Moel Siabod

Date: 23-Apr-2010

Map: Landranger 115

Weather: A fine sunny day - nice and bright

 

A circular walk from Pont Cyfyng up to Llyn y Foel. Up the Daear Ddu ridge to Moel Siabod. return down the north west slopes to the Afon Llugwy and back to the start: 7.6 miles – as measured by my Satmap GPS.

Moel Siabod – pronounced shabod -  a small hill but it looks like a proper mountain. The walking forum had organised a weekend meet down in Snowdonia and were all staying in a hostel near to the Idwal Cottage. I was due to be back at work, and I like my sleep peaceful, so I declined the offer to join them all. Luckily for me the Icelandic volcanic eruption had knackered the air space last week and I found myself still at home, so decided to nip down to join them for a quick walk up to Moel Siabod. Today turned out to be more of a ramble than a scramble, and some were not so quick as others. I found a good parking spot nearby Capel Curig at the cafe near Pont Cyfyng. I gave myself plenty of time and arrived early, met up with Dixie and had a nice cuppa and bacon sarnie to set myself up for the day. I tuned in the Satmap for the walk, but really didn’t need it as it is a very straightforward route up to the hill and back around – a nice circular route. The group today included (in no particular order) - me, Dibble, Dibble's daughter, Colin and Karen, Dixie, Redeye, Granty, Radder, Dellwalker - I think that was all - apologies if I've left anyone out, but six months have passed since that fine day. I tried to get a few tips from Granty about the camera - it will be a long time before I get anywhere like his pictures - have a look here - http://www.jamesgphotography.co.uk/ .We started a little late as one of the group got held up in his fancy auto – he always leaves plenty of room so he doesn’t get any bumps – well he used to, but not anymore.  We had a short walk up the A5 to the bridge at Pont Cyfyng, crossing over the Afon Llugwy – I’m not going to even try and pronounce that one – the riverbed being deeply potholed, with some interesting falls just down the road. Moel Siabod is the highest of the Moelwynian range – translated from Welsh it means the scabby hill – I thought it looked alright actually.

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the Afon Llugwy at Pont -Cyfyng

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high above the valley already

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well laid paths to the main route up

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on our way up to the tramway

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the view over to the Carneddau

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the old tramway runs straight up to the quarries

From the bridge the road ascends and then gives way to metalled tracks, then farm tracks. We passed by some buildings at Rhos and from there it was a pretty straight track up to the old quarries. As we gained height the views opened up all around us, with the Glyderau to the north west of us, the lone Moel Siabod ahead to the south west. Behind us to the north east was the view down towards Betws y Coed. The old miners track led us on towards Moel Siabod and it pokes it’s head up above the horizon soon enough – a proper mountain, though only a hill. We passed by an old quarry lake and stopped for some photo’s and a breather. We could see our route ahead, and the ridge we would be climbing up beyond the old spoil heaps. Passing through the spoil heaps one of them resembled the biggest cairn we’d seen – we’ll never run out of building materials with these piles waiting to be used up in years to come.  I learned a lesson today about the new camera – dust spots on the sensor – doh. I had to get some swabs to clean it off – apparently it’s not uncommon – I suppose I could have used photoshop to remove the offending spots, and I probably will when I set up the gallery section of the website – eventually. After this trip I was sent a copy of a certain programme, but I’ve still not used it yet – hence the spots! Many of the sheep were off the higher pasture and down in the valley for the lambing season, and the only wildlife were the big ravens floating around the higher crags, with plenty of skylarks flying but not singing. We took regular stops along the way for chats and snacks, and converted a couple more people to Marmite Cashew Nuts – fantastic. I’m back on a diet and trying not to scoff so much – but not succeeding very well.

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the old mine tramway

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the lower quarry lake

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the biggest cairn Granty has seen

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up through the old mineworks

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it looks inviting

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the old quarry lake below

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the ridge up beyond Llyn y Coed

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it looks worse than it is

We continued past the quarry works and a green lake – very tempting on a hot summers day, but probably cold, deep and a bit dangerous. The path skirted around the north side of Llyn y Foel – a lake that sits on the east side below the Cwm of Moel Siabod – it was a little boggy around here and Dixie took a really good tumble – no pictures as we were all too busy laughing.  Luckily for him it’s been very dry this April and although this would be very boggy normally it was more springy turf in reality. The ridge of Daear Ddu lay ahead of us to take us up to the summit of Moel Siabod – but I’d rate it a grade zero scramble, as there aren’t many places that require much more of a step up here and there. I broke my rucksack strap on the way up here, so botched it together with a spare carabineer I had – I needed a new one anyway so the decision was made for me. It was quite hazy today, so the views were masked a little – A good excuse to come back on a bright autumnal day methinks. We sat and had more refreshments on the way up, and I had a phone call from Dibble wondering where the top was – she thought she was lost, but as we were talking Snowdon hove into view as did the summit so she was up to the top a long way before us – she didn’t fancy the scramble up the ridge. The actual ascent of the ridge was up and over boulders and rocky sections – no false summits up here, and what you see is what you get. Soon enough we were all at the summit trig point with fantastic views all around us. Even though it was hazy we had fine views of the Snowdon horseshoe and Yr Aran, the Glyderau, the Carneddau, the Arans, the Rhinogs, Moel Hebog and a bit of the Nantlle Ridge – marvellous. There wasn’t much snow left on the higher mountains, and it was beautiful walking weather – a high veil of cloud stopping too much heat coming through.

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the start of the route up

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on our way up the ridge

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the race for the summit

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looking down Llyn y Foel

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the scrambly route to the summit - Betws y Coed down in the valley

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the spine of Moel Siabod

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the view from the top

But a few on the walk didn’t have enough juice or energy today, an interesting mix of people and abilities. From the summit of Moel Siabod the group splintered in two – we lost one before the ridge walk due to a bad back and him being knackered. Four of the group decided to go down the rocky north east descent which was more direct back to the start – meaning they’d be in the pub first. One of the four descended rapidly so he could get a good bunk in the hostel. The rest of us weren’t so fussed so we took the leisurely route back down heading a little further north – the ladies didn’t want a scramble. It was a pleasant descent down through the forest in dappled sunlight and we emerged at Plas Y Brenin, the national mountain centre for outward bound stuff and all sorts of training. They have a little ski slope at the back, with padded fencing at the bottom – this stops you skiing and swimming at the same time. It looks a very well organised type of place. We returned along the river valley which wound its way back to where we started from. Back at the cafe we all re-united eventually and had a nice bottle of Magners to celebrate a fine little walk. Nice and slow and relaxing today and my knees weren’t too bad – I used Ibubrofen gel on it before setting out – five minutes later I couldn’t feel my fingers! Brilliant this walking game .

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the Glyderau, with the top of Tryfan and beyond the Carneddau

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the rocky route down the front of Moel  Siabod

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the view over to the Snowdon horseshoe

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looking back up the slopes of our descnet

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looking back up to Moel Siabod from the Afon Llugwy

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