Walk up Cnicht – Virtually
A quick jaunt up the ‘Welsh Matterhorn’
Start and Finish: Croesor
Distance: 6km up and down
Time: 3 hours
Timings are approximate and depend on the individual. Calculate the time using Naismith’s Rule and factor in your own pace.
Toliets and a cafe – Oriel Caffi Croesor. We’ve yet to catch them open, but they do have more regular opening hours now on their website.
Post Code for Sat Nav:
Walk up Cnicht – Virtually
Cnicht in the Moelwynion hills of Snowdonia is one of the most popular hills in Snowdonia outside of Snowdon and Ogwen and it’s no surprise. The walk up from Croesor is reasonably straightforward for the average hill walker, while the keener walker would look to couple it with the nearby Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach. The best known view of Cnicht is of its profile from the south west and the sea, which was thought to resemble a knight’s helmet – which is why it’s called Cnicht. So despite the difficult looking pronunciation for non-welsh speakers, it’s one of the few local mountains that lacks a native Welsh name, only one in Old English.
This pyramidal profile has earned the mountain the rather grand title of the Matterhorn of Wales, which when seen from any other angle – you realise is a misnomer. Cnicht is really a long narrow ridge that gives the impression of being a perfect pyramid when seen head on. It’s totally unrecognisable when seen from all other angles.
The walk up is still worth doing, with the fine peak providing an excellent viewpoint into the surrounding hills and provides excellent practice for building fitness for the 3 Peaks.
1 The Walk up Cnicht Starts from the Car Park at Croesor
Thanks to the Snowdonia National Park, the starting point from the car park is clearly marked ‘Cnicht’. The walk sets off up the street and soon begins to pull steeply up hill on what would have been one of the old roads in the area.
2 Start on the Path Proper
It’s always good to get the tarmac behind you and onto the trail which now continues to head on upwards on the old road. Thankfully, for those walking in the real world, there are plenty of trees to keep it cool if you’re walking up in summer.
3 Head onto the hillside
Eventually, the hike leaves the old road and heads onto the hillside. This is a good and wide track, which keeps reasonably level for a while. Cnicht soon becomes visible, but still looks deceptively far off. The whole walk up is only around 3km in total, and by the end of this section of track you’ve already walked a third of it.
4 Head on uphill
The main track continues towards Bwlch y Battel, but our way up Cnicht heads on right. This is way-marked, a rare sight in the welsh mountains.
5 Continue on the path
The walk is steady and grassy, with the summit of Cnicht taunting you far ahead. It continues in this manner – until it starts to get interesting. Get scrolling.
6 Cross the Wall and Uphill
The path finally arrives at some rocky terrain – before puling uphill along some scree.
7 Continue Along the Grassy Ridge
Steady as she goes – the path continues to climb, the summit it seems no nearer. Remember to look at the view behind you as you take a quick breather.
8 Flat Area Below the Summit of Cnicht
That does look nearer now, doesn’t it? Well that’ because i is. A steep path leads up to the right of the summit with a few section of easy enough scrambling
9 Steep Path to Cnicht’s Summit
The final section is steep, but the summit is just at the top of the view. No false summits here. After taunting you all the way up, the summit yields itself with little resistance.
10 Cnicht’s Summit
You’ve made it. You’l need a warm coffee from a flask you didn’t quite clean properly in order to get the proper feeling of being up here. The summit is small, and it does feel airy. There are views down the Glaslyn Estuary and especially towards the Moelwynion beyond the chasm of Cwm Croesor.
We’ll forever wonder who was more interested in the streetview kit than the mountain views. Well, maybe we’ll wonder for about 5 minutes.