Saturday, 6 December 2014

Pen Llithrig y Wrach

Walk Summary
Creigiau Gleision from Pen Llithrig y Wrach
Pen Llithrig y Wrach translates to "The Hill of the Slippery Witch". Not so sure about the witch part but it was certainly slippery as the first of the winters snow turned to slush on the descent.
Today's walk will be the last of the planned trip on the day planned to be the last day with all scheduled walks walked as well.
That is bang on schedule.
Because of the excellent weather enjoyed over the last 10 days I only needed 2 rest days and managed a bonus walk (walk of a lifetime) up Tryfan and round The Bochlwyd Horseshoe.
So what's the problem?
Well I am sorely tempted to just jump in the van and drive straight home. The only thing stopping me is today's walk will visit the 23rd and final Nuttall of The Carneddau. Since the trip objective was to complete The Carneddau Nuttalls, even though I have climbed 4 extra in The Glyders the trip in my mind would not be completed successfully unless I went up the final Nuttall.
OK well let's cut it short and not bother with Moel Eilio, after all it is only a Dewey. Well the problem with that it was also on the plan to visit all 7 Dewey's in The Carneddau.
Well maybe I should do the full walk and drive home tomorrow as planned. We'll see after the walk, but having decided to drive home after the walk I can't see me staying on that extra night even if it is on the plan.
I see it is OK to deviate from the plan and go home early if the plan is finished, but it is not OK to deviate from the plan if it is not finished?
That's about the size of it. Plus I really am missing the wife.

Walk Statistics
Walk Date - 06 December 2014
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - Betws-y-Coed Youth Hostel
Start Point - End of road through gate at Brynog Uchaf (GR - SH 74405 64186)
Start Time - 10:17
Finish Point 
End of road through gate at Brynog Uchaf (GR - SH 74405 64186)
Finish Time - 15:18
Duration - 5hrs 01mins
Average pace - 1.81mph
Distance Walked - 9.08 miles
Height Ascended - 704.43metres

Other walks on this trip
27th Creigiau Gleision & Craiglwyn
28th Carnedd Dafydd, Pen yr Ole Wen & Foel Meirich
29th Carnedd Llewelyn, Yr Elen & Pen yr Helgi Du
01st Dulyn Reservoir round + Llwytmor
02nd Beras Bach & Mawr +Drosgl & Gyrn Wigau
03rd The Bochlwyd Horseshoe
05th Drum, Pen y Castell & Carnedd y Ddelw + Tal y Fan
06th Pen Llithrig y Wrach

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (190W - 444E&W)
Pen Llithrig y Wrach (64W - 317E &W)
Hewitts (138W - 317E)
Pen Llithrig y Wrach (46W - 2225E, &W)
Marilyns (158W - 1550E,W&S)
Pen Llithrig y Wrach (19W - 112E,W&S)
Deweys (241W - 427EW&S)
Moel Eilio (21W - 68E &W)
HuMPs (364W - 2977EW&S)
Pen Llithrig y Wrach (27W - 175E,W&S)
W: Wales. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

GPX can be downloaded from
Walk Description
Moel Eilio
Had to stop on way to walk start
to photograph this lovely view.
(See more photo section for location)
Follow the track towards and under the pipeline then over the stile. On the other side of the stile the path disappears so continue west up hill but stay north of the stream. 
Cross the second wall and pick up the path which now seems a little better defined until you come to the third wall.
Do not expect too much of the wall as it is derelict but there is a reasonable path to follow east along the top and sometimes to the left of it. Tempting enough to follow anyway, away from the main summit of the day Pen Llithrig y Wrach, and not miss out the Dewey Moel Eilio.

