One of Snowdonia’s hidden gems that often gets overlooked by the masses heading for Snowdon.
Moel Siabod dominates the skyline on the A4086 between Capel Curig and Pen-y-Pass. With the hordes travelling to Snowdon you can’t help but think this peak is often neglected by walking tourists heading for the big hitters.
In truth Moel Siabod stands in its own right as a peak that offers everything. Hidden from the roadside view on the south side of this peak, are impressive views, pretty Llyn’s and high gullies. Moil Siabod is a true hidden gem and worthy of any walker’s attention.
Moel Siabod stands at 872 metres which sits isolated between Betws-y-Coed and Capel Curig. It is the highest peak in the Moelwynion Mountain Range. It is reputedly possible to see 13 of the 14 highest peaks in Wales on a clear day without turning one’s head.
Starting from Pont Cyfyng there is a car park which is medium sized but if it is full, park on the pub car park of Tyn-Y-Coed and walk back down the A5 for a couple of hundred yards. There is bridge on the left-hand side of the road as if you were heading towards Capel Curig. Cross the bridge and head up the tarmac road until you pass a gate which will take you on to open land, there is now a fork with one path to the right leading to a sharp ascent onto the main ridge. the other path is the one which you will take and will lead you up through an abandoned slate mine and up to Llyn-y-Foel.
From there, there are several paths to the summit (not marked on the OS map) via the minor ridge. As you head up to Llyn-y-Foel you will pass a disused slate mine with a deep-water hole which is pretty and a good photo opportunity and resting point.
From this point the path continues upwards until you reach the brow. On the brow you will now see Llyn-y-Foel to your diagonal left and to your above diagonal right the summit of Moel Siabod. The weather was not the best on my visit with 45mph winds and low intermittent clouds. But the scenery just hits you right away and it reminded me a little of Devils Kitchen and Llyn Idwal.
When you head past Llyn-y-Foel there is a well-trodden path right through the middle of the plain but this can be very boggy so be warned. There is also a path further to the right and that will also lead you up to the gully for what will be an impressive scramble if you choose. I chose to cross the boggy plain and climb the less demanding SSW ridge (Daear Ddu). This ascent is gradual but demanding and there is a scramble involved. You can make out the path but you have to remain alert as it zigs zags in and out of view.
The SSW ridge is not dangerous and there are no sharp drops so in low level cloud just keep well to the left if you are concerned and you will be ok. This just means you have to head right to reach the trig once at the top. There is a fence at the top to stop you going too far, and once you reach it just head right and the trig will become visible. I had low cloud and it made finding the trig with my eye troublesome.
At the trig be careful in low cloud that you don’t venture to far to the right of it given the sharp drop down the gully. 872 meters is a long way down. The trig is surrounded by jagged rock formations which is a little unusual but impressive. In good weather you will be able to see the impressive Snowdon Horseshoe down the Cwm Dyli. There is a shelter just across from the trig if needed in bad weather.
The decent of Moel Siabod has two options, one is to follow the ridge line NE over the boulder ridden plateau until you reach the bare rock of the NE ridge. This will take you across two gullies which split the Cwm-y-Foel face until you reach grassy slopes. We will not be taking that route but instead we will head NNE to the left of the ridge until you come to some steps leading back down the north face towards Llynnau Mymbyr.
The descent is very gradual and you will have impressive views of Glyder Fach, Y foel Goch and Craig Wen. The path will eventually lead you over a stile and into Braich Bryn-engan forest. Follow the path until you reach the river at Capel Curig and head right across the field until you eventually come back to the bridge from which you started.
There is a lot to offer on Moel Siabod and different routes with impressive views, waterfalls, forests and ridges. It is a great half day outing and one of the best walks i have done for a good while. Is this route family friendly? yes and it’s a great starting point for those looking to improve their mountain walking skills.