Saturday, 15 October 2016

Five Nuttalls of the Central Rhinogs

Walk Summary
Expectations of this walk built up as a result of the rocky pathless
experience of Foel Penolau & Moel Ysgyfarnogod to the north things did not work out too badly.

In fact once I had overcome the difficult(ish) ascent of Moelfre and the descent to Pont-Scethin I even started to think I might be able to tack Rhinog Fawr on to the end of the walk and complete the six remaining Nuttalls of The Rhinogs. Even Moelfre was not that bad the main difficulty was finding a safe crossing point of the wall to the north. I was expecting a gate or at least a ladder stile at the apex of the NE ridge, however not only did this fail to materialise but the wall became higher so I resorted to crossing where steps had been built in to the wall on it's north side. Unfortunately this facility had not been extended to the other side leaving me with the choice of finding holes or rocks to provide a foothold risking pulling the wall on top of myself or simply jumping off the top. I chose the latter of the two unsuitable options, risking turning an ankle or twisting a knee, fortunately I avoided both. From here it was free range route finding, picking the rate of ascent based on aerobic work rate and leg power available.
Straight forward finding,following wall along established path
to Diffwys and subsequent Nuttall summits
Missing out on Nuttall status by only 20m it is a smashing summit providing first sight of all five of the days Nuttalls + Rhinog Fawr as well as views of the Irish Sea, The Lleyn Peninsul and Tremadoc Bay.
Descent was also free range but with good visibility avoiding a couple of craggy bits heading for Pont-Scethin. From here the route becomes straight forward, simply follow the footpath up the west ridge of Diffwys West Top then follow the fence/wall to each of the days 5 Nuttalls. There was a bit of scrambling up the south side of Rhinog Fach but I am sure this could have been avoided if that is what you wanted to do.
Fine  weather and good visibility made for a perfect days walking which to all intents and purposes was my last high multi-Nuttall day.

Steep descent down grassy gully
on north side of Rhinog Fach
As for the beginning of the walk, the end of the walk provided the most adventure. It was going to be finding a route up the SE side of Rhinog Fawr and even as I was looking from Rhinog Fach for a suitable ascent at 4pm that was still the intention. However great care had to be taken with route finding down the north side of Rhinog Fach. It would have been far too easy to follow one of the many paths to a dead end and the possibility of becoming crag fast. I took extra time and plumped for the path that brought me to the top of a gully indicated by a small wiggle in the contours. From the top it looked very steep without visibility all the way down. However this was the case with all of the options. Where this one differed was I could see a fair way ahead and all of it looked like there was vegitaion either as tussocky grass or short heather. Progressing down revealed more vegetation and a safe passage to the bottom. Probably the safest route down this continuously vegitated gully but I reckon a really hard ascent route if walking in the other direction.
All this took time and it was not untill 5:10pm whilst still descending Rhinog Fach that it finally twigged I would not have enough daylight to include Rhinog Fawr.
Surprising the feeling of dissapointment was minimal replaced with being reall pleased with myself that I had made the right decision assessing available daylight. Pretty certain I would not have made this decision in my early walking days.

Walk Statistics

Walk Date - 15 October 2016
Walkers - Steve Smith

Accommodation - Coed-Y-Llwyn Caravan Club Site
Start Point - Grass verge immediatly west of gate on road to Cwm Nantcol near Geli-bant (SH 62164 25848)
Start Time - 10:25
Finish Point Grass verge immediatly west of gate on road to Cwm Nantcol near Geli-bant (SH 62164 25848)
Finish Time- 18:42
Total Duration - 8hrs 17mins 
Overall Average pace - 1.52mph
Total Distance Walked - 12.60 miles
Total Height Ascended - 1335.32metres

Peaks visited
Nuttalls (189W - 444E&W)
Diffwys West Top (174W - 429E&W)
Diffwys (175W - 430E&W)

Crib-y-rhiw (176W - 431E&W)
Y Llethr (177W - 432E&W)
Rhinog Fach (178W - 433E&W)
Hewitts (138W - 318E&W)
Diffwys (124W - 304E&W)
Y Llethr (125W - 305E&W)

Rhinog Fach (126W - 306E&W)
Marilyns (158W - 1556E,W&S)
Moelfre (97W - 265E,W&S)

Y Llethr (98W - 266E,W&S)
Deweys (241W - 421E&W)
Moelfre (56W - 112E&W)
HuMPs (364W - 2975EW&S)

Moelfre (115W - 350E,W&S)
Diffwys  (116W - 351E,W&S)
Y Llethr  (117W - 352E,W&S)
Rhinog Fach  (118W - 353E,W&S)
Historic County Tops (413E - 93E,W&S)

W: Wales. 
E,W: England & Wales. 
E,W&S:England,Wales & Scotland

Other walks on this trip

07th Calf Top
08th Moel Siabod
09th Yr Aran & Gallt y Wenaullt
11th The Manods & Moel Penamnen from Blaenau Ffestiniog
12th The Cnichts
13th Moel Hebog - The Beddgelert Three
14th Moel-y-Gest
15th Five Nuttalls of the Central Rhinogs
18th Rhobell Fawr & Dduallt
19th Rhinog Fawr from Cwm-bychan Farm
21st Gorllwyn & Drygarn Fawr
22nd Pen y Garn
22nd Bryn y Fan
24th Foel Goch and the four Deweys from Bala C&CC campsite
25th North West Arans

GPX can be downloaded from
More Photographs
Looking down to Cwm Nantcol on way up Moelfre north ridge. Rhinog Fawr cloud capped, Rhinog Fach to the left then Y Llethr left of that
Click on photograph to view slide-show