Despite being up just after 7, I still only made it to the bus stop right outside the hostel in time for 9:05. Minutes later I was in Beddgelert dropping off my big rucksack at the B&B.
I strolled through the village and onto the bridleway alongside the Welsh Highland Railway, crossing the railway twice as it snaked uphill. Reaching a farm where the bridleway took a sharp right I struck off left towards the north east ridge of Moel Hebog (Bare Hill of the Falcon), climbing up a hillside covered in bluebells. Higher up was in cloud but there seemed to be no imminent threat of rain.
As I gained height, the headwall of Cwm Bleiddiaid came into sight and kept me company as the steep path wound its way up and over outcrops, some sections involving scrambling and a covering of reddish scree.
Halfway up I got my mobile signal back so took a break to catch up with the outside world, and to make arrangements for my walk tomorrow.
Eventually I gained the ridge and followed the cairns through the mist to the summit trig point. I hunkered down in the lee of the wall and had a coffee and lunch break. At this point I met my only person of the walk and it turned out that he was doing the exact same walk as me, having set off later than me but rapidly overhauling me.. He headed off down alongside the wall to the next hill.
I stayed for a few more minutes as breaks in the cloud opened up and gave me a decent view of Moel yr Ogof and beyond it, Moel Lefn. Glimpses towards the Snowdon range also, but Yr Wyddfa itself covered in a blanket of cloud.
Down alongside the wall, taking it carefully until I reached Bwlch Meillionen. Then reascending towards a narrow defile between two crags. Soon after I came to a pool by the wall with the only way around being a climb over a large rock. All went well until my right foot slipped on the descent and went straight into the pool. This was very annoying, having (amazingly) kept dry feet for the whole of the day so far.
Soon I was at the summit of Moel yr Ogof (Bare Hill of the Cave), taking its name from the cave where Owain Glyndwr, leader of the 15th century uprising against the English, hid when Wales was retaken.
The weather was now improving and cloud was clearing over the Snowdon range and the Moelwyns. Irritatingly, given my great vantage point to look over the whole of the Nantlle Ridge, it was still dull over there with low cloud.
I descended to the col and then up to Moel Lefn (Smooth Bare Hill), the last summit of the day under a patch of blue sky. Then steeply down to Bwlch Sais (the Englishman’s pass) and down to Bwlch Cwm-trwsgl where I turned right to head down through Beddgelert Forest.
Some people find forest walking dull, and for long stretches I would to, but when you’re on a forest track they are easy and help you eat up the miles. However, keeping track of where you are can be tricky as the paths don’t always look the same on the ground as on the map. And so it was this time, with me following the proper public footpath down through the forest to a point where it forked and I chose what looked like the main path to the left. This turned out to be wrong and I hit the proper forest tracks much further north than I intended, so lengthening the walk when I was starting to tire.
Eventually, I joined the bridleway that followed the railway back to Beddgelert.
Time: 6 hours