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Ffestiniog Mountains

Ffestiniog Mountains


Postby poppiesrara » Wed Apr 13, 2011 8:35 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd, Manod Mawr, Manod Mawr North Top, Moel Penamnen

Date walked: 10/04/2011

Time taken: 4

Distance: 15.5 km

Ascent: 950m

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On an absolutely beautiful day under a blazing sun, mixed walking among apparently little-visited hills.

our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts


It feels a little unusual to start a Welsh mountain walk on a main road, parked opposite a Co-Op in the middle of a town, but it's only a few minutes before you're back in the wilderness, first through the deserted stepped landscape of the slate quarry and then on the broad moors leading to Moel Penamnen. The route here is a lot less confusing than you might fear from the map - a very clearly waymarked path leads through the best part of the quarry and then (after rudely ignoring the 'turn back now' sign!) it's a short climb over the crest of the hill into the marshy flat plain heading for Moel Penamnen in the distance. The hill itself is something of an oasis - a pleasingly steep and grassy rise with good views north, but in between a very wet tramp to and (especially - the route back to Manod Mawr is horribly boggy, even after a dry spell) from it...
2. Track through Maen-Offeren quarry.jpg
Track through Maen-offeren quarry

3. Over Maen-offeren quarry to Blaenau Ffestiniog.jpg
Over Maen-offeren quarry to Blaenau Ffestiniog

6. Moel Penamnen.jpg
Moel Penamnen

14. Moel Siabod from Moel Penamnen.jpg
Moel Siabod from Moel Penamnen

15. Manod Mawr from Moel Penamnen.jpg
Manod Mawr from Moel Penamnen

16. Moel Farlwyd over Llynau Barlwyd.jpg
Moel Farlwyd over Llynau Barlwyd

17. Snowdon from Moel Penamnen.jpg
Snowdon from Moel Penamnen

Once on the slopes of Manod Mawr though, life perks up considerably. There's a good climb up to the north top with its stony, almost pavemented summit area, and then after a quick tramp down the quarry road, with views of the ravaged faces of the mountain, an especially pleasant climb over grassy rises and little boulders to the main peak and its rock furniture. Although almost no-one on this site seems to have been there, Manod Mawr (I guess because a short and easy climb from a town centre, on a glorious day) was much the busiest mountain I've seen for many months, and it's hard to recommend highly enough. As long as you don't mind the closeness of the quarry workings, the route up (or down, this day) from Blaenau is terrific and the top an interesting place with great views.
22. Snowdon and Moel Penamnen (R) over Llyns Bowydd & Newydd.jpg
Snowdon and Moel Penamnen (R) over Llyns Bowydd & Newydd

24. Manod Mawr from north top.jpg
Manod Mawr from north top

27. Moel Penamnen & Moel Siabod from Manod Mawr North Top.jpg
Moel Penamnen & Moel Siabod from Manod Mawr North Top

31. MMNT scarred south face.jpg
Manod Mawr North Top scarred south face

33. Moelwyns from Manod Mawr.jpg
Moelwyns from Manod Mawr

34. Snowdon from Manod Mawr.jpg
Snowdon from Manod Mawr

35. Moel Siabod behind Moel Penamnen & the north top from Manod Mawr.jpg
Moel Siabod behind Moel Penamnen & the north top from Manod Mawr

36. Over Blaenau Ffestiniog from Manod Mawr.jpg
Over Blaenau Ffestiniog from Manod Mawr

39. Moelwyns from descent of Manod Mawr.jpg
Moelwyns from descent of Manod Mawr

Great stuff.

On the other hand, took in the short climb up Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd on the way back...

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Heathery. Pretty wet too. Very tough. OK views (but nothing you won't see better from elsewhere). Really not much fun. Maybe there's a nice route to devise that takes it in, but it's hard to envisage. One for 'baggers' to do once and once only then (and to think twice about even that, there are limits...). The best that can be said is that - if you hurtle back down the direct route - it only takes 45 minutes. But you'll never get them back!
40. Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd.jpg
Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd

43. The evidence! Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd summit.jpg
The evidence! Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd summit

44. Berwyns from cairn north of Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd.jpg
Berwyns from ruin north of Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd
Last edited by poppiesrara on Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ffestiniog Mountains

Postby Red Peak » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:13 pm

Nice report and some interesting photos there, poppiesrara. It's good to know that a walk that doesn't look that tempting on the map is actually quite rewarding. Your reports are certainly providing with me with better information on the Welsh Hewitts than any guidebook could!

I notice you mention Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd being a tad on the boggy side. I''m planning to do that along with Post Gwyn sometime soon, and with what you said in an earlier report about Post Gwyn, it seems I'm in for a featureless, heathery, tough-going kind of day. I can't wait ... :D
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Re: Ffestiniog Mountains

Postby poppiesrara » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:27 pm

On a general point, Red Peak, thanks! Post Gwyn was ok really, not nearly as tough as this, but it's more the steep, thick, pathless heather - the bogginess is only down in the valley towards the road and the lower part of the stream; the upper slopes aren't as bad, and there are some half-paths about. Someone was coming over from the Y Groes Fagl direction on Sunday and that looked just as bad though.

I'm sure people have combined Post Gwyn and FCSL, but the map doesn't really inspire much confidence in how you'd do it! I'd guess it might be better than this though - the slopes are gentler, which would help a lot.
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Re: Ffestiniog Mountains

Postby ChrisW » Wed Apr 13, 2011 9:27 pm

Great report, some stunning views and some really interesting ones too, love the comment "it only takes 45 minutes but you'll never get them back" :lol:
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Re: Ffestiniog Mountains

Postby john923 » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:21 pm

Some fantastic pics there - a few fluffy clouds make all the difference. Have to agree with your comments about Foel Cwm Sian Llwyd though. Did this just for a quick stretch of the legs when returning from Snowdonia a few years back and boy was it a slog, especially the direct route up over the heather. Slightly easier taking the arcing route back down but my wife was most decidedly not happy at the effort expended for so little reward. If she could give it a minus star rating then it would be off-scale! :lol:
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Re: Ffestiniog Mountains

Postby Crawler » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:25 pm

God I haven't been up those since I was a nipper with my Mum and Dad! Great to see your report and photos - especially like the one of the Moelwyns :D Wouldn't mind doing those soon if I can get to Wales
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Re: Ffestiniog Mountains

Postby malky_c » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:05 pm

Also really enjoying your reports, as you seem to get to a lot of the more obscure parts of Snowdonia, many of which I've rarely visited. I'm ashamed to say I've never been up any of this lot, although I've done the nearby Y Ro Wen a couple of times.
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