3-day backpacking trip from Conwy to Llyn Ogwen
It is our first introduction to the United Kingdom and what for one. The intention was to make a 7-day backpacking trip from Conwy to Dolwyddelan. But by the extreme weather, we need to abort our trip. From the 2.5 days we have hiked, we have walked 1.5 days in the fog, rain and extreme wind. After half a day of hiking our shoes are soaking wet. These shoes have easily survived Iceland and Norway but this weather is too extreme for them. Also, our waterproof pants can no longer resist from the rain. We can hardly keep us right in the strong winds. When we hike along some steep precipices it leads to dangerous situations. We are therefore pleased when we arrive at the lake Llyn Ogwen. Here we hope that we can stay in the youth hostel but this is unfortunately fully booked. We decide to abort our trip because the weather is getting worse for the next few days!
Day 1: Conwy – near Mynydd Y Dref
Walking hours: 1h
Photo moments: 1h
Altitude: 265m ascent, 115m descent
We arrive at half-past five in the afternoon in Conwy. It’s about three hours by train from London Euston to Llandudno Junction. The train stops in Conwy on request but the walk from Llandudno Junction to Conwy is beautiful. We buy a gas cartridge in the Conwy Outdoor Shop and eat some fish & chips close to the outdoor shop. Then we start our hike, today we walk a few kilometres and then we search for a place to set up our tarp. The first part we walk the North Wales Path. Our first bivouac is beside a ruin near Mynydd Y Aaron.
Day 2: near Mynydd Y Dref – near Drosgl, Y Foel Lwyd
Walking hours: 4h30
Photo moments: 1h
Altitude: 825m ascent, 380m descent
It is still dry when we begin hiking but this is unfortunately for a short time. The first part of the Tal Y Fan we hike through meadows and along stone walls. After half an hour it starts raining hard again and there is a lot of wind. When we arrive at the foot of the Tal Y Fan the weather is a little bit better.
When we are halfway the mountain Y Fan, there is again a lot of wind and it’s raining again. Let us hope that when we are at the Tal Y Fan we have a nice view without fog. When we arrive at the top it’s dry for an hour from then it rains as good as all the time until we set up our tent.
The descent of the Y Foel Lwyd to the Roman Road is fairly steep and the terrain is very swampy. Then we are ascending a little bit, after that, we start looking for a place to set up our tarp. This place we find near Drosgl. The tarp stands pretty well out of the wind.
Day 3: near Drosgl, Y Foel Lwyd – near the lake Llyn Ogwen
Walking hours: 7h
Photo moments: 15min
Altitude: 800m ascent, 1125m descent
When we get up it’s still dry. After half an hour it starts to rain. And there is a strong wind. We walk along the Hill “Drum” and then we walk further to the top of the Foel Fras. When we are already halfway to the top, we walk in the fog, rain and strong winds.
We have completely no sight when we are on the top of the Foel Fras. We take a little break and walk further to the top of the Foel Grach. After hiking several hours in the rain and strong winds, we decide to take a break in the emergency shelter at the top of the Foel Grach. But after a while, we start to get hypothermic quickly by sitting still.
We decide to walk further to Llyn Ogwen. Easy it will of course not going to be through the fog, rain and strong gusts. We walk over the mountain ridge to the peak Carnedd Dafydd and Pen Yr Ole Wen. Navigation is tricky because we walk all the time in the fog. I’m glad that I have the GPS with me. Below is a video of a piece of the walk over the mountain ridge Bwlch Cyfryw drum.
[vimeo 66222570 w=750 h=422]
The descent from Pen Yr Ole Wen to the lake Llyn Ogwen is pretty steep most of the time. The first part runs across a reasonably steep blocks field, here it is hard to stay on course. After that, a steep path that you can best avoid if you have acrophobia. We need to slide down a few times to get further. We get Llyn Ogwen in sight when we are almost down. We walk almost the complete day in the heavy rain and fog.
We set up our tarp to the North of the small lake Llyn Bochlwyd at the mountain Tryfan. We were hoping to actually stay in a youth hostel near Llyn Ogwen but these were either fully booked or closed. We get there the weather forecast for the next three days. They give even worse weather than we already had. So we decide to abort our trip. We find that hiking in this weather is too dangerous. We will definitely go back to Snowdonia but then we will go by car. When we have weather like the last few days we can easily drive to a different area.