Y Garn & Elidir Fawr

Sunday, 30 March 2014
4130ft/1260m ascent
Trail 100 #28
3000ft #17 & #18

Y Garn - Llyn IdwalDespite losing an hours sleep to the clock change we arrived bright and early at the Ogwen Cottage car park just after nine. The Vistor’s Centre has been rebuilt since our last visit.

Cwm IdwalY Garn - Idwal Slabs

We followed all the rock climbers up as far as the Idwal slabs and then had the path to ourselves as we climbed the Devil’s Kitchen. This is a gash in the cliff where a waterfall gushes down the mountain side to Llyn Idwal. The steep rocky scramble passes to the left of the cleft and climbs to Llyn y Cwn.

 Y- Garn - Devil's KitchenY Garn - Glyder Fawr

Y Garn - Llyn y CwnLlyn y Cwn is a small mountain lake nestled at the foot of the huge Glyder Fawr (3,283ft/1001m).

An ideal place for a breather, a snack, a photograph and watching the other walkers struggling up the scree towards the Glyders. Once replenished we set off for our first summit – Y Garn (3,107ft/947m).


Y Garn

The path can be clearly seen first crossing the grassy slope and then over the steeper rockier ground as you approach the top. The summit is very rocky, but easier than the top of Tryfan (3,010ft/918m) whose distinctive summit is just visible on the left.

Y GarnY Garn - Summit

Leaving the summit of Y Garn you can see the path as it passes over Foel Goch (2,641ft/831m) (the nearest pointed hill with the Menai Straits and Anglesey beyond) and along the ridge to Elidir Fawr (3,031ft/924m).

Y Garn - Ridge to Elidir Fawr

Foel Goch

The path to Foel Goch is easy and grass covered and comes to an abrupt end when you reach the cliff edge. The view from this smaller mountain is stunning – looking down into the Ogwen Valley (Nant Ffrancon), across to Elidir Fawr or back to Y Garn – there are 3,000ft mountains in every direction.

Foel Goch - Tryfan Foel Goch - Elidir FawrFoel Goch - Y Garn

Elidir Fawr

We stopped for lunch near the col before attempting the ridge to Elidir Fawr. Like all the Glyders the summit is rocky and you make your own path to the top. From the top we could see around Snowdon (3,560ft/1085m) and make out the distinct pyramid of Moel Hebog (2,569ft/783m).

Elidir Fawr - Summit Elidir Fawr

Looking East from the summit of Elidir Fawr this spectacular view shows the sheer scale of the mountains with the cut-off ridge at Foel Goch and the huge mountains beyond. The big black cliffs of Pen-yr Ole Wen (3,209ft/978m) are the same height as Scafell Pike. Behind are Carnedd Dafydd (3,425ft/1044m) and Carnedd Llewelyn (3,491ft/1064m). Our route takes us over Foel Goch and down to the foot of Pen-yr Ole Wen and the car park.Elidir Fawr - Foel Goch

We plunged down the steep scree covered slope into the cwm below. Then followed the contour around until we could see Llyn Idwal and the main path back to the car.

Elidir Fawr - Llyn Idwal


Starting at the Ogwen Cottage car park  (SH648604).


Y Garn & Elidir Fawr Route


Moel Hebog

Saturday, 29 March 2014
2400ft/730m ascent
Trail 100 #27

Manchester United and Aston Villa delayed our departure for North Wales. We drove through Betwys-y-Coed waving at Sue and John as we passed. So it was after 4pm before we set off to climb Moel Hebog (2569ft/783m). This mountain rises with a huge pyramid shaped cliff just West of Beddgelert. We passed three guys on their way down who commented it was a little late to be setting off for the summit. We reassured them that we’d be up and down within two hours – and we were!

Moel Hebog - Cliffs

Given the time we took the most direct route there and back. This is a steep slog up the front and then a scramble up the edge of the cliff to reach the flat grass topped summit. I think the slope is about 1 in 4 for the whole 2 kilometers.

The weather was peculiar. The climb was made difficult as a strong wind swept around the crags and buffeted us all the way up and back down – but the actual summit was almost still as the sun started to dip behind the mountains.

Moel HebogMoel Hebog - Trig  Moel Hebog - At the TopMoel Hebog - Beddgelert Valley

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Starting at the Beddgelert car park  (SH588481).

