Tal y Fan From Aber to Dwygyfylchi
|15.74 km||644 m|
Activivity Type: Hard Walk
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Tal y Fan From Aber to Dwygyfylchi
Another route up the shortest and most northern of the Carneddau. This time via the roman road from Aber and over both Foel Llwyd and Tal y Fan before descending to Capelulo or continuing onwards to Conwy.
Looking over the maps left me with a lot of choices, and so I decided to go for a new walk that bagged a few new summits. The area to the north of the roman road in Bwlch y Ddeufaen was unknown to me, and I was curious about it, so that was settled.
It was an eight thirty start from Abergwyngregyn, which has to rank as the best starting points in Northern Eryri. Especially on a hot summer’s day, when you can take advantage of the cool and shade. Not to mention the contrast of verdant, wooded valley and high Carneddau mountains to follow. Today, the trees were bare, thankfully as conifers don’t quite give out the same ambience as ancient woodland (though it was in some conifers higher up the road i saw a couple of squirrels run into). The road starts at the pub or garage on the old main road (not A55) and there is a regular bus service along this section.
So if you must, you can leave your car here and return to it by bus. This leads you past some houses and up into the forest. Navigation here is simple, just when you get to the old bridge (Bont Newydd – ironically ‘new bridge’) keep to the right and don’t follow the tracks up to Aber Falls, though if you have the time then this would be a good detour on a quiet day. Make sure it is a quiet day though, as it is a bit of a honeypot for tourists.
The road leads upwards until you reach a small carpark, here turn right following the sign for the North Wales Path. I have not walked this new Long Distance Footpath (LDP) but must say that it seems to miss out a LOT of what’s best about North Wales. The route stretches from Bangor to Prestatyn, along the Carneddau, around the Great Orme, before following Seaside Promenades for a fair way to Prestatyn. The coastline from Caernarfon westwards has, in my opinon, much more going for it. Quiet, some hills and remote rugged coastlines. But hey, suppose it takes all sorts. Personally I’d feel a bit of a prat walking past all the candyfloss stalls in my softshell and 70l rucsac.
Back to the route. If you turn onto this footpath, you should immediately see a plaque for the National Trust – Carneddau. The track, or road, is easily followed from here as far as Bwlch y Ddeufaen, just follow the pylons. The biggest drawback for this route, is these eyesores, which crackle ominouly above. Though, that said, were they not there I would not be typing this out on my PC. Half way to Bwlch y Ddeufaen there is a proper crossroads, with signpost. So if you feel the need, you can retreat to Llanfairfechan or follow a track straight up into the Carneddau. We, however are to plod onwards to Bwlch y Ddeufaen. Keep an eye out for the wild ponies, of which I counted about 16 today, but due to EU legislation must be removed.
This article on the BBC gives some more info. However, while the removal of these ponies is all in good faith, surely they shouldn’t be removed at all? Personally, I find the ponies are something you expect to find on these hills, and without them would lose some of the areas unique character. A history of industry and agriculture being another important aspect of the far northern Carneddau. At the Bwlch, there is a gate and a wall running all the way up to the summit of Foel Lwyd. There is a route alongside the wall, but it seems sensible to tack a bit to the left, along pony tracks, and avoid the steeper ground. Masochists can follow the wall direct. Be warned, this isn’t the easiest ground to follow. It has Gorse and heather, and paths going in all directions. The summit of Foel Lwyd (603m) is reached eventually, over all the heather, and is a disappointment. The view isn’t though, as you can see over the Carneddau, Dyffryn Conwy and the Great Orme.
The worst view is towards Tal y Fan, where you realise that the col between is both knee deep in heather and mud. Advice here is keep to the wall (I kept to the path, and got muddy despite the semi-frozen ground), which has a nice green path. At the bottom of the col, there is a path that leads off the mountain in both directions (a useful descent back to Abergwyngregyn, or a sensible route off to continue northwards). We need to follow the wall, and a faint path, up to the summit of Tal y Fan. A little scrambing is involved here, nothing difficult, and probably avoidable.
The summit is a proper summit with Trig point and rocks on which to perch oneself to eat and enjoy the view. It even had its own radio ham, who was trying to see how far he could reach with his equipment. (Apparently, this was a member of the Summits On The Air Group, i checked and, yep, they ascended Tal-Y-Fan that day! 11/4/05)Descent from here, for the wise is back whence you came and follow the path that crosses the col northwards. I spotted a path that left the summit northwards, for a horrible, steep descent that takes you nowhere in particular.
Fortunately, at the base there are plenty of pony tracks which serve to confuse you further. If you find yourself here, the best bet navigationally, as it is flat and impossible to spot th path, is to head for 2 stone enclosures that are marked as two square buildings on the 1:25000 map only. The good news is that the ground across here is relatively dry, and the main obstacle being the heather. Once you reach the proper path (unless you started off on it) it is now a straightforward, albeit very wet and similar to stream walking,walk along it until the track climbs Cefn Maen Amor. You need to head towards the footpath that passes above 2 small reservoirs to your left. Again, there are many paths here, so good navigation is needed in poor weather. I merely pointed myself towards the Great Orme, and with good visibility, and a little mapwork was able to find myself on the North Wales Path again. You join the NWP at a farm, not named on the map, at 740749 and follow it right along the obvious good path. In about a kilometer, the path dips into a small valley (literally 10, 20m drop!) with a river and farm walls to the left. You can carry on along the NWP to Conwy from here, and it is well signposted. However, a dodgy knee on descent forced my descent down Fairy Glen to Dwygyfylchi. This proved fortunate, as it’s a pleasant, albeit steep, descent to the Hamlet of Capelulo, and in summer I’m sure the two pubs that greet you either side of the road will be open. I turned left to get to Dwygyfylchi and the bus, crossing the golf course, but on re-inspecting my route, I think that a footpath directly opposit the pubs would get you there easier (difficult to see it under the park boundary yellow) without the hassle of crossing the local golf course. After saying the buses here were frequent, I arrived at the stop and within 2 minutes was sat on a bus home.
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