Thursday, 22 December 2016

The Welsh Matterhorn

There are many areas that claim a mountain or hill is their “Matterhorn” and Wales is no exception.  My one and only previous visit to Cnicht was 12 years ago and before I was actively ticking the Nuttalls.  I’d reached the summit on a misty day and there was a chance that I had also bagged the north top but as I hadn’t logged it, I may not have done.  But it gave me a good excuse to revisit this fine mountain.

Moel Hebog and the Nantlle Ridge

From Croesor it looks steep and intimidating, not unlike the Matterhorn, but in reality the ridge affords an fairly easy walk as the view is a classic example of foreshortening.  Easy to navigate and easy underfoot, only the top section of the route offers a change in character with some scrambling to reach the summit.  There were quite a few family parties enjoying a taste of adventure but the shoulders of mums and dads were being used to carry the toddlers !

At the small plateau below the scramble we saw a family with three small boys descending the face to the left of the normal route.  It looked a bit hairy so I kept myself ready to help just in case they needed it – luckily they didn’t.  At the same time a fellrunner took a direct line up the face and made it look easy !

From the summit we headed over to the north top.  As we got nearer it became clear that the path skirts the top and it was obvious that I hadn’t been to it on my previous visit.  A short detour bagged the summit and we walked to the top of Cwm-y-foel, dropping down beyond the few snow patches into the hanging valley to find a suitable spot for lunch.

Tremadoc Bay from Cwm-y-foel

The walk along the edge of the dammed tarn led to the descent into Cwm Croesor and an easy walk back to the car, ending an enjoyable day out in one of Snowdonia’s less popular corners.

Cnicht from Cwm Croesor

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