Moel Ysgyfarnogod from Trawsfynydd.
|15.15 km||497 m|
Activivity Type: Strenuous Walk
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Summits and Places on this Route
Moel Ysgyfarnogod from Trawsfynydd.
This is a tough little route over a rarely frequented outlier. As rough as it gets in Snowdonia. A Rhinog kilometer is what you encounter here, where each one takes twice as long.
If you look at the distance and think it’ll take three or four hours, you may want to reconsider and add a couple of hours to that!
The Route This walk starts from the centre of Trawsfynydd. If you can find the shop/post office then you want to leave the high street past it. You will walk down a side street, where you will see a stile / gate ahead. Cimb over this and you reach a farm track. Follow this for a 100m or so, before turning left across farmland and down to the footbridge. The footbridge is quite a sight, and looking at it stretching off into the distance makes your eyes go all strange.
Once across the bridge, you turn right along the minor road, which should be followed roughly along the lakeside for a couple of kilometres.The footpath that leads off is the first such option to leave the road, and it appears rocky and steep. This is a fair omen of what is ahead. Follow the track, which takes you quickly uphill, opening up views of the lake.
The terrain now becomes wilder, and you can see Foel Y Griafolen loom above. Once you pass a hut circle to the left, you will need to leave the path at some point. You can leave then, or you can wait until you reach the wall at the top of the pass, follow this up, and join a path that is quite clear to your left. This takes you to a flat area to the east of Foel y Griafolen. You have two options, you can climb it, or contour around. We chose to contour around this windy day, making the two tops of Foel Penolau and Moel Ysgyfarnogod our targets for the day.
Careful navigation is required to get around the hill, to reach the col between Foel y Griafolen and Diffwys. The latter peak looked steep, and there was a gate and path leading off to the left, and contouring the hill. So, again, a bit of contouring and this took us along narrow sheep paths to the col below Foel Penolau. To aid navigation, there is a stone wall above you to your right, this leads from one col to the next.
Finally, we get to climb to a summit, and a short pull finds us on the bare summit of Moel Penolau. There is no shelter, just a vast stone pavement and a half hearted attempt at a cairn. It is still a good viewpoint, but today was too windy on top to take advantage of this.
Care must be taken now on your descent. The stone dips gently, and you can follow this, put the path soon ends and you find yourself on totally bare rock. If you continue where the path would be leading, you find a sheer drop. No warning. In mist, it would be very easy to walk straight off this. So you need to turn right, where a gully can be found. This, with much cursing, and arse-climbing (lowering yourself by means of the posterior) will get you to the bottom. If you aren’t confident scrambling, then this would be difficult, but it isn’t exposed.
The rest of the walk is just that, a walk. A path now leads to the summit of Moel Ysgyfarnogod, which was also very exposed and windy today. From here you can see the complex terrain that you’d need to cross to reach the next proper Rhinog (Rhinog Fawr), which is thankfully for another day. We need to follow a path that takes us down into a flat area below the summit (SH657 345). A path leads across the flat area, but we don’t follow this.
Instead we follow a faint and often non-existent path to contour along the southern flanks of the hill while slowly losing height. If you continue at the same height, you will eventually return the way you came. However, you should be able to spot a wide track in the valley below that starts at SH665 344. The best way to reach it is to contour around to when you reach a wall with a gate. From this point, start to descend keeping to a roughly westerly bearing. It is easy too keep contouring, as the path is lost from vision on descent until you are quite close to it.
Once the track is found, you’re home and dry. This takes you comfortably down to a minor road, which brings you out on the minor road near the footbridge on the reservoir. Do I need to tell you to now retrace your steps?
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