Moel Hebog Route


Langdale Pikes

Sunday, 23 March 2014
2575ft/785m ascent
Trail 100 #26
Wainwright #126 & #127

A splendid day walking in the Langdales in the sunshine and snow.

From the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel we walked up the steep fellside to Loft Crag (2231ft/680m) and all the time the views open up, first Crinkle Crags (2818ft/859m), then Bowfell (2959ft/902m) and the Coniston group in the distance.

Langdale Pikes - Crinkle Crags 

Looking down the Great Langdale valley towards Lingmoor Fell (1539ft/469m) and Skelwith Bridge.




Loft CragLoft Crag

The first mountain on the route is Loft Crag where the rest of the route can be seen for the first time. The photo shows the rocky summit of Loft Crag with the spectacular crags of Pike of Stickle (2326ft/709m) appearing over the cairn in the background.

Pike of Stickle

This is the Trail 100 hill on this walk and the reason we chose this route. A truely spectaular mountain with a tricky scramble to the top when the rocks are covered with compacted snow.

Pike of Stickle 3Pike of Stickle 2

These two photos show the view of Loft Crag and Harrison Stickle (2415ft/736m); and celebrating reaching the top with the snow filled Harrison Combe behind.

Pike of Stickle - Loft Crag and Harrison Stickle Pike of Stickle 1

Harrison StickleHarrison Stickle

We scrambled down Pike of Stickle and crossed back to Harrison Stickle on the other corner of the Langdale Pikes. This gave us the first view of Stickle Tarn and our planned route down.

The photo also shows a heavy snow flurry which completely hid the summit of Helvellyn (3117ft/950m) but missed us completely.


Pavey ArkPavey Ark
The snow made finding the route from Harrison Stickle to Pavey Ark (2297ft/700m) a challenge. The top of Pavey Ark is not very impressive – it’s much better from Stickle Tarn. We ate lunch sitting on the rocks before setting off over the snow covered rocks and peat towards Thunacar Knott (2372ft/723m).

Thunacar KnottThunacar Knott

The summit of this mountain looks like a lunar landscape – rock strewn and windswept. The view to the West includes Glaramara (2569ft/783m) and Great Gable (2949ft/899m). The photo shows the snow topped Helvellyn ridge and Fairfield (2864ft/873m) to the East.

We followed the well worn path towards High Raise (2500ft/762m) which was covered in deep snow. My leg disappeared through the snow into a peat bog hidden beneath. Thank goodness for gaiters!

Sergeant ManSergeant Man 2

Sergeant Man (2415ft/736m)  is a prominent and easy to identify mountain with a very distinctive shape, and was the last mountain on our walk.

From the top we followed the ridge down towards Blea Rigg (1175ft/541m) before turning South West and descending to Stickle Tarn where the huge cliff of Pavey Ark casts a dark shadow over the lake.


Stickle Tarn

Pavey Ark from Stickle Tarn

Last resting point before descending the steep rocky staircase back to the Dungeon Ghyll and a nice cup of coffee.

Resting at Stickle Tarn 1Resting at Stickle Tarn 2


Starting at the New Dungeon Ghyll car park  (NY296064).

Langdale Pikes Route


Black Combe

Saturday, 8 March 2014
2470ft/750m ascent
Trail 100 #25

Black Combe (1969ft/600m) is the last big mountain in the South West Lakes District before the Irish Sea. It’s a long drive across the peninsulas past Barrow and Ulverston to reach Millom.

We decided to walk around the back of the hill and then walk back over the top. The walk starts with a gentle route along the Western edge of the hill which rises gradually and gets more rugged as you cross the streams.

The route took us through a pretty hidden rock strewn valley.

Black Combe - Rocky Valley 1Black Combe - Rocky Valley 3

Black Combe - Rocky Valley 2

After stopping for lunch we decided to leave the main path and just follow the stream up the valley to the top. Off the path the ground was a mix of bog and deep heather which made the ascent slow and arduous – it would probably have been quicker to stay on the path.

On a clear day the view from the summit would be spectacular. In the North the Scafell and Coniston groups of hills are prominent, while looking South or West the open expanse of Morecambe Bay and the Irish Sea beyond.

Black Combe - Irish Sea


Black Combe - Summit 2 Black Combe - Summit 1


Starting at the layby  (SD132822).


Black Combe Route