Walk the Carneddau from Ogwen to Aber via Drum
A traverse is the best way to enjoy the Carneddau, despite the problem of returning to the start.
|21.1 km||1063 m||8 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Glan Dena in Nant Ffrancon to Aber
Cafe at Aber
Navigation can be notoriously difficult in mist.
Some sherpa buses to Ogwen fom Bangor, Bethesda or Capel Curig. Lots of buses from Aber to Bangor/Llandudno.Traveline for UK Public Transport
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Walk the Carneddau from Ogwen to Aber via Drum Route Map and GPX Download
Summits and Places on this Route
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Walk the Carneddau from Ogwen to Aber via Drum Details
A classic traverse of the expansive Carneddau from Ogwen over to Aber via Drum. This route avoids the loose scree ascent from Ogwen and follows a much more satisfying scramble up the south eastern shoulder of Pen yr Ole Wen before crossing Carnedd Dafydd, Llywelyn and down over Drum to Aber or Llanfairfechan.
The weather for the previous few weeks hasn’t been good. So I was glad to see the promise of some fine weather this weekend, and the prospect of a long walk across the Carneddau. I’d been around them last week, walking some stretches of the Eryri Way from Capel Curig to Conwy, and it was good to be higher up.
We started from Glan Denau in the Ogwen Valley, and followed the track to before the farm before you take the paved path right, this isn’t actually the path marked on the map. There are now some wayposts along the first section, making it a little easier to follow in the few boggy areas where the path disappears. Once you arrive at the river Afon Lloer, you need to cross. There are no easy points, but it was easier than last time, and i could at least hop along a couple of rocks. I used the non-stop method, which basically means that every step is committed and if you mess up you fall in.
Folow the river up a little, and you can see there are no obvious crossing points, before veering off left along the path. The wall you can see in the distance uphill is the next target. Get to this, wayposts mark the way, and cross the stile. There is a faint path that heads straight uphill, or you can follow the path around a short distance before heading uphill on a slightly less steep slope.
The path is easily followed, but does split up before you get to an obvious crag that you must scramble up. The left path is easiest, go right if you want a bouldery scramble. There is a view of Ffynnon Lloer from the bottom of the scramble, and today about 12 tents were conspicuously pitched there. The scramble itself isn’t difficult, put you do need to lift your entire weight onto a narrow ledge on the first section, then use this angled ledge to work your way up. It’s only a short section, beyond which there is an easy path all the way to the summit of Pen yr Ole Wen. Make sure you peer over to your right towards Ffynnon Lloer. This classifies as one of the best viewpoints in Snowdonia, the peaks of the western Glyderau being particularly striking.
There isn’t much to say about the next section, navigationally. Follow the path vaguely north off Pen Yr Ole Wen and this follows the ridge around to the stony summit of Carnedd Dafydd. Continue right along the connecting ridge to Carnedd Llewelyn, which is a superb high level ridge walk. That ends with a not so good slog up to the summit, the only good thing being is that it isn’t long. Once you get onto the Carneddau, most of the summits are easily attained without too much reascent.
The plateau of Llewelyn marks the highpoint of the walk. Stop and have lunch here, and today there was a large crowd doing the same. Half our group split down towards Pen yr Helgi Du, while the other half, well the two left over, were heading over to Aber. Head initially in a Northerly direction from the summit shelter, before the path veers right and becomes indistinct in places. The descent from the summit of Llewelyn will need a bit of careful compass work in clag.
Not only have we left the clear paths behind (only temporarily), so the crowds will have disappeared. Over a few craggy and bouldery sections and you are on a clear path to Foel Grach. This path again fades once on Foel Grach, so take care here. If in doubt, veer ahead to the right off the summit and then left to the summit shelter. The path is clear again to Garnedd Uchaf, ours being the most obvious path where there are forks to contour the summit.
The path takes you to the right of the summit tor, and takes a right turn, that’s not too obvious until you are on it. Avoid the grassy path that continues in the same direction as the one you were travelling upon. Fortunately, that’s the last
navigational difficulty as there is a clear path to follow for most of the way over the now very broad, and in places, boggy ridge. First over Foel Fras, where a wall and fence can then be followed down to the col and back up over Drum, the final summit. It is an ugly track that descends from this summit. Far too wide, and obviously worked upon recently to accommodate working vehicles. However, it is only for a section, before it becomes a pleasantly wide green track that descends easily to the Roman road.
The roman road is obvious. There is an old fashioned finger post at the crossroad s indicating where each track goes. According to that (and the map) you turn left and follow the easy track as far as the car park at the top of the minor road. All that’s left now is the unpleasant (underfoot) minor road that descends all the way to the small village of Aber and it’s welcoming cafe.