Fell Running Route - Moelwynion Mountains

The Moelwynion Mountains in Snowdonia offer some of the best fell running in North Wales. Russell Bentley shares an epic route.

By Beau Smith

07/18/22

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VOOM Ambassador and top class marathon and mountain runner Russell Bentley talks us through one of the best fell running routes in Snowdonia, if not the whole of North Wales.


Interestingly, The Snowdonia National Park has a ‘hole’ in the middle encircling the old slate mining town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, and nestled to the West of this ‘hole’ sits the often overlooked Moelwynion mountain group. There are some fantastic trails to run amongst the Moelwynion and Russell has kindly shared his local knowledge. So, over to Russell…

 


A Russell Bentley Training Route

 

Snowdonia, or Eryri as we call it here in Wales, is famous for its big mountain ranges, The Snowdon Massif, the Carneddau and the Glyderau. But the Moelwynion, located in central Snowdonia is perhaps even more beautiful and much less travelled. As the UK's newest World Heritage Site, now is a perfect time to visit.

 

This is a brilliant 7 mile loop, taking in quality running trails, three summits and all of the views on offer! During this route you'll conquer Moelwyn Mawr and Moelwyn Bach as well as earning fantastic views of Wyddfa.

 

 

Step-by-step run route

 

1) Start by parking at Cwmorthin car park, as shown on the map below.

 

 A trail runner on one of the best running routes in Snowdonia near Blaenau-Ffestiniog

 

 

 

2) Head up the quarry trail, with cascading waterfalls on your left. Keep going straight until you come across the stunning mountain lake, llyn cwmorthin.

 

 

3) Passing the lake on your right, follow the path up to Rhosydd quarry, where you can explore the old barracks. The slate quarry workers lived, worked and died here for over a hundred years. In these hostile and remote conditions, the average life expectancy of a worker was just 44 years.

 

Runner Russell Bentley kitted out in winter running kit during a run in the Moelwynion Mountains in Snowdonia

 

 

4) Up past the quarry entrance, you take on two steep quarry inclines heading south until you get out onto the open fells of Moelwyn Mawr. This section starts off boggy but quickly becomes a firm and steep hill climb swinging West. You are rewarded with stunning views at the top with The Irish sea, the summit of Wyddfa, all laid out majestically in front.

 

5) Next is an exciting section of Welsh ridge running heading further South to the smaller sister, Moelwyn Bach. Then a brilliant track passes above the tranquil Stwlan Dam. 1 mile long and extremely well made, considering the remoteness. Initially the dam was constructed by the workers to get their barracks safely, it cuts an almost straight line to the base of the final hill of the day, Moel Y Hydd.

 

The sun rises with an orange sky above the stwlan dam in the moelwynion mountains of Snowdonia national park.

 

 

6) After looping around the reservoir, it's a proper fell runner's descent right back to Cwmorthin lake, then Lakeside Cafe for breakfast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download a GPX of the 'Moelwynion Mountains Snowdonia Fell Running' route here.

 

 

 

VOOM's range of sports nutrition products superimposed on a range of hills with the words Explore the VOOM range.

 

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