The mountains of the Carneddau in North Wales seem to be a regular theme in this blog, and no wonder – the pointy mountains of the Glyderau and Snowdon ranges attract more interest and consequently more crowds, but the high plateau of the Carneddau is a wild quiet place, largely avoided by walkers apart from those who are already converts.
Last September Chris and I had a wander round the area above Aber Falls (see post #161). A new approach route usually throws up new hills, and we had looked up towards Gyrn and contoured round below Moel Wnion. This time we approached those hills from the old village of Rachub to the west – The first obstacle was the deep ravine of Bwlch ym Mhwll-le but instead of losing height to regain it again, we took a crafty diversion up the ravine itself, lining us up for an easy walk to Gyrn.
Having already cheated a bit at the bwlch, it seemed logical to contour round the lesser hill of Llefn, and to strike out directly for Gyrn. It’s hard to judge the scale of these hills with no reference points nearby, and although Gyrn had appeared to be a good distance away, we soon found ourselves heading for the summit. The top is surprisingly small, but there was enough room for Border Collie ‘Mist’ to stretch out – by comparison, the views to the Carneddau Plateau were massive.
From the peak of Gyrn there was also a good view across to Moel Wnion, the main objective of this trip. A conveniently placed set of sheepfolds on the way made an excellent windbreak for lunch, then it was on to our last summit. Moel Wnion is the complete opposite to Gyrn, with a broad featureless top apart from a tumbledown shelter.
The easiest way to return to Rachub from Moel Wnion was to reverse the route of ascent to join a good track that pointed us back to the start, with the bonus of great views looking upwards to where we had just been. The day had the feel of spring after the gale force winds of the previous month, and as we returned I was already plotting another trip out – a walk in the Carneddau is a bit like eating a Chinese takeaway, satisfying at the time but soon leaving you hungry for more!
Text and images © Paul Shorrock
p.s. I was out again the next day, at the opposite end of the Carneddau – read about it in two weeks.