Deans in Wales – Climbing Cnicht

Back in the middle of May (yes, I’m still behind) we went to see Josh Groban in concert in Cardiff. We decided to take in a couple of mountains whilst we were there. Unfortunately the week before I had a tooth removed and the thing didn’t heal properly. I was in a lot of pain but thanks to some strong painkillers I made it through the concert. Boy, Josh Groban can sing.

The next day we were supposed to be heading to Snowdonia to  do our first mountain, my first mountain ever – Cnicht. I was feeling so poorly with my wretched tooth (or tooth hole to be more accurate) that we were on the verge of going home. However, I managed to get an appointment at an emergency dentist. He miraculously covered the tooth hole to protect it and within a couple of hours the pain had reduced by around 75%! We drove up to Snowdonia and I don’t remember much about it as I slept pretty much all the way. It did me good though as the next day I was refreshed, almost completely out of pain and ready for some walking!

We had stayed at the YHA Pen-y-Pass that night. Having never stayed in a hostel before we were a bit surprised to find ourselves in a tiny room with bunk-beds but it was clean and in a stunning location. Below are a couple of shots in the vicinity of the hostel taken the night we arrived.

Pen y Pass YHA
Looking up at the mighty Snowdon was pretty spectacular.

Pen y Pass Boat House

Pen y Pass

Now only having time for one mountain we set out for the village of Croesor to tackle Simon’s favourite, Cnicht which means “Knight” in Welsh.

It was quite an overcast day but we soon got warm walking up the steep hill out of the village at the start of the climb. At this point I was feeling a mixture of relief at being out of pain and worry that my legs wouldn’t make it to the top!

At the start of the walk

We reached a gate and turning which led out on to the wild mountainside. The views were amazing and expansive and I soon forgot about my achy legs and the pain of the last few days.


The path on the way up was pretty clear all the way to the top.

Mountain Sheep

On the way up

Having never climbed a mountain before I was amazed by the views, the feeling of isolation and exhillaration at being so high up!

Enjoying the view

Simon had mentioned that there would be some scrambling to get to the top. However when the summit came into view I did find myself wondering how on earth we would make it. It was very rocky and very pointy!

The summit

Turns out this is how you do it…




I know that it is quite a small mountain but I still felt a great sense of achievement at getting to the top!



Just as we arrived at the summit the heavens opened and we spent the whole of the descent getting rained on. The summit is essentially the end of a ridge and to get down we walked along the ridge and down onto the side of the valley.


Bless him. He was trying to explain something to me about mountain lakes in this picture. All I was thinking about was whether the rain would ease off.

It was boggy and slippery and we ended up turning too early to pick up the path back to the village. Cue much squelching through the grass. There was an old mine below us and we saw a couple of other walkers coming out through that compound and heading in the direction we wanted to go. They had obviously turned at the correct point and we picked up the path by heading towards them.

It was extremely wet by this point and I was glad to be heading back though we still had a fairly long walk ahead. It was very wet and rocky underfoot with waterfalls flowing down from above our heads. I did end up on my backside at one point whilst fording a small stream!


When we did get back to the car, after about 4.5 hours in total, we were very glad to get changed into dry things and headed to the nearest cafe! It was a lovely walk and I’m glad the weather held out for the first half. A beautiful and exciting mountain to kick off with.


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