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August 2001

5 August

I had a phase a couple of years ago of going off to climb my highest unclimbed mountain in Wales. Having done it it was no longer my highest unclimbed mountain and I proceeded to do the next one. Well today I did my current highest unclimbed mountain in Wales, Moelwyn Mawr.

This was a pass-out job. I'd tried to talk Beryl into coming with me. She went off with the Ramblers instead. Probably a good choice; there were sections that she wouldn't have liked.

I parked in Tanygrisiau and set off up the road towards the Llyn Stwlan reservoir. I'd planned to take the diagonal path off it towards Moel yr Hydd but this didn't exist on the ground and the terrain looked a bit risky for a solitary walker. So I decided to reverse the walk and carried on up the track until there is a stile off left towards Moelwyn Bach.

Again there is no identifiable path as you cross a bit of a bog and then continue along the foot of Carreg Blaen-LLym. On the map the footpath runs out at a stream. When I got there I decided to start climbing and a fair old pull it was - mainly grass but with rocky interludes. When this levelled out I was facing cliffs and lots of warning signs. However I found a contour path (sheep track?) and followed this round clockwise. I knew that this would come right eventual as I was heading towards the grassy ascent from Cwm Croesor. I didn't get that far before I found a reasonable way up to the summit, picking through some rock initially and then more through bog as it became flatter.

This had been a stiff climb, no unlike the way up Arenig Fawr but Moelwyn Bach has a nice rocky summit and I stopped for a drink. All the hills of southern Snowdonia were visible (although the northern hills are blocked out by Moelwyn Mawr. and away across the Dwyryd estuary out towards the LLeyn peninsula. 

It took me a while to find the proper route off. It's a bit tricky going very steeply at times on a scree formed of slate. The drop ends at Bwlch Stwlan which is a real old bite out of the mountain. The climb up the other side is very rocky and you suck the cheeks in a little in a couple of places. However it is so full of interest that it takes the sting out of the climb. This takes you on to Craigysgafn (the Rocky Stack, according to the Nuttalls and aptly named). From there the rest of the climb on to Moelwyn Mawr was reasonable - grassy and a steady gradient.

Lunch on top (and I'm ashamed to say a quick phone call to Beryl). There was company there too - 5 people although not all at once.  This is a lovely top - evrything you can see from Moelwyn Bach and a bit more besides. Notably Cnicht across Cwm Croesor and just a glimpse of Tryfan.

The way down is straightforward, past the ruined quarries of Rhosydd and then an easy climb on to Moel yr Hydd. Another nice top looking down on Blaenau Festiniog. Then back the way I'd come to pick up a high level traverse path above Llyn Stwlan and below Moelwyn Mawr and the cliffs of Craigysgafn back to Bwlch Stwlan. Then picking a route through the grass and rocks back to my original style. A bit of road work to finish but I did catch sight of an engine on the Festiniog Railway.

Map        Photos

For the rest of the month see the separate section on Austria 2001


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