At some point, your child needs to conquer their first mountain, and there is no better candidate than Cnicht in Snowdonia. Part of the Moelwynion group in central Snowdonia, Cnicht is known as the “Welsh Matterhorn” owing to its distinctive pyramidal profile when viewed from the south-west.

Let us not get carried away here: Cnicht (from the old English for knight) is a small hill some 3800m (!) smaller than the Matterhorn and can be conquered in a little less than 1 1/2 hours up and down if you motor it. But we British have long appreciated that bigger is not always better and Cnicht’s steep final ascent and wild hinterland serve as a perfect introduction to the joys of the Welsh hills.


Start at Croesor (SH6344) and follow the well-signposted path up the mountain. Clear skies will mean views north to Snowdon and south  to the Irish Sea and the Lleyn peninsula. The ruined slate quarry in the adjacent valley will have you practising your Elvish as you search for the entrance to the Mines of Moria: “Pedo mellon a minno!” Prepare to fight the balrog on the way out.

3 miles, 1800 ft ascent.


(Some great pictures.)



  1. Beautiful. I don’t know Snowdonia too well but I remember my first trip up Scafell Pike. The Lake District was one of the things I missed the most while in the US (and SE England, actually). Now I’m back in the NW I can’t wait to get my kids hiking in the Lakes. How old is your boy in the picture?


  2. M and C have hiking some trails in the Wasatch mountains but I am not sure they can yet say they’ve conquered a mountain. This might be just the ticket!


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