Welsh Walks

Moel Ysgyfarnogod & Foel Penolau

Date: 26th Sept 10
Distance: 8 miles
Ascent: 1450 feet
Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
With: Lisa
Start Grid Ref: SH629342

Route Summary: Road end above Eisingrug - Llŷn Eiddew Mawr - Llŷn Eiddew Bach - Llŷn Du - Moel Ysgyfarnogod - Foel Penolau - Bryn Cader Faner - Road end above Eisingrug.

Walk Summary: Moel Ysgyfarnogod and Foel Penolau are hardly the best known summits in the Snowdonia National Park. In fact outside the world of Hewitt and Nuttall baggers they are probably hardly known at all. Yet it was these two summits that were the objective of my first walk in Snowdonia for over 4 years.

The main reason for choosing the route (a variation on that in the Nuttall's 'Mountains of England and Wales') was that it promised to have some exciting rock scenery but at the same time was fairly modest in terms of distance and total ascent.

The walk proved to be everything I hoped it would be. There was some fine mountain tarns (or 'llyns' in Welsh), the paths on the ascent at least were excellent including an enjoyable path that slanted above Llŷn Eiddew Bach to Llŷn Du below the cliffs of Moel Ysgyfarnogod.

Foel Penolau is reputed to be among the best defended summits in Wales, the summit being a large cap of volcanic rock with only a couple of places where ordinary walkers can breach the crags to scramble to the top. In fact we may have struggled to find the route up if we had not met a group of walkers on Moel Ysgyfarnogod, including a member of the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Team, who showed us the way.

Rather strangely the summit of Foel Penolau, once attained, looked at first glance if it was covered in layer of limestone pavement despite the fact that, as mentioned, the rock is much older in origin.

Situated at the northern end of the Rhinogydd range both Moel Ysgyfarnogod and Foel Penolau have a stunning vista of the North Snowdonia mountains. Indeed Wynn, the experienced walker from the Ogwen Mountain Rescue Team, stated the opinion that it was one of the best views in North Wales. I haven't visited enough mountains in North Wales to make such a claim but I would be surprised if there were many finer views.

I wanted to return via a different route to the Nuttalls mainly because I wanted to visit the curious cairn of Bryn Cader Faner. This meant an initially pathless descent from Foel Penolau where I managed to go up above my left knee in one the smallest patches of bog I've come across. This was kharma punishing me for my claims to be an experienced bog trotter to the Welsh walkers we had left on Foel Penolau.

This was an excellent walk and one I would heartily recommend to anyone going walking in Wales, especially if they have already visited the more famous tops.


Pictures

1. Llŷn Eiddew Mawr and Clip

Llŷn Eiddew Mawr and Clip

2. A distant view of Snowdon

A distant view of Snowdon

3. The view back down to Llŷn Eiddew Mawr

The view back down to Llŷn Eiddew Mawr

4. Looking out towards the Lleyn peninsula

Looking out towards the Lleyn peninsula

5. The small tarn of Llŷn Du

The small tarn of Llŷn Du

6. Moel Ysgyfarnogod

Moel Ysgyfarnogod

7. On the summit of Moel Ysgyfarnogod

On the summit of Moel Ysgyfarnogod

8. Foel Penolau from Moel Ysgyfarnogod

Foel Penolau from Moel Ysgyfarnogod

9. Our route on to Foel Penolau was a scramble up these rocks

Our route on to Foel Penolau was a scramble up these rocks

10. The rocky summit of Foel Penolau

The rocky summit of Foel Penolau

11. Lisa enjoying the views from Foel Penolau

Lisa enjoying the views from Foel Penolau

12. The Moelwynion from Foel Penolau

The Moelwynion from Foel Penolau

13. Looking back up to Foel Penolau

Looking back up to Foel Penolau

14. The ancient cairn of Bryn Cader Faner

The ancient cairn of Bryn Cader Faner