2. The Carneddau
It’s the second-largest plateau above 3000ft in the UK. There are wild ponies that roam these hills too, giving you an amazing feeling of being further away form the road than you actually are! There are so many routes or variations throughout this mountain range that could be undertaken to avoid the crowds, so take this as an opportunity to suss out options for the future. This is quite a big day but has options for cutting it short halfway.
From the campsite of Gwern Gof Isaf (Please pay £2 per day for parking at the farmhouse for parking, No overnight parking) head down the old road until possible to cross the A5 road…be careful. Stay on the public right of way through private land until you’re below the southern edge of Pen Llithrig y Wrach. You’re in CRoW (Countryside Rights of Way) land again now, so you can ascend steepening grassy slopes that get you to the top quicker than you’d expect. A straightforward down then back up to Pen yr Helgi Du, now it’s time to check your watch and decide. You can escape back to the car from here by following the long grassy shoulder back down, you can even probably see your vehicle from here too. You’ll also see the striking profile of Tryfan, the Glyders & Y Garn behind; to your left you might even see Snowdon’s summit poking out and Moel Siabod looking mighty above Capel Curig. If you’ve made good time continue on this route, but a word of warning, there’s some height loss and gain coming up.
The ridge feels steep and a bit exposed, but by taking your time to carefully descend, getting to the col feels really rewarding. Take a breather and a photo of what you’ve just descended and carry along the ridge now on your way up Carnedd Llewelyn. The ridge has a rocky step that can be tackled either via the crack line in the middle or on the right. Make careful progress upwards, making sure you’ve got your hands free for a couple of metres, then keep heading upwards until the ground flattens and you can see the final few hundred feet and Carnedd Llewelyn’s summit in front of you. The track heads up and arrives at large stone wind break and the summit cairn is a little further over.
The descent is fairly straight forward in good weather, the track zig zags through scree and rocks until you reach a small ridge section that has striking views both left to the reservoir and right past the Black Ladders and down to Bethesda, pass over an easy rock step and when the ground widens you’ve reached the turning point, staying above the steep cliffs to your left follow your nose down until you hit a wall which you handrail until you arrive at the Llugwy reservoir road. You can follow this easily straight back to the road and the starting point.
Download the GPX route guide here.