Cnicht day walk

Sam, Derbyshire

Cnicht walking route

I joined Emma for a guided walk from Betws-y-coed in September 2016.

I had already walked most of the Snowdon, Glyderau and Carneddau areas in Snowdonia National Park so I fancied a new area and some new summits and views. Emma who knows Snowdonia well suggested we explored the Moelwyns (an area I’d not visited before).

We set off bright and early on a Saturday morning from a campsite where I was staying near Betws-y-coed. Emma had planned and mapped out the walk so was able to tell me the distance, terrain ascent and the key interesting features along the way. She also showed me the route (after checking carefully I had the full kit required for a long day on the hills).

We set off up the Nant Gwynant valley which is closely surrounded by hills and feels very sheltered with some beautiful lakeside walking. It wasn’t long before we left civilisation and began to encounter the wilder side of Snowdonia with an approach into the Moelwyns from the beautiful Gelli-lago Valley. The Moelwynion Range of Mountains are perhaps one of the less visited areas of Snowdonia. The walking can be challenging, in bad visibility the navigation can be difficult and there are few footpaths to follow so I was relieved that Emma was leading. At times the walking was hard going, remote and wild but there was no one else around. It was bliss. I don’t think we passed another walker all day! 

It was a beautiful sunny day and the colours, views and scenery was at it’s autumnal best. The summit we were aiming to bag for the day was Cnicht, otherwise known as the Welsh Matterhorn. Cnicht is a long ridge and is only 689m high and we were approaching it from a less trodden direction. It’s usually ascended from Croesor, the village at it’s foot, but we were approaching from the northwest from Llyn yr Adar. 

The views as you approach the summit are breathtaking. Cnicht has very steep sides on the South East Ridge and it took my breath away looking into Cwm Croesor and across to Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach. The return route took us back down into Gelli-lago down a particularly beautiful valley with old settlements and abandoned farms. 

The return route offered up great evening landscape views of Snowdon. The walk was long and challenging but it had variety and Emma set a very relaxed pace ensuring I was able to enjoy the views. Emma is also very knowledgable about the bird life and was keen to point out all never of birds and birdsong, which made the walk more interesting. 

I shall be going back to this area of Snowdonia again – it is a hidden gem! And I shall be walking with Emma again. She’s an excellent guide and good company.