Welsh Walks

Cnicht

Date: 9th May 11
Distance: 6.2 miles
Ascent: 1968 feet
Time: 4 hours
With: Lisa
Start Grid Ref: SH631447

Route Summary: Croesor - Cnicht south west ridge - Cnicht - Cnicht North Top - Llŷn yr Adar - Llŷn Cwm-Corsiog - Bwlch y Rhosydd - Moelwyn Bank Croesor.

Walk Summary: Cnicht, at least when seen from the south west, has one of the most striking mountain profiles in Wales and is sometimes referred to as the 'Welsh Matterhorn'. While it is by no means the highest mountain in Snowdonia Cnicht's shape demands attention.

I'd come close to climbing it the previous year as part of a route including the much higher Moelwyn Mawr. Ultimately I decided to tackle the latter from Tanygrisiau and while I certainly didn't regret that decision the view of Cnicht from Rhosydd Quarry made my mind up that Cnicht would be high on my agenda on my next visit to Wales.

The route of ascent from Croesor was simplicity in itself, a short pull out of the village and then on to Cnicht's summit via the long south west ridge. It was a fantastic climb marred only by the strong winds which buffeted us about all the way to the top.

I'd read that a simple scramble was required in the final stages of the climb to attain the summit. For most the climb I was concerned at how exposed the scramble would be due to the windy conditions. As it turned out the section which required the use of hands was well sheltered from the prevailing winds and proved to be fairly easy.

The summit of Cnicht provided fine views in all directions. The most notable summits on view being the Moel Hebog and Snowdon ranges, meanwhile the view down into Cwm Croesor was also quite spectacular.

Unfortunately, because of the wind, we didn't linger long on the summit so made our way along the ridge over Cnicht's middle top to the knoll which forms the north top, a summit with just enough re-ascent to qualify as Nuttall in its own right.

From the north top the ridge broadens out and enters a delightful areas of scattered lakes. It was by one of these, Llŷn yr Adar, that we finally found some shelter to sit down and partake of some lunch. It was while we were getting ready to move on from our lunch stop that I made the precipitous remark about how lucky we had been not to have any rain. Five minutes later we were donning our waterproofs as a shower passed overhead.

I can imagine the section between Llŷn yr Adar and Rhosydd Quarry being quite confusing in poor visibility as there was only a very intermittent path. Still, and despite the rain shower, it was most pleasant and would probably reward a more detailed investigation than we gave it.

The descent back to Croesor was as simple as the climb as we followed the path that leaves Bwlch Rhosydd to contour above Cwm Croesor before finally dropping down to the valley floor just short of the village itself. All that was left was a short amble back to the car to complete what had been a thoroughly enjoyable walk that fully lived up to its promise.


Pictures

1. Looking east towards the Moel Hebog range

Looking east towards the Moel Hebog range

2. Cnicht

Cnicht

3. Approaching the final part of the climb on to Cnicht

Approaching the final part of the climb on to Cnicht

4. Lisa nearing the summit of Cnicht

Lisa nearing the summit of Cnicht

5. On the summit of Cnicht with the north top behind me

On the summit of Cnicht with the north top behind me

6. Looking down into Cwm Croesor from the summit of Cnicht

Looking down into Cwm Croesor from the summit of Cnicht

7. Yr Aran

Yr Aran

8. Lisa on the north top of Cnicht

Lisa on the north top of Cnicht

9. Looking back at the main summit from the north top

Looking back at the main summit from the north top

10. Ysgafell Wen

Ysgafell Wen

11. Llŷn yr Adar backed by the Glyders

Llŷn yr Adar backed by the Glyders

12. Moel Druman and Llŷn Cwm-corsiog

Moel Druman and Llŷn Cwm-corsiog

13. Moelwyn Mawr

Moelwyn Mawr

14. Looking across Rhosydd Quarry to Moel-yr-hidd

Looking across Rhosydd Quarry to Moel-yr-hidd

15. Lisa at the start of the descent into Cwm Croesor

Lisa at the start of the descent into Cwm Croesor