The Cnicht

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The distinctive shape of Cnicht from the south-west has earned the mountain the deserved title of 'The Welsh Matterhorn'. Cnicht is, in fact, a long ridge of a hill, with an interesting steep ascent followed by a pleasant, easy walk-off. Mind you, some will try to tell you that Cnicht isn't really a mountain at all. Don't believe them – Cnicht has all that you need to make a really good mountain day.

The walk starts from the hamlet of Croesor. At first it's easy walking, but as you approach your target things start to get steeper. The final part of the ascent even requires a bit of 'hands on' which adds to the interest and harder variations can be found by those who enjoy a scramble.

The views from the summit are fantastic and include the coast and estuary near Porthmadog and many of the major peaks of North Wales. You will not want to tear yourself away. When you finally do so, you are in for another treat. The ridge running to the north-east makes for good, easy walking and because you aren't continually watching your feet, you can carry on soaking up the views.

At the end of your ridge walk, a change in direction takes you towards the disused Rhosydd and Croesor slate quarries, which can safely be explored. This section, between the ridge and the quarries, is probably the most difficult bit to navigate and map and compass may well be needed – in mist they would be absolutely essential. The walk finishes with an easy descent back to Croesor.

It's hard to think of a better day out. The only improvements that could be made would be to make the walk longer, so those with the time and energy might like to include Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach after visiting the quarries. Whichever way you go, you are in for a treat; don't forget the camera!

(Photograph of The Cnicht is by permission of Keith Evans).

Wales - North Wales - Caernarfonshire - Snowdonia


Birds, Cafe, Great Views, Hills or Fells, Industrial Archaeology, Lake/Loch, Public Transport, Toilets
7/15/2019 - Dave and Sam Asbury

13/07/19. This is a fine walk, but be aware the final scramble to the summit is hairy( or for us it was) when you consider to the right is a 500m drop. Anyway - if you don't fancy the scramble i would say do the walk backwards and when you reach the top go back the way you came. It's longer but "gentler". The route down to the quarry needs a bit of care and you need to reference a map as the paths get faint and disappear over brows, or better have a paper map and the app or other mapping gps so you can keep reasonable close to the path as you dodge the boggy ground in places. We also took the lower path from the slate quarry, back to the walk start, rather than the walks last waypoints, as we were knackered. Our gpx track was 7 1/2 miles btw

3/26/2012 - John Graves

Sunday 25th March 2012: Excellent weather. Clear paths for the majority of the route. As stated in the description, care is definitely needed between Waymarks 5 & 6 but do not fret too much, as long as you are heading in the correct direction. Energetic climb to the summit with just enough 'hands on' to get the adrenaline flowing. The view from the summit was spectacular; you must take a camera. From the summit this walk provided the best downhill walk I have taken in years. I can only echo the words of the route description "The only improvement that could be made would be to make the walk longer".

4/2/2007 - Paul Paintin

Attempted this Wednesday 28th March 2007. Low cloud scared us off, 'summit' lost in cloud, so traced route back to start. Fierce first hill climb though.

6/20/2004 - Michael Luddington

Amazing views from some of the higher waypoints but getting from waypoint 10 to 11 is not an easy scramble if you aren't used to hill walking.