The Paddy Buckley Round

The Paddy Buckley Round is much newer than its better known Lakeland counterpart, the BGR. As a consequence many fewer people have succeeded on it or even attempted it. It is of similar distance to the Bob Graham but has slightly greater ascent and descent. In keeping with Snowdonia being rockier than the Lake District it also traverses generally rougher ground.

The challenge may be divided into five sections, each of which starts and ends at a road crossing. In a clockwise order, starting at Llanberis, these are:

  • Llanberis to Ogwen over the Glyderau
  • Ogwen to Capel Curig over the southern Carneddau range.
  • Capel Curig to Aberglaslyn over the Moelwyns.
  • Aberglaslyn to Rhyd Ddu over the Moel Hebog hills and the northern part of the Nantlle Ridge.
  • Rhyd Ddu to Llanberis over Snowdon then Moel Eilio to finish.

The following paragraphs are intended as a précis on the ground covered along with some idea of the distances and amount of ascent/descent involved. The names of tops are in bold type. The times are very rough and include stops. They give a round of 23hrs.

Section One: Llanberis to Ogwen

A short amount of road across to the foot of the large quarry workings on the north side of the valley. Take the walled path (known as the “zig-zags”) to reach an incline. Continue up this and a continuation to reach the top of the workings. Open land leads to Elidir Fach then Elidir Fawr before the main ridge of the Glyderau is traversed. After Glyder Fawr, the ground becomes very rough and rocky. Glyder Fach and Tryfan are traversed before the big descent to Ogwen. Distance: 9.3 miles, Ascent: c.5900ft, Time: 4hrs

Section Two: Ogwen to Capel Curig

A steep climb straight up the front face of Pen yr Ole Wen gives access to the main ridge of the Carneddau. From this point the going is good past Carnedd Dafydd along the top of yr Ysgolion Duon (Black Ladders) to Carnedd Llewelyn. Height gained is now lost on the descent to the bwlch at Craig yr Ysfa before a narrow ridge leads to the summit of Pen yr Helgi Ddu. Easier going leads to Pen yr Llithrig Wrach before a heathery descent leads to marshy ground and the A5. Distance: 9.5 miles, Ascent: c.4100ft, Time 3hrs

Section Three: Capel Curig to Aberglaslyn

Along the road to Plas y Brenin and cross the river at the outflow of the Llynau Mymbyr. Go through the woods and follow the path almost directly to the summit of Moel Siabod. A long and grassy descent leads to the start of the Moelwyn ridge. This is generally level with a series of small knolls, some of which are named, some not, some you have to visit! Eventually the line takes you round to Allt Fawr and the traverse round the bowl of Cwmorthin. Down to the dam of Llyn Stwlan and the rocky tops of Moelwyn Bach and Moelwyn Mawr before Cnicht beckons and the descent to Nantmor and Aberglaslyn. Distance: 19.9 miles, Ascent: c.7900ft, Time 7hrs

Section Four: Aberglaslyn to Pont Caer Gors

From the bridge a path leads through the woods out to open land. A minor summit, then on up to Moel Hebog. A steep descent, then a fine undulating ridge round the head of Cwm Pennant leads up to Trum y Ddysgl on the Nantlle Ridge. The ridge is followed northwards to Y Garn before another steep descent down to the edge of Beddgelert forest, through this to Pont Caer Gors. Distance: 8.8 miles, Ascent: c.5100ft, Time 4hrs

Section Five: Pont Caer Gors to Llanberis

Up to the old farm before following the wall over the moorland to the summit of Craig Wen followed by yr Aran before a steep descent to the slate workings. The final big climb leads to the summit of Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) before a rocky descent to the col at the head of Cwm Brwynog. The going is now all grass with Moel Cynghorion starting the undulating ridge that ends at Moel Eilio. A long descent on grass then tarmac takes you back to Llanberis. Distance: 13.1 miles, Ascent: c.6100ft, Time 5hrs