Tal Y Fan from Pen y Sychnant
|13.9 km||508 m|
Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
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Tal Y Fan from Pen y Sychnant Details
Another steady plod to the northernmost Welsh mountain. This is a pleasant enough route that’s almost an out and back, but with so many parallel tracks in the area you’ll find it’s easy enough to take a different return route.
The images were taken during some particularly deep snow and was much harder to follow than the route given, we gave up when we reached snow that was nearly chest deep.
The Route Today’s walk started from the car park in Pen y Sychnant between Conwy and Capelulo. It’s an easy walk out, as you start by following the North Wales Path through a gate in the wall before taking the track right. This climbs for a short while, but the path is now easily followed and quite gentle. The biggest problem is making sure that you don’t take the wrong path as there are just so many of them in the area. The NWP is followed as far as a farm enclosure at SH 740 749, before you turn left and around the enclosure to it’s southern end.
Finding the main path again can be awkward, but if you follow the path that passes south of the enclosure and veer left if in doubt, you will hit a wide track that’s difficult to miss. Continue along this path for another kilometre and you arrive at a complex junction area, with paths going off in all directions. We need to finds the one that goes right which can be by cutting across along a faint quad track, or finding the main junction at SH 736 736.
The path is wet and boggy in places, appearing in places like a drainage ditch with higher ground either side of the path. However, it is a path and as such easy to follow over the moor. Shortly after you find this path there is a roofed sheepfold that would be useable as an emergency shelter. At this point, we considered using it to sit for a coffee as we were fighting against gale force winds.
We continued on, as the route isn’t a long one, and we’d done most of the hard work by this point. Carrying on, the path crosses a few streams before turning towards Tal Y Fan, or more correctly the col between it and Foel Lwyd. While the path does go to the stile in the wall at the col, we decided to cut across. However, I doubt we gained much in the way of time as it was steeper than we thought. The wind was much stronger here too, and we were finding ourselves falling into the heather quite often!
At the col, a path follows the wall up to Tal Y Fan, but there is a false summit first, where you must descend a few metres (noted by the separate ring contours n the map for each top). The top is then reached by crossing a stile in the wall. Usually this is a great viewpoint, and it would have been today as it was reasonably clear towards Llandudno, but it was so windy we couldn’t stay.
From the opposite side of the wall to the trig, you continue along the wall and the wide summit ridge to make for a decent little ridge walk. Today it was exceptionally windy, and we had to stop at intervals to wait for the wind to die down before continuing on. The wall eventually turns from a NNW to a SW direction, and this provided the first shelter we’d had all day. The wind through the wall was still enough to knock my flask cup over, but at least its owner could remain upright (although i was sitting).
This wall can then be followed, with a couple of steep grassy sections, all the way down to the track at SH742 726. Some sections we had difficulty on due to the weather, and I decided I’d had enough on one grassy slope and slid down it on my arse to save time.
Once on the track, some map work will be needed to keep you on this track and not on any other. The main points of confusion are the enclosure at SH744 729, which you pass to your right, and not through! Then just past this, you need to follow the path left through the col below Craig Celynin, reaching a flat area with some gorse bushes.
The official track takes you right before you turn left again to the corner of the field and the way out. Better is to just look to the NNW and the corner of the field you’re aiming for, and follow the wall, to your left, to it over easy ground.
At the corner you will ford a river, it is shallow but deep enough to flood out trail shoes. Boots are immune, but there are some sections that are just deeper. The path now is obvious. It is wide and grassy and follows the eastern slopes of Cefn Maen Amor. Avoid any tracks that veer off, but if you do go left, then the worse that could happen i you end up on the same path as the morning and an easy return. Follow this path you are on to it’s natural conclusion, and it descends to a marshy lake called Gwern Engen. We took the wide track to the car park from here and a road walk (very short) back to the start point. You can take a path to the SW of the lake that takes you back to the start point. A swift half in the Dwygyfylchi which was smoky and noisy with football, sent us to the Fairy Glen which wasn’t, and a couple more beers and games of pool.