****: Highest summit of southern Snowdonia via a quieter route
Dolgellau, 15m - Gau Graig, 673m - Mynydd Moel, 863m - Cadair Idris, 893m - Craig Cwm Amarch, 792m - Llyn Cau, 480m - Hotel Gwesty Mynffordd, 112m
4 3/4h (2 + 1/2 + 1/2 + 1/2 + 1/2 + 3/4)
0: one rocky step to Gau Graig and lots of rocky steps from Cadair Idris to Llyn Cau
3: to Gau Graig 2, path in certain distance from cliffs afterwards 2, steep descent to Llyn Cau 3, huge cliffs in summit areas (!) in particular on Mynydd Moel and Craig Cwm Amarch
e: to Gau Graig a, to Mynydd Moel c, afterwards e
I had stayed overnight in Aberystwyth. At 8am I took the bus T2 via Machynlleth, the narrow Corris valley and two passes to Dolgellau, a town built entirely from dark grey slate stone. After a coffee and a bun on the market place at 10.15am, I started hiking up following the right bank of torrent Arran. A very steep, narrow tarmac road was winding up through dense deciduous woodland. At one point the road was being repaired, part of it had slid into the canyon. After some waterfalls, the view opened a bit towards the rocky pyramid of Mynydd Moel. The sky was overcast, but it would have been wise to put sunscreen at this point. At the end of the road I wanted to take the path to the ridge leading from the east via Gau Graig to Mynydd Moel. A farmer was cooping sheep between the gates, so he sent me around through the pasturage, which led me to the path that I didn‘t quite want. At the top of the combe, I left the pasturage through a gate and then continued without path to join the path coming from the flat part of the ridge. The path led quite nicely through endless scrubs of rhododendrons and blueberries. A few sheep were grazing here and there. The view became more and more grandiose, down to Dolgellau and over the Mawddach valley. There was a clearly visible demarcation between the green forests and pastures towards the valleys and the vast, brown, scraggy plateaus above them, The ridge then narrowed a bit. The path was doubled by a quadbike track. I encountered two women descending, who were worrying whether there would be some scrambling ahead. When I reached the plateau of Gau Graig, I was overtaken by 4 hill runners. After the little bump Mynydd Gwerngraig I had a view down to Llyn Arran. After a steeper section I arrived on Mynydd Moel shortly after 1pm with its impressive cliffs to the north. From the distance I could discern lots of hikers around the summit of Cadair Idris. I was already quite tired, so I had my lunch break on Mynydd Moel. A cold wind was blowing from the south west, so I put on my jacket and hat. On the way to the main summit, also called Penygader, I overtook several groups. Steep cliffs fall down to Llyn y gader. lots of people were sitting around the summit rocks and posing for pictures. The visibility was acceptable despite the overcast sky, but not great. The summit of Cyfrwy blocks a bit the view towards the Mawddach estuary. I did not stop for too long as the panorama was not much different from Mynydd Moel. The descent was quite rocky but without scrambling. There were many hikers in both directions, also a long caravan was snaking up to Craig Cwm Amarch, which offers jaw-dropping views from 300m truly vertical cliffs down to Llyn Cau. I took a short break to enjoy the view towards the south across Llyn Mwngyl to the Tarren range that I would traverse two days later. After 3.30pm I got on with the descent via a rugged path down to beautiful Llyn Cau. Busloads of hill walkers were strolling on the paths. I overtook many hikers on the path that follows the valley down to Mynffordd. At one place I refreshed my face in the brook. Thousand slates steps along roaring cascades took me down into the valley. I arrived at Hotel Gwesty Mynffordd at 5pm. After a shower, dinner and beer, there was a lot of fun with Brazilians, Dutch tourists and a Welsh mountaineer.