A round of Cnicht
Key: Mountain over 914m Peak over 600m Peak under 600m
Length: 11km / 18km Height gain: 530m/ 880m Highest point: 689m / 698m Approx time: 4 hours / 7 hours gpx file
This is a particularly enjoyable walk on the Moelwyns, which covers the shapely peak of Cnicht (known as the Welsh Matterhorn because of its shape when viewed from the Beddgelert side). As with most routes on the Moelwyns this will become fairly boggy at times, and gaiters are recommended. There are two options. The first is a shorter route, whilst the second includes four extra peaks and will mean all main peaks on the range are covered by this site. This is the route shown on the map above.
The walk starts from Blaen Nantmor, which is just up a very narrow road on your left just after you pass the car park at Nantgwynant when driving towards Beddgelert. There is some parking here, alternatively you can walk up the minor road from Nantgwynant. If driving note that this is a very narrow road. From here turn left by a house and cross a bridge, so you find yourself on a well defined path. This will go up on the right of the river. You can see Cnicht up ahead of you as you proceed, and if you look back you will be able to see to the Snowdon Range.
From the end of the river bear right. The path becomes less well defined as you continue and cross a wall. Carry straight on through a gap in the high ground to reach a small lake. Head round the left side of this little lake, and when you reach another wall follow it up to your left, and you will reach the ridge leading up to the summit of Cnicht.
The ridge provides good views back across to the Snowdon range, and you should be able to pick out the path you have taken as you ascend the ridge. There is no major difficulty on the ridge, although at one point a small amount of scrambling is required. You will reach a flat section of ground with a rock face in front of you, and my recommendation is to head up to the right from where you can rejoin the ridge up to the rocky summit.
From the summit take the time to look back, and you should see the coast, as well as the route you have taken. Moelwyn Mawr is to your right, and this is the subject of The Moelwyns from Tanygrisiau. Ahead of you is the gentle route along the ridge which you should take down to reach Llyn yr Adar. This may be quite boggy, and you will be glad of the gaiters! For the shorter walk, head around the lake, to pick up pick up a path which will lead you over the cliffs to the North West of the lake. This will take you down near Llyn Llagi, and back to the minor road. There are some places where the route becomes less distinct, particularly as you near the road. Just take care to stay near the river, and you should not have too many difficulties.
For the longer alternative you head off up a grassy slope to the ESE of Llyn yr Adar. After a while you will reach a small lake called Llyn Coch, and just ahead of you is the peak of Moel Druman. Behind you is the ridge of Ysgafell Wen which you will follow later. For now head off to the East, and you will pass Llyn Conglog on your right. The summit of Allt Fawr should stand out ahead of you, and make your way up to it. From here you can get views towards the Crimea Pass and the slate caverns at Llechwedd.
From here head back to Moel Druman and make your way up to the next hump which is Ysgafell Wen. The summit is slightly to your right, and you can take a brief detour to reach it. Follow the ridge with steep ground on your right. You will pass several small lakes on your left before you reach the larger Llyn Edno. For now we will pass Llyn Edno (noting the path down on the left just pas the lake), and go on for just over five minutes before turning off West to reach the bouldery summit of Moel Meirch. From here there are good views across to the Snowdon Range, and towards Moel Siabod.
To descend, head off back towards Llyn Edno, but shortly before reaching the lake turn off down a track to the right. This will head down to the WSW, initially with crags to the left, and later following some quite boggy ground. You will reach the Afon Llyn Edno, and eventually reach the road on which you started.