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52klm self-propelled ticking fest in the Northern Carneddau

52klm self-propelled ticking fest in the Northern Carneddau

Postby Rekrab » Thu Jul 28, 2011 8:56 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Carnedd Gwenllian (Garnedd Uchaf), Drosgl, Drum, Foel Grach, Foel-fras, Llwytmor

Date walked: 28/07/2011

Time taken: 24

Distance: 52.9 km

Ascent: 1950m

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Been wanting to do this walk for a long time but I was torn on whether to start from Dolgarrog or from Ogwen.
not wanting to rely on public transport I chose the cycle out to Dolgorrog.
I left Llanrwst at 15:00 on Wednesday night and the cycle into Dolgorrog was maybe 20mins, once I hit the villiage I quickly found the start of the Dolgarrog nature reserve and headed up. It was incredibly steep and the heat on wednesday was making me sweat like mad, I almost drained my camel back on this first small climb.
once on top I was met with a land rover track which I followed around to Coedty Reservoir.
I followed the Llly Eigiau road around Moel Eilio. I was looking for a turn off around SH744664 to cross the river and follow a path to the road leading to the carpark which is the normal start for the Carneddau walks (for losers who drive)
Coedty reservoir

the walk in from the car park.

Pen yr Helgi Du from The car park

with the walk in done I was well warmed up but was running low on water it had been a very hot week in N Wales and I really had to keep my eyes open for some water on the walk in. the plan? to camp at the Melynllyn reservoir lots of water and quick pop up into the mountains the next day to start the ticking.
as I passed though the valley I saw some campers also planning to enjoy an early start tomorrow but I was heading further into the valley. Now the views weren't' that amazing as the there wasn't a cloud in the sky and the sun was quite low so it made all my pics look very hazy.
upon reaching the Resevoir I saw some lovely Cliffs, caves, an old quarry, and an Old Mill I started looking around for a spot to pitch but then the worst happened Midges!!!!!!!!!! they came at me with Taliban kamikaze intensity there was wind about but I was sheltered by all the cliffs around. The New Plan? I had just found some fast cold water at SH711660 so the camel back was topped up to 2l again, it was only 20:00, I was only 320m below Foel-grachs summit so I was going to Tick one tonight get a bivvi at 976m plus sunset!
Looking to Forl-Fras right into the sun :(

old Melynllyn Mill

Melynllyn Quarry

Looking back to the valley just walked

Melynllyn resevoir from eastern slopes of foel-grach

after 8.85 klm and the last 320m to the top of Foel-grach was tough but it was reached and I started to get pitched at 21:30 and not a minute too soon as dusk was upon me. The Wednesday walk was very good and the terrain was so easy I did the whole walk in sandals.
Looking over Llanberis covered in cloud

my pitch on Foel-grach 976m

Yr Ellen from Foel-grach

a little colour in the sky

I quickly had a tin of soup and a cup of tea then it was time to get into the bag around 22:20. It was a very still night which is what I was hoping for last time I slept this high was in the Mammores and it was in a storm I think I slept 2 hours that night so I really wasn't wanting a repeat.
around 1:30 I was woken by a screech! I shot up trying to figure out what it was and right behind me was a Huge horse!! whinnying like crazy. I laid back down and was wondering if it was going to come over and kick me or something but I just ignored it and played dead and it went away. at this point I got a nice look at the Lights of Bangor and Anglesey.
I woke up at 06:00 and was treated to my first ever Cloud inversion it was lovely, a lot of my friends have seen many of these but this was my first.
Looking over to Llanberis

Eilidir Fawr and the Northern Glyders from Foel-grach

after taking in all these lovely views I quickly got to the job of packing up camp and getting breakfast on the go.
as the last of the items went into the rucksack it started to rain a little so I thought I'd pop the flask of tea into the bag and eat the Breakfast on the descent and on the saddle before Carnedd uchaf.
Looking to Foel-grach from Carnedd uchaf being swallowed up by the cloud

I didn't take a picture of Carnedd Uchaf because I didn't think it was the Mountain (opps) I thought Foel-Fras further along the ridge was carnedd uchaf so I continued along to foel-fras. As I got half way across the saddle I looked to the Left and say Bera mawr, Bera bach and, drosgl took the map out and said to myself I've come to far I need to head back to Carnedd uchaf and then head over to those three!
Looking to Bera Mawr

