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5 solo days in Wales

5 solo days in Wales

Postby johnovey » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:30 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Cribyn, Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr, Moel Siabod, Pen y Fan, Snowdon - Yr Wyddfa, Y Garn (Glyders)

Date walked: 15/09/2009

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This was originally planned as a group vacation. Slowly the group shrank until there was one!!! :(

Cancel the trip or go alone?

The following is my diary between August 1st-5th

Saturday May 1 2009
Day 1 Pen y Fan and Cribyn

A 7 o’clock start and 200 miles later I parked up to begin my first walk. It was raining as it had been for the last 2 hours. I lay back waiting for the rain to ease off. Half an hour had gone by when a couple parked next to me and started to get kitted up in their waterproofs. This spurred me into action and in no time I was away!

Another group had also started their walk and were all heading in a different direction to my route. Confident that mine was correct, I headed off in the opposite direction!
After about 5 minutes my path abruptly ended and I was up to my waist in gorse bushes! I persisted to wade through the gorse and eventually joined the path that the others had taken. Anyway……..I caught them up later on and had a very pleasant walk up the ridge towards pen y fan.
Cribyn through the mist

The rain had now stopped but the low cloud was covering the tops of all the hills ahead.
The final steep climb to the summit came as a bit of a shock as it emerged through the mist. Unfortunately no views were to be had here today.
After a bite to eat I started to descend from pen y fan towards Cribyn where I would descend along the ridge to my car.

As I left the summit at pen y fan so did the cloud!!! Half way down towards Cribyn I could now see all of the tops.
The view I had now of these hills and their formation was one of the finest I have seen.
Looking back to Pen y fan

The Sun was shining now and I was privileged to be accompanied by 2 Red Kites as I came off Cribyn.
Back at the car and now to find a campsite…..I opted for Lakeside and bedded down for the night before my drive to Snowdonia for day 2

Sunday May 2nd
Day 2 Glyder Fach, Glyder Fawr and Y Garn

This was the one I had been looking forward to.

After a Tin of baked beans and a tin of hot dog sausages, the tent was dismantled and I was off on the 120 mile trip to Snowdonia. 3 hours later I was in the car park preparing for my walk.
For some reason the ticket machine was out of order so Free Parking!!..A good start.
With the sun shining and the weather looking good today, the first leg upto Tryfan’s South face made me sweat a bit. It was a bit of a slog up the steep bits.

Tryfan itself looked like it would be a challenge maybe one day in the future but not today.
My route was to skirt around Bristly ridge and come around from the miners track.
I did, however spot a shortcut up a steep path just before my path turned to join the miner’s. Feeling pleased with myself after successfully tackling this I stopped to watch those moving along Bristly ridge.Is it really as scary as it looks?
Walkers on Bristly ridge

Some more good views of Tryfan from here too.

On reaching the Cantilever stone the cloud drifted in and the views had gone for now
Onward and upward and the first summit was reached,
A very odd looking rock formation now blocked my path, namely Castell y Gwynt (I think). I elected to climb through it rather than find a way around

A short trek now to Glyder Fawr, the cloud had lifted and the views of Snowdon and its railway could now been seen. I could now also see my next leg down the steep bit…..and back up to Y Garn.
Y Garn

I was now with a group of five others when we were buzzed by a rescue helicopter before it veered round to visit the other peaks.
For me, the best panoramic views were on the top of Y Garn. My route was now clearly visible from start to finish. FANTASTIC!!!.

Just the steep descent now from Y Garn. I’m glad it was dry as it would have been slippery in the wet as would the steep bit before Y Garn.
As I was alone I opted for b&b tonight instead of camping and had the most welcome hot bath and soft bed!!

Tomorrow Moel Siabod,

Monday August 3rd
Day 3 Moel Siabod


This was another walk I was looking forward to. I parked up by the Lake on the A4086 next to the National Mountain Centre. The weather forecast was supposed to be good over the latter part of today so I was optimistic that I would get some good views of the Snowdon horseshoe today.
Initially, my route was to go straight up through the forest and up the easy way to the summit. After walking for half an hour I changed my mind and came back down to cut across to the side of the old slate quarry to take in the scramble up the end ridge.

I was soon looking up at the mountain in question wondering how I was going to get up there.
Things became a lot clearer after reaching Lyn y Foel. Let the scrambling begin!
For a virgin scrambler this was a perfect spot to practice my climbing and soon I was making good progress.
Five minutes or so into the climb the rain started to come through and I came across a Scandinavian family. They appeared well togged up and equipped with walking gear so I was surprised when the mother said “Is this the way up…we are not sure”. All they had was a tourist brochure with a sketch of the route up to the summit, no map and no compass. The weather was now turning quite nasty so I suggested they made their way down while they had the chance. Fortunately further up the climb I saw them back down at the lake on their return.
The Scandinavian family ahead

Ridge to the summit

I was joined soon after by a walker from Liverpool who accompanied me to the summit.

