A Short Adventure in Snowdonia – part 1

The first day of our short adventure in Snowdonia dawned clear, sunny and warm as we left the campsite at Dolgam to head through the small hamlet of Capel Curig and into the Ogwen Valley which is Wales’ answer to Glencoe, such is the vista that opens up suddenly as you leave the woods of Gwydyr Forest behind and head into the wilds. Josh was with me on this trip and for a Father and Son adventure it seemed fitting to show him one of my favourite routes in Snowdonia – there are a few but this circuit of Foel Goch and Y Garn starting along a little used path is one of them!

views of the ogwen valley north wales

Setting out from Llyn Ogwen with Foel Goch ahead

A short while later we were heading up the path from Ogwen Cottage to the mountain tarn of Llyn Idwal in its spectacular rocky cirque and crossed the outflow to head right to join the constructed path to Y Garn. A little way after crossing a stone wall, a faint path led off to the right traversing steep hillsides to reach open ground with a view ahead to Foel Goch. (you can turn right and follow the wall but this way avoids some marshy ground and a short rock step)

hiking in the glyders snowdonia

The Nant Ffrancon from where we left the main path

Soon we were back on a clear path which led across a short scree slope and up into a remote feeling valley high above the Nant Ffrancon and below the crags of Y Garn with the way seen clearly ahead and a sublime panorama behind to Llyn Ogwen and Tryfan. Soon the path dipped to cross a stream where we refilled water bottles for a warm day ahead and began the steep ascent to Foel Goch. This path zig zags up at first before becoming fainter on the heathery slopes above. As long as you keep going up you will reach the ridge which falls away in spectacular fashion on its eastern side with views north down past Bethesda to the coast.

foel goch in the glyders snowdonia

As the ridge is reached the craggy nature of Foel Goch is revealed

Following the interesting ridge upwards brought us to more level ground where we took the path as far as the fence. Here a right brought us to the summit though a more direct route may have been shorter. Either way the summit of Foel Goch feels like the end of things with the ground dropping away to the valley over 2000 feet down. Indeed from the road, this rugged wall looks impregnable and one would little imagine this field-like area even existed. We had our lunch on the edge overlooking the Nant Ffrancon as I did the last time I was here and like then we had the place to ourselves.

walking in snowdonia national park

Josh on the ridge with our next objective Y Garn beyond

The ascent of Y Garn involved retracing our steps back down along the fence and simply following the path up the long wide ridge beyond. There were more hikers on this peak – mainly descending from the other side and we soon reached the cairn marking the summit which is one of the Welsh 3000 foot peaks. The views from here are equally spectacular with the Glyders and Tryfan taking centre stage; the central part of the range which is accessible by continuing down along the ridge to Llyn y Cwn where a descent via the Devils Kitchen path is also possible to Llyn Idwal.

tryfan and the ogwen valley north wales

The view from the lunch table – the Ogwen Valley, Tryfan and Glyder Fach

Today though we had opted for the steep descent of the East Ridge which was reached by retracing our steps a little way from the summit. On the first part some care is needed as it’s a bit loose so running is not recommended! Lower down though after some views of our whole route, a contructed path wass reached that led back to Llyn Idwal. By carrying straight on at the wall (the one we crossed earlier in the other direction) we followed a more direct route to Ogwen Cottage via an interesting rocky gully that emerged near the visitor centre.

mountains of north wales y garn

The summit of Y Garn with the route down clearly visible and the Irish Sea beyond

This isn’t a particularly long outing being around 9km or 6 miles but it is a varied and enjoyable one that heads through some of the best scenery in North Wales and as a Lad and Dad adventure it made for a great day out. The greatest joy was in showing my son one of my favourite areas and it was especially pleasing that he wanted to do more in the mountains around here. The route itself can be extended by continuing to Elidir Fawr or even as far as Carnedd y Filiast where I once sat on a winter’s day seemingly the only person for a hundred miles though when encouraging someone to love the mountains it’s probably best not to overdo things! Here’s part 2 of our short adventure.

glyder fach and glyder fawr from y garn

Sublime scenery of Cwm Idwal and the Glyders seen from the route down

 

ogwen valley and tryfan north wales

View of Tryfan and the Ogwen Valley from the route down

rock scenery of the ogwen valley in snowdonia national park

The last part of the path down goes through this fascinating gully – Pen yr Ole Wen beyond

a walk in the ogwen valley snowdonia

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About Pete Buckley

I'm Pete Buckley the UK based indie author of "The Colonel of Krasnoyarsk" a high speed adventure thriller in which the reader is introduced to Russian Agent Colonel Yuri Medev and Jim Bergman of the FBI who must overcome political differences and work together to defeat a dangerous enemy - perhaps some of our politicians should read it to find out how. I have just finished the next Yuri Medev adventure entitled "The Kirov Conspiracy" due for release soon, while previously I wrote a couple of travel stories about various wonderful places such as New Zealand and the Swiss Alps. Aside from writing, travel has always been a big inspiration with hiking, biking and the outdoors taking up much of my time when I'm not looking after the kids. Thanks for visiting.
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