The descent of Bwlch Cyfryw-drum from Carnedd Llewelyn - Dave Ashby in the foreground.

Hendre Isaf NT Base Camp &

The Carneddau Range,

 Snowdonia - 3


15th - 17th April 2011

Tim demonstrates the "up the crack" manoeuvre - it's not quite all that it's cracked up to be, however..

The cloud began to lift and as we continued south, the mountains of Snowdonia, on the opposite side of the A5, were now clearly visible. To the north-west, in bright sunshine, we could see the A5 heading towards the town of Bethesda. As the path swings to the south prior to the ascent of the final summit of the day, the ridge drops off steeply down to the road below. It was only upon reaching the summit of Pen yr Ole Wen that so much more of the landscape was revealed to us. To the east, Ogwen Valley. To the south, Tryfan ("Adam and Eve" now one behind the other), The Glyders and Llyn Idwal (Lake Idwal), nestled in Cwm Idwal, the hanging valley. Lake Idwal is named after a son of Owain Gwynedd, one of the ancient Princes of Wales, legend stating that the unfortunate offspring was murdered by being drowned in the lake. Behind it all, the tallest of them all, Mt Snowdon. Looking down, directly below us, a sheer drop, Llyn Ogwen (Ogwen (Lake Ogwen). From here we descended Yr Ole Wen, a drop of some 600 metres, the path twisting and turning between rock and boulder, sometimes scree, sometimes steps, generally solid underfoot but hard on the thighs, as I would discover the next day. We made it down to the lake and followed a path along the inside of the lake, past a group of girl hikers arguing amongst themselves, past Ogden Cottage on the edge of the lake, past a farm, crossing several stiles, much of the terrain being wetland and mushy underfoot, until we eventually reached a road that led back to the A5. Here Dave and Tim got into a conversation with another hiker, resulting in Dave getting a lift about a mile or so down the road to fetch the car.


Ffynnon Lloer viwed almost head on, possibly from Carnedd Fach.


First sightings from the southern side of the Carneddau range of Glyderau & Foel Goch, at 831 metres, the Afon Ogwen (River Ogwen) below. Mt Snowdon in the distance?



View of Llyn Idwal (Lake Idwal), nestled in Cwm Idwal, from Pen yr Ole Wen, at 978 metres, the southernmost peak of the Carneddau range.


View east of Llyn Ogwen (Lake Ogwen) directly adjacent to the A5 leading all the way back to Betws-y-Coed. Tryfan is on the right.


View east of the A5, which runs all the way back to Betws-y-Coed. About 3/4 into the distance is where our car is parked and the spot where we set off on our walk of the Carneddau.


Tim points out "Adam and Eve" on Tryfan, part of  the Glyderau range, whilst Dave guesses as to the direction of Mt Snowdon. Dougie simply looks on.


View of the ridge of Tryfan, which forms part of the Glyderau range. Its twin rocks, "Adam and Eve", are aligned in this view.


View of Foel Goch in the Glyderau range (in theforeground), with Mt Snowdon behind it.



Betws-y-Coed ("Prayer house in the wood") is a village and community in the Conwy valley in Conwy County, Wales. It has a population of 534. The name Betws or Bettws is generally thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon Old English 'bed-hus' - i.e. a bead-house - a house of prayer,, or oratory. The earliest record of the name is 'Betus', in 1254.  Betws-y-Coed lies in the Snowdonia National Park, in a valley near the point where the River Conwy is joined by the River Llugwy and the River Lledr, and was founded around a monastry in the late sixth century. The village grew very slowly with the development of the local lead mining industry. In 1815, the Waterloo Bridge built by Thomas Telford to carry the A5 road across the River Conwy and through the village, brought considerable transport-related development. The village became a major coaching centre between Corwen (to the east) and Capel Curig (to the west) on the Irish Mail route from London to Holyhead, which led to the improvement of the roads south to Blaenau Ffestinoig and north to Llanrwst and Conwy.  