Rudimentary step giving access over fence
to summit area on east side of Moel Eilio
Following the wall was easy enough and continued to be easy to follow beyond the first wall. I suppose you could keep following it all the time, but once it started to head down hill south of the 514m spot height I decided to break off left and continue up hill through thick heather until I joined a fence which seemed to circumvent the summit of Moel Eilio. Rather than climbing over the barbed wire fence and head straight for the summit it seemed best to follow the fence NE and passed the summit in the hope there may be a stile over the fence. I nearly gave up but persevered along what could have been a sheep track and was rewarded with a step over the fence just after it started to head north. On the other side of the fence there was a well defined path to the summit.
Pen Llithrig y Wrach
Left to right. Pen Llithrig y Wrach,
Pen yr Helgi Du & Carnedd Llewelyn
from Moel Eilio
After summit rituals I continued straight over the top of the Moel Eilio without retracing steps back to the fence. However what path there was soon disappeared finding myself once again in the middle of thick heather and thinking it was a good job I had done this hill first as there would have been no way I would have bothered if I had already been up the main summit leaving an isolated Dewey for a later trip.
Finding myself in thick heather I was left with two choices; tend west and be sure of a complete circular route or head right to pick up the fence from earlier and pick up the derelict wall south of the 514m spot height. I chose the latter as the first option looked like it could take me too low and at least I knew the second option would return me to a half decent path along the wall.
On way to Craig Ffynnon.
Ladder stile - confirmation of PROW.
It may be on the map,
but not too evident on the ground
Having returned to were the path from the van joined the wall I was hopeful the PROW marked by the arbitrary green dashed line would represent a path on the ground. Eventually it did, but unfortunately after crossing the wall through a rusty gate, simply disappeared north of Cribau, leaving an absolute slog through thick heather and up hill over rough ground. Eventually the contours led me south and to a wall which reassuringly had a ladder stile making me think the worst was over. That may well have been the case if I was heading straight for Pen Llithrig y Wrach, but I wanted to pull in the sub-Dewey Craig Ffynnon on the basis if I did not do it now I never would.
Well that led to even thicker heather and rougher ground  heading once again up hill on an even steeper gradient. At least keeping the fence in view to my right ensured I would eventually reach the summit area.

Well defined path from Craig Ffynnon
more or less all the way up
NE ridge of Pen Llithrig y Wrach
That in deed is what happened and after photos followed a well defined path towards the 514m spot height to the path which looked like it would take me straight to the summit of my final Nuttall in The Carneddau; Pen Llithrig y Wrach.
After all the heather surfing of the day so far, the path was a welcome relief not to mention shade from the blustery cold wind. First time out of the wind was prompt enough for me to find a large rock from the old wall the path followed and get out my flask and sandwiches.
Suitably refuelled after lunch it took just 45 minutes to cover nearly 1 mile and 200m of ascent to the summit of Pen Llithrig y Wrach. I ended up walking through my first snow of the winter. Nothing much but enough to live up to the translation of the hills Welsh name.
Towards Capel Curig. A bit of snow on
descent down Pen Llithrig y Wrach,
more slippery than anything.
The blustery wind was ballooning my trouser legs. Funnily enough I like the feeling of standing up to the elements, but not for too long, especially with snow on ground meaning effect of wind would have put wind chill well below 0˚C. So after summit photos I left the snowy summit and followed the still visible footpath down the SW ridge.
The snow made the path quite slippery and as the snow melted lower down made parts of the path muddy in places. Because of the steep descent in places the mud was replaced by rocky steps and craggy ground but the path was well defined all the way dissuading me from cutting off left early to make a steeper descent on or over Carreg-ar-y-rhos, staying with the path all the way down to the bottom and the bridge over the feeder stream to Llyn Cowlyd Reservoir.
Bridge over feeder stream to reservoir
where we turn left without crossing.
Crimpiau beyond
Turn of before crossing the bridge on the west side of the stream and simply follow the footpath all the way along the reservoir to the dam.
Close to the dam, the path turns in to a track and from here on it is a simple case of following the track round the dam to the middle and following it along the pipeline until it veers away from the pipe and continues to walks end and the dam.
Over all a satisfying walk not least because it successfully completed the plan I had made before setting off on the trip.
At 15:30 it was still daylight so after a change of clothes and a 2nd lunch I set off home for Suffolk. With diversions and fatigue I arrived home 01:30am. At the time the drive seemed harder than any of the walks.

More Photographs
Pen yr Helgi Du & Carnedd Llewelyn seperated by Bwlch Eryl Farchog, from Pen Llithrig y Wrach
Click on photograph to view slide-show