#240 – Roaming with the Romans on the northern Carneddau

Heading up to the old Roman Road, with the mountains of the Carneddau behind

The route – anticlockwise from the red flag

The mountains of the Carneddau

(Left click images and maps to zoom in, use browser return arrow to go back)

I don’t mind a bit of ‘iffy’ weather when we are out in the hills, but strong winds can make a day miserable.    We seem to have had more than our share of strong winds this winter, so a calm day is usually a cue to head for the hills.    Add a bit of sunshine on top of that, and you can’t go far wrong, so a calm, sunny day in January was a good excuse to head for the northern end of the mountains of the Carneddau.

Setting out, just above Llanfairfechan

On the slopes of Garreg Fawr ….

…. looking down to Llanfairfechan and the sea

We have filled in most of the gaps on the lower-lying northern fringe of the Carneddau, but there’s almost always something new to see, so Chris and I (plus Border Collie ‘Mist’ of course) set out from Llanfairfechan towards the old Roman Road that once ran to Caernarfon from the fort of Canovium near Caerhun in the Conwy Valley.

Border Collie ‘Mist’ with the Carneddau behind

The author and ‘Mist’ on the rocky North Summit of Garreg Fawr

The lower farmland above Llanfairfechan was a regular pain in the arse!   We use the ‘Rights of Way’ on the low ground, but these are not always easy to follow, especially when a couple of ‘creative’ diversions have been added by farmers – at one point, the stile over a wall became more of a barrier than an aid, and even the dog looked perplexed as to how to get over.    It was a relief to get out onto open ground on Garreg Fawr.

Heading on towards the Roman Road ….

…. with mist lying on the northern slopes of the Carneddau

Foel Lwyd (centre) and Drosgl (right)

Heading away from the South Summit of Garreg Fawr

Garreg Fawr has two summits, the north one being small and rocky – sadly the southern summit was little more than a grassy mound, but at least we had the mountains of the Carneddau as a backdrop.    There was a bank of mist lying over the higher summits, but Foel Lwyd and Drosgl were easy to identify.

On the Roman Road

Foel Lwyd ahead

Looking west along the Roman Road

Before long we were on the line of the Roman Road – the Romans were not the first here though, and on earlier outings we have traced some of the Neolithic remains along this ancient byway.    Some of the burial chambers and standing stones are thought to be about 5000 years old, so the Roman Road is a modern intruder at a mere 2000 years old – the power lines are a much more recent intrusion.

Foel Lwyd above the Roman Road ….

…. but not for us today

At Bwlch y Ddeufaen (the ‘Pass of the Two Stones’) we found ourselves at the base of Foel Lwyd, which eventually leads on to Tal y Fan (see post #175) but we had other plans.   The route down the moor towards Llanfairfechan swapped mountain panoramas to sea views, but as we lost height we found ourselves back in farming country.    Note to self – consider ‘wellie boots’ next time we come out this way!

Time to head for 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.
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