Cnicht from Gelli-Lago


Although just 690M above sea level, the views from the summit of Cnicht are one of the best in Snowdonia. It is almost as if someone decided to create a viewpoint for the surrounding area. A fairly moderate walk passing facinating old slate quarries takes you to the foot of Cnicht. A direct route then takes you to the summit with a few exciting hands on scrambles along the way. From the airy and exposed summit there are breathtaking panoramic views of the neighbouring Moelwyns, the higher ranges of Snowdonia and out to sea Tremadog Bay. If you time it for sunset the views will be out of this world. The descent is a moderate walk passing the beautiful Llyn yr Adar and Llyn Lagi with views towards the Snowdon massif.

Route Directions

  1. From the A498 road between the lakes of Llyn Dinas and Llyn Gwynant take the small road bridge over the river and follow this very tight track round the hill and you'll get to a sharp right angle turn, continue down the road past the buildings of Gerynt and Fedw Bach and eventually on the left side of the road you'll find a small car park. Walk a few hundred yards up the road away from the car park and you'll see the entrance to Gelli-Lago.
  2. Follow the path through Gelli-Lago making sure to respect this part of the path as it passes through private land. Once round the back of Gelli-Lago the path starts to climb along side the stream up towards the valley. Follow the path right up through the valley until you can clearly see the walls of Cnicht in front of you. When you get to the end of the valley the path will turn right through Bwlch y Battel. Follow the path past the peat bog lake and you should now see the Porthmadog Bay in the very far distance. At Bwlch y Battel many are tempted to climb towards Cnicht too soon, instead carry on past the small peat bog lake and down slightly then a path will go left round.
  3. Just round the corner you will find a disused quarry and buildings which provide a great rest stop. The quarries in the welsh mountains stand like ghost towns and are a mystical reminder of the industrial past of the welsh mountains. From the quarry now head up east towards the foot of Cnicht and eventually you will meet the south western approaching path from Croeser. When you reach this path turn left onto it and the fun will begin as you tackle the final descent to Cnicht.
  4. The final descent of Cnicht is very exciting and the drop in the corner of your eye towards Moelwyn Mawr can be very distracting. The path becomes less and less obvious the nearer you get to the summit. On reaching the summit you will understand why so many people rave about the views off this surprisingly quiet yet majestic little mountain, known as the matter horn of Wales.
  5. After taking in the views from the summit the somewhat easier ascent of the back ridge of Cnicht is down the very visible path which passes firstly, the Llyn Biswall and secondly Llyn yr Adar. Llyn yr Adar is an amazing lake with an unbelievable view of Snowdon as its backdrop.
  6. Walk around Llyn yr Adar to its northern shore and then the path snakes between Craig Llyn-llagi and Cyrniau and then round to the right before turning left again and then down to Llyn Llagi. Follow the path from Llyn Llagi down past Carnedd Melyn and following the stream back down towards Llwynyrhwch, respecting once again the path through private land. Once at the small road again simply follow the road back down towards the car park.

Paper maps for this walk

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Route map of this walk

Photos & Trip Reports

Planning for a walk

Check the weather

The weather is a very important part of hill walking. Weather conditions and daylight hours will dictate where you walk, what gear you will need to carry, how far you walk, and may even decide if you go at all. The following links will help you gather information on weather conditions for areas of Britain...

Plan your journey

Planning your journey before you set off for your walk can save you vital hours on the day. You need to make sure you know the area surrounding your starting point as many factors can influence or change the place you park. Don't forget change for parking meters and fees.

Maintenance of your vehicle and being ready for breakdown situations when driving to remote areas is also vital. Pack a full spare petrol can in your boot, and take de-icing tools in winter, including a shovel. The Transport Direct website below is a great resource for anyone wanting to get to the start of their walk using public transport...

Pack the right gear

Carrying and wearing the right gear is essential for walkers to remain comfortable and safe while hill walking in Britain. However, the best gear in the world is of no use to anyone who doesn't know how to use and care for it. Knowing how to use your gear will give you a much more enjoyable experience. The following items are, in my opinion, the essential items to wear and carry for a hill walk in Britain. It would be foolish to head into the hills and mountains of Britain without these essential items and the knowledge of how to use them. Check out the gear section of this site for techniques and gear lists...

  • Footwear
  • Clothing
  • Rucksack
  • Warm Clothes
  • Waterproofs
  • Map & Compass
  • Emergency Kit
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food & Drink
  • Seasonal Gear

Know what to do in emergencies

It is good practise to tell someone where you are going, and when you expect to return. If you don't get in contact when you said you would on your return, and those you told can't get hold of you, at least they will be able to provide the search party with your general location.

Emergency equipment in the check list above means items such as a survival bag, whistle, and emergency food rations. This isn't anything special; any whistle will do, the orange emergency bags only costs a few pounds, and basic food rations can consist of a couple of chocolate bars. Carrying a head lamp is also an important component and a vital piece of kit used for signalling when you require rescuing.

You should always try and get out of a difficult or emergency situation using your own gear, knowledge and energy. If you cannot do this, then you should dial 999 and ask for the police. Use all the gear you have to keep any unwell or injured members of your party or yourself safe and warm, and use your signalling devices to let the rescuers know your whereabouts. To do this blow six good long blasts on your whistle, or flash six flashes of your torch. Stop for one minute. Repeat. Carry on with the whistle blasts until someone reaches you, and don't stop because you've heard a reply.

Never contact mountain rescue unless absolutely necessary, but on the other hand don't ever feel guilty for having to do so, especially if you are a prepared walker. The Mountain Rescue teams are full of fantastic like-minded souls who love nothing more than people who are prepared for being safe in the mountains.