The Nantlle Ridge
Key: Mountain over 914m Peak over 600m Peak under 600m
Length: 15km Height gain: 925m Highest point: 734m Approx time: 6 hours gpx file
This is an enjoyable walk with lots of variety. It begins at Rhyd Ddu with an easy ascent of Y Garn. It then goes on to cross the Nantlle ridge, which is a spectacular ridge, possibly second only to Crib Goch. There is a small amount of scrambling on the way up to Craig Cwm Silyn before an easy walk to Mynydd Craig Goch at the end of the ridge. Unfortunately the descent to Nantlle is rather boggy. I would recommend keeping this special walk for a good day. Also note that transport is required both ends to avoid a long walk along the road.
Once again your walk will begin from the Rhyd Ddu car park. This time, however cross the road to a path which bends around across a field and over a river to reach the road to Nantlle on a corner. Take a sharp left turn, and you will be on a well defined path. Stay on the path until you reach a point where you can either carry on towards Beddgelert forest, or head up a steep slope to your right which goes on to Y Garn. We will take this slope, the other option being a return route on a shorter walk. The path up to Y Garn is fairly well defined, and should pose few problems. Near the top it becomes more rocky and you will reach some cliffs to your right. Follow these around, crossing a wall to the summit cairn. From the summit you get good views across to the Snowdon Range, and also across to Mynydd Mawr.
From the summit walk along the wall in a Southerly direction. This next section is an easy scramble up to Mynydd Drws y Coed. Simply keep the cliffs on your right and you will soon be there. This section, and along to Mynydd Tal y mignedd is the most spectacular section of the n of the walk, and it is well worth taking your time. From here continue round by the cliffs to Trum y Ddysgl (the highest spot of the walk). Care should be taken to take the turning up to the right which reaches the summit, since it is all to easy to miss it in mist and then contour around.
Take time to look back at the cliffs from where you have come. You can also see across Cwm Pennant to the Moel Hebog range which is the third to be examined in this section. Now turn South West, and walk along a slope descending gently to a step where the path goes West with raised ground either side. This is called the hiatus. From here follow the path up to a large obelisk. This marks the summit of Mynydd Tal y Mignedd. To the South West you can see the next section of the walk, and if this looks like too much there are two alternatives.
It is possible to return the way you have come, or alternatively follow the wall down South from the obelisk to the lowest point. You can now drop down South East into Cwm Pennant, and then follow the route going North East which will lead back to the starting point. This route in to Cwm Pennant has become more overgrown in recent years, so another option is to return to near Trum y Ddysgl and follow the curved ridge to the south-east which takes you to the Bwlch-y-Ddwy-elor path which you can follow back to the starting point.
Our walk, however will continue by the wall till we reach the cliffs of Craig Cwm Silyn. Pick a route up the cliffs (I found that it was easiest to head slightly to the right rather than following the edge). From here the ground will be considerably easier, as you head South West for 250m and reach the summit cairn. To the Sout To the South East you can see across Cwm Pennant to the reverse side of the Moel Hebog range, and in the opposite direction you should be able to see across to the coast near Caernarfon.
The summit of Garnedd Goch is slightly lower and nearly straight ahead of you. Make your way up to this. The wall makes a useful "handrail" in poor visibility. From here you can either follow the wall to the North West which will take you down through some very boggy fields to the B4481 which leads to Nantlle. The alternative is to head South West for 1 km till there is level ground on your right, and then West across this, and rising slightly, for 1 km to reach the summit of Mynydd Graig Goch, which is the end of this spectacular ridge. Descent is easiest if you retrace your steps to where you start to ascend Garnedd Goch again. This time head North West and you will reach the same boggy fields which lead to the Nantlle road.