Moelwyn Bach, Mawr and Cwmorthin from Tanygrisiau
|12.4 km||805 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Tanygrisiau
Public Transport: Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable):
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Moelwyn Bach, Mawr and Cwmorthin from Tanygrisiau Details
The Moelwynion provide some wild walks without really venturing too far and this route up Moelwyn Bach and Moelwyn Mawr from Tanygrisiau is no exception. However, under anything but perfect conditions, they can be highly challenging to navigate and keep your feet dry. While they’ve been scarred by man’s activities, this is both unsightly and fascinating at the same time. This route explores these mountains from the Tanygrisiau side near Blaenau Ffestiniog and returns along the scenic Cwmorthin.
The walk up the Moelwynion starts from the upper end of Tanygrisiau, which has a bus service from Blaenau Ffestiniog or a rather narrow approach road (use the route finder to the right for driving details). There’s limited free parking, but this is hardly Pen-y-Pass and should be fine on most days.
1 Start the walk by following the winding road up to the reservoir at Llyn Stwlan. This may be tarmac, but provides a quick start to the walk and the views are still superb. You’ll wonder from below where the track actually goes as it’s well hidden from below and Stwlan Dam appears as a bit of a surprise.
2 Viewpoint – It’s worth diverting to the top of Stwlan Dam itself as there’s a viewpoint here and provides an excellent view over the lake and beyond. You can’t then cross the dam, you’ll need to re-descend to the base of the dam.
3 From the base of the dam, walk to the base and cross a metal footbridge over the stream and take a steep path to the left up the slope (you can walk around nearer the dam as well). You can skirt the lake, heading towards the obvious track on the slopes below Bwlch Stwlan. This path is clear from a distance, but is grassy and wet in a few places.
4 From the track, head towards Bwlch Stwlan, from which there’s a clear and steep path to the summit of Moelwyn Bach, which has little shelter but is a fine viewpoint. Follow your tracks back to Bwlch Stwlan.
5 The next section over Craigysgafn provides some good ridge walking, with glimpses down to Llyn Stwlan through the crags. Only on the final short section does it slog up to the summit of Moelwyn Mawr. Again, there’s absolutely no shelter on the summit, which has extensive views across to Cnicht, Snowdon and towards the south of the park.
6 To descend to Moel-yr-hydd you need to descend in a roughly easterly direction along a faint path. Stick to the fence (which is electric, so beware!) and a sometime rather wet path which crosses this scarred landscape. Be wary in mist as there are open quarry workings along this wide col, so stick to the path in mist!
7 Moel-yr-hydd is another fine viewpoint, and strangely isn’t actually in the National Park. Again, there’s no summit shelter!
8 Descend on a faint path towars the top of Rhosydd Quarry, which would require a bearing to be safe in misty weather. The track down is initially found roughly to your left descending below the spoil tip
9 The next section is marked by an old building. This is also visible in the image above to the top right.
10 The route is now a bit clearer towards the main quarry remains in Bwlch y Rhosydd where you can still see the remains of the quarry barracks. Take care with any structure as hey’re often unsafe. The track to Cwmorthin is to your right.
11 Once you’re on the track, it’s easy to follow back to Tanygrisiau. It starts off moderately steep, before easing off and continuing on the level through Cwmorthn and along the lake. This scenic cwm was ignored when they designated the National Park and isn’t a part of it.
12 The track passes an old chapel, the remains of the quarry manager’s house as well as a number of other structures that are only just now being protected from ruin that they’ve virtually collapsed. Follow the track, past the lake (taking a diversion to the left at the head in order to take in the view back up the lake), before following the slate track back down into Tanygrisiau.
13 To return to the parking, turn right at the minor road and you should be back at the start.