Snowdon via Moel Eilio
Key: Mountain over 914m Peak over 600m Peak under 600m
Length: 18km Height gain: 1530m Highest point: 1085m Approx time: 6 - 7 hours gpx file
The Moel Eilio ridge is one of the least used routes up Snowdon. This may be because it is a long walk, or is not so well known. It is not technically difficult, however a certain amount of stamina is required. The majority of the ridge is grassy and the walk is recommended in the direction given since this avoids descending a slope which is very slippery when wet (I found out the hard way!) Again there are several escape routes which will be mentioned when appropriate.
The start of this route is by the Spar in Llanberis. There is a road going up to the right of the shop, which is signed to the youth hostel. Follow this road up, ignoring any roads going off to the sides (alternatively take the route shown on the map which avoids a steep slope up Moel Eilio and takes a more gentle approach). You will carry on past the youth hostel, until eventually you reach the end of the road. A track goes off to the left and right, and you will need to turn right. To your left there will be a wall beyond some boggy ground. Walk across to this wall, and cross it using the ladder style. Ahead of you is steep ground. Carefully ascend the slope by the wall, taking care not to dislodge mud onto those below you. When you reach the top of this difficult section the grassy slope becomes more gentle and fairly easy.
You should follow the slope up by the wall to where a style crosses the wall and goes off to the right. Do not follow this. Turn left, and make your way for 0.5 km to the summit (you will need to cross the wall to reach the summit shelter). As you ascend the slope it is worth taking time to turn around and look back. You will be able to see the Llanberis path, with the Glyderau beyond. As you get higher you will be able to make out Tryfan and the Carneddau in the distance. From the summit of Moel Eilio Caernarfon Castle can just be seen to the North West.
From Moel Eilio to Foel Goch is a simple matter of keeping the cliffs to your left (take care in poor visibility). Take the time to look down to Llyn Cwellyn on the right and also across to the Nantlle Ridge beyond the lake (this is the subject of another section of this site). The Snowdon Ranger path begins at llyn Cwellyn, and you will eventually join this path on your ascent of Snowdon. There is an escape route from Foel Goch which could be used if you want to shorten the walk but avoid paths. Head off to the North, and descend down the grassy slope to join the path from Bwlch Maesgwm. If you carry on with the walk head off South East down to Bwlch Maesgwm, from where you could take the path to the North which will lead you to Llanberis.
The walk continues to the North East, and again leaves the well defined paths. Ascend a grassy slope keeping next to a wire fence most of the way up to the summit of Moel Cynghorion. You can look over to the summit of Snowdon, and again see the Llanberis path and the railway line going up in front of you. Turn to the right, and follow the cliffs down to down to Llyn Ffynon y Gwas which is on thee Snowdon Ranger path, mentioned previously. As you are descending, Yr Aran, the subject of the next route can be seen directly in front of you.
Follow the Snowdon Ranger path up to the left (East). This is a well defined path, although last time I was on it there was a stream running down the middle! (this was however after an exceptional amount of rain). You will join the Llanberis path at the top, and should turn right, and follow the path to the summit. Take a moment to look back and admire the complete ridge route stretching out behind you.
Descent is simple enough. Begin going North, and instead of turning off to go down the Ranger, carry straight on a very well defined path. You will follow this all the way to Llanberis. One word of caution- in winter do not be tempted to walk down the railway line since the snow builds up thus forming a dangerous convex which has been the cause of several fatalities. There are warning signs. It is safer to follow the path. When you reach the Clogwyn station you will be able to look across the Llanberis pass to the Glyderau. Turn left and go under the railway bridge.
Carry on down to where the ground levels out noticeably and then turn right keeping to the path. To the left here is the path round to Llyn Du Arddu, and the cliffs of Clogwyn, which are used by climbers. Further down it is worth turning back to admire these cliffs. You will come to the halfway house, where there used to be a cafe. This is now fully renovated, following a legal case.
Carry on down the path and then you will reach a "kissing gate" where the Snowdon path is signed. Turn right and follow the road down to Llanberis. An enjoyable and long walk completed!