The Moel Eilio and Moel Cynghorion Horseshoe Walking

"You're better off living in a hole looking at a palace than living in the palace looking at the hole" - Carl Pilkington, An Idiot Abroad. Moel Eilio is the perfect example of this... except of course that' it's not a 'hole' at all but really rather pretty. Situated on the edge of Snowdonia, its summit views encompass neighbouring Snowdon, round past the stunning skyline of the Nantlle Ridge and Mynydd Mawr to the Irish Sea. Further to the north, Anglesey stretches out far below until you come back round to distant views of the Carneddau and the Glyderau. So whilst the hill barely makes it to mountain status the outlook across the palatial grandeur of Northern Snowdonia is unrivalled. From the summit of Moel Eilio, it's worth traversing the range all the way to Moel Cynghorion.

Descending off the Summit of Moel Eilio  © Mark Reeves
Descending off the Summit of Moel Eilio
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Detailed description

SH5779560437 Start at the pay and display car park by the shores of Llyn Padarn. Cross the A4086 via the pedestrian crossing and head up Market Street to gain Llanberis High Street at the crossroads by the outdoor cafe Pete's Eats. Turn left and walk along the High Street and take the first right up Snowdon Street. At the top of Snowdon Street turn left and then immediately right up Fron Goch. At the top of Fron Goch turn right and then immediate left up a narrow country lane. Follow this past a residential home and carry on for about 1km to a small parking area at the end of the tarmac road. It is possible to park here if doing a shorter circuit.

SH5668959495 From the parking bay by some ruined buildings the road turns sharply up and right, changing to a dirt track. Follow this steeply at first until it flattens off, where after 1km you reach Blwch-Y-Groes.

SH5569159922 From the just before the gate at Bwlch-Y-Groes turn left and take the path that leads up a broad grassy ridge towards a steepening of the hillside by a fence. Head up the steep path by the fence as it climbs towards the summit of Moel Eilio. Pass over a fence to arrive at the summit and the pleasant round shelter. Remember to take in the panoramic views if you are blessed with good visibility.
Looking to Moel Eilio  © Tim Gardner
Looking to Moel Eilio
© Tim Gardner, Jan 2014

SH5557657686 From the summit head south west down the grass ridge with big drops to your left. Occasionally you will see Kestrels hovering almost motionless on the updraft as you walk along the ridge and over Foel Gron before dropping to a saddle before another steep climb up to Foel Goch. From the summit of Foel Goch head south and follow the path down to Bwlch Maesgwm. This is the top of an easy path back down to Llanberis, referred to locally as Telegraph Valley. It is a good escape point if the weather closes in or you just want a shorter day.

SH5725955886 If you are doing the complete horseshoe then carry on up the grassy ridge of Moel Cynghorion, the hill of the Councillors. Once at the summit you can decide whether to carry on or backtrack to Blwch Maesgwm and descend Telegraph Valley. In doing so you miss a boggy section at the bottom of Cwm Brwynog. To complete the full traverse, however, and enjoy the final remote valley, descend southwest from the summit to Bwlch Cwm Brwynog, just above the Snowdon Ranger path.

SH5909055736 Cross the stile and make a short steep descent from the Bwlch to a prominent path that heads down the left side of Cwm Brwynog and Afon Arddu. The path becomes less obvious as you descend and you are eventually squeezed between the stream and some low lying steep ground. As you pass this you will see an isolated building with solar panels and a wind turbine: this is Crashpad Lodges. Head over to the lodge via some boggy ground and then take the 4x4 track away from the lodge. At a large ruined building near the end of the track take the footpath down and left back towards Afon Arddu and cross this via a footbridge. Make the short ascent back up to join a tarmac track.

SH5755058686 Turn right and head over the Afon Hwch and follow the track to two isolated houses. Just past the second house the track turns right towards a farmyard, campsite and eventually past the Youth Hostel. This road takes you right back down into Llanberis and the High Street. Turn left and then take the alleyway just to the left of the Honey Farm Shop to reach Llyn Padarn. Turn left and head back to the car park. You can of course walk down the High Street and visit one of the many cafes for coffee and a cake or go to the amazing Georgio's Ice Cream Shop. You will have earned the extra calories today.

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