FATMAP difficulty grade
If ascended along the tourist path that starts at the Plas y Brenin, one would be forgiven for thinking that Moel Siabod is a relatively dull hill, with excellent views towards Yr Wyddfa being the redeeming feature.
However, there’s another side to this mountain.
A much more interesting, though not overly difficult scramble along Daear Ddu.
It can be ascended from Dolwyddelan (see here for a route where we managed to miss out on all the scrambling) or from Pont Cyfyng near Capel Curig. 1 – Park or take the Sherpa bus to Bryn Glo car park and follow the busy A5 a couple of hundred metres towards the bridge at Pont Cyfyng.
Cross the bridge and follow the minor road, keeping an eye out for the Moel Siabod signpost. 2 – The good track leads steeply uphill, past a few houses and soon relents as it reaches open hillside.
In a further kilometre you’ll reach the un-named quarry lake and uphill beyond that a disused quarry pit. 3 – The track becomes a narrow path beyond the quarry, taking you up towards Llyn y Foel.
The area surrounding the lake tends to be rather boggy so choose your route with care! The shortest is directly across the northern end of the lake towards the base of Daear Ddu.
Of course, this is still technically the same range as the Moelwynion and so the easiest route will no doubt find some bogs that reflect that ease in ooze.
Alternatively, you can head off and around the southern end of the lake or contour around the cwm and keep high above the wettest areas. 4 – On reaching Daear Ddu, you’ve now got a sustained but easy scramble over 1km and about 300m ascent.
Like most scrambles, they’re almost impossible to describe in a guide.
The three of us took totally different routes, depending on what appealed at that moment.
The best advice is to keep right and close to the crest, and that there are no problems that are unavoidable.
One such was near the summit, involving an easy scramble but with the illusion of some exposure. 5 – The final section of the Daear Ddu ridge is mainly bouldery, and brings you out directly onto the summit of Moel Siabod from where you can now enjoy that view on a truly worthwhile mountain.
You’ll need to allow some time to take it all in – from Snowdon, Glyderau and the Carneddau, to the Moelwynion and lesser known hills to the east, this is one of the finest viewpoints in Snowdonia. 6 – Descending from Moel Siabod’s summit can be tricky as the path isn’t obvious.
Your best bet is to follow the summit ridge NE, from where you should be able to pick up the obvious path down to Capel Curig.
Or, for an even better end to the route we suggest that you return along the summit ridge to Pont Cyfyng.
Our rationale was to descend the quicker route in order to get a quick pint in! 7 – The tourist path needs little in the way of explanation, though a little eroded in places, is straightforward enough and gets you down quickly.
You’ll need to pay a bit more attention to the footpath once you arrive at the forestry, where we missed the quickest way as we took the route that was already known to us.
Turning right as soon as you reach the wider forestry track will cut a few minutes off the trip, or just descend to Plas y Brenin.
Turn right here and you can return all the way to Pont Cyfyng along good tracks and footpaths.