Mountain of the month: December 2017; Craig Wion, Snowdonia, Wales

Mountains in December came in the form of a new year trip to Snowdonia. After the early snowfall that November and December experienced I had visions of snowy days on the Snowdon massif akin to those I have been fortunate enough to experience in previous winters. However, this was not to be. Snowdonia is a beautiful region and I am learning to love it in all weathers but it is a slightly harder sell when you risk being blown off you feet by squalling rain-showers blowing in off the Irish Sea.

The high winds and general grey of the week did not deter us from finding a walk that suited the conditions and getting out there. Given the conditions we opted for a walk that was close to our holiday cottage and allowed us to explore an area of the national park we had not visited before. Trail magazine had very kindly featured a route in their latest issue that fitted the bill: a challenging but short tour of Craig Wion in the northern Rhinogs.

After parking up in a picturesque if basic campsite by Llyn Cwm Bychan we located the path upwards and pressed on into the murk. The cloud did begin to lift and thankfully stayed just above 600m for the remainder of the walk. In poorer visibility the walk would have been a real challenge as this was classic bog filled, fairly featureless open terrain. The highlight of the walk was a number of canyons that involved some gentle hand and foot work to descend into and up out of again. In the wet this was not without its dangers and I still have the bruises from on particularly poorly executed step.

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Preparing to enter the ‘canyon’

The route card warrants some careful reading; initially skeptical about it suggesting that it would take 4 hours to walk 5 miles I soon realised the terrain we were taking on. As it turned out the circuit took almost 4 hours on the nose. It was a ‘perfect’ end to a great year of mountain walks; wet, windy and wild.

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Trying to convey just how windy it was!

 

The route can be found here. You may need an OS maps login to see it; free with a Trail subscription or a bargain at £19.99 for the year (if payed by direct debit).

If you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy my full 2017 #mountainofthemonth round up here.

Happy very belated new year!

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