The Carneddau is a vast plateau of high mountains in the North West of Snowdonia. This walk starts at Bethesda which is quieter than the popular Llyn Ogwen route. The quieter approaches contrast superbly with the dramatic Carneddau ridge. A long, but continually interesting day.
The Carneddau (Carnedds are the anglicised name) is less popular than Snowdon and the Glyders to the south equally enjoyable. Much of the day is spent over 3,000 feet high which is unusual and unique in North Wales. It is like comparing the Cairngorm with the West Coast of Scotland, albeit on a much smaller scale. The views on the winter’s day I completed this walk were excellent, some light cloud on Carnedd Llewellyn itself (the highest of the Carneddau) only adding to the experience.
I chose Bethesda as the start primarily to experience the full Carneddau ridge from north to south. In addition the quiet approaches added much to the walk. I must admit in my previous visits to the Carneddau it was the good walking terrain on grassy tracks which I remembered (it was many years ago) but the rocky slopes of Carnedd Uchaf I did not remember. However I enjoyed the descent from Carnedd Uchaf a lot, the views towards Anglesey delightful and the soft underfoot terrain lovely.
Complete this walk in an anti clockwise way. I say this for two reasons. The climb of Carnedd Uchaf (particularly the final 500ft to the summit) is hard with loose boulders, as an ascent it is possible to pick a route, on a descent it would be purgatory, particularly in the wet. Secondly heading north on the ridge offers opportunities to include extra summits depending on the time and how you feel. I went to Foel Fras before enjoying the views on the lovely, and easy, descent.
Most walks I never use a compass. When I do it is often when deciding which is the correct route/path leading from a summit. That was certainly the case on this walk. The cloud floating around the summits and the multitude of paths/ridges heading away from the highest points made for a potentially bad error. Coupled with the fact I was not following the obvious route ie: the biggest path, the summits being stony and a pause/rest in a summit shelter which can be disorientating meant a careful compass bearing removed any problems. Simple but important.
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