Scrambling the South ridge circuit

The forecast was rain till 9am-ish which would’ve been the perfect excuse for a lie-in, but I had to prepare all the gear, check a few things on the scrambling book before leaving, and I had the hope of sunrise photography which never properly happened, so after sorting all the gear out I had time for a bit of lazy morning.

I was parked on one of the layby at the bottom of Tryfan and after a visit to the toilet at the Ogwen cottage’s carpark I was off.

The route begins with a bit of a walk on the road till you reach the access to Tal y Llyn on the left, take it north crossing the river and continue up to the gate of the farm where the path forks right up the hill.

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Fork after at the farm

From here follow the stream uphill. The first section is a bit annoying having to cross it a few times and walking on a very boggy terrain, the path becomes better marked and less wet after a bit. No far after reaching the 600m (altitude) there is a set of steps to the left, take them, but don’t stick to the path, just follow that direction when the path turns to the lake. The fun will soon begin!!

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Steps up to the lake

The scrambling is fairly easy even on a wet day. Special care is needed on bad visibility days as you could end up in very exposed areas. The path eases the closer you get to the summit of Pen yr Ole Wen.

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Pen yr Ole Wen

From the top you just have to round the rim of Cwm Lloer and then ascend the broad ridge to Carnedd Dafydd. Conditions that day were bad, with very poor visibility, high winds and drizzle. There was some snow patches at the top but nothing serious. Crampons and axe would be a must in winter days.

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Broad ridge to Carnedd Dafydd

From here go east to start with for just over 1km leaving the drop on the left. Here I found really bad terrain with lots of wet areas and rocks covered in soft snow that didn’t hold the boulders together and was the perfect cocktail for ankle twist. Then head northeast for a bit less than 2km to reach the summit of Llewelyn. There is a big cairn there that gives you the hope of some protection from the elements, but it is just that, hope.

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Carnedd Llewelyn

After something to eat and realising my gloves were drenched and the dry pair didn’t fit my wet hands I was freezing, and after setting up a bearing I set off straight down a very steep and covered in snow slope, no the best idea, but my hands were sore. The map I was carrying had lost a corner with this section of the walk, so I was a bit blind, luckily intuition and memories of the map when it was in one piece, took me to the next ridge this time on the way down. It was wider, shorter and with a lot more vegetation, but still lots of fun. Wind had died and with it the cold what did the experience enjoyable again.

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Soon you will get to a fork down to the lake Ffynnon Llugwy or you can continue ahead to the 4th summit of the day Pen yr Helgi-Du, I took the way down to the lake as it was late and had been such a miserable day. From the lake, there is a tarmac road that will lead you all the way to the A5. Once there, cross the A5 50m right from where you appear and head to the campsite where there is a path going parallel to the road for 3km till you reach the place where you started.

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Ffynnon Llugwy lake

Despite conditions were shit, it was a great day out that helped build confidence with navigation and it was my first official scramble. It took me a total of almost 8h with a few detours for photography and food time and a total of 18.5km with a 1187m of altitude gained.

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