#173 – The south-east mountains of the Carneddau

Creigiau Gleision above Llyn Cowlyd Reservoir

Creigiau Gleision above Llyn Cowlyd Reservoir

The route – anticlockwise starting from Capel Curig

The route – anticlockwise starting from Capel Curig

Our short outing onto the north-western hills of the Carneddau (see post #172) had the feel of a spring day about it, and with a few more days of settled sunny weather on the way, I decided to make the most of it by re-visiting the route I had abandoned three months earlier in the gales of December (see post #165). So, the next day I was at the south-east of the Carneddau range, ready to have a crack at Creigiau Gleision again.

Impatient Border Collie ‘Mist’ wants to be off

Impatient Border Collie ‘Mist’ wants to be off

Looking up Nant Geuallt towards Crimpiau on the left

Looking up Nant Geuallt towards Crimpiau on the left

The start of the ascent of Crimpiau

The start of the ascent of Crimpiau

The way ahead with (l to r) Crimpiau, Craig Wen and Craiglwyn

The way ahead with (l to r) Crimpiau, Craig Wen and Craiglwyn

Looking down to Llyn Crafnant

Looking down to Llyn Crafnant

I set off from Capel Curig with my regular walking partner, Border Collie ‘Mist’. Dogs make easy walking companions – they don’t complain, don’t ask for the map, don’t suggest that you have taken a wrong turn, and ‘Mist’ is no exception. She is also stock trained, and ignored the new lambs in the fields as we set out towards Llyn Crafnant. The way is gradually rising at first, but before Llyn Crafnant it takes a turn uphill to Crimpiau, the first summit of the day.

Craig Wen (centre) and Craiglwyn (right) seen from Crimpiau

Craig Wen (centre) and Craiglwyn (right) seen from Crimpiau

The southern mountains of the Carneddau with Tryfan just creeping in through the haze  (far left)

The southern mountains of the Carneddau with Tryfan just creeping in through the haze (far left)

Pen Llithrig y Wrach ahead, but not on today’s route

Pen Llithrig y Wrach ahead, but not on today’s route

Looking back to Craig Wen ….

Looking back to Craig Wen ….

…. and Craiglwyn ahead

…. and Craiglwyn ahead

Although low in altitude, Crimpiau is a great viewpoint, and from the top I could see the next peaks of Craig Wen and Craiglwyn. I didn’t bother with the summit of Craig Wen this time, but as I came round the shoulder of the hill I had a great panorama of the mountains of the southern Carneddau stretched out in front of me. The nearest hill was Pen Llithrig y Wrach, which translates as ‘Slippery Hill of the Witch’ (see post #77) – what a great name for a mountain!

Band of quartz on the way up Creigiau Gleision

Band of quartz on the way up Creigiau Gleision

Looking across Llyn Cowlyd to Pen Llithrig y Wrach

Looking across Llyn Cowlyd to Pen Llithrig y Wrach

Craiglwyn had been the furthest point reached on the aborted December trip, so from there on I was on new ground. The high ground of Craiglwyn and Creigiau Gleision gave great views across to Pen Llithrig y Wrach, including my route back along the shoreline of Llyn Cowlyd. Just before the summit of Creigiau Gleision I came across an amazing band of pure white quartz, and ‘Mist’ obliged by posing for a photo to give an idea of scale. Before long I had crossed over the summit and was heading down to the dam at Llyn Cowlyd.

At Llyn Cowlyd dam, looking back to Creigiau Gleision

At Llyn Cowlyd dam, looking back to Creigiau Gleision

The western aspect of Creigiau Gleision

The western aspect of Creigiau Gleision

The path above the lake on the return route

The path above the lake on the return route

The view back down Llyn Cowlyd, with Creigiau Gleision on the right

The view back down Llyn Cowlyd, with Creigiau Gleision on the right

Creigiau Gleision (l) with Craig Wen on the outward route just visible (r)

Creigiau Gleision (l) with Craig Wen on the outward route just visible (r)

The walk back above the lake gave great views back to the high route I had just taken. Before long I was contouring round the lower slopes of the witch’s slippery hill, to cross the pass at Bwlch Cowlyd, where the final views of Llyn Cowlyd completed a great route. An earlier idea to head back to Crimpiau was abandoned for a steady descent to the A5 and a short road walk back to Capel Curig, with ‘Mist’ giving me the look that said it was well past her dinner time!

The final view down to Llyn Cowlyd from the bwlch (pass)

The final view down to Llyn Cowlyd from the bwlch (pass)

“Come on! It’s past my dinner time!”

“Come on! It’s past my dinner time!”

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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11 Responses to #173 – The south-east mountains of the Carneddau

  1. This looked like a fun hike! I really love the lake trail, very beautiful. Slippery mountain of the witch… Yes, great name for a mountain!

    • It was a great day out Plant Girl – the outward stretch was a real skyline route with big skies (well, by our smaller UK standards!) and the return by the lake was a delight.
      The light was a bit hazy for photography, but some of the images weren’t too bad.

  2. A rather nice looking walk 🙂
    It’s funny, Tilly is absolutely fine with sheep, but as soon as she hears a lamb cry, she goes totally daft….so this time of year it just has to be the lead if there’s any lambs about.

  3. Dogs can be such strange creatures at times, but we wouldn’t be without them.

  4. Some pretty spectacular views on that walk Paul. A friend of ours was just relating a lamb based story to us. She wasted quite a bit of time on the weekend’s Rab Mini Mountain Marathon because the pitiful bleat of a lone lost lamb was just impossible to ignore. She ended up carrying it until luckily the rest of the flock, including it’s mother, were located. Interspecies co-operation!

  5. It is a nice route that. They look great crags on Craig Wen on your retrospect photo 🙂
    Carol.

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