Pen Llithrig y Wrach and Llyn Cowlyd from Capel Curig
Route Summary: The typical ascent of Pen Llithrig y Wrach from Capel Curig can be coupled with a pathless descent and a return via Llyn Cowlyd for a wild day in the Carneddau.
The typical ascent of Pen Llithrig y Wrach from Capel Curig can be coupled with a pathless descent and a return via Llyn Cowlyd for a wild day in the Carneddau.
|15.38 km||699 m||5hrs 30min|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Capel Curig
Pen Llithrig y Wrach and Llyn Cowlyd from Capel Curig Route Map and GPX Download
Pen Llithrig y Wrach and Llyn Cowlyd from Capel Curig Details
A circuit from Capel Curig to one the outlying Carneddau of Pen Llithrig y Wrach, and returning via Llyn Cowlyd. It’s a surprisingly remote walk, despite the distance, especially when you reach Llyn Cowlyd with a good two hours to walk back to the start.
The walk starts off from Capel Curig along the A5 towards Ogwen, which is never a good start but follows the same route as this Pen Llithrig and Pen yr Helgi Du route . There’s a footpath sign to the right after a km or so, and you’re finally on the hill.
The path is reasonably easy to follow, with a few boggy sections to test your boots out and one stream to ford which was benign today but I’ve had to cross it in spate and it’s a different story as it’s just about knee deep with falls directly below!
Pen Llithrig y Wrach dominates the view, and you realise that it is going to be a bit of a slog to gain this summit. So we took in the view towards Cowlyd before setting off up, and we were glad we had.
The route is obvious in places, but fades in and out once you find it and snakes it’s way up so a bearing isn’t much use. Use these moments of beguilement to look down into Cowlyd and across the Ogwen to Tryfan.
The final section is steep and grassy. Or so it appears. It’s certainly steep and grassy, but you’ll be disappointed when you reach the top of this section and realise it isn’t the summit. There’s a sharpening grassy ridge ahead that leads, via another false summit, to the real summit.
It’s one of the barest summits in Snowdonia, it must be the highest bald mountain, being bereft of the usual scree covering and possessing the most rudimentary cairn.
However, in light of it being an outlier, the views are superb. Towards Ogwen you’ve got Tryfan and the Glyderau while the Carneddau dominate in the other.
We decided to descend a new route today, via the wide ridge of Clogwyn Du. While there’s no path marked on the map, there’s a very clear path leading roughly North East from the summit. It levels out after a while, and while the ridge is a little wet in places it shouldn’t prove problematic. The views that should now impress if you’ve clear weather, are towards Carnedd Llewelyn and Craig Eigiau and it’s lake.
The easy walking of the ridge is soon over as you reach the crags beyond Craig Fynnon where there’s a T junction in the fences and a couple of small lakes. The most obvious path goes directly over the crags and leads down, past a sheepfold not marked on the OS map, intermittently towards the right of way between Llyn Eigiau and Cowlyd. However, it isn’t the easiest path to follow and you’ll probably need a map in order to reach Cowlyd.
An easier way would possibly be to follow the fence from the T junction (SH726 639) directly to the col at SH730 639 where the path can be clearly followed to the zig zagging quarry tracks and the easy walking of Llyn Cowlyd.
What remains is a long walk back along the lake, wet in places, which was only wet and breezy today. We’d walked this a few years back in November when all the roads were flooded and it wasn’t as much fun. It had involved walking nearly knee deep along a couple of lanes, so that was expected! At the end of the lake there’s an unwelcome bit of ascent, but it’s soon over and you can rejoin the path you took on the outward leg of the trip and you’ll be back in Capel within the hour.