Carneddau Snow: Cnd Llewelyn via Pen yr Helgi Du

Date walked: 06/05/2021

Time taken: 6.75 hours

Distance: 10.9km

Ascent: 995m

This was meant to be an outing with Dr Frank, but like so many newly retired folk, he's finding it difficult to fit everything he wants to do into 24 hours - and being a granddad is pretty time-consuming!
So it became a solo venture - to Snowdonia - OK now that travel restrictions have been lifted.

When walking to Pen Yr Helgi Du from Pen Llythrig y Wrath a couple of years ago, I'd noticed that Bwlch Eryl Farchog looked pretty dramatic. But on that occasion it was the back end of the day, and I didn't think I'd have time to include it in the walk.

However, I've wanted to visit it ever since, and this was to be the occasion. The main plan was to get up into the Carneddau, and then on to Llywtmor. But although the spirit was willing, the flesh was sorely tried, such that once I got to the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn, I realised that I simply didn't have the energy to extend the walk by pretty well double the distance.

So this is the route I actually take.

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

As regards the weather, a quick look at the forecast indicated that it was likely to be pretty chilly, especially if the threatened snow materialised; so after my last outing (in which I had to manage sub-zero effective temperatures without gloves), I made doubly sure that I was well equipped - including 3 pairs of mitts!


Image20210506-092354. Pano looking north up to where I'm heading, Pen Yr Ole Wen on the LHS, and Pen Yr Helgi Du on the RHS, with Carnedd Dafydd in the middle.

Being conscious that I am planning a longish route given my current lack of fitness, I have chosen to take the metalled track up to Fynnon Llugwy, which makes for a gentle start.

Image20210506-093131. Though I'll soon have to leave the track and head up to y Braich (the long shoulder on this pic).

Image20210506-093351. As ever Tryfan looks magnificent...

Image20210506-094112. ...and with the showery conditions, its aspect changes every 10 minutes or so;

Image20210506-095055. ... while the Ogwen Valley is just stunning.

Image20210506-095117. Ogwen Valley in wide pano.

It's for me a long slow pull up y Braich to Pen Yr Helgi Du: slow and steady. But at least my hands are warm, strong wind notwithstanding.

Image20210506-11003. Pen Llythrig y Wrach viewed from about two thirds of the way up y Braich.

Image20210506-114022. Looking back down y Braich from close to the summit of Pen Yr Helgi Du.

Image20210506-114405-2. And looking ESE towards Pen Llythrig y Wrach again.

Image20210506-115524. A few minutes ahead, the summit of Pen Yr Helgi Du, and behind it, Carnedd Llewelyn - at 1064m the second highest peak in Wales. What one doesn't see from this angle is the hefty drop into Bwlch Eryl Farchog immediately before the ascent to Carnedd Llewelyn!

Image20210506-115551. Same view in pano.

Image0210506-120444. Again, the edge of the drop into Bwlch Eryl Farchog only just visible (if you look closely) in the very slight difference in the shade of green on the ridge.

Image20210506-120455. Great views in all directions, this looking down to Ffynnon Llugwy, with Tryfan, the Glyders, and Y Garn showing in the background.

Image20210506-120717. Arriving at the start of the drop to Bwlch Eryl Farchog, this is what I see: what looks like (and indeed turns out to be) a non-too-challenging but very enjoyable grade 1 scramble. In fact it's a bit steeper than it looks on this pic, as can be seen on the following pics.

Image20210506-122003. Looking up the scramble from the bottom.





Image/20210506-122631. Yep, I just couldn't stop snapping this beauty!

Image20210506-122642. Ahead, to the North West, the 300m+ ascent to Carnedd Llewelyn. Not especially difficult - no real scrambling; but it is a fair ascent :roll: .

Image20210506-124106. Taking a breather just after starting the ascent, looking back south east towards Pen Yr Helgi Du.

Image20210506-131656. And the same from a good bit further up.

The forecast wind is blowing quite strongly now, so I'm thinking it'll be on the blowy side on the top...

Image20210506-141754. ... and boy am I right! The shelter on the summit isn't really performing its function at all, and the spindrift is doing its best to flay the skin from my face! I'm having to use my mitts to shield it at least to some degree. The wind speed feels to be well above 30mph. So I don't hang around, abandoning the plan I've had to take a bite of lunch within the shelter. I can see the next points of my original plan - Foel Grach, Carnedd Uchaf and Foel Fras - but I'm pretty pooped from the climb up to Carnedd Llewelyn, and, as I've been realising for some time, there isn't going to be time to get out to these lot: I need to curtail the extended plan, and head off back.

Image20210506-141805. As I set off, though, I have time to appreciate that absolutely magnificent moody vista of Snowdonia before me.


Image20210506-143240. Looking just south of east across Ffynnon Llugwy towards Pen Yr Helgi Du, with Pen Llythrig y Wrach just behind it, taken from about 2/3 down the descent of Carnedd Llewelyn.

Image20210506-144544. And looking back up to Carnedd Llewelyn from Bwlch Cyfryw-drum, Yr Elen just visible to the far left.

Image20210506-144601. Looking west to Carnedd Dafydd just before I bear off left to head down the shoulder that takes me back to the Ogwen valley.

