Craig yr Hafod and Graig Ddu
A simple walk close to the border of Snowdonia, taking in two modestly sized and rarely ascended hills, Craig yr Hafod and Graig Ddu. The walk can easily be extended to include some of the other surrounding hills on open access land.
Length: 3.6 miles
Start: Cae-Hir, Frongoch
GPX File: Download
Craig yr Hafod – (Height: 533m, Drop: 64m)
Graig Ddu – (Height: 537m, Drop: 71m)
Other POI: Cae-Hir, Hafodnwydog, Lly Hesgyn, Ffridd y Pentre
This is a simple walk I did very early in the morning one day during a family holiday in Snowdonia. We were staying in a beautiful cottage called Cae-Hir on the grounds of a farm a few miles north of Bala. There was no WiFi and no phone signal available at the cottage and so we pretty much had a technology free week, chilling out without distraction just like the good ol’ days, and heating the cottage in the evenings with a real wood burning stove, passing the time away singing gentle Welsh folk songs together whilst sipping from a tumbler filled with Danzy Jones liquer. No, not really. Having a 2 year old with us, it was chaos as usual!
So, 5am and I was up and ready for my walk. I’d brought my boots with me but forgot my walking trousers or gaitors, however, with the weather looking decent and the terrain heather clad rather than mossy, I decided to take my chances wearing just jeans.
I followed the path west towards the col between Craig yr Hafod and Graig Ddu, eventually hitting moorland on open access land. The ground was extremely boggy and the path seemed to come and go, and wasn’t easy to follow. As I got closer to the hills, I decided to leave the path and make a beeline up the side of Craig yr Hafod. A mistake. I soon found myself knee deep in wet heather and gorse. I decided that I may as well carry on rather than turn around and so I heather bashed my way to the top. My jeans at this point were completely saturated right up to the hips, and the water was running down into my boots meaning that my feet were also saturated. I have to admit, it wasn’t the most comfortable I’d ever been on the hills but decided that things really couldn’t get much worse and so might as well carry on with the walk. Some fantastic views were on offer from the summit looking over Lly Hesgyn towards Carnedd y Filiast.
From the summit I headed back down towards the col, roughly following the line of an old ruined stone wall. The ascent of Graig Ddu was a little easier going, and again, the views were fantastic from the top. Arenig Fawr was visible in the distance and a thick blanket of mist over Llyn Celyn combined with an early morning blue sky made a scene that made the increasing heavy and soggy jeans worthwhile.
It would have been nice to continue along this ridge of hills to Craig y Garn, however my very limited free time was running out and it was time to head back. Unfortunately the way back meant traipsing through even more bog and long grass, with a shower of water spraying off my loose-fit jeans with every step. I may have even looked a little ridiculous. Luckily nobody was around to witness me looking like I was competing for the title of Snowdonia’s most unprepared walker.
Walk completed on 31st May, 2017