Date: 11th May 11
Distance: 9.3 miles
Ascent: 2890 feet
Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: SH557441
A lovely walk along the line of an old trackway in Cwm Pennant preceded a fine ridge walk culminating in Moel Hebog.
Route Summary: Llyn Cwmystradlyn - Cwm Pennant Tramway - Prince of Wales Quarry - Bwlch Cwm Trwsgl - Bwlch Sais - Moel Lefn - Moel yr Ogof - Moel Hebog - Llyn Cwmystradlyn.
1. The route of the old tramway above Cwm Pennant
2. Moel Lefn from Cwm Pennant
3. A hawthorn tree in blossom
4. Garnedd Goch and Craig Cwm Silyn
5. Trum y Ddysgl and the north Nantlle ridge
6. Craig Cwm Silyn from the Prince of Wales quarry
7. Looking across Beddgelert Forest to Yr Aran
8. The rocky top of Moel Lefn
9. Beddgelert Forest from Moel yr Ogof
10. On Moel yr Ogof enjoying the view towards Moel Siabod
11. Moel Hebog from Moel yr Ogof
12. Looking down the defile on the descent from Moel yr Ogof
13. Looking back up to the defile from Bwlch Meillionen
14. Moel yr Ogof from Moel Hebog
15. The view up the Nantgwynant valley from Moel Hebog
16. The trig point on Moel Hebog
17. Looking down to Llyn Cwmystradlyn
Walk Detail: From the porch of our holiday lodge on the Llŷn Peninsula it was the outline of Moel Hebog that most dominated the extensive mountain view on offer. After climbing Cnicht earlier in the week Moel Hebog was therefore an obvious choice for my next walk.
I wanted a route that included Moel Lefn and Moel yr Ogof, the other two 2000ft summits on the Moel Hebog ridge, but wasn't particularly keen on the route given by the Nuttalls which seemed to spend half of it's fairly short 5½ miles in the maze of Beddgelert Forest. Instead I opted for a much longer route I'd come across in Volume 2 of John Gillham's 'Pictorial Guide to the Mountains of Snowdonia'.
The route basically follows the line of an old tramway. Starting from Llyn Cwmystradlyn it contours above Cwm Pennant before arriving at the Prince of Wales Quarry at the head of the valley. From there it was an easy walk up on to Bwlch Cwm-trwsgl before a steep pull to Moel Lefn and the ridge proper.
Despite the long approach walk I thoroughly enjoyed the increasingly good views across Cwm Pennant towards the Nantlle ridge. For the most part the line of the tramway could be followed fairly easily and much of this part of the walk was given an extra splash of colour by the large number of hawthorn trees in blossom.
The weather had been quite unpleasant first thing so I'd set off mid-morning as the cloud had begun to lift and break a bit and was lucky enough to enjoy some nice weather during the first half of the walk. At Bwlch Cwm-trwsgl I briefly took shelter under the eaves of Beddgelert Forest while a shower passed overhead before continuing the climb up on to Moel Lefn.
Moel Lefn is crowned by three rocky outcrops, as I wasn't sure which was the highest I made sure I climbed to the top of each of them, not a particularly easy thing to do in the strong winds that I encountered upon leaving the shelter of the valley. From Moel Lefn there were fine views of the Nantlle ridge and across Beddgelert Forest to Yr Aran. At this point Snowden itself was still in the cloud.
The walk from Moel Lefn to Moel yr Ogof was easy and straightforward. The highest point of Moel yr Ogof was more obvious than that of Moel Lefn and again the views were excellent. The most memorable thing about Moel yr Ogof though was the short defile I had to descend to reach Bwlch Meillionen - a most unusual feature.
From Bwlch Meillionen it was a fairly steep and unrelenting climb with a height gain of over 250m to reach the summit of Moel Hebog, by far the highest summit on the ridge. Upon reaching Bwlch Meillionen the sun appeared for the first time since I was in the valley. As the top of Moel Hebog had been in cloud for most of the day I pushed myself hard to get up to the summit before the cloud came over again. After all that effort I arrived just in time to manage one picture of the trig point with blue sky above it before the cloud blew across the summit.
For the next 20 minutes breaks in the cloud gave teasing glimpses of the view before it blew away enough for me to enjoy them properly, the finest of which was from just above the crags on Moel Hebog's eastern face looking down to Beddgelert and up the Nantgwynant valley all the way to Moel Siabod. Again the winds were very strong and I wouldn't have had the luxury of waiting for the cloud to clear if a wall hadn't been there to offer me shelter.
The descent south west from the summit was pathless but easy as, by keeping above the crags, it was grass underfoot all the down to the fields above Llyn Cwmystradlyn. During the descent the best views were of Llyn Cwmystradlyn itself and Moel Hebog's two lower neigbours to the south, Bannog and Moel Ddu.
For the second time in a week I'd been fairly lucky with the weather, I'd managed to avoid most of the showers and had been on Moel Hebog at the right time when the cloud lifted. The walk along the Cwm Pennant tramway was beautiful while the views and close up scenery on the ridge from Moel Lefn to Moel Hebog was fantastic.