A leisurely start saw Graham and I ambling away from Beddgelert car park at 10.30 am. The start described in Bill Birkett’s book was simplified by new paths beside the recently restored Welsh Highland Railway. The sun was shining and everything was very peaceful.
There was a lone walker ahead in the distance who we never caught up, but we soon overtook a group of six trainees (they all had map cases, boots with the sizes inked onto their heels, and a weary looking leader who kept halting them for his next words of wisdom).
There was no other sign of human life on the hill.
A position was reached where much needed elevenses could be enjoyed, with a panoramic view towards Snowdon, its nose in cloud, and snow capped Moel Siabod to its right. Cnicht and the Moelwyns are out of frame to the right.
A pleasant, scrambly ridge conducted us to the summit by 12.30, mainly along a thin path through the rocks, though we made our own way really, avoiding hard-frozen slabs of ice and snow – there was not enough to warrant crampons on this occasion.
The views from here are excellent, though the shadows cast by big clouds over the Snowdon massif meant we didn’t enjoy the brightness of our last two ‘Great British Ridge Walk’ outings.
Bright shafts of light lit up Tremadog Bay, beyond Porthmadog.
After slithering down a steep bank of snow that was just right for a lengthy standing glissade, we found a lunch spot sheltered from the cold north-easterly, near the col leading to Moel Yr Ogof. Then we zoomed on up Moel Yr Ogof through a steep looking but easy on the ground defile to the summit, with views back to the broad snow slope down which we had earlier glissaded.
From this second summit we continued through a geologist’s paradise, with big chunks of rock (bombs) embedded in the concrete like consistency of a band of ancient lava.
A ladder stile at the next col led us on to Moel Lefn.
Once down at the next col – Bwlch Cwm-trswsgl – a slightly complex route, vaguely waymarked, led back down to the camp site at Meillionen, where the human activity indicated that the ‘season’ has started. We even saw a Dutch touring car today.
We missed a turn after the camp site and finished up on a boggy path by the river, with an illegal walk down the railway line to finish (instead of a legal but possibly slurrified – and our boots were clean! -path through a farm). It was 4 pm – we were in plenty of time to drive home and enjoy a fine repast prepared by Sue.
I will insert a route description in due course, as Bill B’s needs amending to take account of the restored railway line.
Here’s where we went, in a fairly leisurely 5.5 hours – 12 km with about 975 metres ascent. The more correct route should have been down the path that links point 5 back to Cwm Cioch, but I suppose our accidental variant made for a truer circuit.
It wasn’t the best day for snapshots, but a few piccies, including some of Graham’s (thank you, Graham) are available to be viewed here.
It’s Skiddaw next – meeting at 10.00 am at NY 237 311 on Tuesday 16 March. Be there or be square, as The Pie Man would say.