I travelled up from London on a morning train and early afternoon bus to the village of Rowen, a couple of miles from the top. I’d planned to take the northwards path from near Rhiw hostel before gaining the ridge, but forgot to turn off so ended up off-track but through an interesting area of old settlements. Once back on the ridge, I continued over the summit and the accompanying, slightly lower, Foel Lwyd before dropping down to an old Roman track which took me easily towards my destination, the B&B of Rhwiau Isaf.
Gradients are easy all the way to my last hill, and it’s easy to pick your own line for those bits where there might not be a path heading your way.
I didn’t need to pick up Foel-fras (3097ft), a 3000-footer that I’d taken on my Cross-Wales walk in 2006, but having got this close it would have been perverse to have missed it out.
(It has to be said that in bad mist or cloud navigation would have been far more complex – no helpful walls to guide you, as on my 2006 Carneddau traverse.)
Next was Bera Bach (2648ft). Now, ‘bach’ means little in Welsh, but it’s higher than its twin Bera Mawr (‘big’; 2605ft), so I’d assumed it was the Hewitt and didn’t plan to cross over Mawr. Until I looked across to it; an even more inviting, tor-style summit than the one I was actually on. A good thing I did too; it turns out that Bach is the Hewitt, for Mawr is considered to be merely a top of another nearby 3000-footer, Carnedd Gwenllian. My last Hewitt of the day was Drosgl (2484ft), a simple stroll contouring back round Bera Bach’s lower slopes.
The former mining town of Bethesda is three miles downhill from Drosgl, an easy WSW beeline to the intake wall, then rights of way and lanes into the town. I had made such good time that I had two hours to kill before my bus to the bunkhouse. Writing these notes up ten years almost to the day since the walk, although I can remember many details of my time on the plateau, I have no idea at all how I spent my time in Bethesda.
From the top, Creigiau Gleision (2224ft) is only a mile away, but with the llyn and the two steepest slopes of the two hills in the way, a direct line is not going to work!
So it was a case of retrace steps down the ridge and keep going to a path junction just below the llyn inflow. From here there’s a lot of heather, ENEish again, though I found a way without too much bashing.
When you get to it, the ridge is a delight, sporting two tops – the further is the lower, and while it’s not strictly necessary to climb it, the there-and-back is not much more than a mile and much too good to miss. In good weather anyway – mine was passable, cloud well over the tops if a bit overcast.
The descent route was fun too, over a knobbly little ridge of sorts which included the subsidiary hill of Crimpiau. The Nant y Geuallt then leads down to Capel Curig, and for me the Sherpa bus back to the bunkhouse.