Friday 15 May 2015. It rained for much of yesterday so it was a relief to get out walking again today. When searching for this walk I had two things in mind. The first was to revisit Cnicht which Bea and I climbed on a previous holiday in the area. Whilst this would have been possible it would have made for an even longer and harder walk than the one that I did today. The second reason was that I passed through Tanygrisiau when riding on the Ffestiniog railway and thought that the surrounding mountains were magnificent and would like to explore them on foot.
The drive to the start of the walk was uneventful until the satnav decided to take me on the back road through Tanygrisiau. This was just wide enough for my car, up 1in3 hills and over blind brows. I’m glad that I didn’t meet anything coming the other way but the locals probably have more sense and use the more acceptable lower level road that I took on my way home.
Leaving the village I had a steepish climb up to Llyn Cwmorthin where it leveled out for a while before climbing steeply again to the disused slate mines of Rhosydd quarry. I stopped for coffee here and had a look in one of the flooded mine tunnels. From here the paths disappeared and it was a case of referring to the GPS to find my way across open countryside to Croesor quarry where I had lunch. The absence of a discernible path continued for almost all of the remainder of this walk as I descended to the minor road near Penrallt. The next 2 miles were an unremitting slog with an ascent of 1,300ft to Bwlch Stwlan. The short road walk was all uphill followed by an assault course of fallen trees in the next forestry section. The last part of this climb was across open fellside with boggy areas making it tough going.
With the climbing behind me it was all downhill from here and steeply at that. Passing Llyn Stwlan I followed the line of Afon Stwlan back to Tanygrisiau. The walk was 9.4 miles with a total of 2,985ft of ascent and took me six and three-quarter hours to complete. I really must find something a little easier for tomorrow.
The following video shows a view of the hills and mountains between Porthmadog and Cnicht with cloud capped Snowdon in the distance.