#121 – Moel Eilio – unfinished business!

Moel Eilio in the far distance, seen from the top of the PYG Track on the 'Halfshoe' walk

Moel Eilio in the far distance, seen from the top of the PYG Track on the ‘Halfshoe’ walk

On the Snowdon ‘Halfshoe’ trip (see #120 of last week) I had stopped at the top of the PYG Track to admire the view.  Recently I’ve been getting round to walking hills that I’ve been driving past for years, and it was good to look round the horizon mentally ticking off the summits I knew.  Then I looked northwest, and saw there was some unfinished business in that direction – it looked like Moel Eilio was due a visit!

Looking southeast towards Garnedd Ugain and Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)

Looking southeast towards Garnedd Ugain and Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)

Starting out from the ruined homestead of Maen Llwyd Isaf

Starting out from the ruined homestead of Maen Llwyd Isaf

An easy track to start with ….

An easy track to start with ….

…. then up!

…. then up!

More up ....

More up ….

.... followed by even more up!!

…. followed by even more up!!

Another fine sunny day a few days after the Halfshoe walk gave the opportunity for a trip to Moel Eilio.  A bit of research (isn’t Google just brilliant!) resulted in a car parking opportunity that cut out about forty minutes of road walking.  When we did get our boots on we found a broad track giving easy access to the northern slopes of Moel Eilio, but eventually we had to get down to some serious uphill.

The summit of Moel Eilio, surprisingly busy

The summit of Moel Eilio, surprisingly busy

‘Mist’ finds another dog ….

‘Mist’ finds another dog ….

…. then it’s off on the switchback ridge towards Foel Goch

…. then it’s off on the switchback ridge towards Foel Goch

The ascent didn’t really have that ‘wow’ factor, with little to look at except more ‘up’, but as we reached the surprisingly busy summit at 726 metres altitude, the view suddenly opened with a stunning panorama, and a superb switchback of a ridge ahead.

Wild ponies on the descent to Bwlch Gwyn

Wild ponies on the descent to Bwlch Gwyn

Chris meeting the locals

Chris meeting the locals

Onwards towards Foel Gron

Onwards towards Foel Gron

Looking back….

Looking back….

…. and great views to the front

…. and great views to the front

Looking like the Brecon Beacons

Looking like the Brecon Beacons

Coming over one crest we almost bumped into a herd of wild ponies, as small as ‘Shetlands’ but built like small barrels!  Then the switchback ridge continued, looking at times like the Brecon Beacons, except that the Beacons don’t have views towards Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) ahead.

Our descent route, the broad ridge of Cefn Drum.

Our descent route, the broad ridge of Cefn Drum.

Foel Goch – our last summit before heading down

Foel Goch – our last summit before heading down

On the descent, with Yr Wyddfa in the distance

On the descent, with Yr Wyddfa in the distance

Looking back to Moel Eilio ….

Looking back to Moel Eilio ….

…. and looking down to the small lake of Llyn Dwythwch

…. and looking down to the small lake of Llyn Dwythwch

As we approached the final summit of Foel Goch, our descent route was clear – I’d decided on the broad grassy ridge of Cefn Drum, rather than following the good bridlepath down the valley of Maesgwm running parallel to the ridge.  This had the advantage of great views for most of the way down, but the final steep bit was through ankle-grabbing heather, not exactly an instant hit with Chris.

The ruins at Brithdir, with Elidir Fawr behind in the distance

The ruins at Brithdir, with Elidir Fawr behind in the distance

Brithdir, with Garnedd Ugain and cloud-covered Yr Wyddfa in the distance

Brithdir, with Garnedd Ugain and cloud-covered Yr Wyddfa in the distance

A bit of devious zig-zagging on my part ‘sorted’ it, dropping us down to the small lake of Llyn Dwythwch.  From there we headed down to the bridleway passing the ruined homestead at Brithdir.  A swift Royal Marine style ‘yomp’ soon had us back at the car.  Thankfully I managed the drive back to Llanberis down the narrow lane without removing the side mirrors!

Heading back to the car at the end of the day

Heading back to the car at the end of the day

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

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 #121 – Moel Eilio – unfinished business!

  1. Wow! Have you got a new camera, or was it just the right day for photos? Some superb vistas opening up there.

    • It’s a great section of hill for photos, but the light was quite challenging – hazy at times, and some of the best views looking into the sun. You should see the number of rejects 🙂

      It struck me at the time that these would also be great hills for running, once the initial height gain was out of the way.

  2. Wow! and a perfectly clear day too…the views are stunning Paul – so are the photos…another superb post (wish I was up there right now)!

  3. Thanks for that SP – there was a bit of haze early on, but things got better as the day went on.

  4. They’re my usual ‘too icy to do Snowdon’ hills – I do them a lot from our club cottage – very nice walk. I always go up the ridge above Llanberis though and along the hills to the pass and then back on that. Once though, I went up that ridge you can see in front of Moel Eilio’s summit in your first photo – it was steep and a bit exciting (by my standards) towards the top (I went on the narrow side of the fence) but great fun.

    Strangely, I’m not sure I’ve ever taken any photos up there…

  5. LensScaper says:

    I’m late commenting on this. Took a quick peek a week ago and was supposed to come back to it map in hand. Something went wrong: memory loss! Another great weather day – are you getting all the fine weather up there? Another route on my lengthening list except I had the idea of descending the ridge from Snowdon via Moel Cyngorion and then dropping off Moel Eilio to Betws Garmon (I’m told there’s a path off it that way but as so often it’s not shown on the map). Some great images and what a great ridge it looks from all angles, Paul.

  6. Combining Moel Eilio with Yr Wyddfa should make a very satisfying day – I checked Google Earth to see if there was an obvious path from Moel Eilio to Betws Garmon, and there appears to be something following the line of the parish boundary, just north of west. It continues to a wall then disappears, and I can’t see anything obvious from there.

    There are crags in the area shown as ‘Y Diffws’ on the 1:25k map, that you probably wouldn’t want to get mixed up in. I’m out on a training weekend with the search dogs in a few days, working from Rhyd Ddu – if they use any areas near Betws Garmon I’ll keep a lookout for any illusive paths.

  7. Pingback: #142 – Moel Eilio revisited | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  8. Pingback: #147 – Ring out the old … 2013 hill memories | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  9. Pingback: #196 – Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) by the PYG Track | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

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