Carneddau Traverse

Pen yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Yr Elen, Carnedd Llewelyn, Foel Grach, Garnedd Uchaf, Foel-fras, Drum and Tal y fan
Date: Sunday 6th May 2012
Company: Myself, Malcolm and (Alan and Martin for first four hills)
Distance: c.26km, Ascent: c.1600m
Time: 9Hrs 15Mins

At 8.00am this morning, I met Malcolm at the Pensychnant car park. I left my car in the Pensychnant car park and then we made our way round to Llyn Ogwen in Malcolm's car. Having a car at both ends would allow us to undertake a traverse of the Carneddau.

We reached Llyn Ogwen around 8.30am, where we met up with Alan and Martin. Unfortunately, Alan and Martin were not able to join us for the full traverse but were able to join us for an ascent of Pen Yr Ole Wen, Carnedd Dafydd, Yr Elen and Carnedd Llewelyn.

Click here to see a map of the route undertaken

We started our ascent of Pen Yr Ole Wen from the East-side of Llyn Ogwen. The ascent to the West-side of Llyn Ogwen looks brutally steep.

Pen Yr Ole Wen is a Furth and a Hewitt.

Pen Yr Ole Wen from the A5:

Welcome to the Carneddau sign:

This morning, the views across to Tryfan were fantastic – it is an incredible mountain.


The ascent of Pen Yr Ole Wen was fairly steep and it wasn't long before I was perspiring profusely trying to keep up with Martin, Alan and Malcolm .

Ascending alongside the Afon Lloer:

Tryfan and Llyn Ogwen:

As we gained height, the hillside became rockier with the odd short section of easy scrambling.

Ascending Pen Yr Ole Wen:

A short scramble:

It was nice when the incline started to ease-off. The worst of the ascent was behind us – lots of small ups and downs ahead.

Final ascent of Pen Yr Ole Wen:

Ffynnon Lloer:

At the summit of Pen Yr Ole Wen, we stopped for a short break before continuing on towards Carnedd Dafydd. Until now, the weather had been really pleasant. However, there were now lots of clouds starting to surround us.

Looking towards Carnedd Dafydd from summit of Pen Yr Ole Wen:

Carnedd Dafydd is a Furth, a HuMP and a Hewitt.

The walk out to Carnedd Dafydd was nice and pleasant.

Carnedd Dafydd:

Looking back to Pen Yr Ole Wen:

Again we had another brief stop at the summit.

Alan and Malcolm at the summit of Carnedd Dafydd:

From Carnedd Daffyd, we made our way towards Carnedd Llewelyn. However, instead of ascending the final section of Carnedd Llewelyn, Malcolm had the good idea of skirting round the side of the hill to reach the col between Yr Elen and Carnedd Llewelyn.

Yr Elen is a Furth and a Hewitt.

Looking towards Carnedd Llewelyn:

The cliffs to the West of the wide ridge heading towards Carnedd Llewelyn are quite impressive.

Ysgolion Duon:

The walk out to Yr Elen from Carnedd Dafydd took 1Hr 15Mins.

Looking towards Yr Elen and Carnedd Llewelyn:

Malcolm taking a photo:

Alan and Martin heading towards Carnedd Llewelyn:

Penywaunwen and Ffynnon Llugwy Reservoir:

Carnedd Dafydd is quite an impressive mountain viewed from the North.

Looking back to Carnedd Dafydd:

After skirting round Carnedd Llewelyn we reach the final ridge leading to the summit of Yr Elen.

Yr Elen:

We had a slightly longer break at the summit of Yr Elen.

Malcolm, Alan and Martin near the summit of Yr Elen:

During the walk from Yr Elen to Carnedd Llewelyn, it started to snow.

Carnedd Llewelyn is a Furth, a Marilyn, a HuMP and a Hewitt.

The ridge between Yr Elen and Carnedd Llewelyn is much easier than it looks from a distance.

Ridge between Yr Elen and Carnedd Llewelyn:

By the time we approached the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn, there was a thin-covering of snow on the ground.

Approaching the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn:

Snowing at the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn:

After a break at the summit, we said our goodbyes and thanks – as Alan and Martin returned to Llyn Ogwen, while myself and Malcolm continued on traversing the Carneddau.

Foel Grach is a Furth and a Hewitt.

It snowed most of the way between Carnedd Llewelyn and Foel Grach, so my camera stayed in its bag.

Approaching the summit of Foel Grach:

Looking towards Foel-fras from Foel Grach:

Before making our way towards Garnedd Uchaf, we visited the small emergency shelter a short distance below the summit of Foel Grach.

Foel Grach Emergency Shelter:

Garnedd Uchaf is possibly a Furth (it is in some lists and isn't in others) and a Hewitt.

On reaching the Garnedd Uchaf, we clambered over some boulders to reach its summit.

Approaching the summit of Garnedd Uchaf:

Summit of Garnedd Uchaf:

With six 3000ft Furths now ascended, there was only one remaining – Foel-Gras.

Looking back to Foel Grach, Carnedd Llewelyn and Yr Elen from summit of Garnedd Uchaf:

Foel-Gras is a Furth and a Hewitt.

From Garnedd Uchaf we made our way towards Foel-Gras. We followed a dyke for much of the way.

Following the dyke to the summit of Foel-Gras:

The Database of British Hills suggests that the summit of Foel-Gras is a 2m high rock 70m South-West of the trig point. We therefore visited this rock as well as the trig point.

Summit of Foel-Gras:

Trig point, near the summit of Foel-Gras:

Drum is a Hewitt.

From Foel-Gras we made our way along to Drum. This section of the walk had possibly the worst underfoot conditions.

Looking towards Drum:

At the summit of Drum, we stopped for our first break since Carnedd Llewelyn, taking shelter from the snow in the large summit shelter.

Large summit shelter on Drum:

From Drum, we descended to the track below Foel Lwyd / Tal Y Fan.

Tal Y Fan is a Marilyn, a HuMP and a Hewitt.

Looking across to Foel Lwyd:

After crossing the track, we ascended below some pylons following a dyke all the way to the summit of Foel Lwyd.

Ascending Foel Lwyd:

The weather started to improve during the ascent – we started to get some views .

Llanfairfechan (zoom):

Looking back to Drum:

Tal Y Fan is quite a nice hill with good views along the coast.

Tal Y Fan:

Final ascent of Tal Y Fan:

Trig point at the summit of Tal Y Fan:

From the summit of Tal Y Fan, our final hill of the day, we descended North-West to pick up a track, heading in the direction of Conwy.

Llandudno (zoom):

The walk out from Tal Y Fan took longer than I expected.

Descent from Tal Y Fan:

Looking back to Tal Y Fan:

We saw several wild ponies during the walk today.

Wild ponies:

Looking back to Tal Y Fan:

It was nice to see Conwy getting closer and closer as by now my feet were starting to ache.


Conwy Castle (zoom):

On reaching my car at Pensychnant, I drove back round to Llyn Ogwen to drop Malcolm off at his car. This was a really good walk.

Thanks to Malcolm for making the traverse possible and also to Alan and Martin for joining us for the first four hills .