A crack at the Carneddau

Submitted by Timwoods on 16 October 2008
OS Explorer Map: OL17 - Snowdon
 
(1 vote)
A linear, full-day mountain (above 600m) walk in national park Snowdonia (Wales) starting at Bethesda, Gwynedd, about 19km (roughly 12 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs.
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Snowdon gets the tourists' vote, Tryfan and the Glyders are the climbers' favourite, but for walkers, nothing beats the Carneddau. The terrain seems even more mountainous and rugged out here, with the paths hugging unnervingly close to the vast, tumbling cliffs. This walk starts in Bethesda and tackles the two highest peaks in this range, Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn, before descending into Capel Curig.
Start: Bethesda, OS Grid: SH624667
End: Capel Curig, OS Grid: SH721582
Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 1546m (5072ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 3048m (10001ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 1502m (4929ft)
Max. Elevation: 1050m (3444ft)

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Waypoints
OS Grid: SH624667
Head southeast from the town centre and take the road that follows the river.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 1 OS Grid: SH638658
Cross the footbridge over the river - you need to be on the south side for the climb up into the Carneddau (the path leads into the col). Follow the footpath that runs along the river.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 2 OS Grid: SH653648
At the foot of Mynydd Du, leave the footpath along the river and head up the slope, sticking to the cliff line.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 3 OS Grid: SH658641
The cliff edge gets ever sharper and more dramatic - the glacial legacies of this place are clear to see. Stay on the edge of the hill and keep on climbing.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 4 OS Grid: SH663631
First summit of the day and it's a good 'un - Carnedd Dafydd, rising above the imposing Ysgolion Duon cliff. Follow the path that runs along Cefn Ysgolion Duon.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 5 OS Grid: SH680635
A short drop into the bwlch between the two big summits. There is a clear path on to Carnedd Llewelyn.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 6 OS Grid: SH683645
The second summit and highest point of the day at 1064m. If you are making good progress, there is an optional side trip out to Yr Elen, which takes about 40 minutes there and back.
About 2 km (roughly 1 miles) from 7 OS Grid: SH695633
From Carnedd Llewelyn, take a bearing to make sure you get the right path from the summit. Follow the cliff path to Bwlch Eryl Farchog, a sharp ridge that leads onto Hegli Du.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 8 OS Grid: SH698629
From the triangular summit of Hegli Du, it's another (easier) ridge walk to Pen Llithrig y Wrach, the last summit of the day.
About 2 km (roughly 2 miles) from 9 OS Grid: SH716624
This is the far edge of the Carneddau group, and you can see land, whilst still hilly, gets lower as you head east from here. Pick up the path dropping off the southern end of the hill, towards the bridleways that meet near Llyn Cowlyd.
About 1 km (roughly 1 miles) from 10 OS Grid: SH717609
At the southern end of the reservoir, take the bridleway that heads downhill into Capel Curig.
About 3 km (roughly 2 miles) from 11 OS Grid: SH721580
The end at last! A fine day on the hills should be finished with a pot of tea and a slice of cake in the Pinnacles cafe, just near the road junction (and the bus stop). For those in need of something stronger, the Bryn Tyrch is a five minute walk along the road to Betws-y-coed.
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