Friday, 14 August 2009

Eastern Carneddau

Lying north east of Snowdon these green rolling hills are reminiscent of Lakeland’s Northern Fells although they are higher and some have rocky summits they are quiet and provide a wholly enjoyable solitude, in complete contrast with Snowdon. The edge of Bethesda provides easy access over Gyrr Wiggau and from there the rest of the group are within easy reach. These are amongst the most northerly summits in Wales and provide views to the north that sweep down to the sea. Sheep are everywhere, of course, and wild ponies wander over all these hillsides barely interested in passing strangers.

Yr Elen

South over Yr Elen

Over Drosgl, Bera Bach and Bera Mawr to cross Afon Goch on its way to Aber Falls and the start (or finish) of the “Welsh 3000s” – a traverse of the 14 Welsh 3000 foot summits. Some years ago we attempted this route, in the middle of summer, starting at Aber (going the ‘wrong’ way) only to find ourselves walking into a gale force wind. In this valley we were fairly sheltered but still concerned about the wind and by the time we reached the ridge at the head of the valley we were, literally, stopped in our tracks. After, perhaps, an hour of doing battle with the wind we realised we didn’t have the strength to keep going for another 10 or 11 hours, into the wind, and turned back to Aber. We hadn’t been back until last weekend and I had forgotten just how fierce the wind was that July morning, until last Sunday when the memory was as fresh as ever.

looking North West

North West to the sea

south west to Yr Elen

South West to Yr Elen with the Gylders beyond

Ponies on Foel Grach

Ponies on the slopes of Foel Grach

Carneddau Llewelyn

Yr Elen and Carneddau Llewelyn

These are wonderful hills. Away from the main ridge the paths are barely worn and little frequented. Last Sunday we saw two or three people and only one of them was within hailing distance – there were another 3 on the main ridge but only six people during the whole day when we must have seen more than 50 wild ponies. Hills we will come back to, for sure.

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