Conwy Mountain, Allt Wen and Penmaenbach

The Sunday after I returned from Belfast I received a text from a friend who I’d sat next to in the taxi to the airport and on the plane back to Manchester. It was telling me he had Covid. This wasn’t welcome news for two reasons – I was concerned for his health (and his family’s) but it was also bad timing as I was due to go away the next day for a short break in North Wales the next day. Luckily I have a small stock of LFT kits and tests on the Sunday and Monday morning proved negative, so no need for a last minute cancellation. (I tested later in the week too – again negative so a lucky escape, I think).

It’s become something of a tradition that I disappear for a few days on a walking break during the first week of Wimbledon as it’s permanently on the TV and the constant grunting and screaming (from the players!) drives me bonkers. So it provides a good excuse to get away. This year I’d booked a self catering property just outside Llanfairfechan (pronounced something like Clan Vire Vechan) on the North Wales coast, just below the northern Carneddau. Although in the Snowdonia National park these mountains are not well visited. They’re quite different in character to the more familiar mountains further south in that they’re mainly grassy rounded hills – but they constitute the largest largest contiguous area of high ground over 2500 feet south of Scotland, with a number of peaks over 3000 feet high. Access points are limited, but there’s paths and tracks into the northern part of the range from Llanfairfechan and nearby Abergwyngregyn.

I set off on Monday morning, heading down the M6, M56 and A55 and arriving in Conwy a little before noon. The forecast was reasonable and I had a walk planned that would take me on to one of the more modest hills in the area, Conwy Mountain. If you define a mountain by it’s height (2000 feet or more) Conwy Mountain isn’t one. But it does have mountainous characteristics – rugged and rocky.

I parked up in the large car park on the outskirts of the town and set off up through the streets of the small town, past the castle

and down to the harbour.

I followed the coastal path

Zooming in on the Great Orme

Just after Bodlondeb woods, I left the coastal path, turning inland, passing a local secondary school and crossing over the railway line before joining a minor road that started to climb up towards the Mountain. I joined a track and then turned off, climbing over a stile and starting my ascent up a steep path through the woods.

This was the view as I emerged from the woods

I stopped to speak to a couple of local walkers who were taking a break and then walked over to a rocky spur to take in the view over to the sea and the Great Orme at Llandudno.

It had turned into a fine, but blustery, afternoon.

I resumed my ascent

and approaching the summit I could see the remains of the Iron Age hill fort Castle Caer Seion.

It’s reckoned that the site was occupied between 300BC and 78AD, and substantial ruins can still be seen, with views over to the higher Carneddau mountains in the background

I carried on along the path. Fantastic views in every direction

Looking down I got my first view of the Carneddau ponies – a herd were grazing on the hill side.

I carried on and decided to head over to another summit, Allt Wen

It didn’t take long to reach the top

Looking back to the east, there was another summit – Penmaenbach (that means something like the small rocky headland or hill)

So I thought I’d head over that way

I’m quite familiar with the inside of this hill – there’s a tunnel through it that carries the west bound A55 North Wales Expressway which I’ve travelled along countless times, usually heading to Holyhead to catch the ferry.

From the summit I could see Puffin Island and over to Anglesey.

with a good view down to the sandy beach west of Conwy

Over to Llandudno and the Great Orme

and, looking south, over to the Carneddau mountains

It was time to start making my way down. I retraced my steps and then followed the North wales coastal path route which by passed the summit, skirting around to the south.

At the bottom of the hill I cut through the residential streets, had a quick mooch around the small town centre and then back down past the castle to the car park.

This had been an excellent walk. Better than I’d expected. The views on top were amazing and it was possible to ignore the busy A55 down below for most of the walk.

5 thoughts on “Conwy Mountain, Allt Wen and Penmaenbach

  1. You got some brilliant photos on this walk, the weather looked like it was perfect. I want to do Conwy mountain myself but the route suggested in the book I have sounds a bit complicated – I need to have a look at google maps satellite view and see if I can figure out your route from the secondary school as it seems much simpler.

    • It was nice, but blowy!
      The route was straightforward up the mountain. From the shool you carry on, cross the main road and carry on down the road and cross the railway bridge. Carry on and at t junction turn right. Carry on up the road and when lane veers off to right take that. Carry on and watch out for a short stretch of path that leads to a stile. Climb over that and then keep going on path and you’re heading up the mountain.

  2. I’ve had my eye on Conwy Mountain for a long while as a start point for long overnight camping trip into the Northern Carneddau. Some stunning photos looking out over the coastline

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