Guest blogger: A hike up the Welsh Matterhorn
Guest blogger @MrIrvingClarke continues his “walking posts from Wales” series with this hike up the Welsh Matterhorn known as Cnicht. @MrIvingClarke is 36-year-old Yoric Irving-Clarke, who works in Supported Housing – and likes to walk to “get exercise and clear my head!”. He started walking aged eight when he first climbed Snowdon.
@MrIvingClarke writes: The attraction of Cnicht is that it looks mighty, but it’s only (I say “only!”) 689 metres. It’s ideal for a quick-ish day of walking, yet still offers some rewarding views.
A word of warning before you start on this hike, however. If you start the walk at Croesor, as I did, be prepared for a drive in through classic Welsh singletrack roads. Croesor is a pretty enough village with a big cafe and has clearly built itself around walkers heading for Cnicht.
The walk itself is quite a simple ascent. A short walk out of Croesor and a right turn pitches you on to the crest of a ridge that you follow all the way to a grassy col facing what looks like an almost impassable slab towering ahead of you. Take it head on and you’re talking a grade 3 scramble up the face, but take a few paces to the right and there’s a grade 1 to 2 route with barely any exposure. But if you really don’t have a head for heights, a bit further right is a good path with no “hands-on” at all.
The good news from here is it’s an easy climb to the summit. I’ve been told there are great views into Cwm Croesor and over to Moelwyn Mawr from here but as any summit I’m ever on is shrouded in cloud, you’ll have to chance your arm and find out for yourself one day.
Continue straight off the summit and bear right around the head of the valley on a faint path that’s also very boggy. Here, I promise, are some great views into the cwm, where you can virtually track the glacial movement. Also, look out for the spectacular and eerie abandoned mine works on Moelwyn Mawr, which are well worth a diversion to explore if you have the time and energy.
Now you just follow a broad path down the other side of the cwm and back to the car park and the cafe for a well-deserved cuppa and piece of cake.