Alex Harford Photography & Travel

WALES

Moel Berfedd in the Snow: A Quiet Snowdonian Hill with Great Views

Near Moel Berfedd's summit, there's even a rock providing shelter from the prevailing windSnowy Snowdon from Moel Berfedd summit in shelter of rock

Moel Berfedd is a quick and easy walk from Pen-y-Pass YHA with an ascent of under 130 metres. The views of Snowdon, Moel Siabod and more are spectacular and were enhanced by snow on my visit.

A carriage route opened at Pen-y-Pass (meaning "head of the pass") almost 200 years ago, and this area of Pen-y-Pass is known as Gorphwysfa, Welsh for "resting place" (or "shelf," according to Google Translate). The hostel building itself used to be called Gorphwysfa Inn, and there has been a hotel/coaching inn at Pen-y-Pass since the late 18th century.

Moel Berfedd Hike from Pen-y-Pass YHA

The walk starts by passing through a gate to the left of the youth hostel, which makes it a great walk if you arrive late, or wish to fit a walk in before leaving (which is what I did). The wind was also brutally cold and fierce (enough to blow me into a stumble). I didn't fancy climbing much higher than Moel Berfedd's 482 metres, or risking getting blown off anywhere.

After the gate, the path heads steeply uphill to the left of these rocks.

Follow these rocks around to the leftSnowy rocks behind Pen-y-Pass YHA

The views are already spectacular after two minutes of ascent.

The views are great after 2 minutes climbing. Here, the A4086 winds through Pen-y-PassA4086 road winds through Pen-y-Pass between snow-covered mountains A Snowdon-ish shaped rock backed by SnowdonSnowy Snowdon-shaped rock backed by a snowy Snowdon

After rounding the rocks and climbing the slope to the right, we get our first view of Moel Berfedd, where a stile leads over a fence.

Head for the stile to climb Moel BerfeddSnowy landscape of the rocky Moel Berfedd

Near the stile, Moel Siabod appears in view. There are many "Moel's" in Snowdonia - it's Welsh for "bare hill."

A snow-covered Moel Siabod in the backgroundSnow-covered Moel Siabod

Views from Moel Berfedd's Summit

West to north panorama including Snowdon and Glyder FachSnow-covered Snowdon and Glyder Fach mountains from snowy Moel Berfedd summit Looking east towards Capel Curig and Moel SiabodSnowy landscape looking towards Moel Siabod Looking south towards Hafod Rhisgl and Moel MeirchLooking from a snowy Moel Berfedd to Hafod Rhisgl in the valley Looking west to Crib Goch and SnowdonCrib Goch and Snowdon in the snow panorama, from Moel Berfedd summit

Back to the Hostel

I followed my own footprints back to the hostel, and the only sign of life were crows flying around Moel Berfedd's summit.

Crows above Moel Berfedd's summitCrows fly above Moel Berfedd's snowy, rocky summit Back to Pen-y-PassLooking down from Gorphwysfa's grey rocks to the A4086 at Pen-y-Pass

Some of the reasons I love walking in the hills are for the wilderness, tranquility and views. Moel Berfedd offers all three (well, tranquility if the wind isn't fierce or you can shelter behind those rocks in the opening photo). Are there better views in Wales at this height?

Useful Links

OS Explorer OL17 Snowdon & Conwy Valley Map (Amazon.co.uk)
Photographing The Snowdonia Mountains by Nick Livesey (Amazon.co.uk)
Mountain Walking in Snowdonia Cicerone Guide (Amazon.co.uk)

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