Carnedd Llewelyn clock-wise from Pont Pen-y-benglog
Carnedd Dafydd  Carnedd Llewelyn


Estimated net time 5-6 hours
Difficulty There are a couple of sections requiring scrambling. First a few places along the south-west ridge up from trail head. Then one place when descending down towards the col south-east of Carnedd Llewelyn before taking on the path down to Ffynnon Llugwy Reservoir. The hand holds are good, but on wet and/or icy rock you should show some care since a fall could cause a fall of several metres.
Drinking water You'll find drinking water around Ffynnon Llugwy Reservoir.
GSM coverage Coverage throughout the route (November 2012).
Parking Room for many cars along the road around trail head.
Start height 298 metres
Vertical metres 1025 metres for the roundtrip.
Trip distance 15.9 km
GPS-file X


Route photo

  Carnedd Llewelyn trail head at Pont Pen-y-benglog.
  Route to Carnedd Llewelyn from Carnedd Dafydd.
  Lower part of descent route from Carnedd Llewelyn.


From the A5/A470 junction outside the village Betws-y-Coed drive 9.5 km west on road A5, to the A5/A4086 junction in Capel Curig. Continue another 8.5 km on A5, to the west end of lake Llyn Ogwen. Find parking along the road, either on the small car park directly opposite the start of the path, or partly on the pavement along the road.

Start your hike by following the path up the ridge coming down from north-east at the end of the lake. The path is well defined in the lower sections, but it's steep and requires some easy scrambling already a few metres above the road. As you get higher the path forks into several branches, but they merge again after short distances. The steepest sections are between 600 and 750 metres, where you will have to use your hands in several sections. Once above 750 metres the terrain gets flatter, and the path continues to the small top at 978 metres. From here continue north to Carnedd Dafydd, where you will find a large pile of stones and some stone shelters.

From Carnedd Dafydd head east and later north, and climb Carnedd Llewelyn via its obvious path from south. Its summit is marked by a large pile of stones, located south on the plateau.

Descend from Carnedd Llewelyn by heading south-east down towards the ridge above Ffynnon Llugwy Reservoir. Before the ridge you will have to descend a section requiring some easy scrambling, with several possible routes. Down at the lowest point on the ridge a path descends down to the right (south), and will take you down to the lake via a number of zigzags. Follow the path on the left (east) side of the lake, and you will get down to a road. This road can be followed south/south-west down to road A5, and from there turn right and walk along the road back to the trail head.



03. November 2012

I was due for meetings in Warwick on Monday morning, but instead of travelling to the UK on Sunday night I made it across the North Sea on Friday night in order to spend the week-end hiking in Wales. My plan was to hike the two Welsh majors (primary factor >600m) still on my to-do list, which would complete my list of Welsh majors (I had hiked four of them in two days in early spring, and Snowdon three years ago).

After arrival at Birmingham airport I picked up my rental car for the week-end, and set off to Betws-y-Coed with the intention of finding a room there. Finding accommodation was a little more difficult than expected, and only at my fourth hotel did I find a room without having to pay for a luxury suite. Thanks to a friendly girl at the reception I got a good deal for two nights at the Royal Oak Hotel.

When I woke up Saturday morning my hopes of hiking mountains >1000m got a major blow as there had been snowing during the night, and the mountains were all white down to 600 metres. Also, the visibility was pretty poor and there was danger of more precipitation. But I decided to have a go at my plans for the week-end, and after a good breakfast I took on the drive along A5 towards Carnedd Llewelyn's trail head. My challenge now was to find a good trail head based on the vague descriptions I had managed to find. My first stop was along A5 east of Llyn Ogwen, where I saw a number of other hikers getting ready for a day out. But after having spoken to a couple of them I concluded that this wasn't the trail head I was looking for, and based on input from one of them I understood that my original plan to hike up from the west end of Llyn Ogwen was definitely on if the conditions weren't too icy. Hence I drove another three kilometres or so, and parked at the end of the lake.

Evaluating the situation from trail head my spirits rose a couple of levels when I saw a small group of hikers a couple of hundred metres above me. They didn't seem to have any climbing gear, and the steep part of the ridge seemed to have very little snow. Game on.

When I got up to the steeper part of the ascent, where some scrambling was required on the wet rock, I overtook the group of four hikers I had seen from below. We then hiked together for a little while, before they let me pass them on a suitable place. From here I continued up the fairly obvious route, which had more and more snow. The upper part of the scramble included a couple of sections of slab with wet snow, but the hand holds were reasonably good so there were no need for anything more than a little concentration.

When I got up to the flatter section the snow was nice and dry, but the wind was a little stronger than what I had hoped for and made the long walk from Pen yr Ole Wen to Carnedd Llewelyn a fairly cold experience. The latter was actually a little hostile.

From Carnedd Llewelyn I headed down the slope towards the narrow ridge Bwlch Eryl Farchog, and with a little more snow this slope would have made for excellent skiing. After the slope and a small top the south slope narrows and gets steeper, but at best it qualifies as easy scrambling. It therefore surprised me considerably when I met a team of hikers ascending the steepest part using a rope. My first thought was that they should have stayed home, but on second thought I concluded that they were probably hikers who took the opportunity to get some experience on various climbing techniques since this definitely was a convenient place.

After the steep descent down to Ffynnon Llugwy my right knee was starting to be very sore and I was now limping. And with more than 6 km on road back to my car I wasn't terribly confident about a second hike today. When I got to the service road at the south end of Ffynnon Llugwy I saw a car parked at the end of the road and I seriously considered walking across and ask for a lift back down to the main road, and potentially also back to my own car. But for some reason I didn't, and decided to bite the bullet and limp my way back to my car. However, when the mentioned car stopped next to me a few minutes later and asked if I was injured and wanted a lift, I was quick to give a positive response. It turned out the two guys in the car were working for the fishery department and had been up to the lake to inspect the fish situation. They were very talkative, and one of them turned out to be an experienced hiker and we had an interesting chat while driving back to my car. Very nice guys, and I was very happy not to have to walk back.

After I had been dropped off by my car I set off for a quick lunch, and as so many times the last weeks and months my knee's state, or at least the pain, improved considerably after a little bit of rest and some exercises. Hence I set off for Pen-y-Pass in order to make an attempt at Glyder Fawr.

Photos 03.11.2012