The Nantlle Ridge


The Nantlle Ridge is a delightful yet relatively seldom trodden six-mile hike on the western fringes of Snowdonia – last time I did it, on a sunny mid-week day in late summer, I encountered only one other walker along the way.

The introduction to the walk is quite gentle, crossing open moorland towards the looming grey-black crags of Craig Cwm Silyn. As you make the 600-metre ascent, the twin turquoise tarns of Llynnau Cwm Silyn glint in the cwm below and expansive views open out across the Menai Straits, Anglesey and the Lleyn peninsula. A clinkery plod across loose crags brings you to the first of five summits, where ravens circle in the wind whipped up from the tarns. From the summit of Craig Cwm Silyn it's an easy scramble down to a col, then a steep climb to the summit of Mynydd Tal-y-mignedd (which means "boggy end of the mountain"), where there's an 18-metre obelisk, built to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. To the southeast are the green slopes of Cwm Pennant; in the east, the grey flanks of Snowdon rolling down to Nant-y-Betwys; to the north are Anglesey and Holy Island.

Onwards to your third peak of the day, 709-metre Trum-y-Ddysgl, the path initially appears to be along a 200-metre high, knife-edge ridge, but once you get on to it, there’s nothing to worry about. Up a steep grassy slope, the summit falls away to Clogwyn Marchnad, then it’s up again to another virtually vowel-free summit, Mynydd Drws-y-Coed - "mountain door to the wood". Nice, eh? The ridge finishes with more scrambling over loose rocks to Y Garn, easy to pronounce and quite easy to reach, from the top of which it's a long, steep descent down to Llyn-y-Gader and the end of the walk.

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