Cnicht and Ysgafell Wen from Beddgelert.
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An interesting traverse of the Moelwynion from Beddgelert to Dolwyddelan – which makes a wonderful weekend route.
Route Start Location: Beddgelert to Dolwyddelan
|22.09 km||933 m||8 hors +|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Strenuous Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
Shop, pub, parking in Beddgelert and Dolwyddelan.
Route finding can be tricky in the Moelwynion even in clear weather, you’ll need good map smarts to get anywhere in mist. The logistical problem of getting transport back to Beddgelert.
Large public car park in Beddgelert.
Returning to the start is problematic, and we’d suggest continuing to Capel Curig where the Sherpa Buses can be caught to the start or over Bwlch Ehediad which takes you back into Nant Gwynant and on to Beddgelert.
Beddgelert is reasonably served by buses from Caernarfon and Porthmadog, as well as the Welsh Highland Railway.
Cnicht and Ysgafell Wen from Beddgelert. Ordnance Survey Map and GPX File Download
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Cnicht and Ysgafell Wen from Beddgelert.
An interesting traverse across these hills via the Aberglaslyn Gorge. Leaves you with some problems returning to the start, but you can always continue to Capel Curig and catch a bus back, or make it into an epic walk and return to Beddgelert via the Bwlch Ehediad path.
This is a rather long approach to Cnicht, but worth it. You start it off by following the tourist path down the Aberglaslyn Pass. Some later sections of this could be slippery in the wet. Other than that, it’s a straightforward walk to Nantmor. Turn left along the main road, and then left again at a junction to pass through the hamlet of Nantmor. There is a bit of lane walking now, but you soon arrive at the road junction at Bwlchgwernog. Cross the lane towards the dirt track that leads uphill opposite. Follow this and you are very soon on open hill.
The track you need to follow is easy and wide, ascending only slowly. It’s easy to take your time along here on a warm day and rest by the small river you pass (Afon Dylif). Onwards, and you soon arrive at a large, new gate and a track that leads downhill right or left, towards Cnicht. It starts off easy, but the last kilometre to the summit is rather steep and can be exposed in places. Considering that this is the tourist route up the hill, it could be tricky following the ridge in places in mist. There are some sections of scrambling, but these are avoidable.
The summit arrives as soon as the steepness eases, which is a relief. There is no trig or cairn on top, but there is a spectacular view from here, especially of the Moelwynion themselves.
The ridge leads off ahead, and a definite path can be followed towards Llyn yr Adar. There are a lot of small lakes ahead, and most look similar. Llyn yr Adar is the larger one with a rocky island in the middle, you can’t mistake it. It is a popular wild camp, and so we pitched here for the night. I shan’t say exactly where, that leads to overuse of these locations.
There is an excellent view over Yr Wyddfa and most of Snowdonia from here, owing to it’s central location. Where we camped was a bit low, so you missed out on the view from the tent, but what we did have was still worth every bead of sweat shed to get here.
To continue the walk, Ysgafell Wen is not just ahead, but occupies most of the skyline. It’s a rather long ridge, with small summits along it’s length, making it more difficult than it should to find your way around. Like us, you’ll certainly come across a lake where you don’t expect it to be. Argue briefly with the map, and give in to the fact that the lake is probably where it should be and it’s you that’s temporarily misplaced.
From Llyn yr Adar, you will be able to see a cairn atop one of these minor summits. This is the lower of the two main Ysgafell Wen summits, marked by a 669m spot height on the 1:50,000 map, but nothing on the 1:25,000. You can head directly for this if you want, or head towards Llynnoedd y Cwn and make your way along this pleasantly complex terrain. Just be warned, that this part of the Moelwynion has only faint paths and needs some decent navigational skills in all weathers, let alone mist. The first summit of Ysgafell Wen (SH 663 485) is furnished with a well built, triangular cairn. It is useful as it is visible from a fair distance. Like most points along this walk, there is a superb view again. Cross a boggy col (most of them are around here) and pass a small lake to reach the main summit of Ysgafell Wen, which isn’t as well furnished as it’s shorted sibling.
Descend down to a fence that now forms a useful handrail for our route. Follow the path to another lake, Llyn Terfyn, with it’s crystal clear waters. Then ascend Moel Druman. Beware the first gate here as it is placed in a quagmire. You will need to cross over the fence to it’s left. There is a problem here with motorbike scramblers, and the damage along this section is significant. The park warden we met said that the local farmer let them up as the scramblers kept cutting his fences (sounds like intimidation to me), some pictures are below so you can judge for yourself. There are also electric fences around here, so take care! We avoided the summit of Moel Druman today, but by barely any height or distance, and descended towards Llyn Conglog and it’s smaller, un-named neighbour to its north. From here, a clear path can either take you up Allt Fawr, or a less clear one along it’s northern flanks to the Crimea Pass.
Our packs were weighing heavy, so we decided to descend to Crimea Pass directly, and decided to do so via the small Llyn Iwerddon. This has dams on 2 sides and must have been a reservoir for one of the quarries. Ideal spot for a bit of lunch.
The last bit of walk was rather dull, as once we’d descended from Llyn Iwerddon, keeping to the left of the river, and towards the railway air shaft, we followed the road to Dolwyddelan. There are other options on the map, but this was the shortest, and seemed like a good idea at the time! Blaenau Ffestiniog would be a better descent option, or the intended route to Dolwyddelan over Moel Penamnen.