The first Irish Mail from London to Dublin can be traced back to the Romans. The Romans also had a choice of roads of their own making through wales to Caernarfon and across Anglesey to Holyhead.  The village has a large village green, bounded on its western side by the A5 Trunk Road with 19th century buildings including shops, hotels, and the parish church of St Mary. On the southern side of the green is Betws-y-Coed railway station with cafes and tourist shops and a car park.  Construction of the railway station in 1868 heralded the arrival of the railway and resulted in the village's population increasing by around 500. Other attractions in the village include the Miners' Bridge and the fourteenth century church of St. Michael, which is the origin of the name Betws (meaning "prayer-house"). The village has also become an outdoor centre. It is a pretty little place and attracts many visitors, not least hikers and climbers.


View of the Glyderrau range from Pen yr Ole Wen. Below us flows Afon Ogwen. In the distance lies the town of Bethesda.


The descent of Pen yr Ole Wen begins. Llyn Idwal (Lake Idwal) lies nestled in Cwm Idwal. To the right, Y Garn at 947 metres.


Llyn Idwal (Lake Idwal) within Cwm Idwal, above which lies the ridge known as Twll Du (The Devil's Kitchen).




The splendour that is God's country - Llyn Idwal (Lake Idwal) within Cwm Idwal



Fascinating rock formations on the descent of Yr Ole Wen into the valley of Ogwen.


Dougie and Dave on the descent of Yr Ole Wen, above Llyn Idwal (Lake Idwal) in the Ogwen Valley.


View east of Llyn Ogwen (Lake Ogwen) directly adjacent to the A5 leading back to Betws-y-Coed.


Tim, Dave and Dougie on the descent of Yr Ole Wen. Below us lies the hamlet of Pen y Benlog, in the the Ogwen Valley.


Halfway down, above Llyn Ogwen (Lake Ogwen), Dougie finds it's getting a wee bit warm.


Water from Llyn Idwal trickles into Llyn Ogwen.


For the moment, a flatter section of the maintained pathway on the Yr Ole Wen descent.


Finally reaching the base of Yr Ole Wen near the hamlet of Pen y Benlog, as a car speeds by on the A5. The ridge of Tryfan lies to the left.


At the completion of our walk along the A5, on a bridge over the Afon Ogwen (River Ogwen).


We owed Dave Ashby much in terms of picking out the route and leading us safely along it. In the kitchen, on the hikes or wherever it may be, he is prone to whistling or singing to himself or jabbering away incessantly. Whilst I am not sure whether I am drawn to his singing voice, I have to say that his leadership as a hiker is second to none! Back at Hendre Isaf, we chilled out and shared our walking experience with the other groups. Anne Young had done Mt Snowdon horseshoe, which included the precarious ridge of Crib Goch. In the evening, we ended up in the same pub and the steak and ale pie went down well! Sunday morning, Dougie and I debated whether to do a short walk or stop somewhere, however he expressed a desire to get back early, so we headed along the A5 along the River Dee valley through truly splendid countryside. We arrived back late afternoon around four. The weekend had reminded me once more what a fantastic country Wales is, a hiker's paradise indeed.


The Carneddau Range, Snowdonia [1] [2] [3]

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Links to other websites:

  • National Trust Hendre Isaf Basecamp - webpage

  • National trust Craflwyn Basecamp - website

  • National accommodation, Snowdonia - webpage

  • Betws-y-Coed pronunciation - webpage

  • Betws-y-Coed - town website

  • Mountain hiking in Snowdonia (photos) - a website

  • The Carneddau (photos) - a webpage

  • Views of the Carneddau from Foel Goch - webpage

  • Carneddau walk & track (similar to the walk we did) - a webpage

  • Carneddau walk (photos) by Rambling Pete - a webpage

  • Fifteen peaks of Snowdonia - webpage

  • Welsh winter climbs (The Black Ladders) - wikipage

  • Tryfan and Adam & Eve - wiki