HILL, DALES AND MOUNTAIN HIKING

29th December 2008: Rowen - Carnedd Llewelyn via 5 Carneddau summits    Web page by Bryan Benn

Start and Finish near Rowen 410m/ 390m

Highest Point: Carnedd Llewelyn 1064m

Distance: circa 23 kms

Weather: V cold, sunny and icy.

Vertical altitude gain: circa 1230m

Time: circa 8 hrs 40 mins

Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn Start of alt= I'd taken a rest day the previous day as I was expecting, (and got!), a very long day in the Carneddau. As planned I had a very early start from Beddgelert and left my car in a remote car park near Rowen in the dark, using my headtorch to find the way.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

I'd started not far from the North Wales Coast, which came into view as dawn started to break. Although coloured sky was from reflected light as the Coast was almost due North of me!

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

Ahead of me was fairly gentle climb, but on ground solid from the big freeze. And as on other walks this trip, with all surface water frozen solid.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

There was cloud around, rolling up from the valley below. And then rolling over and down this slope which was wonderful to watch in the freezing conditions.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Carnedd y Ddelw

The first summit I reached was hardly noticeable. Carnedd y Ddelw, at 668m. But it's shown on the OS map and elsewhere, so certainly counts for me!

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Summit of Drum, Carnedd Penyborth-Goch

There was but a short drop from the summit of Carnedd y Ddelw before the steady climb was regained, up to the summit of Drum, (Carnedd Penyborth-Goch), 770m. Marked in the freezing mist by a stone shelter.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Foel-fras

Ahead was the summit of Foel-fras, 942m and my first Welsh 3,000 footer of the day. The summit needing quite a lot of ascent from Drum in weather that, at least at this height, was now clearing.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Llyn Anafon

The clearing weather allowed me a clearer view to the North West, with the lake at Llyn Anafon and the North Wales coast behind.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued View from summit of Foel-fras

Close to the summit of Foel-fras and an inversion layer was hanging over the valley to the North East.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued South Ridge Route to Snowdon

The actual summit of Foel-fras was a wide and rocky plateau, marked by a distinctive stone trig point.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

Looking South could see the extent of the inversion layer. With low winter sun sparkling over the top of the clouds.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued

Track to Garnedd Uchaf Garnedd Uchaf Garnedd Uchaf Garnedd Uchaf

The track dropped slightly from the summit of Foel-fras, before heading at a very gentle grade to the summit area of Garnedd Uchaf, 926m, my second 3,000 footer of the day!

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

There was no visiblew frost on the top of the high plateau, but the ground was well below freezing point, as evidenced by lying water that was frozen solid.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Shelter on Foel Grach

Another bit of downhill, another uphill slog and I was near the summit of Foel Grach, 976m, with it's distinctive shelter set a few metres down from the top.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Moel Siabod from Foel Grach

Looking South, the distinctive shape of Moel Siabod, (at least I think it is!), poked through the white cloud layer.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Ridge up to Yr Elen seen from Foel Grach

South West from the summit area of was the narrow ridge leading up to the summit of Yr Elen, (not quite in view).

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

When I had started the walk many hours earlier I had no idea I would get this far! Indeed, at Foel Grach, I reckoned I still had time to get to the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn before my self imposed 13.00 hrs turn round time. So off I went , heading into the low December sun, and faced with just a few rocky bits to walk up over before getting to the second highest summit in Wales.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued View South from summit of Carnedd Llewelyn

I reached the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn just 5 minutes before my turn around time. And was rewarded for my extra effort with a spectacular view to the South.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued View East from the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn

The view East from the summit.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued View to Carnedd Dayfydd and beyond to Snowdon from the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn

Looking South West saw the ridge to the next summit of Carnedd Dayfydd, with, well beyond that and elft of center, the summit of Snowdon.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

I spent only afew minutes on the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn and stuck to my turn round time of 13.00hrs. I had walked without anymore than few stops to talk briefly to the few other walkers I had met. And I knew that to be back in the valley before dark I would have to walk again without a break.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

Witht the low cloud now lifted near the coast I got a good view of Lyn Anafon as I passed it by on my decent form Drum.

29th December: Carnedd Llewelyn continued Walk over Carneddau to Carnedd Llewelyn

My first decent view of the day had been the red sky reflecting the sunrise over the North Wales Coast. Appropriate then that my last wide view of the day was of the sky reflecting the sunset! I continued down into the valley. And as planned I joined the almost level valley track back to my car just around the time I needed my head torch again. An exhausting walk started and finished in the dark, but one really worth while in the superb Carneddau.