By the time we reached the trig point, visibility was virtually nil and the rain was hammering down. After passing the summit shelter, my Liverpudlian friend went off to the right along the ridge and I stumbled off to the left hopefully following my route back to the car through the forest. This was where I was hoping to have some great views of Snowdon but not today, there was nothing to be seen for the remainder of the walk.
This is definitely a walk to be repeated in the future

Tomorrow Snowdon via the Watkins path

Tuesday August 4th
Day 4 An enforced rest day.
It rained persistently all day today. Walking would have been a very unpleasant experience. I did try at one point but after 10 minutes gave up and returned to the car drenched.
Spent the day visiting the National Slate Museum and driving around

Tomorrow I was due to go home but the forecast was for "sunny spells"!!
New plan…..Get up early, skip breakfast, climb Snowdon then drive the 300 miles back to Sussex….good plan!

Wednesday August 5th
Day 5 Mount Snowdon via the Watkins path and returning via the South ridge
Up at 6.00am. It had rained during the night but now looked bright and clear. By the time I had loaded the car, driven to the start point and parked up it was now 7.00am and I was soon on my way.
The top of Snowdon was in the clouds but the sky was looking promising with a few patches of blue.
The route took me past some impressive waterfalls, flowing well after all the recent rainfall.

Past the Gladstone rock and to the old quarry site at Cwm Llan with the steep impressive southern slopes of Snowdon towering ahead. The path now started to get steeper and my climb to the ridge at Bwlch Ciliau gained a lot of height quickly.
On reaching the ridge, the cloud was coming from behind me and drifting up and over the ridge into the Snowdon bowl.

The view on the ridge came as a complete surprise and was quite breathtaking. Even with the cloud, I could clearly see the Miner and Pyg tracks meet and continue up towards the zig zags. I suddenly felt very vulnerable up here all alone with the steep drops either side. I still had approx 1,000ft so the climb was by no means over.
Looking back along the horseshoe to Y Lliwedd

At this point another walker appeared and we walked together towards the steepest part of the walk. This is where the definition of “Steep” became apparent. I said farewell as the other walker climbed ahead of me into the mist.
About halfway up, I lost the path in the mist and could not see anything very much up or down. I knew there were steep cliffs to my right and big crags to the left . The route on my gps showed that the path was to my left so I concentrated my efforts in that direction. The hill was getting steeper and the scree getting really loose underfoot.At one point I thought maybe this was beyond me but there was no turning back. Suddenly I heard voices and could just make out 2 heads above me.
I clambered up the last grassy bit on my hands and knees and took the 2 people by surprise. I had made it… phew! I was now right at the base of the trig point.
The new café was now open and it was just after 10 o’clock. A photographer was taking photos of various items of food for an article in the Sunday Telegraph.

After a quick break and a welcome cup of coffee I was on my way. There were too many people for my liking and I think it is a shame to have a building of any sort spoiling an otherwise beautiful spot, Having said that though, it was a lovely cup of coffee!
It was still really difficult to see very much but I eventually found the pathway I needed and disappeared into the mist. After descending down to about 2,700ft I was below the cloud and could now see the surrounding mountains. The best views coming off the summit were sadly missed. The mountain ahead, Y Aran now dominated the view ahead and I did briefly contemplate climbing this on my way down. I decided that with a 6 hour drive ahead of me this was probably unwise. This part of the walk down onto the South ridge was a stunning experience and one I would like to repeat sometime
The ridge descending from the summit. Would you believe it??? The summit of Snowdon was now clear!!!! How unfair is that?


I now had some fine views of the Glyders

The rest of the walk descending from the intersection with Y Aran was in glorious sunshine all the way back to the car. The return walk took me along the opposite side of the valley that I ascended on.

Well that’s it then. It was back in the car for the 6hr trip back home until the next time.
Thanks for reading…maybe the photos and the weather will be better next time. All in all, I had a fab 5 days alone up in the Welsh hills. Cheers :D
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Re: 5 solo days in Wales

Postby monty » Wed Sep 16, 2009 3:18 pm

Well done John,
Fantastic pictures. Looks like you had a great week, apart from the odd shower or two. :D

I stayed at Bethesda years ago and climbed Tryfan. Great memories, somewhere in the back of my head lol.

Re: 5 solo days in Wales

Postby mountain coward » Fri Sep 18, 2009 10:30 pm

Great report - all about places I really love - that south ridge over Bwlch Main on Snowdon is a beaut, the scrambling ridge on Moel Siabod is perfect 'cos (as you found) you can choose how hard to make it - you've succeeded in getting a pic which makes the scrambling look fearsome though :D I ought to try to go up accompanied so I can get pics of the scrambling - it never looks much without a person on it. The top of the Watkin Path is about the only part of Snowdon I really hate - I only did it once and probably won't do it again - like you said, it's horribly loose and you just know there's big crags below if you slip!

Love the way you've got the sheep lined up on the Brecon photos! especially the first one! :D
mountain coward

Re: 5 solo days in Wales

Postby yokehead » Sun Sep 20, 2009 10:29 am

This is a great report, thanks. 8) You had a real variety of terrain and weather in your 5 days and have shown the great places to go. Just back from 2 days there myself, reports coming up.
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Re: 5 solo days in Wales

Postby johnovey » Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:42 pm

Thanks for the comments everyone. Had a great time alone in the hills but I did miss sharing the experiences...especially when I've got myself a bit lost !!
Looking forward to the next one
That last climb up the scree to the summit of snowdon was probably less scary with no visibility although It would be nice to see what was below :?
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