A Walk up Pen yr Ole Wen
I had my two children visiting for the week and, on such occasions, I always like to take them on a few treks up into the hills and mountains, mainly because it’s quite a novelty for them as they normally live in the flat lands of Norfolk. As I hadn’t been to Snowdonia for a while and was starting to miss the place, I decided that a hike up the south west corner of Pen yr Ole Wen would be just the thing to give them a good workout whilst at the same time offering just enough scrambling and variety to make it exciting for them.
We parked in one of the car parks at the side of the A5 opposite Llyn Ogwen and made our way back, past Idwal Cottage, to the start of the footpath up to Pen yr Ole Wen, marked by a style in the wall and a National Trust sign. There was no easy path up this mountain and it was a steep slog from the word go. The lower part of the ascent was easier to navigate with the route being relatively clear to see, although it was still quite easy to go off course if we hadn’t been paying attention.
Further up the mountain of Pen yr Ole Wen, the conveniently stepped blocks gave way to a long stretch of scree covered terrain that was a little harder to navigate. At this point, the path was no longer so obvious and so some route finding skills were necessary. It did appear as though the scree could be avoided by veering to the right and taking a longer but easier route to the top… but where would the fun be in that?
Eventually, the scree slopes ended and an interesting section of rock began, which allowed for a bit of easy scrambling for me and the kids – something they’d been patiently waiting for whilst hiking up the mountain. This section, unfortunately, didn’t last very long before the summit was reached via a much easier final leg. The kids were hoping for plenty of snow on Pen yr Ole Wens summit so were a little disappointed with the little patches they found, however, were very impressed with the views over to Tryfan (which I climbed with them a couple of years back), and the Glyders.
The original plan was to follow the ridge around to Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewelyn, but unfortunately, the sky had become rather grey and the clouds had already obscured the summits of those two peaks as well as the Glyders opposite. Bearing in mind that I was with the kids, I decided to take the safe and sensible option and descend immediately via the eastern ridge.
This proved to be the correct choice as it started raining almost immediately after starting the descent, gradually increasing in strength as we got further and further downhill. There was just one moderately difficult rocky gully to downclimb, made trickier due to the wet rock, before reaching the stream that acts as the outflow from Ffynnon Lloer. A footpath more or less followed the stream all the way back to the A5, however, due to the recent wet weather, there was a lot of boggy ground to navigate which meant losing the path from time to time. There was also a few hops across streams, which the kids seemed to love!
We all arrived back at the car, saturated, and the boots of my youngest had leaked meaning his feet were more than a little soggy. That’s what he gets for having a cheapskate dad that kits him out with a £13 pair of Sports Direct walking boots!
Walk Completed on 4th April, 2016. Total Distance: 4 miles.