cnichtI’ve always wanted to reach the peak of Cnicht on midsummer’s day, to catch the sunrise and looks over the border hills to the east.

With this in mind, I had to make an early start.  The alarm was set for  3.30 am.   I then slipped out of the Tanronnen, the small hotel I was staying at in Beddgelert,  and set off for the Croessor car park, the start of my early morning sunrise ascent.

Cnicht is a fine mountain and part of the Moelwynion range. Its  appearance from the road and approaches just give you that urge to climb it. It’s shaped like the Matterhorn – and known locally as the Matterhorn of Wales, you can be forgiven for dreaming of taking on one of the icons of mountain legend.  The reality is that Cnicht is only 689 metres high and a walk achievable in one and a half hours if you got a shift on.

So setting off from Croessor and chasing down the sunrise I made it to the top just as the sun broke over the eastern hills towards the English border.

What a sight it was when the sun broke through right on cue. It  was a great feeling to be up there alone with such a spectacle. I had expected there might be a pilgrimage up there for the summer Sostice but amazingly there was a total and fitting loneliness around the summit.

As Cnicht is an isolated peak the views from the summit are 360 degree stunning. Looking west to Portmadoc and the Atlantic then across to Moel Hebog;  then east towards England; and then the view back to Cwm Croessor is absolutely fabulous.

It was quite an easy walk with a little scrambling and some steep sections.  The flora was amazing with many orchids along the way.

With the walk complete I headed back to the Tan in Bedgelert for a welcome and well earned full Welsh breakfast. The welcome from my 96 year old Dad, was partly one of  admiration. He said I was ‘barking’ mad to get up so early. If he’d been younger  though he would have done it as well, no doubt.

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Richard Langley

Sunrise from Cnicht on Midsummer’s Day
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