Foel Fras, Drum and Northern Carneddau – Llanfairfechan to Rachub
|18.35 km||947 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish:
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Foel Fras, Drum and Northern Carneddau – Llanfairfechan to Rachub Route Map and GPX Download
Summits and Places on this Route
Foel Fras, Drum and Northern Carneddau – Llanfairfechan to Rachub Details
The approach from Llanfairfechan is significantly shorter than from Aber, and just as satisfying. You can start off from any one of a handful of footpaths, with the most obvious option being the North Wales Path. We took the bridleway option that starts off at SH680 738 – at the junction of the two minor roads, though unless you’re getting dropped off, you’ll need to follow the road that starts from the village, near the Bryn-y-neuadd Hospital and up Caeffynnon Road past the golf club.
1 – Follow the route initially uphill along the lane, but turn right after the cottage and not at the right of way before it. The path is obvious as it has a no motor vehicles sign. It has been known for people to try and drive up here in regular cars (by mistake, apparently), not an easy task when you see how steep the first section is.The track has been hewn into the bedrock, and the first section is steep and in the wet a tad slippery.
2 – The path soon reaches a large gate and thankfully eases off, with an easy gradient from this point all the way to Drum. There’s very little navigation work as all you need to do is to follow the pleasant green lane, keeping the wall to your right and heading steadily uphill. The crags of Garreg Fawr are directly ahead, which you can make a short detour for if you wish. It’s worth taking a breather or two just to take in the view – across Traeth Lafan and on to Ynys Mon.
3 – The path continues in this vein, eventually passing under the pylons and arriving at the waypost on the Roman Road. Cross this and take the track marked for Drum, surprisingly. This is a very steady plod, and varies very little for the whole ascent. Only when you reach the ridge do you realise the scale of the hills ahead and feel you’re finally on the hill.
4 – The summit of Drum, although only a small bump on the ridge, is still worth stopping as your first real break of the day. The highlight of the view is towards Conwy and down the Conwy Valley, with the route ahead being dominated by the great hump of Foel Fras.
5 – You lose barely any height from Drum while you descend to the wet col. It was very boggy today, as was the rest of the walk after an unprecedentedly wet summer, but there are no sections that can’t be dealt with by a long step. The path can be indistinct, but if in doubt you can follow the fence from the summit of Drum to the far side of Foel Fras. There’s certainly a bit of a slog now to reach the summit, one that’s thankfully soon over. The fence gives way to a wall shortly before the summit and it’s only worth crossing over at the stile in windy weather in order to gain some shelter (depending on wind direction).
6 – Finally – the summit of Foel Fras is reached – just a handful of steps from the wall, which has a handy stile in case you now realise that the wall would provide shelter from the wind as it’s now curved around.
7 – The wall should again be followed, and once it vanishes the path is reasonably easy to follow for a short while before fading a little before reaching Garnedd Uchaf (still that on my map!) and in mist you will need to take a bearing to be certain of reaching the summit, which is barely more than a splintered tor on a plateau. You’ll need that certainty in order to set off back down or towards Carnedd Llewelyn in mist.
8 – Today I continued down Yr Aryg ridge which can be tricky even in clear weather. The paths thread, and vanish to leave you stranded. I took the wrong tack around the pile of rocks known as Bera Bach, with the better path being to the left or south side. However, going cross country doesn’t pose much problem either. The views are dominated by Yr Elen and the expanse of Cwm Caseg in between.
9 – At the base of Bera Bach, the path starts to become much more distinct, and soon you’re on a wide track similar to what you started off on. This takes you swiftly down to the un-named bwlch between Drosgl, Gyrn and Moel Wnion. This looks tricky to navigate as you approach, but even in the wet there are hardly any boggy sections, only shallow rocky pools that are easily tackled. You may well need to take a bearing in mist however as it is criss crossed with a number of indistinct paths, most of which don’t correspond to the map.
10 – A narrow path, that itself is indistinct sets off under Gyrn, before passing an old quarry and widening into a pleasant green track that’s again easy enough to follow. Views now change and the range of the Glyderau start to dominate. When you reach Bwlch-ym-Mhwll-le, you can either keep high on the eastern side (this route), follow the short dry valley or take a path that takes you higher along the west of the valley. They all take you roughly in the same direction, and you can head cross country if needed. You can take the footpath towards Aber if you need to return to the start.
11 The final leg to Rachub is easy, as the green track is clear and maked for good walking. When it reaches an incline – follow that down (or the wall directly before it) and the wall takes you to a cottage and the start of the metalled road. Follow that down for 100m or so, and then take a left down the hill and into the village of Rachub. There’s a pub and a shop, with a bus service into Bethesda and Bangor.
Dave also established Walk up Snowdon, Walk up Scafell Pike and Walk up Ben Nevis just to mention a few.
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