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Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe

Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe

Postby john923 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 1:07 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Carnedd Llewelyn, Foel Grach, Pen Llithrig y Wrach, Pen yr Helgi Du

Date walked: 26/06/2010

Time taken: 8

Distance: 18 km

Ascent: 1180m

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We took advantage of the fine weekend weather to dust off the tent and get a couple of nights away at Llanrwst. This was our walk on Saturday, starting from the end of a single-track gated road which leads into the heart of the eastern Carneddau from the village of Tal-y-Bont. There’s parking for about 15 cars at the end of the road and we were lucky to bag the last space. We started off down the track leading to Llyn Eigiau with Pen Llithrig y Wrach up ahead.
Starting point view

Llyn Eigiau was hidden from view by a dam wall and presently we came across a gaping hole in it. It seems that this section of wall collapsed in 1925 after days of heavy rain, the subsequent flood claiming the 16 lives in Dalgarrog village in the Conwy valley below.
Breach in Llyn Eigiau dam wall

At the end of the track we headed left and picked up a faint path behing the cottages at Hafod-y-rhiw. This meandered up through the heather and then picked a way through the rocky end of the NW ridge of Pen Llithrig y Wrach. It didn’t feel like a much–used route but once on the ridge it was easy going and views opened up into the heart of Cwm Eigiau.
Looking down on Llyn Eigiau

Looking into Cwm Eigiau up to Carnedd Llewelyn

The top of Pen Llithrig y Wrach is just marked by a few stones but its relative lack of character is made up for by views over to the Glyders in one direction and over to Creigiau Gleision in another.
Gylders from Pen Llithrig y Wrach

Creigiau Gleision from Pen Llithrig y Wrach

After that it was down and up again to the next top of Pen yr Helgi Du via the windy gap of Bwlch y Tri Marchog.
Pen Llithrig y Wrach from Pen yr Helgi Du

The top of Pen yr Helgi Du narrows westward. There’s Ffynnon Llugwy reservoir below and the route ahead to Carnedd Llewelyn was clear ahead.
Ffynnon Llugwy from Pen yr Helgi Du

Route to Carnedd Llewelyn from Pen yr Helgi Du

There’s a steep descent at this point, no difficulties but a very airy feel because you can’t see ahead more than a few steps and a steadying hand is needed here and there. Once at the bottom a spot on the bilberry covered ridge made a pleasant place to stop for some food and a rest and to observe some interesting clouds overhead.
Pen yr Helgi Du descent-1

Looking down Cwn Eigiau

Pen yr Helgi Du descent -2


Further along there was an easy and all-too-short scramble leading up to rocky top of Craig yr Ysfa. And just one more opportunity to look into Cwm Eigiau with the tiny pool of Ffynnon Llyffant nestled at the end before continuing up the well-used path to Carnedd Llewelyn.
Pen yr Helgi Du from Craig yr Ysfa

Craig yr Ysfa scramble

Cwm Eigiau

We didn’t hang around for long on the flat summit but headed off north over the ankle-turning stones to easier ground en route for Foel Grach, pausing only to look over towards Yr Elen.
Foel Grach from Carnedd Llewelyn

Yr Elen

The section from Pen yr Helgi Du to Foel Grach was busy, but we met no-one else after leaving the top of Foel Grach. We descended grassy slopes, SE at first then gradually curving round picking up a path NE. This might be tricky in poor visibility but there were no problems today. There were some good views westward to Melynllyn and Dulyn reservoirs. We headed for the toothy crags of Cefn Tal-llyn-Eigiau and then dropped down to the left to join the Melynllyn access track which lead over the end of the ridge back to our starting point.
Pen Llithrig y Wrach and Pen yr Helgi Du from Foel Grach descent

Pointy bits of Cefn Tal-llyn-Eigiau
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Re: Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe

Postby malky_c » Tue Jun 29, 2010 2:25 pm

Good route! Did this once years ago (minus Pen Llithrig) - this side of the Carneddau is so much quieter than most of northern Snowdonia.

Nice photos.
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Re: Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe

Postby PauloUK77 » Tue Jun 29, 2010 4:49 pm

Good report,and photos I can't wait to head over to Wales someday it looks fantastic,I have never been to Snowdonia or the Brecon Beacons.
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Re: Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe

Postby susanmyatt » Tue Jun 29, 2010 6:02 pm

Great walk and photos, been fortunate to have done the Carnedds in good weather and snow, so cold it froze the pipe to my water bladder :shock:
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Re: Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe

Postby mountain coward » Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:23 pm

Yeah a great route idea - I did those from the other side from the A5. I found the ridge onto Pen Yr Helgi Ddu (I was going in the opposite direction) much harder than the Craig Yr Ysfa scramble and more exposed - I was fine on it though. I'm quite proud of myself now seeing your photos - but then I'm not quite such a mountain coward in Wales and even less so in the Lakes! :D Superb photos! :D
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Re: Cwm Eigiau Horseshoe

Postby Hantswalker » Sat Jul 03, 2010 10:05 pm

I like the Carnedds - high tops, good ridge walking and less crowded than the Glyders or Snowdon. I don't get to Wales as much as I would like to but last year managed to do the northern section of this range by way of "the Big Aber".

The last time I did the round as described was about 20 years ago, staying at the club hut in Cwm Eigiau. It was late October and shirt sleeves weather on the ridges but coming off the tops at dusk I experienced the most dramatic temperature inversion I have known.

Good pics by the way.
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