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  Siabod the Lonely Mountain

The Classic mountain walk at the very heart of Snowdonia.

Ramblers intent on conquering the nearby giants
of the Carneddau, Tryfan or the Glyders often
overlook one of the outlying peaks of Snowdonia,
Moel Siabod. Theirs is the mistake, for Siabod is
everything a mountain should be - shapely,
challenging, rewarding and possessed of the
most marvelous views. Far from a pushover, at
2860 feet it's the 22nd highest peak in Wales. Its
isolation promises the reward of solitude and
peace, easily attained on a circular walk from
Capel Curig, the very heart of Snowdonia's mountaineer's domain and a veneer of hotels, inns and shops
in the midst of the hills. In the 1990s, Siabod featured heavily in William Horwood's best-selling fantasy
novels "The Duncton Chronicles." If you're familiar with these, then the terrain may seem eerily familiar!

From the car park entrance turn right, along the A4086 to reach the Plas y Brenin National Centre for Mountain Activities, which served for many years as the Capel Curig Inn, later the Royal Hotel after Queen Victoria stayed. Immediately past this, take the ladder stile on the left, descending to cross a bridge across the outflow of the lower Llyn Mymbyr. Turn left along the rough road, passing through two gates and above a house. Remain with this road through the woodland edge and pass a junction with a forest road coming in sharply from the right. Keep right at the next fork, this track narrows and reaches a few rough steps. Climb these and keep left, soon reaching Cobden's Footbridge. Don't cross this, but continue downstream, over a stile and into pastures. In 300 yards bear right at the way marked post, cross a footbridge over a tributary and trace the path up to a lane. Cross the cattle-grid to reach a junction your end of a bridge, Pont Cyfyng. Turn right.

In 150 yards fork right up the narrow tarred lane and over another cattle-grid. This rises to a sharp bend, where a footpath diversion is signed. Take this to avoid Rhos Farm. Bear left along the rough old quarry road beside the abandoned cottage. Simply remain with this remarkable roadway, the distinctive, sharp peak of Siabod directly ahead. Climb a series of ladder stiles to reach a path, beside a small lake. Beyond this, climb up the slatey path to reach the edge of an eerie, water-filled pit, the flooded remains of a quarry above old buildings. Pass to the left of this, climbing over the next rise to reach lonely Llyn y Foel.

Your target is the steep ridge of Daiar Ddu, angling up to the right beyond the lake. There are paths to either side of the lake, bringing you to a rough path that has been forged up between boulders and crags, here and there marked by cairns. It's a fairly short but steep climb to gain the top and the summit of Siabod. Your reward is a truly spectacular panorama of most of the greatest peaks in Snowdonia.

Turn right along the ridge, gradually descending the path just away from the steep drops for about 400 yards. Keep an eye out to the left. When you can clearly see the forest below, and Plas y Brenin at the end of the lake beyond, pick a path across the grassy slopes, heading for Plas y Brenin. There's no path at first, but you should soon find a stony path winding down towards the woods. This will bring you to a ladder stile through a fence about 300 yards west of the trees - if you come up against the woodland edge simply turn left and trace the fence to the stile. Below the stile the path is awkward underfoot for a while before entering the edge of the woods. Climb two ladder stiles. About 100 yards after the second, keep right at the fork to reach a forest road. Turn right a few paces, then go left along the path into the trees beside a ruined building. At a cross path turn right, then swing left to descend through a newly replanted area of conifers. Re-cross the bridge behind Plas y Brenin, pausing to drink in the sublime view up to the "Snowdon Horseshoe." Rise to the road and turn right back to the car park.

Map - click to enlarge

c.6 miles (10km)
Allow 4 hours
Back lanes, forestry roads and paths, mountain tracks. One steep climb.
Village car park, at junction of A5 with A4086.
Inns, Hotels, Tearooms and shops in Capel Curig.
Capel Curig stretches along the A5 about 4 miles west of Betws-y-Coed.
Restricted daily buses to Capel Curig from Llanrwst, Betws-y-Coed and Porthmadog.
Don't attempt this walk in wet weather - the slate bedrock is very slippery and restricted visibility will make the descent from Siabod difficult.
Start from Capel Curig Car Park O.S. Outdoor Leisure 17 & 18.
720 582

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