In the Shadow of Tryfan – Eastern Ridges of the Glyderau
Off path jaunt in the quieter eastern end of the Glyderau.
|17.6 km||774 m||6 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Glan Denau on the A5
Toilet and visitor centre.
Navigation – pathless route in places.
Infrequent Sherpa buses from Bangor and Betws y Coed.Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable):
Usually plenty roadside this end of Ogwen.
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In the Shadow of Tryfan – Eastern Ridges of the Glyderau Route Map and GPX Download
The Tryfan Circuit0.3km
Pubs and Cafes Nearby:
In the Shadow of Tryfan – Eastern Ridges of the Glyderau Details
After countless walks up the touristy routes – these sort of walks are the ones left if I’m looking for a change. However, there’s no better way to get to know familiar hills from these unfamiliar angles with the ridge of Braich y Ddeugwm providing an unparalleled view of Tryfan’s impressive East Face (impressive from every angle!). This is a much better approach than via the Miner’s Track for Llyn Caseg Fraith with the ridge providing a surprisingly open vista, and even some scrambling if you went looking for it!
1 Start off from Glan Dena – on the A5, or the terminally lazy can set off from Gwern Gof Isaf which cuts 4km from the overall distance of the route. You follow the old Telford coach road, which provides some good going (and is good for some easy mountain biking as well) and you’ll be at Gwern Gof Isaf campsite before you know it. Don’t confuse this with Gwern Gof Uchaf, which you pass much sooner but you don’t actually pass through the campsite.
2 At Gwern Gof Isaf, head up right towards the farmhouse and the stile to the right of the campsite facilities. This brings you out onto the open hillside and the route can be clearly seen to the left of the rocky ridge ahead.
3 While you could take the ridge head on, you’ll be best off continuing on this path until you cross a fence after about 10 minutes, after which you’re best off keeping as close to the ridge ‘crest’ as possible.
4 The path is reasonably clear for most of the duration, and keeping to the ridge ‘crest’ means that you shouldn’t have any issues. There’s a threading of the path at around 600m, but they all largely head towards Drws Nodded higher up. From Drws Nodded, the path contours right beneath some crags, and soon arrives at Llyn Caseg Fraith.
5 Llyn Caseg Fraith is a classic viewpoint. It’s also an awesome wild camp, and is also on the main thoroughfare of the Glyderau. You can turn right towards Glyder Fach or to descend the Miner’s Track to Pen y Gwryd. Today’s target was right towards the peak of Y Foel Goch (not to be confused with the other Foel-goch). We managed to hangh about in the cold wind at least until we had some sort of view of Glyder Fach, Bristly Ridge and Tryfan. Some lucky souls had reached the top of Bristly just as the sun came out, which must have made their day!
6 The path to Y Foel Goch is steady, with no problems other than being wet underfoot and covered with greasy snow. Not a great combination. But at least you’re there in a matter of minutes and the high point of the route.
7 Descend from Y Foel Goch, pass a small tarn (best keep north of it) and then the main path passes to the south of Gallt yr Ogof. It’s not a mountain of note as far as re-ascent goes, but considering how impressive this peak is from the A5 below it seems rude to ignore it. So just SW of the summit, at SH684 584, follow a faint path towards the summit.
8 Gallt yr Ogof provides the best viewpoint of the day, including down towards Llyn Cowlyd. It doesn’t provide the best descent however, and the easiest would be to return to where you left the main path. We aimed towards a fence (not on the map) that you can handrail down across not too rough terrain in order to rejoin the main path roughly at SH689 583.
9 It’s a footsoaker now, continuing down steeply for a short while, before levelling out at Bwlch Goleuni and crossing a patchwork of sphagnum and bootsucking bogs. It looks worse than it is, and you can bypass the lot, but don’t get too complacent or you’ll be knee deep in.
10 Cross a stile over the boundary at SH703 582 and head towards the final section of the route down Cefn y Capel. We kept right to the 444m spot height, and there’ a path all the way to the farm at Gelli. It’s very wet in places, and to the south of the footpath marked on the map, but easy enough to follow.
11 At Gelli farm, you can turn right into Capel Curig for some refreshments at the Pinnacle, which we duly took up as well as procuring some of their legendary flapjacks. Simply turn left in order to follow the old coach road to the start of the route. If you’ve followed the rest of the route this far, you really should be able to manage that bit on your own! For an idea of how the return looks in decent weather, view our Nant Ffrancon Trail Run from the summer.