#93 – The Moel Hebog Ridge

The Moel Hebog Ridge with (L to R) Moel Hebog, Moel yr Ogof and Moel Lefn

Tell your mountaineering mates that you were walking in Eifionydd last week, and they will probably look at you blankly.  The Eifionydd Hills are the ones sandwiched between the Snowdon Range and the Llŷn Peninsula.  Sandwiched is perhaps the wrong word though, inferring some kind of inferiority – this is definitely not the case.

The Welsh Highland Railway at Beddgelert

The Eifionydd Hills contain the Nantlle Ridge (post #21), one of the great ridge-walks of North Wales, as well as the impressive mass of Mynydd Mawr (post #30), but the hill that overshadows the others is situated above the pretty village of Beddgelert – Moel Hebog is an impressive looking hill from most directions, but when approaching Beddgelert from Capel Curig it simply dominates the landscape.

The ridge gets steeper towards the summit of Moel Hebog

The view back down to Beddgelert (JB)

The author mucking about on the rocks (JB)

More mucking about (JB)

Paradoxically, the ridge of Moel Hebog, Moel yr Ogof and Moel Lefn can’t be seen in the village itself, but once out on the rising hillside things start to open up.  The height gain is fairly steady, which gave my photographer mate John Bamber plenty to go at, whilst giving me the chance to muck about on whatever bits of rock happened to be in the way.

A man on a mission – John trying for images in worsening light conditions …

…. and coming up with a result – the final section to the summit of Moel Hebog (JB)

John at the summit

The view to Moel yr Ogof, as seen when out of the mist

Towards the summit we ran into the mist that wasn’t supposed to be there, though the steeper ground was a good indication that we were getting near the top.  The summit was indicated by a battered Ordnance Survey Trig Point, but the continuation of the ridge to the north was just different shades of grey until we eventually emerged from the cloud.

The cleft leading to Moel yr Ogof

The author and ‘Mist’ head into the cleft (JB)

Moel Lefn from Moel yr Ogof (JB)

Moel Lefn, the final peak

Following on from Moel Hebog (‘Bare Hill of the Falcon’) we continued to our next peak of Moel yr Ogof (‘Bare Hill of the Cave’) passing through an impressive cleft along the way.  There is, in fact, a cave said to have been used by the Welsh leader Owain Glyndwr whilst hiding from the English, but we gave it a miss and pressed on to our final summit of Moel Lefn (‘Smooth Bare Hill’)

Start of the descent

Quite steep in places …. (JB)

…. but a quick way of losing height

Then, after all the ups and downs of the broad Moel Hebog ridge, it was time to head down.  A good amount of the accumulated height gain was descended over a fairly short distance, but it made it a quick way to lose altitude, bringing us to the upper reaches of Beddgelert Forest.

Through the trees …. (JB)

…. forest clearings …. (JB)

…. and a multitude of forest rides

We all have our likes and dislikes, and I’m afraid walking through commercial forests doesn’t come high on my list of things to do on a mountain day, but after the delights of the high ridge we had to pay our dues.  So pay them we did – soggy, boggy paths soon gave way to hard-surfaced forest rides, with one last tantalising view of Moel Hebog with (you’ve guessed it) a cloud free summit!

Final view of Moel Hebog (JB)

Text and images © Paul Shorrock – Images tagged (JB) © John Bamber

About Paul Shorrock

I've been mucking about in the mountains for longer than I care to mention. I started out by walking my local hills, then went on to rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Still doing it, and still getting a buzz. I'm now sharing the fun, through my guided walking business (Hillcraft Guided Walking) and by writing routes for other publishers, mainly Walking World and Discovery Walking Guides. Just to make sure I keep really busy, I am also currently a member of my local mountain rescue team.
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13 Responses to #93 – The Moel Hebog Ridge

  1. Dave Freeman says:

    Thanks for that. It brought back many fond memories. Made me get the map out.

    • Hi Dave,

      So pleased that it brought back fond memories – hope you get the chance to use that map on the hill, if not then perhaps a chance to share a yarn and a drink with hill-mates.

  2. I remember doing that very walk many years ago with our Border Collie and the previous Boxer. Thoroughly enjoyed it. How come Mist is always in front waiting for you to catch up…?

    • ” …. How come Mist is always in front waiting for you to catch up…? ….”

      Hahaha…. You’re ‘avin’ a larf! 🙂

      With your long time involvement with our doggie chums, I know I don’t have to answer that… 😉

      As I write, ‘Mist’ is still drying out from todays adventure in the Rhinog Hills – not a bad life for a dog,

  3. LensScaper says:

    Sorry about the weather on this walk, Paul. A great read – you know more about Welsh place names than I do – and considering the weather some good images too. Walking this the other way round (starting from Rhyd-Ddu) the way through the forest and the moorland beyond until you reach the final steep ascent to Moel Lefyn was not always easy to follow.

    • Thanks for the kind words, Andy. John (my co-pilot) has better photographic skills than I, and usually manages to pull a couple of good shots out of the bag, even on a dull day.

      As for language skills – “dwi’n dysgu siarad cymraeg” (I am learning to speak Welsh) but progress is “Araf” 😉

  4. I’ve got lost in that forest before now coming back from Moel Lefn & co – and missed the bus! 😦

    I love Moel Hebog and definitely don’t walk it enough. I have an ambition to do the Ty Braich ridge on it sometime. I love the normal route up though where it gets scrambly towards the top. It’s a great half-day walk. Last time I was up there I was feeding a sheep nuts and raisins! I haven’t yet seen the West Highland Railway in Beddgelert – it had only got to Rhyd Ddu last time I was there…

    Have you found the ogof on Moel Yr Ogof then? I’ve never been able to find anything – some pointers would be useful.

    • Forest rides are a headache!! They allow movement at a brisk pace, which is fine if that is taking you in the right direction! Apparently you can get a detailed forestry map from the nearby campsite, probably worth it for the walk through the trees.

      The railway goes all the way to Porthmadog now – it’s a bit on the dear side, but opens up possibilities for linear routes.

      No, I haven’t done the cave either – apparently it’s to the east of the summit if you can be bothered searching. I suppose Owain Glyndwr was looking for somewhere nice and quiet when he came across it 🙂

      • I’ve spent ages searching for the cave before along with Richard… we never found a thing. We were imagining a farmer in the valley behind watching us through binoculars and laughing as we thought it was possibly just a local joke and didn’t really exist.

  5. Did you know that the BBC used to have Moel Hebog as their weather picture… and they used to think it was Snowdon! LOL

  6. Pingback: #94 – Craig Cwm Silyn and the Nantlle Ridge | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  7. Pingback: #164 – Moel Hebog – “Bare Hill of the Hawk” | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

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