with our fingernails! Definitely a kind of grassy decent where walking poles come in handy.
11 Finally, the ground levels out, and we headed for a gate which leads toa cycletrack. Turn right on the path, and rejoin the minor road you started off on. It may only have been 6km, but it feels twice that!