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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
Text and images © Paul Shorrock