Image20210506-150039. On the way down I'm afforded this superb view of Bwlch Eryl Farchog and the scramble down from Pen Yr Helgi Du (RHS of the Bwlch).

Image20210506-150634. There's quite an extended boulder field on the upper part of the descent, which given the care needed as a result of the snow covering, makes for rather slow progress. And more than once I'm fortunate narrowly to avoid going A over T...

Image20210506-150721. Once I no longer have to concentrate on not breaking an ankle, though, the familiar but always inspiring views of the Ogwen Valley....

Image20210506-151914. ...sustain me on my yomp back to the car. Where, in the absence of any establishments of cultural, historical and architectural interest that are open, I make do with a can of Brewdog Nanny State, before heading back home.

A superb day in magnificent conditions, though I have to admit to being really quite bushed. On some occasions the realisation of the gap between what I could once manage in a day, and what I can manage now is more frustrating than on
others! :roll:

Image3D view of route.

Click to mark this as a great report. Register or Login
free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).

Comments: 3

A Great Whernside and Buckden Pike Round

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Buckden Pike, Great Whernside
Date walked: 21/04/2021
Distance: 21.9km
Ascent: 845m
Views: 257

Meall nan Tarmachan - under "sun and blue skies"

This post is not published on the Walkhighlands forum
Attachment(s) Munros: Meall nan Tarmachan
Date walked: 16/10/2020
Distance: 6.3km
Ascent: 630m
Views: 176

Rescued from Carn nan Clag

Attachment(s) Munros: Bràigh Coire Chruinn-bhalgain, Càrn Liath (Beinn a' Ghlò), Càrn nan Gabhar
Date walked: 15/10/2020
Distance: 22.6km
Ascent: 1432m
Comments: 13
Views: 1829

Farrago on the Hill

Attachment(s) Corbetts: Farragon Hill, Meall Tairneachan
Date walked: 14/10/2020
Distance: 15.1km
Ascent: 949m
Comments: 4
Views: 794

A Buttermere round: Fleetwith Pike to Great Borne

Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Fleetwith Pike, Great Borne, Haystacks, High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike (Buttermere), Starling Dodd
Hewitts: Fleetwith Pike, Great Borne, High Crag, High Stile, Red Pike (Buttermere), Starling Dodd
Date walked: 18/09/2020
Distance: 23.3km
Ascent: 1724m
Comments: 12
Views: 997

Coniston Old Man and 5 neighbours

Attachment(s) Wainwrights: Brim Fell, Coniston Old Man, Dow Crag, Grey Friar, Swirl How, Wetherlam
Hewitts: Black Sails, Dow Crag, Grey Friar, Swirl How, The Old Man of Coniston, Wetherlam
Date walked: 10/09/2020
Distance: 21km
Ascent: 1677m
Comments: 8
Views: 1150

Driesh & Mayar, return via The Scorrie

Attachment(s) Munros: Driesh, Mayar
Date walked: 28/08/2020
Distance: 13.4km
Ascent: 916m
Comments: 12
Views: 1855

Cross on the Fell

Attachment(s) Hewitts: Cross Fell
Date walked: 24/08/2020
Distance: 13.5km
Ascent: 709m
Comments: 7
Views: 764

A scramble in wonderful Cwm Silyn

Attachment(s) Date walked: 15/08/2020
Distance: 9.1km
Ascent: 742m
Comments: 9
Views: 755


User avatar
Location: Effete South (of WIgan, anyway)
Activity: Scrambler
Pub: The Bell, Trysull
Mountain: Cuillin Ridge
Place: Glen Brittle
Gear: Compass
Member: None
Ideal day out: Heavy ridge walk with plenty of scrambling and height gain - eg Welsh 3000ers, Wastwater Circuit, Cuillin Ridge

Munros: 173
Corbetts: 31
Wainwrights: 100
Hewitts: 236

Filter reports



Trips: 2
Distance: 32.8 km
Ascent: 1840m
Hewitts: 2


Trips: 17
Distance: 290.28 km
Ascent: 18608m
Munros: 6
Corbetts: 4
Hewitts: 36
Wainwrights 8


Trips: 15
Distance: 276.18 km
Ascent: 17253m
Munros: 5
Corbetts: 1
Hewitts: 27
Wainwrights 13


Trips: 21
Distance: 543.6 km
Ascent: 37641m
Munros: 26
Corbetts: 10
Hewitts: 49
Wainwrights 26


Trips: 21
Distance: 550.1 km
Ascent: 44412m
Munros: 32
Corbetts: 6
Hewitts: 79
Wainwrights 26


Trips: 12
Distance: 301.1 km
Ascent: 23240m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 4
Hewitts: 8


Trips: 8
Distance: 233.6 km
Ascent: 22109m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 4
Hewitts: 36
Wainwrights 21


Trips: 9
Distance: 197.93 km
Ascent: 20114m
Munros: 27
Corbetts: 2
Hewitts: 10
Wainwrights 7


Trips: 1
Distance: 18.9 km
Ascent: 2772m
Munros: 4

Joined: May 25, 2013
Last visited: Jun 14, 2021
Total posts: 3216 | Search posts