A substantial walk in the beautiful Carneddau mountains. Amounting to almost 13 miles in length with about 3,250 ft of ascent. Choose a clear day and allow 7+ hours to enjoy the scenic views and, if you’re lucky, a sighting of a wild pony or two.
To reach the car parking (free at time of writing), travel northwards from Llanrwst along the B5106. Pass through Trefriw & Dolgarrog, then turn left & uphill just after the river in Tal-y-bont. Now carefully follow the twisting single track lanes to the small car park at the lane’s end SH 72058 71556.
Start the walk by leaving the car park westward along the old Roman road (walking beneath the power lines). After approximately 1/2 a mile there is a gate across the track, go through the gateway and then turn immediately left uphill alongside the stone wall.
The small path now winds up the ridge to Carnedd y Ddelw. Having started our walk just after 7am on a gloriously clear autumn morning, we thoroughly enjoyed the fine westward views towards the coast and Anglesey.
Upon cresting this rise there is a panoramic view encompassing Drum, Foel-fras, Llwytmor and Llyn Anafon.
Turning slightly to our left we now approach the summit of Drum (Carnedd Penyborth-goch) and join the larger stoned track just prior to the summit. It was at this point that we had our first view of one of the Carneddau Ponies; silhouetted by the low sun through some morning haze.
She looked like a veteran mare who was perhaps the matriarch of the small group of 9 ponies that we now saw on Drum.
We now proceed SSW, initially downhill, then across some marshy ground before rising steadily up the long haul to the summit of Foel-fras. Definitely worth pausing occasionally to enjoy the changing westerly views.
As one approaches the summit, you come to the corner of a stout stone-wall; bearing left around the corner, the stony trig-pointed summit comes in to view.
We noted more wild ponies just beyond the summit and as we began to drop away towards Carnedd Gwenllian (Uchaf) a trio of young ponies came over to investigate who was wielding a camera.
From here we rise again slightly to the peak of Carnedd Gwenllian, a flattish stony peak.
Bearing left from here, we fall & then rise again to the summit of Foel Grach. After the rocks of Foel Grach we drop again before making the final climb to the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn. It was on this last section that we spotted a third group of ponies. Stood enjoying the autumn sunshine with the peak of Yr Elen behind them, a beautiful view of these Carneddau Ponies in their natural environment.
Now for the push to the 1064 m summit of Carnedd Llewelyn – 2nd highest mountain in Wales, after the peaks of the Snowdon massif. It was becoming quite hot for mid-September and we appreciated our cold drinks with an early lunch stop, sat enjoying the huge views all around.
The view south from here is dominated by the cliffs of Carnedd Dafydd with many of the main Snowdonian peaks visible beyond.
After a brief lunch break we re-traced our steps back to the car, enjoying the peaceful wander back.
As an alternative: If one had two cars & drivers available, a 2nd car could be left at the Youth Hostel Car Park by Llyn Ogwen. Then instead of retracing ones steps, one could walk across to Carnedd Dafydd to then descend via Pen yr Ole Wen.
Either way this is a challenging but very enjoyable walk across big open country.