The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Carnedd Llewelyn

Tuesday 16 August

Tuesday gave us another grand day out!


The gap is because the battery of the Garmin Gadget expired. It had lasted for almost exactly 12 hours over the course of two days. Quite impressive, considering the age of the Gadget, I thought.

The hill of real interest of these three was Carnedd Llewelyn (Marilyn, 1064m), but as the Ogwen Valley seemed like the most logistically sensible start point (from our night-stop at Betws-y-Coed), the most obvious way I could see to get to it was via Pen yr Ole Wen and Carnedd Dafydd.

Arriving in the nearest free parking area to the west end of Llyn Ogwen, and after pausing for tea, breakfast and more tea, we finally got ourselves out of the door and walked along to the foot of the lake under glorious blue skies:


It’s a steep haul straight up the side of Pen yr Ole Wen (even more so if you should temporarily lose the easiest line and find yourself scrambling for a while…), but there is something pleasing about gaining height so quickly. That was even more the case today as we knew that on reaching our first summit the majority of the climbing was behind us. From there, a ridge-walk awaited us.


The brisk wind was cool once we gained height. Windshirts went on and didn’t come back off until part way down our descent.

The ridge was as pleasing as it looked on the map and after going over the easy grassy summit of Pen yr Ole Wen, and the rocky summit of Carnedd Dafydd, onwards we went to our main objective. By the time we reached its sizeable summit plateau we had passed three other people. There were another couple on the summit. That surprised me; I expected it to be much busier up there on such a nice day in August. It really was a superb day for it, with excellent clear views:


Reaching the pass between Carnedd Llewelyn and Pen yr Helgi Du, I dithered. Then I dithered some more. Mick was heading down from there and I was torn as to whether to join him, or whether to continue over Pen yr Helgi Du to Pen Llithrig y Wrach – the next Marilyn on the ridge.

Decision made, we started the descent, only for me to get about 20 metres and dither some more. I so nearly went back up, but Mick was quite right when he pointed out that I didn’t have enough food or water with me, so down we went, past Ffynon Llugwy Reservoir, from where we had a good view back to where we’d just been:


The downside of this circuit was the trudge required along the A5 to get back to Colin, but it passed quickly and proved not to be as bad as it looked on paper (the ‘pavement’ is loose surfaced most of the way, so it wasn’t even a trudge on tarmac, and the road seemed to be having a relatively quiet spell). We reached Colin having walked 9.7 miles with somewhere around 3200’ of ascent.


Good registration number!

Later I perused the map again, making plans for Wednesday, whereupon I kicked myself for not having continued along over the next top to the next Marilyn. Moreover, when it struck me that as Mick was descending anyway, I could have asked him to move Colin up the road, such that I could have done the extra summits with just 250m of extra ascent, no extra distance and have avoided the road walk in its entirety too.

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