Moel Siabod - James Lomax

Many years ago I read an account of climbing Moel Siabod (Wales) describing how wonderful it is. He was a walk leader with a school party and explained how he met one of the group years later who said he'd never forget it. Some days are like that: a perfect combination of weather, light, colour, mood, adventure. The guide said Siabod is a neglected hill, but this is one of its attractions because you don’t find hordes of people walking here. I’ve done the walk about eight times and confirm this is true. You only see a few people walking Moel Siabod.

The Welsh name translates into ‘shapely hill’ which I think is very appropriate and this shows why it’s worth researching Welsh, Scottish and Gaelic language to learn mountain name meanings. They’re often very evocative and descriptive with an old poetic sense, from a time when people lived on the land with intimate connection to nature.

Moel Siabod – or Siabod as it gets called – is near the town of Capel Curig which is on the periphery of Snowdonia and the bigger hills, most notably Snowdon which is 1085 metres high. Siabod is only 872 metres but height isn’t everything. Height can equate to greater views and a more satisfying walk – but not always. In the Pyrenees for example Aneto is the highest peak but Posets is generally regarded as the most beautiful. I made an attempt at Aneto but the glaciation was too pronounced which meant the route I had in mind was impassable. I did however walk Posets and it was one of the highlights of seven trips to the wonderful Pyrenees.

Siabod is indeed a very shapely hill and it stands distinct and separate from the surrounding area. You have big views all around, stretching a great distance over relatively flat areas with a lovely character, and at the summit you enjoy possibly the best distant outlook across to Snowdon. Snowdon is a fine mountain which I’ve walked about six times and seen from every vantage point.

The views from Siabod are to savour. Siabod is not a difficult walk and you can complete it in four or five hours. There’s a ridge ascent which involves some scrambling if you enjoy the athleticism of dealing with boulders. It's called the Daear Ddu ridge. You can walk from the beautiful Lledr valley and the town of Dolweddylan but the route from Capel Curig is best.

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