Craig Wion from Trawsfynydd
Route Start Location:
|13.77 km||475 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Activivity Type: Hard Walk
Summits and Places on this Route
Craig Wion from Trawsfynydd
This route is an alternative route to get to the Rhinogydd ‘Badlands’ between Bwlch Gwilym and Bwlch y Tyddiad, shortening the alternative route of Moel Ysgyfarnogod and Clip as an approach, or ideal as a descent from Moel Ysgyfarnogod. These make a decent days’ walk in themselves, with the summit of Craig Wion, the complex terrain and Llyn Morwynion being particular highlights of this walk.
Please note that the distance does not include the return to Trawsfynydd that’ll bring your distance to around 18km, or a bit more if you return via the forests.
Distance, Ascent and Time 14km, 500m and 5 hours
Difficulties Very complex terrain, scrambling.
Start / End Trawsfynydd
Facilities shops, pubs, cafes, parking and WC in Trawsfynydd.
Public Transport X32 to Bronaber, railway and bus services from Llanbedr
The Route starts in Trawsfynydd, just off the A470, at SH707 355 in the car park behind the Cross Foxes Hotel, or you can start on the minor road near the dam at around SH702 347 if you can find a parking spot. You’ll see the statue of Hedd Wen opposite here, a famous welsh poet who was killed in the Great War. Cross the road and pass the post office and then turn right before you reach some council houses. Turn almost immediately left down a pedestrian lane and follow this, across a gate, and you’re soon down into farmland. (there’s an alternative route that involves walking south down the main street, then turning right down a narrow lane, past the school and right at the end).
Follow the lane as far as Bryn-ysguboriau farm, where you cross the field to your left towards the rather obvious footbridge. The footbridge over the lake is itself an experience and may induce a slight migrane. Once across, head for the minor road and follow it to the right before taking the obvious left turn past Tyndrain farmhouse. Follow this road uphill, and you’ll need to take the 3rd track off to your left at SH686 335 that leads clearly to some farm buildings (Wern-fach – though incorrectly spelt with a token circumflex over the a on the map).
The path becomes slightly wet from this point onwards, but navigation reasonably easy. It splits here, with the route straight ahead leading towards Crawcwellt and the end of the route at Graigddu-isaf (this route is impossibly wet at the far end!). A wall does lead directly up ahead towards Llyn Pryfed if you feel confident enough to go cross country. Keeping to this route, you need to turn right, keeping the river to your right as a navigational aid and heading towards a farmhouse – Wern-Cyfrdwy (Wern Cyfrdwy Isaf on the door) which is not inhabited, but does appear to be maintained.
Pass the front of the building and the track continues behind it. Again, the track crosses wet ground, becoming intermittent. One notable obstacle is the numerous drainage channels you need to cross. They’re generally overgrown and a quick poke with a pole will soon find a crossing spot, but the careless will likely find themselves knee deep at some point! You’ll note that the stream and wall you follow are unusual in that the wall appears to be built as the far bank of the stream, which in itself is unexpectedly deep.
Once you reach the wall at SH664 334, the path starts to pull steadily uphill and the bogs left behind. The crags of Craig Drwg (with drwg being, appropriately, the welsh for bad) dominate the right, and channel you to the bwlch. At this point – you can drop down to Cwm Bychan or follow the following walk (Rhinog Fawr from Cwm Bychan) reprinted below:
At Bwlch Gwilym you leave the path and head off cross country towards a low gap, roughly SW, there should be a faint path. As you approach the gap, the going becomes easier as it becomes flatter and you find yourself at Llyn Twr-glas then, Llyn Pryfed, following its eastern shore. Once at the far end of the lake, the path crosses the outflow and continues faintly uphill to Craig Wion – from where the complexity of the route becomes clear. You should be confident in using your map and compass if you’re here but the navigation does get a little awkward from this point onwards – with the path easily lost on the rocky and boggy sections. It initially descends before you reach your first challenge of a short gully scramble (approx SH666 310) and almost as soon as you’re up, there’s another gully to descend.
Back up a steep heathery slope and keep following the faint path that’s easy to lose when it crosses the rock. Your first top of the day is the spot height at 518m (SH663 306), and this is attained by climbing up another heathery slope and an undignified scramble before things get a little easier and you’re on top. There’s no names given to these tops, they should probably be classed as subsidiary tops to Craig Wion.
Descending from spot height, the path winds its way around some final tops and passes high above the secluded Llyn Morwynion, recommended in one of the national papers as one of the best lakes for skinny dipping. Once Llyn Morwynion appears on your right – you can descend a rough path directly down the dry valley to it’s north eastern end. The only obstacle being a wall half way down (look carefully on the map – its there!) You can’t walk around the lake though, there’s some sheer crags nearby that drop into the lake.
Theres a decent patch of dry flat ground here, and it’s obviously a popular wild camping spot judging by the litter that’s hidden under some of the rocks. It proved to be a sheltered spot to camp that night for us as well, as it’s well protected by an outcrop.
You need to return by the same way – and back on the original track to Bwlch y Tyddiad. Follow these routes (Rhinog Fawr from Cwm Bychan, Across the Rhinogydd.) to continue up Rhinog Fawr and beyond. The walk back to the forest is a pleasant one along a stream and the waterfall of Pistyll Gwyn that falls off a sheer crag so typical of the Rhinogydd it leaves you in no doubt where you are.
For a day walk – you may be taking two cars (tut tut) and park at Graigddu-isaf or you may return to the start by yomping on the main road. If it’s dry, then the track at Hafod-gynfal will return you to Wern-fach, but be warned that you could well lose your boots to the bogs in the process! This is still preferable to the A470 however.