08 Sep, 2019

Day 3 – The Carneddau

Written by: Russ

South Downs Way

Distance:

miles

Time:

hours

Elevation gain:

feet

Watch the video

Day 3 route overview

Starting at the Gwern Gof Uchafe campsite you begin the long and steady ascent up Pen yr Ole Wen. From the summit you continue to head north over Carnedd Dafydd and over the rest of the Carneddau range. Traversing those, you come to a bothy behind Foel Grach before continuing to the finish at Foel Fras.

Elevation

A steady ascent up to Pen yr Ole Wen and the gradient really flattens out, making the Carneddau the easiest of the three ranges on the Welsh 3,000s.

Over the M3

Pen yr Ole Wen

As you begin the Carneddau, the final mountain range of the Welsh 3,000s you cross the road from the campsite and follow the broken and very boggy path up to Ffynnon Lloer which is nestled behind Pen yr Ole Wen. The route to the summit includes a short scramble before levelling out to the top with a brilliant path and epic views of Tryfan looking south.

Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3

Onward to the Carneddau

Following the route north from Pen yr Ole Wen, on a clear day you’ll have incredible views of Carnedd Dafydd and Carnedd Llewellyn. The incredible ridgeline to follow leads the way and I could hear shepherds calling their dogs to bring the herd in at this point. It was an incredible moment on the hike. I was also very lucky at this point to bump into a fellow hiker and YouTuber Dave Bold of Bold Adventures. It was an absolute pleasure to walk with Dave, so go check out his channel!

Over the M3
Over the M3

Foel Grach and the little bothy

Onward to Foel Grach and the rest of the Carneddau. Crossing massive distances you reach Yr Elen, I wasn’t lucky with the weather which shrouded the view in fog which is supposed to be epic, but I still tapped the summit before heading to Foel Grach. Behind Foel Grach there’s a bothy which is always worth exploring and meeting folks who’ve stopped for a break. A safe haven in harsh winter conditions too.

Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3

Onward to the final summits

Before long you’ve traversed most of the Carneddau and after Foel Grach, the scenery really opens up into vast, wide-open planes. If you’re lucky you might get a glimpse of the ponies which roam the landscape. After bopping the summit of Garnedd Gwenllian, you’re just one stop away from Foel Fras which marks the end of the Welsh 3,000s.

What an epic journey. By far the Welsh 3,000s has to be the most impressive British thru-hike I’ve seen through till the end. It may not be thousands of miles long, but it’s home to some of the best views, most epic summits and incredible ridgelines the world has to offer.

Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3
Over the M3

Gallery

Overview

  • Views and vista 80% 80%
  • Difficulty 50% 50%
  • Elevation gain 70% 70%

Start time:

10:00

Finish time:

16:00

Accommodation

Campsites

Gwern Gof Uchafe

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