Saturday, 12 November 2011

Carnedd Llewelyn from Llanfairfechan 30.10.11

A there and back again walk 17.25 miles.

So it was back to Snowdonia. After my recent visit and climb of Penmaenmawr Mountain, I had been keen to get to the surrounding mountains that rise out of the village of Llanfairfechan.

Carnedd Llewellyn is the second highest point in Wales. This hike starts at just a few metres above sea level from Llanfairfechan railway station and takes in 4 of the Welsh 3000s.

The day was set to be good weather considering the previous day had been high winds and heavy rain preventing me scaling near by Pen yr Ole Wen. I had stayed over in Llanfairfechan, however for the purpose of a start point I made my way from the railway station.

Section 1: Llanfairfechan Station to the slopes of Foel Ganol
Taking the road out of the station turn right and walk towards a row of houses, then turn right again taking a road up into the village. Continue up through Llanfairfechan until you reach a bridge over a river, turn left just after the bridge and after about 400 yards cut right at a public footpath sign. This takes you up between some houses, after which is a really steep footpath...
 Turning left at the top of this steep path, you come out onto an alleyway, this takes you along the edge of a golf course. You will eventually come out onto a country lane, turn right and follow the lane for a good half mile...
 Looking across towards Anglesey...
 Eventually you will come to this steep pathway on your left...
This path, being slate is very slippy!...
 At the top of the slate path, head through this gate and follow the path...
 Cut left here, keeping the rocky outcrop of Garreg Fawr to you right...
 Garreg Fawr...
 The pathway swings around to the right, also keep right here...
 Looking towards Penmaenmawr Mountain...
Tal y Fan...
 Some pylons come into view at this point, follow the path towards these. The grassy path here merges out onto a much more rugged track that takes you under the pylons and up onto the slopes of Foel Ganol...

 Cutting left to go under the pylons...
The track comes to a cross road just after the pylons, but amazingly it is sign posted...
 Follow the sign in the direction of Drum...
Section 2: The slopes of Foel Ganol to Drum Summit
The track from here is well trodden, well ridden on and is a real tough old slog to reach the summit of Drum (pronounced 'Drim' typically). So this was a good spot to refuel before ascending about 400 meters in one mile....
 Drum comes into view...
 Foel-fras (left) and Llwytmor (right) surround Llyn Anafon...
 Looking towards the humps of Pen Bryn-du and Foel Ganol...
 Finally reaching the summit cairn of Drum at 770 metres...
 Looking towards Tal y Fan from Drum Summit...
 And my next objective, Foel-fras...
Section 3: Drum to Foal-fras
Between Drum and Foel-fras it's a little bit boggy...
After the long slog to the summit of Drum, this was quite a tough part of the hike. Here scaling the side of Foel-fras...
 Looking back towards Drum...
 Wild Ponies on the slopes of Foel-Fras...
 Approaching the summit...
Foel-fras summit Trig Point 942 metres (3,091 ft) And now, also in true Welsh style, a dry stone wall over the top!
The rock strewn top of Foel-fras...
Looking back across the summit plateau of Foel-fras...
  Section 4: Foel Fras to Carnedd Llewelyn
The rocky top of Foel-fras with Foel Grach and Carnedd Llewelyn beyond...
 Interesting rock formations adorn the summit of Carnedd Gwenllian...
 Heading across the bogs towards Foel Grach here...
 A clearly visible track takes you up to a small Bothy built into the side of the summit of Foel Grach...
The path is a little bit confusing at this point, and disappears. Go right when you reach the bothy and walk up onto the summit plateau of Foel Grach, from there you will then see the path again leading towards Carnedd Llewelyn...
 Looking towards Yr Elen and the impressive ridge which joins it to Carnedd Llewelyn...
Carnedd Llewelyn up ahead now...
 Following the well defined path again now up onto the slopes of Carnedd Llewelyn...
 The path does once again disappear in places, and the loose rocky side of the mountain is a good test of balance and foot placement too...
 The pathway re-appears in some parts of the slopes...
Nearing the top of the slope, look out for a large cairn which marks the edge of the summit plateau, this could be a welcome sight if in low cloud...

And eventually you come up and out onto the fantastic rock strewn summit plateau of Wales's second highest mountain, Carnedd Llewelyn 1,064 metres (3,491 ft)...
 Looking towards Carnedd Dafydd, with Pen yr Ole Wen just over its ridge to the left...
 The wind was strong, but the views were fantastic that day. Here above the clouds, picture courtesy of a passing runner...
 But, with the clocks going back it was now time to head back to Llanfairfechan. Remember to watch out for the cairn that sits on the edge of the summit, in order to guide you back to the correct pathway off the summit.
Looking from the summit of Foel Grach now towards Carnedd Gwenllian...
Looking from the edge of Foel-fras towards Drum, shadowed Tal Y Fan behind, with Llandudno and the Great Orme sticking out into the sea beyond... 
On coming down from Drum, remember to keep left here. The other path will take you up onto the summit of Carnedd y Ddelw...

 Llanfairfechan a welcome sight after this trek...
Before heading back to the station, I would recommend the local as a refuelling point...
A superb hike that despite it being a 'there and back again' walk, takes in some of the best scenery in Snowdonia. And unlike other parts of the national park - this area is relatively quiet.
 Thanks for reading.
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