Beddgelert disappears behind me as I tackle the steepest part of the walk and head for the climax of this trip. This is a time to enjoy the finest mountains in Wales, but also to get used to seeing people again, for soon I have to re-enter civilisation.
This is also familiar territory and very few new mountains will be ticked off this time, the work of my Welsh 3000ers trip in 2007 and my week in Snowdonia in 2011 having done this work already. Indeed until the final day of the trip, no new summits lie on the route itself, and detours will be needed if I want to increase my count. And these are hard days too – big ascents each day although the overall distances are likely to be less. Some do this stretch in two days, but that feels a little optimistic given the amount of ascent.
I’ve planned out this section on the basis of not wanting the last day to be too long – I want to descend from the mountains to Conwy and travel home the same day. But this is a bit of a difficult juggling act. To limit the length of the last day, I have to camp in the northern Carneddau, which in turn means the previous night being in Ogwen or not very far from it. And hence, the first night of this section needs to be on the descent of Snowdon really. That’s a bit of a tall order on a day that I start on the wrong side of Cnicht, and so this could mean another look at the plan for the previous stage.
I’ve calculated that day 20 starts with a walk out from Cnicht to Beddgelert that is estimated at a couple of hours. Then it would be over 6½ hours at my typical pace to trot up the Watkin Path, over Snowdon and down the other side to get as close to Pen-y-pass as possible. My preferred route down will definitely be the Miner’s Path, which I prefer to the Pig Track and which has better options for overnighting.
Hopefully fuelled by bacon rolls from Pen-y-pass the trudge up to Glyder Fawr won’t seem so bad. Then my next target will be Castell y Gwynt which I have twice failed to tick off when on Glyder Fach. Having been promoted to a Nuttall (and a 3000ft one at that) a couple of months after I did the Welsh 3000ers, I really want to pick this one off. Tryfan isn’t on the route, which is fine as it’ll be busy and I’ve been there recently. I might detour towards Y Foel Goch and Gallt yr Ogof depending on how I’m feeling, before heading down to the Ogwen valley for a camp.
The penultimate day starts with the climb of Pen yr Ole Wen, putting in most of the remaining ascent of the trip in one go at the start of the day. Then it’s largely a reprisal of the first day of the 3000ers walk, continuing over Carnedd Daffyd, Carnedd Llewelyn, Foel Grach and Garnedd Uchaf. But here a dilemma – if I continue much further my final day would possibly be even too short. So this is a good opportunity to pick off some of the northern Carneddau which I originally intended to tack on to my trip last November, but thought better of when I saw the weather forecast. So visits to Drosgl, Bera Mawr, Bera Bach and Llwytmor beckon.
The decent over Drum and the final mountain of the walk – Tal-y-fan kick off the final day, and then it’s the gentle stroll to the coast with the final climb over Conwy Mountain.
How much I detour from the main route and whether I do any of these additional summits is also going to depend on how my fitness has improved over the course of the walk. I’m counting on some improvement, which seems reasonable based on the fact this has happened in a small way on shorter walks. But I also know that the fitness bonus tends to get negated if the weather is manky. So we’ll have to see. In some ways I’d love to beat my schedule because I planned it too cautiously, but on the other hand there’s a certain comfort and confidence from sticking to the plan. These are all things we’ll find out on the walk.
In my original planning thoughts, I’d had the idea of extending the walk to Llandudno which feels a bit more coastal than Conwy, but this adds quite a bit of time and distance to the walk, some of which then has to be retraced to get the train home. So that’s not something I’m going to pursue – instead leaving it to how things work out on the day, and how I feel. If I make better progress than expected and don’t want the walk to end, then I’ll quite probably do it, but more likely I’ll arrive in Conwy and be glad that the walk is done. Not that I won’t have enjoyed it, but I’m sure that there will be a certain amount of relief that 3 weeks walking is over. If I’ve added it up right, I make it 320 miles with nearly 78,000ft of ascent due to all of the minor detours, and quite frankly that’s enough.
- CP33 – Snowdon
- CP34 – Glyder Fawr
- CP35 – Glyder Fach
- CP36 – Tal-y-llyn Ogwen
- Cp37 – Carnedd Dafydd
- CP38 – Carnedd Llewelyn
- Cp39 – Tal-y-fan
- CP40 – Conwy Mountain
- CP41 – Conwy Castle
Hills en route (*previously ticked off)
- Yr Wyddfa (1085m, Trail 100, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, County Top)*
- Glyder Fawr (999m, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall)*
- Castell y Gwynt (972m, Nuttall)
- Glyder Fach (994m, Trail 100, Hewitt, Nuttall)*
- Y Foel Goch (805m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Gallt yr Ogof (763m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Pen yr Ole Wen (978m, Hewitt, Nuttall)*
- Carnedd Dafydd (1044m, Trail 100, Hewitt, Nuttall, HuMP)*
- Carnedd Llewelyn (1064m, Trail 100, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, County Top)*
- Foel Grach (976m, Hewitt, Nuttall)*
- Garnedd Uchaf (926m, Hewitt, Nuttall)*
- Drosgl (758m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Bera Mawr (794m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Bera Bach (807m, Nuttall)
- Foel-fras (942m, Hewitt, Nuttall)*
- Llwytmor (849m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Drum (770m, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Carnedd y Ddelw (688m, Nuttall)
- Foel Lwyd (603m, Dewey)
- Tal-y-fan (610m, Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall)
- Conwy Mountain (244m)