On my very first day working for my new employer in Llanberis I was told that the run up Moel Eilio was a great fell running route. I’m not a fell runner but I enjoy a good trail, and more importantly, a good challenge. I’ve finally done it.
Moel Eilio is a mountain in the Snowdonia mountain range in North Wales. With a summit standing at 726m above sea level it’s certainly a very big hill – and I wanted to run up it.
So this morning – I did.
Let me start by conceding that calling this a run is a loose term given that the severity of some of the inclines left me walking – and barely that at times. I am not a fell running and I doff my cap to anyone who can run to the summit of Moel Eilio withouth stopping.
Another reason for more frequant stops than I would usually take was navigation. I was using the OS Maps app on my phone, with the area downloaded, but kept checking I was going the right way. Also, stopping to take photos like the one above looking back over Llanberis to Elidir Fawr and the sun rising behind it.
I started in Llanberis and finished where I started. Apart from the bit from this point to the main circular route it was just one big loop.
The route up to the summit fo Moel Elio turned out to be relatively straight forward, if a little steep in places. A few sheep were around to keep me company. But, as I set off at 5:45am I didn’t come across anyone else on the run. I did help a lone lady hiker down in Llanberis by pointing her in the direction of the Lanberis path route up Snowdon – she picked a great morning for it.
Once at the sumit I stopped to take in the 360-degree scenery. It was such a clear morning it was magnificant and looking west across the Menai Straight to Anglesey was marvellous.
My route then took me along an exposed path with a steep drop to my left overlooking Llyn Dwythwch. The perfectly still waters reflecting the scenerary was mesmerising.
I was getting used to seeing sheep dotted around by now but I wasn’t quite expecting what I came across next – the Welsh mountain ponies.
At first I thought it was more sheep ahead of me, but as I grrew closer I could see they weren’t sheep. These ponies have grazed the Carneddau in Snowdonia mountains for over 500 hundred years. They even survived a proposed cull by Henry VIII who wanted all horses not capable of carrying a solider to be culled. They are only rounded up once a year so in the UK, this is the closest thing to a wild pony.
The undulating path led me to the top of Foel Gron. On the decent down the otherside I began to realise how steep it was when it seemed I had hit terminal velocity! I just couldn’t stop or slow myself down and gravity had taken it’s full grip on me. One slip and I would have been in big trouble. Once at the bottom I looked back up and the decent and was in awe.
The photo doesn’t do justice to how steep this was to run down and actually makes it look pleasant. I was then heading back up a similarly steep climb to the top of Foel Goch.
I took the steep, rocky decent from Foel Goch far more carefully that the previous decent, thought at times I felt like I was going to lose it. I was then joining up with the bridal way that leads off the Snowdon Ranger Path that starts on the shores of Llyn Cwellyn. This gravel path would take me back down into Llanberis and was a gentle downhill all the way.
I did encounter some “roadworks” on this path but nothing too troublesome. I then stopped to marvel at the Llanberis waterfall that I had heard but never seen. I shall have to take a close look at this one day.
To get to this view-point I had to cross over the Snowdon mountain railway line. Fortuntaly it was still early so the trains hadn’t started running.
I can’t recommend this route enough. Of course, you don’t have to run it and it would make a great walk for a day. I did the route in a couple of hours but I was stopping quite often to take photos so it could be done quicker. I shall have to do it another day when it’s not as good weather, but when it’s like it was today it’s just awesome.