Moel Meirch and Llyn Edno from Nant Gwynant
|14.94 km||668 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Start and Finish:
Moel Meirch and Llyn Edno from Nant Gwynant Route Map and GPX Download
Summits and Places on this Route
- Cerrig Cochion (550 metres)
Moel Meirch and Llyn Edno from Nant Gwynant Details
This is a circuit of contrasts. You walk through wooded lowlands and rugged high ground that’s some of the roughest and boggiest in the area. You may not see another soul once you are on the upland portion, and there’s a café at the start / end so you can look forward to some proper food.
The walk could easily be extended to Ysgafell Wen and Cnicht and you would still return comfortably to your starting point. We used a tarp on this trip, which certainly proved an experience in the Welsh hills.
We started off in Nant Gwynant and thought we should follow the Ron Turnbull method of eating at whatever hostelries that make themselves available. So we had a hearty breakfast at the Caffi Gwynant. This place comes highly recommended as it has very good service and uses quality local produce. From here you need to follow the main road for a kilometre or so towards Pen y Gwryd, before you turn left at a gate and through a field. Follow the path down to the river and then cross a long and narrow footbridge. Turn right here and when the path splits take the left hand path (the other leads towards a farmhouse) past some old copper workings.
The ground around here is rather boggy through the forest, and there are some welcome boardwalks across some of the sections. It is normally only a bit muddy, but this walk was undertaken during one of the wettest summers on record (i think! Let me review this in September to see if i was right!) so conditions would hardly get any boggier. The path is reasonably easy to follow, uphill into the trees to start with as far as a small grassy platform above Llyn Gwynant. That’s one ideal lunch spot, but too early today – so we stopped and had a drink anyway.
The path drops down, over a footbridge and eventually to the bouldery riverbank opposite the campsite. It’s always busy and caters for a livelier sort of camper than Nant Peris or Dol Gam. Cross the footbridge into the campsite and then, either take the path directly through the field or just walk on the campsite tracks to the minor road. We did the latter as the field can be boggy and we knew for certain it would today.
The minor road is followed left for about 0.75km before a steep green track takes you up to the main road. If you find the path unclear, it veers right towards the open and not the forest and stream to the left. Once into the open field you should see the stile on the wall you need to aim for. Cross the main road and cross the stile up the road to the left. A green path goes right, but you need to head directly up. Once on the right route, you’ll spot footpath markers and the path becomes more obvious. It doesn’t however, become less steep, but the occasional flat resting spots have some of the best views in the area. Yr Aran looks much more impressive from this angle, as long as you ignore Yr Wyddfa that dwarfs it ! The grassy col of Bwlch y Rhediad is a welcome lunch stop!
Now let nobody tell you different, but the walk over (or rather alongside) Cerrig Cochion is a pig. It may only be a couple of kilometres but it feels twice that and a little more. The only good thing is that you follow a fence all the way, so navigation isn’t too challenging. The first bit is nice and grassy, if a bit damp. But beyond this the path follows undulations in the terrain and inside each dip lies man eating bog. Ok, it may not be that bad, but once we’d passed the first few, we though we were clear of the problem. After all the rain we’d had the ground was quite sodden and a full soaking was on the cards.
But were we clear? NO. Did we use the stiles that took us to the left and past the bog? NO, well, not until my walking companion had found himself waist deep in mire and unable to free himself. Once free, a bit more poking saw my walking pole disappearwith no resistance into what was essentially a pool and probably deeper than the one already encountered. So we took the stiles to the left of the fence and while it was still a little touch and go, it was definitely passable. The path finally contours along Moel Meirch, and it isn’t much further to Llyn Edno.
We did finally get to Llyn Edno, and soon after the sun disappeared and the wind picked up. We started wishing we had our tents and our usual ration of alcohol, which we’d gone without. We had a reasonably night considering the conditions and that we were under a tarp.
From Llyn Edno you can either continue over Ysgafell Wen or descend past the lake. As we’d avoided Moel Meirch yesterday, we did it this morning by returning the way we’d come. It’s difficult to explain the exact route, but you need to get past the large knolls at this end of the lake, before a faint path goes left. This path takes you eventually to the minor road, but look for a right turn up to Moel Meirch. Finding it is difficult, and I’d imagine quite a challenge in the mist. Once on the ascent path it is clear and obvious. The main bit of advice to follow is to take the same path down and not follow other sheep tracks if you want to return to the path.
It is a pleasant summit, rocky and generally quiet despite being opposite Snowdon. The weather was closing in and we’d heard some thunder earlier so hanging around was not an option as we had breakfast to walk down to. Follow the path back from the summit and follow it right at the point you joined it (if you joined it at the right spot!) If in doubt, it roughly follows the right of way shown on the map.
It is a faint path, with some boggy areas. One or two points have knee deep pools (possibly deeper!) of water where the sods have slipped so keep an eye out for these. My walking companion didn’t manage to repeat his feat of the previous day, but i had my camera ready! The path does peter out once you reach the flatter valley bottom and is boggy again. You are basically aiming for the sheepfolds at the junction of two streams and you will need to find a way over the river as there is no bridge. It was quite deep today after all the rains, but it didn’t take long to find a reasonably safe crossing point and keep feet dry.
The final leg has some tricky navigation, and you really need to be able to interpret the map and the terrain accurately. There is a rough path from the sheepfold, but keep left where it forks and aim for the gap in the wall at SH 652 498 (where the RoW crosses it). From here the path crosses some bare rock and some boggy dips that make the navigation a bit awkward. The best tip is to descend to the river and to follow the path along that. Today’s path took a more direct line and ended over some cliffs. A little exploration back the way we came revealed a steep scramble down. It would be too much for some, but if you like a bit of a scramble then it was no problem. It is just that this sort of scramble can be difficult to downclimb but would be easy as an ascent.
At the bottom of the scramble, or if you’ve followed the river path, you can now see a wall at a right angle to the river. Follow this left and you follow a reasonable path down, over a stile, across to an old building and downhill towards a forest. The path is now a track and is impossible to lose past Hafodydd Brithion and to the minor road (SH 637 494). Follow the track down to Bethania to get back to your starting point. There is an interesting diversion at SH 631 503 as an old track takes you through the forest and directly to the Nant Gwynant car park.