Classic horseshoe route up Carnedd Llewelyn with a cheeky little scramble.
|12.7 km||888 m||6.5 hours|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish: Glan Denau (on A5 near Ogwen)
Scrambling and steep scree, navigation.
Sherpa Buses from Bangor / Bethesda and Capel Curig.Traveline for UK Public Transport
Parking and Post Code for Sat Nav (where applicable): LL24 0EU
On the A5
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Carnedd Llewelyn via Craig yr Ysfa and Cwm Llugwy Route Map and GPX Download
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Carnedd Llewelyn via Craig yr Ysfa and Cwm Llugwy Details
Carnedd Llewelyn can be ascended via Cwm Llugwy with a pathless descent that makes an ideal emergency descent if you need to cut your day short. It’s the shortest walk to the top of Carnedd Llewelyn and you could easily walk up and down via Cwm Llugwy if you don’t fancy the off path descent.
This walk starts at Gwern Gof Isaf on the A5, past the lake towards Capel Curig. You can either park here, paying a modest £2 at the farmhouse, or get the Sherpa here from Bethesda or Capel. If you use the Sherpa then you can catch the bus directly to the start of the Reservoir road, or alternatively camp at Gwern Gof Isaf and walk up from your tent.
1 From Gwen Gof Isaf, turn right on the A5 and after a hundred metres or so , you reach the start of the reservoir road. This is the start of the hard work. The track leads you, steeply at first before easing, as far as Ffynnon Llygwy reservoir.
2 From the track, it’s not obvious where you set off for the lake, but as soon as it takes a sharp turn left is as good a point as any to turn right, where you’ll eventually find the path. Looking across the lake you can see the path clearly ahead, first along the slopes of Pen yr Helgi Du before heading very steeply upwards to Bwlch Eryl Farchog. This path starts off gently enough, but soon becomes rather steep and loose in places, so care is needed (its safer as an ascent than a descent).
3 Bwlch Eryl Farchog is surprisingly narrow and you now feel that you’re up in the mountains proper. In one direction you can see Llewelyn and the Carneddau, as well as the ridge up to Pen yr Helgi and the imminent climb up Craig yr Ysfa. This first section does involve a short section of serious scrambling. By that I mean you have to use all your limbs and pull yourself up and over to continue the path, but only for one short section. Nothing too bad, but if you’ve not done a lot of scrambling it might pose a bit of a problem as there are few obvious holds on the initial section.
4 Once you’ve climbed Craig yr Ysfa, it’s then a good path all the way to the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn. It can be patchy in places, especially in mist, but with care should pose no problem. You’ve already completed the majority of the climbing, so you’ll find yourself on top of the 1064m summit before you know it.
5 Finally you’ll find yourself on top of Carnedd Llewelyn, with the summit shelter just to your left. If you’re lucky, the views are extensive, if rather lessened by the plateau like summit. Odds on, mist. The descent path is immediately to the left as you leave the summit shelter, and is really clear as you descend to Bwlch Cyfrwy-drum, one of the most interesting ridge walks in Snowdonia.
6 This ridge eventually turns right towards Carnedd Dafydd which is our prompt to descend left down a pleasant grassy ridge. There is no path on the Craig Llugwy ‘ridge’. A very faint path leads down the ridge, and it’s all on easy grass if you can’t find it. From the ridge, you enjoy an alternative views of the Carneddau and at one point you can see the lakes at Ogwen, Bochlwyd, Idwal and Ffynnon Llygwy. You also enjoy the silence, as you’ll probably see nobody on here.
7 The final section, as you reach Creigiau Hirion needs care. You can descend left towards a wall as you reach the rocky outcrops, with the going boggy in places, before following the same wall back to Ffynnon Llygwy. You can continue along the ridge, but take care not to veer too far left towards Craig Llugwy as there is no way down there (other than falling).
8 The ground eventually relents, and avoiding the boggy areas, you’ll soon be back on the track from where you can retrace your steps. Thankfully this time, the reservoir road is much easier with gravity on your side.