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Thursday, 7 September 2017

NE Carneddau - A Walk on the Quieter side

A chance to get out for a couple of days gave me the usual problem - where to go ? I find it hard to decide a destination for a trip these day's , in the end I decided to visit Snowdonia - in particular the quieter North Eastern side of the Carneddau , an area I was last in around 3 years ago . On that occasion I walked the ridge from Foel Dduarth to Foel Grach completely misted out . I knew the views were there from the brief glimpses I got - I was hoping for better views this time .

Plan was for a 2 day circuit , starting and finishing in Abergwyngregyn on the coast of north wales .
the 1st day gave superb views and I was hopeful I would get a good sunset .. it was not to be ! the evening brought cloud and the wind picked up , It got very strong during the night which combined with heavy rain made for an interesting night .

Parking in Abergwyngregyn I shouldered my pack and took the lane SE towards Aber falls before crossing the bridge , then continuing SE to the carpark below Foel Dduarth . From there I took the track North, to where it joins the North Wales Path which I left to ascend to the saddle between Foel Dduarth & Foel -ganol .

Soon I reached the saddle , then took the short walk east to the summit.

Foel Dduarth .

Heather clad slopes on Foel Dduarth .

Foel Dduarth summit area .

The sight and smell of the heather was a real treat for the sense's , the vivid purple contrasting superbly with the green grassy hillside beyond. Sky and  sea seemed to melt into one , I could have spent ages here but the higher tops were calling me , and after taking a few pic's / video I continued towards Foel -ganol.

Foel - ganol .

As I got higher , the views got better and better . I stopped regularly to look back - today was one of those days to savour .

looking back to Foel Dduarth with Moel Wnion beyond . 

Looking back to Foel -ganol .

Heather on Foel -ganol with Foel Dduarth beyond .

View towards the north Wales coast.

Light and shade , en - route to Yr Orsedd

Heading for Drum I spotted a trailer ahead  fenced of - I presumed it was a farmer out doing his rounds ( I had passed a few on quad bikes rounding up sheep lower down ) .

As I neared I could see no one , but noticed a sign - turns out it was a scientific data site , it was there to monitor the effect of sheep urine - nitrous oxide , and it's contribution to green house gasses - the first time I have come across such a site in the hills .

The notice explains further .

An easy meandering path leads to the summit of Drum  and higher up Llyn Anafon came into view . Shortly after I left the main path to head for the fence line above , the summit being reached soon after . I remember taking a rest from the wind/rain on my previous visit , this time it was a much better day & I took a lunch break  at the summit shelter .

Llyn Anafon , Foel Fras &  Lwytmor .

Looking back to Foel Dduarth, Foel -ganol & Yr Orsedd .

Llwytmor from Drum .
Foel Fras from Drum .
Rested , fed and watered , I set of on the steep climb to Foel Fras . I remember this as a relentless gruelling climb - partly no doubt to the bleak conditions last time I was here . This time although no less steep , the ascent was a far more enjoyable one with views to make up for the effort required .
Foel Fras .

'Max' enjoying the view , Foel Fras beyond .
Llwytmor & Llyn Anafon .

Looking back to Drum .
Foel Fras summit .

Arriving at the summit I was greeted with spectacular views - what a contrast to last time ! I surveyed the route ahead, the original plan was to continue towards Carnedd Gwenllian before heading west to Yr Aryg . From there I planned to head for Bera Mawr and camp there, but I had made very good progress  meaning I would arrive too early . I pondered for a while , before deciding to head for Llwytmor , exporing the area below Foel Fras at the same time .
Llwytmor from Foel Fras

Pool en - route to Llwytmor .
Llwytmor and pools .
Looking back to Foel Fras from Llwytmor .
After spending time exporing Llytmor , I headed back towards Foel Fras . Plan was to traverse round towards Yr Aryg without loosing too much height .I  collected water at a stream en- route  for a wild camp later - it pretty much went to plan , and gave me chance to further explore a seldom walked area of the Carneddau .
Bera Bach & Bera Mawr .

Bera Mawr .
I reached Yr Aryg without too much difficulty  and surveyed the route a head towards my planned camp spot - Bera Mawr . To the north there were good views towards Carnedd Llewellyn.
View towards Carnedd Llewelyn fron Yr Aryg .

Shortly after leaving Yr Aryg I came across a flat grassy area between the rocky outcrops  with fantastic views towards Bera Bach and Bear Mawr , with the north wales coast beyond . Although early it was to good to  pass on . Soon the Trailstar was pitched , and I was settled inside with a brew enjoying the view ( no pun intended ) :-).
Bera Mawr and the coast from camp .
I was still hopefull of a good sunset , but it was not to be .. cloud rolled in rendering the landscape a muted grey . I got out to take a couple of camp pics , then returned to the trailstar and settled down with a single malt and enjoyed the rest of the evening .
later I cooked dinner - my usual fare .. a couple of sachets of cuppa soup for starters , pasta n sauce based main , chocolate bar for desert, all washed down with coffee .
Llwytmor from camp .
Mountain Laurel Designs Trailstar .
 The rain came in during the evening  accompanied by strong winds ... strong enough to blow the centre pole out on a couple of occasions, although this was easily sorted - 1 of the reasons I prefer to use a superlite bivy as apposed to an inner - getting out of the latter would complicate matters  especially  if zipped up inside .
The winds seemed even stronger at dawn , and the rain had been near constant - par the course for my trips this year . I cannot remember a worse year for bad weather in the hills, but in a strange sort of way  I still greatly enjoy my trips out .. although I wasn't relishing the prospect of striking camp & returning to base in such conditions !
I had planned on visiting Bera Bach & Bera Mawr on the way back , but due to conditions I omitted them. A route was planned to skirt around Drosgl and take the lower path round Moel Wnion enabling an easier return . The rain got lighter as I approached Moel Wnion so I decided to go over the summit after visiting Gyrn . I arrived back at my car at around 12 pm where I ate lunch before the return journey to the midlands .
Til next time , happy wildcamping :-)

stat's 15.4 miles 4695 ft. ascent 4694 ft. descent


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