Whilst I lost faith, somewhat, in the Cicerone guide to the Welsh hills yesterday, I had read what the author had to say about this one and was heartened to see that he said that a 'straight up the side' route was feasible (although he did describe it as a rough scramble and say that the line of quartz to follow was not so obvious close to; I disagree with both pieces of information). As I have a tendency to take direct lines up hills, particularly those where no paths are trodden into the landscape, I did exactly as he suggested - which was the very line which jumped out as being obvious as I waded through the bog to the south of Llyn y Manod.
I didn't just make do with a visit to the high point in this one...
After a moment's thought had been given to going down the gentle (much longer) route, I turned and retraced my steps. A cup of coffee awaited my return to the car park and after a quick second breakfast we were off to our next objective.
(3.5 miles, 420m ascent)
Moel Siabod (SH705546; 872m)
Dolwyddelan was our (yep, Mick joined me!) start point for this one, mainly because it minimised the driving*.
The walk up the forest track wasn't noteworthy, but was fast-going, and beyond it we were into the land of bracken, bilberries and heather, the latter of which, being in full bloom just now, is making the hills smell lovely. There was a point at which we should have crossed the stream and continued on a path the other side. Apparently lots of people have overshot though, as we followed a well-trodden line for quite a while before I looked at the map and realised the path we were following wasn't where I'd intended us to be. It wasn't a problem, and added no distance, we simply came out at the southerly point (rather than the easterly point) of Llyn y Foel instead.
A few people could be seen on the Daear Ddu ridge, and soon we joined them up this easy scramble of a route. With barely a jot of exposure (and even where there was either a hint of exposure or a bit of a tricky move for a stumpy-legged person, there was always a much easier alternative just to the left) it was a fun route. And a good workout for the thighs too, even though you might think that my thighs are quite accustomed to ascent.
Surprisingly few people were on the top, which was a magnificent viewpoint both for the surrounding hills and for the craggy ridges of the very hill on which we were standing.
The descent was easier on the knees than I expected it to be, and before we knew it we were back at the llyn, then retracing our steps through the forest.
Ice creams from the shop in Dolwyddelan rounded off our outing nicely (8 miles, 750m ascent).
(*in the interests of charging electronics, particularly in view of all the Olympics-related TV watching that's going on at the moment, more driving time would have been beneficial; Colin’s leisure battery must be taking a hammering this week)