Bera Mawr Summit

drosgl Summit with Yr Ellen in the distance

looking to Bera mawr and Bera Bach from Drosgl

Bera Bach Summit

after the Uchaf, Bera Mawr, Bera Bach, and Drosgl i've already ticked 4 today and it's only 08:30.
the walk back to Carnedd uchaf was long and it almost took me and hour to get back to it, and Quickly chasing me was a lot of cloud coming over from the coast. I took a quick look around and made a mental picture ofthe mountains I was heading to next: Foel-fras and Llwytmor. at around 09:30 I saw my first walker of the day on Carnedd Uchaf we exchanges hellos and I was then heading north to Foel-fras. Cloud was well down now and it was to stay that was for the rest of the day. I quickly got to the top of Foel-fras took out the map and had a look at Llwytmor which was NW of my position I looked NW but saw nothing so I was going to have to find it on a compass bearing.
I reached the saddle and quickly found the incline of the mountain and even found a path, I got up there, ticked it and stopped to eat lunch. while eating lunch the mist became even heavier and I decided it was time to get down off Llwytmor. I started to descend and was now descending grassy slopes, but I came up on steep rocky/grassy stuff? I thought to myself. I took a bearing and I was still heading NW!!!! I got so turned around.
I climbed back up and headed SE back down to the saddle. I couldn't find the path I came up on and when I reached the saddle again with the thicker mist it was like being on the moon! the saddle was totally featureless! I was having a hard time figuring out where I was. I continued SE until I reached the incline of Foel-fras. Now my planned route was to contour E around the mountain to meet up with the path do Drum.
the only feature this section of the walk had on my map was some cliffs to the north.
Had the vis been good I would have not turned east so soon as I was now on the top of these cliffs on very steep and wet terrain. the map said the path would be east and I had been heading east for an hour and a half. in these times you find yourself asking so many questions, was I just on that hill? are these the cliffs on my map? is this hill magnetic and messing with my compass like in the cairngorms? I contemplated calling someone to verify that my actions of heading east along these cliffs was a good idea and just then I saw the fence post that marks the Descent path off of Foel-fras and onto drum. with a new found confidence in my nav I continued down hill and northwards to drum which looked like this:
The lovely views

Drum summit shelter.

it started to rain again and it wasn't just for 5 minutes this time I threw on the jacket and was off, then I saw my second walker of the day and we stopped and had a chat I asked him if drum was ahead and he said he wasn't sure I continued to head N regardless.
upon reaching Drum my jacket had given into the rain and I was now getting wet :(.
I decided that if the mist and the rain didn't stop i'd have to miss out on Tal-y-Fan. it took forever to get down and I was pretty raging every time I came around a bend and it wasn't the road.
eventually I hit the road, changed direction, and now with the wind at my back the walking became better. I changed to sandals for the rest of the day was to be paved.
the original plan was to descend to Rowen and then catch a bus to Dolgarrog, but on my map there was another, slightly longer road which I could take to Dolgarrog without spending any money.
the rain had stopped now and I was drying out on the last 8km into Dolgarrog. I quickly found that my bike hadn't been knicked and I had a 15 minute cycle Home
as you can see very few pictures were taken as the views were gone it was a very long walk and i'd like to repeat in better weather one day.

thanks for reading,

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Re: 52klm self-propelled ticking fest in the Northern Carneddau

Postby malky_c » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:28 am

Good trip - worth it for the evening views :)

The only high camping and bivvying I've ever done has been around this part of the northern Carneddau - once after cycling over from Anglesey and once before starting the Welsh 3000's. Nice spot for it.

There are a couple of midge-free accommodation alternatives in the area too if you need them. One is a bothy up near Dulyn Reservoir, and the other is a hut on the summit of Foel Grach. Not too sure about the summit hut - was still there 10 years ago but my dad mentioned a rumour about the roof having been removed recently to stop people using it as a drinking den...
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Re: 52klm self-propelled ticking fest in the Northern Carneddau

Postby Rekrab » Fri Jul 29, 2011 11:11 pm

I didn't see a Bothy on the summit but the3n again I was knackered and didn't have a look around.
was a good walk and was super stiff today!!!

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Re: 52klm self-propelled ticking fest in the Northern Carneddau

Postby poppiesrara » Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:44 pm

Great effort, Mackenzie! Shame about Tal y Fan, but I don't blame you - it's quite a long climb from that side after a walk that length. You can always pop back and do it from the road in an hour or so another day - a nice little walk (after a pretty horrible drive!).

The hut on Foel Grach (it's right next to the main route down to Garnedd Uchaf) was still there and roofed at the end of last year, although it looked pretty rough inside - you might need to be really knackered to sleep in it...
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Re: 52klm self-propelled ticking fest in the Northern Carneddau

Postby Rekrab » Sun Jul 31, 2011 10:28 pm


Glad I had my Basha on me and got lucky that it was such a still night like I said last time i slept that High we got hit with a storm and I ended up wrapping it around me like a quilt, took my sleeping bag off in the morning like a wet sock.

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