This was the walk described on pp. 40-42 of Steve Ashton,s Walking in Snowdonia. It starts up the footpath signposted off the A5 about 1k north of Capel Curig. Parking here is not abundant but there is a small lay-by thing a sort distance north. I followed the path uphill past a house to a gate in a wall (not the ladder stile Ashton reports). Then the path carries on north over a rather boggy moor eventually crossing two bridges a short distance apart, the first concrete, the second wood. From here it’s straight up the ridge of Pen Llithrig y Wrach. Ashton says ‘pathless and breathless’ and he’s right about the latter but I was on a narrow but fairly clear path all the way, thank heaven, as fighting up the pervasive steep heather would not have been fun. On a path it wasn’t so bad.
The weather was turning from summer to autumn. Showers came and went but they blew past fast enough and didn’t stop it being delightful high up as I carried on down and up straightforwardly enough to Pen yr Helga Du. The rocks of Craig Eigiau gleamed in the sunlight across the Cwm. Tryfan, the other way, mainly stayed gloomy. The descent of of Pen yr Helga Du by Y Braich is delightful, easy angled on a pleasant grassy path. Towards the bottom a stone wall crosses the ridge and Ashton writes, “trend left, descending steep grass to reach the leat. Cross it by the second of twin footbridges, turn left,...” Turns out these days the landowner is not keen for us to do this and both footbridges are blocked by a sturdy and taut barbed wire fence. I am a highly experienced barbed wire fence gymnast and crossed it regardless but I am not in my first youth and it was tricky and a pest. I had some wild horses for company here, grazing placidly a few feet away. From here I did as Ashton recommends and followed the grassy towpath back to the wooden bridge crossed on the way up and so home.
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