Our Welsh Peaks Project took its first steps of the year today with a rounding-off of the Hebogs group, (geographically Y Eifionydd), picking up Y Garn and Mynydd Mawr and visiting a few old friends.
Whereas “Nuttall’s list” and its web-based supplements and amendments continue to define the tops for inclusion we have usually preferred to group the tops ourselves. This has led to some over-optimistic outings! More recently a new set of books has appeared which adds spice and interest to the established guides, and these have been written by John Gillham. So far 4 have been published and the first half of our walk today was inspired by Eifionydd route E7 in book 2 – a tough but rewarding route up Y Garn, or Carn Drws-y-coed as he prefers to call it. (I’ll stay with the former since it corresponds with the OS maps!)
E7 starts from the lay-by on the B4418, a quarter-of-a-mile west of Drws-y-coed. If followed carefully Gillham’s description takes you steeply into the cwm between Y Garn, Mynydd Drws-y-coed and Trum y Ddysgl and then joins the NW ridge wall of Y Garn for an interesting finale. We then followed the fabulous ridge walk over the two previously mentioned tops and on to the obelisk on Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd, picking up a couple of geocaches along the way.
The weather was fabulously warm and sunny – a real surprise for March. Everyone was in t-shirts and light tops, and there were plenty of folk on the main Nantlle Ridge promenade soaking up the sun and looking at the extensive, if slightly hazy, views.
From Queen Victoria’s Jubilee commemorative tower we descended NW back to the valley, picking up a track at 525533 and then through Tal-y-mignedd-isaf farm back to the B4418.
After a quick break we then took the standard route up Mynydd Mawr, heading from Drws-y-coed NE to Beddgelert Forest before doubling-back over the impressive Craig y Bera to the equally impressive summit.
What a wonderful top this is, with extensive views over to the Snowdon group in the East, and the sea to the West. To the South lie the rest of the Hebogs group; the heather-clad slopes of Moel Lefn reminding us of our awkward descent from there when last in this area.
Obviously these walks could be done separately but they work well as a pair and serve as a wonderful survey of this quiet, yet beautiful, valley.
(12 miles, 4800 ft ascent)