#208 – Back to the Carneddau. Again!

Yr Elen and Carnedd Dafydd under cloud – situation normal!

Yr Elen and Carnedd Dafydd under cloud – situation normal!

For all sorts of reasons I haven’t been getting out on the mountains of the Carneddau over the summer months as much as I would have liked, so a free day and a reasonable weather forecast was all it took to tempt me out.    Border Collie ‘Mist’ is always up for a long mountain day, so rucksack packed it was game on!


Setting off to Yr Elen from Gerlan – clouds on the tops

Setting off to Yr Elen from Gerlan – clouds on the tops

Recent Carneddau outings have been on the east side of the range, so I felt ready for a change.  Yr Elen is a firm favourite, but I usually go up the North East Ridge (see posts #159 and #186) so I decided on the approach from the north-west instead.    Setting out from Gerlan near Bethesda, there was low cloud sitting on the tops of Yr Elen and Carnedd Dafydd, but all was going well until the planned stream crossing of the Afon Caseg.

Finally across the stream – looking back towards Bethesda

Finally across the stream – looking back towards Bethesda

Looking across to Carnedd Dafydd with the hills of the North Glyderau behind

Looking across to Carnedd Dafydd with the hills of the North Glyderau behind

The soggy state of the approach to the stream should have been a clue, but on arrival at the Afon Caseg it was obvious that the water level was much higher than on previous visits.  Perhaps I’m just getting soft as I get older, but leaping across slippy, greasy rocks was no more appealing than getting down to it and getting wet!    Regular visitors to the Scottish Highlands such as ‘Mountain Coward’ would have been amazed at the amount of ‘faffing-around’ going on and would have plunged straight in, but I ended up going about 1 km upstream to keep dry feet!

Border Collie ‘Mist’ on the first peak heading towards Yr Elen

Border Collie ‘Mist’ on the first peak heading towards Yr Elen

Mist’ posing again on Foel Ganol

Mist’ posing again on Foel Ganol

Looking back at the rocky top of Foel Ganol

Looking back at the rocky top of Foel Gano

The upper slopes of the northwest side of Yr Elen ….

The upper slopes of the northwest side of Yr Elen ….

…. and looking down from the same location

…. and looking down from the same location

Getting near to the summit

Getting near to the summit

On Yr Elen with Carnedd Llewelyn ahead

On Yr Elen with Carnedd Llewelyn ahead

Once on the slopes above the stream things started to pick up, as did the altitude.    The gradual approach that would have been possible had I crossed the stream earlier was replaced by a more brutal ascent to the tiny un-named peak leading to Foel Ganol, but once there it was steady-away heading along the crested ridge before the shattered stony face of Yr Elen led up to the summit plateau.

Looking from Yr Elen to Carnedd Llewelyn (left) and Carnedd Dafydd (right, under cloud)

Looking from Yr Elen to Carnedd Llewelyn (left) and Carnedd Dafydd (right, under cloud)

Heading for Carnedd Llewelyn from Yr Elen

Heading for Carnedd Llewelyn from Yr Elen

Looking down to the tiny lake in Cwm Caseg below Yr Elen

Looking down to the tiny lake in Cwm Caseg below Yr Elen

Carnedd Llewelyn ahead ….

Carnedd Llewelyn ahead ….

 …. and Yr Elen now behind ….


…. and Yr Elen now behind ….

…. with Carnedd Dafydd still to come

…. with Carnedd Dafydd still to come

Yr Elen must be one of the most cursed at hills in North Wales.    It is one of the 15 ‘Welsh 3000 ft Peaks’, but to tick it off means leaving the main ridge of the Carneddau at Carnedd Llewelyn for a ‘there and back’ trip to Yr Elen before resuming the main ridge, and that at the end of a long mountain day – its saving grace is that it is one of the most beautiful mountains in North Wales.    My day was much less ambitious, and a steady plod soon had me on the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn, the highest peak of the Carneddau at 1064 metres.

 Setting off from Carnedd Llewelyn to Carnedd Dafydd


Setting off from Carnedd Llewelyn to Carnedd Dafydd

 Near Bwlch Cyfryw Drum ….


Near Bwlch Cyfryw Drum ….

…. before heading on to Carnedd Dafydd

…. before heading on to Carnedd Dafydd

Carnedd Dafydd and the descent route of Mynydd Du (just left of centre, right side in shadow)

Carnedd Dafydd and the descent route of Mynydd Du (just left of centre, right side in shadow)

 Final slopes leading to the summit of Carnedd Dafydd ….

Final slopes leading to the summit of Carnedd Dafydd ….

…. and looking back to Carnedd Llewelyn with the cliffs of Ysgolion Duon just right of centre

…. and looking back to Carnedd Llewelyn with the cliffs of Ysgolion Duon just right of centre

The route between Carnedd Llewelyn and Carnedd Dafydd involves a height loss of 130 metres before a height gain of 110 metres to get to Carnedd Dafydd, but the gradients are all fairly gradual and the scenery is good enough to distract.    This part of the route is a delight in most conditions, but to see it at its best try winter with loads of snow – you would imagine you were in the Alps.

‘Mist’ takes a break in the summit shelter of Carnedd Dafydd ….

‘Mist’ takes a break in the summit shelter of Carnedd Dafydd ….

…. before the start of the long descent

…. before the start of the long descent

Heading for the ridge of Mynydd Du above the Afon Llafar

Heading for the ridge of Mynydd Du above the Afon Llafar

The final peak of Carnedd Dafydd was soon ticked off, with ‘Mist’ heading straight to the summit shelter – this is nothing to do with being tired, more an association of the likelihood of sandwiches being produced, but we had already carried out that ritual on Carnedd Llewelyn so a dog biscuit had to do instead.    Then it was time for the long descent from Carnedd Dafydd to Gerlan via the ridge of Mynydd Du – a great day out which left me wondering why I had left it so long to re-visit the Mountains of the Carneddau.

Looking back towards Yr Elen (left) and Carnedd Dafydd

Looking back towards Yr Elen (left) and Carnedd Dafydd

Heading home

Heading home

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.
This entry was posted in 5. North Wales and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to #208 – Back to the Carneddau. Again!

  1. Hi Paul – sent you an email recently re us passing through your neck of the woods later this year. Did you get it?

    • Aye – been up to me knees in grandchildren (well, only one actually) so I’m catching up with the backlog of emails – I’ll be in touch soon 🙂

  2. LensScaper says:

    Looks like a lovely round trip, Paul. I entirely agree with your approach to boggy water! Especially early in the day. Nothing worse than squelching around in wet boots and socks for hours on end!

  3. The spatey streams thing is simple – take your boots and socks off, wade across (saves slipping off stones), sit on the bank (preferably in the sun) and let your feet dry a bit, finish drying them with the tops of your woolly socks (I always have liners and woolly ones), put everything back on and continue your walk. It doesn’t take as long as it sounds. If it’s at all dodgy, rather than carry your boots, stuff your socks in them and tie the laces behind your neck…
    Carol.
    P.S. I’m really missing Wales and hope I get back there next year!

  4. JWJ says:

    Ahh! So that’s what it was supposed to look like. Great photos, capture the scale of the landscape. The first time I went up there I was really new to this outdoors thing and ended up getting completely lost. I reckon you must know where abouts I was up there! I could have definiely done with a guide that day!

    https://thingswhatihavedone.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/part-2-welsh-3000s-in-two-days/

  5. Pingback: #209 – Mam Tor, the Shivering Mountain | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

  6. Pingback: #215 – A dogs life! (in 2016) | Paul Shorrock – One Man's Mountains AKA One Pillock's Hillocks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s