Nantlle Ridge Short Scrambling Route From Rhyd Ddu
Shorter option for the Nantlle Ridge suited for a half day or as an alternative option if you need to leave the ridge half way.
|10.6 km||825 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
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Nantlle Ridge Short Scrambling Route From Rhyd Ddu Route Map and GPX Download
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Nantlle Ridge Short Scrambling Route From Rhyd Ddu Details
It’s always a good day on the Nantlle Ridge. Even better when the weather is sort of in your favour.
Judging by the poor weather recently, today’s conditions were great. It was still a bit damp underfoot, making some of the scrambly exposed sections a little more tricky, but nothing difficult. The clouds added atmosphere, watching tops flit in and out of them. Hopes had been for an inversion, but while Beddgelert was shrouded in low cloud, there was patchy cloud along the ridge too.
It was before dawn when we started, but only just. It was light, and you didn’t realise the sun was yet to rise until it finally did. This made the initial slog up to the ridge much more enjoyable, watching the sun rise over the Moelwynion and illuminating the wispy summit clouds on Hebog. By the time I’d reached the summit of Y Garn, the mist had closed completely in. This was a major disappointment as I’d looked forward to a great day, especially clear. So, after a coffee in one of the two summit shelters, I was pleased to be able to see Mynydd Drws y Coed again.
The scramble over this ridge always seems different. Yet again, I’m there wondering if I go this way, or that. This was much more important today as every rock was greasy, sometimes with a very thin layer of ice. These are dangerous conditions as crampons are of little use, and some points on the ridge could see a fall being fatal. Someone lost their life on this walk late this year, this modest range deserves some respect.
The scramble was great, and that is that really if you’re a scrambler (unless you take a few rocky lines up Craig Cwm Silyn – which we were skipping today). But the rest shouldn’t be a disappointment. If it is, then you probably shouldn’t be in these hills anyway. The next top, Trum y Ddysgl, is easily attained, but you need to keep to your right along the cliff tops to follow the ridge proper. The main path contours around before then attaining the summit ridge, meaning that you need to back up to get to the top. This isn’t a major diversion, but the steep walk directly to the top is more satisfying, but can be awkward to spot. The easiest way to describe this is that you need to keep to the ridge in the col, and not follow the more obvious path below it.
We followed the summit ridge again and made a note of our descent point. We intended to descend the broad ridge to Bwlch-y-Ddwy-elor, but we needed to reach Tal-y-mignedd first. So we noted mentally where the ridge descended, to make navigation easier if the mist decided to stay permanently rather than the patchy affair it was at the moment. It is a steep descent to the bwlch and its characteristic notch. The ascent to the final top isn’t much, and it is an ideal spot to look back on your walk so far. It is also a compromise spot.
One of the problems of the ridge is getting back to Rhyd-ddu, even if you are on public transport it is more convenient to return to the start. There is nothing at the far end of the ridge, unless you walk all the way to Penygroes; by this I mean a shop or pub/café. So this top is a nice compromise, as it’s not then too far to retrace your steps to Trum y Ddysgl and down to the start. Missing this top out makes the walk far too short for my liking, while tackling Craig Cwm Silyn too makes it a longer day, with a fair bit of height to be regained from Bwlch Dros-bern. If you do want to do this mountain too, which you would in summer, then the quickest return to the start is still back over the ridge and to Trum y Dysgl.
I think part of the attraction of this ridge is the sheer number of separate and different summits in close proximity. Granted, Y Garn isn’t a proper mountain (well, the Nutalls count it as a top) but it has the shelters on top and is a welcome stop after the grinding ascent. Mynydd Drws y Coed needs no explanation to its appeal, but if I must, then it’s the pleasure of scrambling over a moderately exposed ridge. The next one, I can never remember which of these next two is which, Trum y Ddysgl has the perfectly flat top, and a great spot for lunch in summer. The grass is short and it’s like lying down in the park. Then, there’s the broken col you must cross to get to Mynydd Tal y Mignedd, with its giant obelisk looking ever so close.
Back at Trum y Ddysgl, the decent starts as soon as the steep ascending path eases. Take a right, rather than follow the summit ridge, and you will soon see a faint path down some steep grass. The initial section is very steep, and requires a little care. This soon eases, and you follow a very easy path along a pleasant wide ridge as far as the col, Bwlch-y-Ddwy-elor. The path is now easy to follow, being an old mine track, into the forest. It meets the forestry tracks where you initially turn right and immediately left. After a short while, the track crosses a river and the path follows the river (or you can parallel this with the forestry track) and then across the track to take you through the forest and onwards to Rhyd-ddu. The path is straightforward to navigate, and you just return to the start once you meet the path you started on this morning.