Moel Siabod and the Daear Ddu Ridge
A simple trek up to summit of Moel Siabod in Snowdonia via the grade 1 rated Daear Ddu Ridge, before returning back towards Pont Cyfyng along the crest of the mountain.
Length: 5.9 miles
Start: Pont Cyfyng, Capel Curig
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Moel Siabod – (Height: 872m, Drop: 600m)
Other POI: Pont Cyfyng, Cyfyng Falls, Rhos Farm, Moel Siabod (Foel) Slate Quarry and Slab Works, Llyn y Foel
I started the walk at Pont Cyfyng near Capel Curig on the A5. There’s a free car park here aswell as some smaller layby’s on the opposite side of the road. I imagine that these fill quite quickly on a weekend but I had no trouble relatively early on a Friday. I followed the road for a little while, getting a couple of snaps of the impressive Cyfyng Falls down below. Unfortunately the snaps didn’t come out all that great. After a short while I turned left over the river and followed a lane a small distance before taking a track on the right steeply uphill. The track continues past Rhos farm, after which Moel Siabod becomes clearly visible ahead.
Navigation from here is a cinch in good weather – it’s just a case of following the track towards Moel Siabod. Eventually, two route options presented themselves. One headed straight up Moel Siabod and followed the crest of the mountain to the summit. I was saving this option for the return leg and so I took the other route which heads to the left hand side of the mountain. It led me past a nice reservoir that appears nameless on the maps, and eventually to a disused slate quarry (now flooded) complete with the ruins of buildings and trackways once used in the quarry. The quarry was apparently in use in the 1800’s and worked intermittently until 1884. The buildings were a little higher up than the reservoir and made a great viewpoint to look back over the reservoir and back towards Pont Cyfyng. It was a wonderfully tranquil and scenic location and the view was quite outstanding.
The track continues until the Daear Ddu Ridge (AKA Moel Siabod Eastern Ridge) comes into view on the other side of Llyn y Foel. Again, this is another lovely area and well worth taking it slowly in order to soak up the atmosphere. To be honest, this may have been one of the most enjoyable walk ins to the base of a mountain that I’ve done to date. After a somewhat boggy walk around the Llyn, it was almost a shame to start ascending!
Daear Ddu Ridge is classed as a grade 1 scramble according to the Scrambles in Snowdonia book but, to be honest, if you followed the main well trodden route, it was barely even that. It was possible to make the climb more interesting in places by choosing more difficult options on the rock, however what often looked inviting from a distance frequently turned out to be horrible or unclimbable once I’d got up close. This is not to say I didn’t enjoy it – it’s a great way to ascend this mountain and offers great views looking back down the ridge.
The ridge topped out right next to the summit trig where the views were breathtaking, and would have been even more so had it not been quite so hazy in the distance. The Snowdon Horseshoe, The Glyders, and the Carneddau are all clearly visible, with the distinctive shape of Tryfans eastern side particularly noticeable between them.
To be honest, my original planned route called for immediately descending Model Siabod on the other side. I’d only just gotten up there though and wanted to stay up, and the crest of the mountain stretching northeast did look very enticing. I decided to opt for that way instead. I really got into the swing of things hopping from rock to rock along the ridge and gradually downwards. I took it at a decent pace that could almost have been classed as trail running, focusing intently on the rock so I didn’t lose my balance. I passed a couple of gully tops that made impressive viewpoints looking down into them, and the ground below.
Of course, it’s hard to bound down so much rock without it having an impact on the knees, and they felt pretty much screwed by the time I got to the bottom. I think the usual, almost traditional, dehydration that I was suffering from played its part too. Dehydration isn’t good for the joints. Eventually the rock petered out and instead a section of wetter boggier ground to navigate, eventually meeting up with the path just up from Rhos farm, which I followed back down to the car.
It wasn’t the longest walk I’d ever done, and with the return leg, meant that I’d done more driving in the day than I had walking. But it was worth it. The scenery was outstanding, and the mountain itself fun. Plus, it’s another summit to tick off on my hill bagging list!
Walk completed on 6th October, 2017