Fellow blogger LensScaper and I have both recently posted accounts of walking some of the less frequented hills of Snowdonia, but LensScaper sometimes follows routes the opposite way round to the way that I have walked them. What is really interesting in this (for me anyway) is that it gives an entirely different perspective on a route.
In his post ‘Walks on less frequented hills and paths’, LensScaper describes a reverse version of my Moel Hebog Ridge walk, which shows the walk in a completely different light (literally, as he had better light for photography!). Sometimes walking a route the other way round gives a completely different insight into the day.
However, it was the beginning of the ‘Walks on less frequented hills and paths’ post that grabbed me, with a traverse of the Nantlle Ridge, but from West to East which is the reverse direction to that which most walkers choose. Why one direction becomes favoured over another isn’t always obvious, but walkers and mountaineers can be ‘set in their ways’, and LensScaper’s post was like a breath of fresh air.
I’ve had a continuing ‘affair’ with the Nantlle Ridge for some years now, but (big confession) I’ve never done the complete ridge as a linear ‘end-to-end’ trip. This is simply a matter of logistics, as getting back to your transport from the finish is problematic. Sort that out, and it would be one of the best ridge walks in Wales, and a much better outing than a contrived circuit.
I had already recorded the Eastern Nantlle Ridge as part of the ongoing Snowdonia project for Discovery Walking Guides, and the images shown above come from that trip. The Western Nantlle Ridge was still waiting however, and I was itching to get there, not just to finish a section of the guide, but also to walk a couple of hills I had only seen from a distance.
The day started with a drive to Caernarfon, then on to Nebo just off the Porthmadog road. Nebo is a quiet and attractive village that makes a great launch pad to tackle the Western Nantlle Ridge. There were two simple aims – to record a short day walk from Nebo to Craig Cwm Silyn and back, and to record the final section of the Nantlle Ridge as a continuation from a start at Rhyd Ddu in the east
Although this sounds simple, I was in effect walking two routes, and recording two different tracklogs on GPS, and two different voice descriptions on the voice recorder. Although it sounds convoluted, it means that I can give route details for the Nebo walk, as well as a route description for the whole ridge from Rhyd Ddu to Nebo.
As missions go, it was about 95% successful, which isn’t bad. The problem this time was the same one that has hampered the guide project for all of this summer – we are talking British weather! Although we left Nebo in fair conditions, the mist was gathering as we reached high ground, and summit photographs were like a version of ’50 shades of Grey’ but without the sex! (If that reference doesn’t make sense, check it out on Google)
Of course the inevitable happened – on the return section the mist cleared, and I found myself looking several times at Craig Cwm Dulyn. Perhaps I should have included that as well to make a complete traverse of the Nantlle Ridge! I suspect another trip is on the cards.
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
p.s. At least one person reading this will have been wondering whether or not I beat the post deadline – yes John, I just made it!
p.p.s. LensScaper isn’t a ‘one-dimensional’ poster of mountain views like me (though his mountain images are outstanding!) For a real treat, have a look at ‘On a Swing’.
I suppose one of the positive things about the British weather, is that it gives you an excuse (if one was needed), to do routes several times!
How very true ….. 🙂
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post, Paul; and many thanks indeed for the references to my Blog – much appreciated and very generous of you. Your images particularly from the East Nantlle ridge show what a fantastic ridge this is in good weather. When I walked it in it’s entirety northwards I had the benefit of my wife to drop me off at the start point and meet me at Rhyd-Ddu 7 hours later. I left the Cwn Pennant road at SH520439 and then tracked up past the disused Hendre-ddu quarry, and then headed WNW to eventually pick up the path that follows a fence/wall line all the way up to Bwlch Cwmdulyn, cutting off this to Mynnydd Craig Goch. It’s rough very wet country after the quarry – paths on the 1:25000 map bear no correlation to what is on the ground! My feet got very wet. I’ve revisited and found a drier route, which I hope to revisit again to check out (if I can remember it)!
Thanks for the kind words, Andy – you have a knack of packing the miles in on your walks!
I appreciate your desire to look at terrain from a new perspective. That looks like a fantastic area. Too bad I live seven or eight time zones away! Nice blog.
Hi Josh, and thanks for dropping in.
You say … “That looks like a fantastic area. Too bad I live seven or eight time zones away!” Funny, I was thinking exactly the same about your back-yard after reading your blog!
Happy hiking (or hillwalking as we would call it over here) 🙂
I’d have to get the map out, but I think I did Garnedd Goch from Nebo – it was up a hill on a little road to the road-end anyway – can’t remember much about it. I’m pretty sure I did Craig Cwm Dulyn as well. I was only going as far as Craig Cwm Silyn on that trip though…
Yes, that sounds very much like our route – it was a short day walk, but gave me the opportunity to record the GPS tracklog for the guide.
Not a bad hill, but totally different in character from the eastern aspect – the side view of the ridge looks almost Cuillin in character looking from Cwm Dwyfor.
I need to have a bash at that scramble onto Mynydd Drws y Coed sometime…
It’s really nice and technically quite easy, BUT it gets quite slippy in the wet and needs care in those conditions, a bit like Sharp Edge on Blencathra. There has been at least one fatal accident that I’m aware of, but in the dry it’s fine.
Nice? It didn’t look nice last time I was there. I got to it first, on my own, and stopped and stared at it… another couple came along behind me and stopped and stared at it… Then a group of young lads came along, passed us and confidently tackled it. I noticed at one point they were hand-traversing like a troupe of apes… At that point I said ‘no way’ and descended Y Garn again to re-ascend Mynydd Drws y Coed from the other side! The couple followed me…
I wouldn’t try anything like that on damp rock anyway so don’t worry about me trying it on a wet day!
Another location I haven’t been to (I know there’s a whole world of them) and the ridge looks great, I’ll bookmark as a maybe-one-day 🙂 And I’m impressed with your technical logistics with GPS and voice recorders!
hahaha … the ‘technical logistics’ can be a nightmare at times,as it nearly was on this trip – sometimes I think that a notebook and pencil would be easier 🙂
Great blog didn’t know you had this
See JB is involved too
I read it sat with Sue in the Tanronnen in Beddgelert
Here for ten days walking etc
Good to hear from you Bob – if you’re looking for inspiration for walks there are a few Welsh routes appearing in the blog.
Best wishes, Paul