The drive over to Croesor didn’t take more than 15 minutes, yet the last 2 miles were on a rather narrow single track road up the hill. Anything bigger than my estate would join the others in helping clip the vegetation at the sides.
Luckily we only met one car coming down and didn’t have to back up much. Arrived in tiny Croesor to find the last space at the car park. The village is tiny, quiet and remote yet is has a car park for around 15 cars or so and a café around the corner. The pointy top of Cnicht reigning proudly over it must draw some visitors.
Made sure I had enough food this time before we set off in good spirits 14:30. The whole loop was only 10k, so we had plenty of time and around 3-4 lakes past halfway point to pitch at. It was definitely much more overcast today marking for a more gloomy atmosphere.
With the backpack definitely heavier than yesterday and the steep ascent starting pretty much straight away, I quickly got a decent sweat on getting rid of my fleece tucking it under one of the straps on the outside of my backpack.
After some nice bit of woodland the trees soon gave way to vast views all around. Cnicht with his steep conical shape standing proud ahead, coined Welsh Matterhorn by some.
To our left Moel Herbog and his siblings guarding Beddgelert, next to it the infamous Nantlle ridge. Across from it the Snowdon horseshoe in all its glory, Crib Goch clearly visible. Tryfan behind and some peaks of the Carneddau, Moel Shiabod ahead, the Moelwyns to the right with the Hulk Moelwyn Mawr flanking the other side of the valley. Even Cadair Idris could be seen at some point. It really was the Who Is Who of Snowdonia from here. Wow.
The immediate surrounding scenery was very Moelwynion though, impressive in a bleak sense in its own right. Rounded rocky and undulating lumps and bumps covered in patchy grass and heather. A few faint paths visible here and there but hard to say if they were actual paths or sheep tracks. And it didn’t really matter if you were to navigate this wild landscape anyway.
At the foot of the final ascent we had a quick breather and refuel. It was here that I realised I had lost my fleece. The strap it had been secured with had come undone somehow and looking back the way we had come I didn’t see it. I could’ve lost it quite some time ago and I didn’t really want to go back hunting for it. Bummer. Not the most expensive piece of clothing, I’ve had it for many years and it had cost me no more than 20 quid, but it was quite an essential piece in my setup. Hm.
Even though I had done so many times, maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to attach clothing to the outside of my backpack for sheer convenience. Even if that means to take the pack off when I want to change my garment. Nobody’s fault but mine. After years and years of doing this outdoor stuff I still make rookie mistakes 🤦
The last bit of steep ascent to the top of Cnicht is pure delight. That’s what we were here for. It is scrambly alright, never quite getting to a Grade 1 but not far of it. There are a few options for choice of route but they only slightly differ in exposure to the sheer drop on the right.
Merlin is a natural when it comes to climbing and the CaniX harnes with the bungee lead really come to their own here. Keeps him safe whilst I can use both my hands hoisting myself and the heavy backpack up.
Topped out on the narrow peak an hour and a half after setting off almost stumbling upon two ladies sitting in a nicely sheltered rocky bucket on a blanket with sandwiches and hot drinks enjoying the view. That’s the way to do it, haha.
There was still a bit of a cold wind so no time to linger without shelter. Carried on along the surprisingly broad shoulder and a grassy path with still stunning views all the way to impressively large Llyn yr Adar. The weather wasn’t too great and the way to the shore a bit too far through tussocky grass to make the journey. So instead we carried on and had a break where the Afon Cwm-y-foel crosses the path.
Shared some sliced beef brisket I had brought with the pooch who was just as hungry as I. As soon as we stopped the slight but cold breeze really cut through. I wish I had a fleece, haha. My waterproof jacket did an okay job at keeping me warm, but thinking of the evening and night ahead I was a bit worried about staying warm enough. Especially with the weather a bit colder and more overcast today.
It was only 5pm so I had a good two and a half hours of daylight left. Decided there and then to head back to the car and drive home, unless it’s clear I won’t make it by dark to the car park.
So there I was, backpack full of food and overnight stuff like tent, sleeping bag, stove etc. And I had carried it all up and down for nothing. Just for shits and giggles. Ah, well and the harder exercise maybe.
Still, I was okay with that decision. Another belter of a day today and still more to come. Carried on over a faint path across wet ground, then dropping down next to a fence with great views to one of the massive disused quarries at the flanks of Moelwyn Mawr. Wow, the sheer size of it!
They way down to the main path had more wet surprises including a boggy patch too big to jump for me as I found out. At least with a heavier load. Luckily only one leg got proper wet. Somehow I just laughed about it 🤣
The gravel path soon turned into a grassy rocky one gradually descending down the slope of Moelwyn Mawr. The sun broke through the clouds creating the most stunning view of Cwm Croesor with the little River at the bottom glistening in the late afternoon light. Wow!!!
Didn’t get back to the car without one last obstacle. My path didn’t join the Slate Trail as OS maps made me believe. Instead it just ended so we had to scale a steep grassy slope and beat through some bracken to finally emerge panting and sweating on the broad bridleway.
Back at the car 18:45 both knackered. Merlin just curled up eyes heavy, bless him. I quickly boiled some water to have another dehydrated meal, fed the pooch some tinned tuna and changed into trainers ans off we went onto the four hour journey home.
Another fantastic walk today even if we didn’t camp in the end. Brilliant from start to finish even with a couple of tricky bits. But the fun scramble, the amazing views and the varied walk more than made up for it.
Back home were both tired, chilling. Had two amazing days and just can’t help but love Snowdonia a little bit more every time I’m up there.
Two so very different days in terms of landscape and scenery and so much more to explore. We will be back for more!