Sunday, 27 March 2011

Cnicht? Ja! Ist Gut.

Did a few days in Snowdonia this weekend, taking in two walks. First up on Friday was Cnicht - meaning Knight in Welsh. It is know as the Welsh Matterhorn because it has such an appearance when viewed from Croesor to the south. This was our walk starting point

Cnicht is visible poking above the land to the rear

We left the carpark but made a mistake in taking the path that leads up into the valley rather than immediately onto the Cnicht ridge. After realising this, not wanting to retrace our steps we decided to cut across the valley and ascend the scree slopes on the South Eastern slopes of Cnicht.

Cnicht viewed from the Southwest ridge on the ascent.
When you actually get to the summit after an interesting ridge ascent, you find that its not a pyramidal peak as assumed, but a long narrow ridge. A quick snack and we set off Northeast with a view to doing a loop of Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach. I had read that the land between Cnicht and The Moelwyns was boggy and even in this lovely dry weather, it was very spongy underfoot in places.

We soon reached the ruins of Cwmorthin Slate quarry, a completely surreal and atmospheric place full of history and interest. It was fenced off with what seemed like an electric fence and yet no warning signs. Neither of us risked testing if it was live! There was a metal stile spanning the fence so it obviously isn't people they are trying to keep out.
Cwmorthin Quarry ruins
We spent half an hour or so at the Quarry taking in the sights and trying to imagine what it was like for the souls who worked and lived here in this hostile place. The slate cosntruction was very impressive indeed.

Our progress had been slower than we presumed and we made the decision that we would only make it to Moelwyn Mawr and that Moelwyn Bach would have to wait for another day. On the approach to the summit of Moelwyn Mawr a Sea King rescue helicopter was paying a lot of attention to Cnicht's ridge.

We didn't see anyone get winched up or down and couldn't make out anyone on the ridge itself, so it was probably a training drill.

Moelwyn Mawr's summit was fairly non-descript and we didn't hang about for long. The campsite and pubs in Beddgelert were calling us.

Unfortunately, the view to Porthmadog and the irish sea was denied us by the thick haze. A shame but we certainly weren't moaning about this fabulous weather which seemed more June than March.

Halfway down the ridge, Dave (49 years old, mostly acts like a 14 year old) spotted that some jokers had gouged a 50' comedy vagina into the opposite side of the valley! Were the Welsh Miners of the 1800s this forward thinking?!?! ;)

Cnicht and the Moelwyns are a great choice for a quiet walk in a pretty rugged and history strewn area of Snowdonia.

Next, day 2 - Part of the Nantlle Ridge.

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