The prospect of a glorious day out had me binning my plans for Wednesday in favour of a day ‘on the hill’. The ‘hill’ in question was Y Garn and the Glyders, one of my favourite walks. It has the advantage of being easily achievable in a day out from Timperley, with breakfast as normal and the ability to return in time to buy and cook dinner before heading off at 7 pm to see Jim’s SWOG presentation.
I’m really surprised to note that since I’ve been recording this on-line diary I’ve only walked this route twice, on 1 January 2008, and on 29 November 2012, the reports on which contrast markedly with this one. This rare recurrence of a favourite walk reflects an increasing tendency to walk more locally, I suspect.
Anyway, after an 8 am start, passage through a low lying blanket of mist over Cheshire, then past lovely autumn shades beside the M56 motorway, was followed by a twenty minute delay in the A55 roadworks. I eventually parked in a layby a few minutes walk from Ogwen Cottage alongside Llyn Ogwen, which looked splendid under the bright blue sky.
The rebuilding of the Ogwen Centre has been completed since my last visit, and it’s very nice too. Coffee and cake served through the traditional hatch was of a high standard. I chatted to a couple from the Wirral with whom I’d shared space in the traffic jam. They were planning to avoid the wind on the summits by heading up to the Tryfan col and then over Foel Goch to Capel Curig, returning by a low level route.
I set off at around 11am and soon passed a party of eleven children with two teachers. They were heading up to Llyn Idwal before returning for an afternoon of raft building.
I left them and continued up the good path towards Y Garn.
There were fine, clear views back to Llyn Ogwen, framed on the left by the southernmost of the Carnedd summits, Yr Ole Wen, and by Tryfan on the right.
I passed a couple on the ascent. They hadn’t been here before. I explained the route over the Glyders, but unfortunately neither I nor they had a proper map. I’m not sure whether they would have been able to read it, even if I’d had one. (Navigation was never going to be an issue for me on a day like this in familiar surroundings.)
The summit of Y Garn (947 metres) was breezy but not overly windy. A thin fleece over a t-shirt was more than adequate for keeping warm, and quite a few people were sporting shorts. Snowdon stood firm under the clear blue sky across the Llanberis Pass.
Although only just after noon, numerous folk were lunching in sheltered spots beside Llyn y Cwr, from above which there was a good view back to the path down Y Garn.
It was good to be in the shade for the haul up Glyder Fawr. The sun was blindingly dazzling at points where the line of ascent was shallow enough to reveal that brilliant orb. The summit (1001 metres) is easily gained, with good views back across the rocks towards Snowdon.
To the south, a succession of hills led the eye all the way to the distant horizon.
To the east, that little bobble on the horizon is the next summit, that of Glyder Fach (994 metres). It’s slow going to get there, thanks to the rubbly nature of the terrain.
A little further on, Llyn Idwal shone above the Ogwen Valley in a deep shade of blue. The view down to Bethesda and beyond was magnificent.
The gnarly rocks of Glyder Fach soon loomed above me. Ravens and air force jets played in the thermals.
Glyder Fach isn’t the easiest of summits to attain. It’s quite a scramble up to the innocuous looking summit rock pictured below. I stumbled around here for a good half hour. Great care was needed as there was nobody about and the rocks on the north side were very slippery.
A few metres further on is the Cantilever Stone, sadly unoccupied today. You just have to imagine a big group of people standing on the right hand end of the huge rock.
The descent to Llyn Caseg-fraith starts just a little further on. A group of pensioners was slogging slowly up the gentle ascent that I was ambling down. I’d decided against descending via Bristly Ridge, the direct route.
After turning sharp left at the col that is reached before the lake, superb views of Tryfan are enjoyed as you make your way carefully across to the Tryfan col.
Whilst crossing the Glyder ridge I’d looked down on Tryfan and spotted numerous folk on its summit. I caught up with a group of at least a dozen of them shortly after passing below Llyn Bochlwyd, pictured below with Y Garn in the background. They were a group of former students enjoying a reunion.
Whilst there didn’t really seem to be many people about, I must have seen seventy or so folk during the course of this excellent walk. Five hours of unadulterated pleasure concluded with the short walk back beside Llyn Ogwen to Polly.
My Garmin GPS recorded just over 13 km, with 1000 metres ascent. Transferring the .gpx file to Anquet mapping, shown below, produced the same distance but Anquet reckoned on 1448 metres ascent. I guess it’s actually about 1100 metres, but who really cares, it’s an excellent walk.
Returning via Ruthin and Mold, more fine autumn colours were on display, but in certain areas, Betws-y-Coed for example, the deep greens of summer were still dominant.