Ascent of Manod Mawr North Top on 2019-04-26

Climber: David Howells

Date:Friday, April 26, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Manod Mawr North Top
    Elevation:2159 ft / 658 m

Ascent Trip Report

Manod Mawr 661m, MM North Top and Moel Penamnen.
Well here I was in the land of slate and rain parked in a car park in Blainau Ffestiniog in North Wales. Think Kabul without any arabs! I do like the place however, so full of history and the surrounding peaks are really rugged.
The weather forecast was pants and it was acted out in full…but I was here and I was going out!
Follow my trail out of town and you won’t go far wrong. I headed out of town on the distinct footpath at spot height 214 and followed it steeply uphill to the first river. From here I headed west on a sort of footpath until I started to head uphill on an old tramway. This took me to the base of huge slate slag heaps and old disused buildings around Manod Mawr quarry. It was all very rustic however the rain was incessant so I just kept going.
From here I headed out on an obvious rising quarry road heading directly South and after a long corner I again left it to head South again and headed uphill across country to Manod Mawr where there is just a pile of stones on the summit. This had taken 1.5hrs to do less than 4kms with 460 height gain.
I then headed downhill (N) until I got to a wide track (footpath on the map) that skirted below the high cliffs to Manod Quarry. Eventually I was adjacent to the main quarry buildings (on the right) and there is a quarry road that I followed North. Follow my GPX trail and you will see shortly after the first bend I leave the road. Here it is quite rough but I soon joined a disused quarry road that heads West. Though I couldn’t see it appears that this road looks directly down into the void of Manod Quarry itself. It wasn’t long until I had to leave this road to find the cairn at spot height 658 which is Manod Mawr North Top. I didn’t take a photo as it was bucketing down.
Now came the long leg to Moel Penamnen. I headed towards a nearby fence and basically followed it North for a good 2kms until I hit a forestry. The going was easy enough, boggy at times with a couple of fences to cross but no problems. After the forestry you hang a left, skirt the forest by hugging a fence and then head West and steadily uphill on a myriad of trails until two kms later you get to the top of Moel Penamnen where there appears to be the concrete base of a TP. It had taken me 3hrs 30mins and 10kms to get here along with a total climb of 860m. All of it with no views what so ever and in drenching rain.
Off I went, the home leg. I headed back down MP a short while before heading due South off its steep but totally manageable slopes. I still couldn’t see more than 50m in front of me so I just headed towards some river junctions as markers on the way down (no footpaths). Eventually after about 2kms I came to a fence that took me to a footpath. Here instead of using the footpath I decided to head down to Maen Offeren Quarries along a steep old slate tramway. This section was the most interesting of the day with old bits of quarry workings dotted about everywhere including rail lines, bridges and buildings. Maen Offeren itself was literally quite huge with one old building as big as an aircraft hangar.
From here you follow an old quarry road West that again skirts a big void on your left. After about a km you have to leave the road on the left but you have to climb over a slate hedge. I didn’t see a footpath sign but I did find the path (yes I still could’nt see sweet nothing). The path goes steeply down hill and is marked by poles topped with yellow markers. You end up going through an incessant Rhododendron forest. You eventually get down to the quarry bottom where you follow the quarry road out that heads South. You are soon on a tarmac road that is heading back into Blainau town.
Route Summary: An industrial revolution historic pilgrimage through the slate workings of North Wales. A veritable trail of old workings, tramways and buildings. Open high mountains with few footpaths. Hugely interesting just wish the weather had been kinder!
Route Statistics: A very wet 5 hours to do 15.5kms with 900m of height gain.

For fuller details, photographs and other information see my blog or wikiloc account.
Click on the links below and put a search in for the appropriate hill or mountain.
My blog - mountain nomad
My wikiloc - David Howells
Summary Total Data
    Grade/Class:Hard hike
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Raining, Cold, Windy, Low Clouds
Rainy windy day with no view.
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by David Howells
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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