Famau’s five challenge

Many years ago Enid Blyton came up with a series of children’s stories based on the jolly japes of five plucky adventurers, written for a more innocent age. We have a local range of hills called the Clwydians – the tallest of which Moel Famau you can see from miles around with its distinctive stone fort on the summit.

This story is more of a horror story, past all innocence, a story for grown-ups with a want for suffering.The Famau’s Five then – there are lots of ways up and down the hill, I’ve done a few on various race routes – I thought it would be wheeze to string together five of the best. Or worst.

So, a day off and a poor forecast saw vague plans made concrete.About 15m and 4500′ of climbing. Up and down Moel Famau five different ways.

The route in brief…

  1. Start from Bwlch Penbarra top car park. Up the Penbarras main path to the top. Easy one to warm up on. ONE.
  2. Return same way a short distance. Break out R on poor trods/off piste SE and E on shoulder of Moel y Gaer, to eventually meet the 2nd steep descent on the Hotfoot race route at the right angle fence junction.
  3. Turn R when you meet the stream and head towards the Miserable Stone Shoot. Up this to the top. TWO.
  4. Head E off main ridge to first col after steep descent. L on permissive bridleway. Follow this and break out L heading ESE and descending shoulder to meet stream crossing above Tyn-y-Celyn.
  5. Reverse the Llangynhafal loop on good grassy track to start of that race. Turn R and W up steep hill, as on Hotfoot race route. Steep climbing then rising contour R-wards after Famau summit hoves into view. Meet main ridge at col S of minor summit with cairn. Up to top. THREE.
  6. Reverse ridge route, heading towards Moel Arthur. At col NW of Moel Dwyll head R on good track towards Cilcain. Break R soon on grassy track and WSW heading to top reservoir. Just above the reservoir reach a narrow wooden bridge across stream.
  7. Turn R steeply up hill S staying on narrow track above stream valley. Turn L and W when the angle eases and contour heading for smaller track to summit in broad valley. As used on Nav Leg of 2008 fell relays. FOUR.
  8. Head N on stony descent (Clwydian Way) keeping forest on R. Straight across at bridleway crossroads. Steep descent heading for bottom reservoir. Pass reservoir on R and turn R on broad bridleway path. Contouring climb, passing railway sleeper section. Just after the house, turn sharply back on yourself on rising grassy track. Keep forest on L, till you meet crossroads mentioned above. Turn L and rejoin stony descent used earlier. FIVE.
  9. Back down initial climb of 1. making use of alternative narrow paths not used on climb.

It’d be great if it caught on as a bit of a DIY challenge route. Let me know what you think.

Loads of pics over on flickr

Steve Riley
Famaus Five GPS

4 thoughts on “Famau’s five challenge

  1. Pingback: Famau’s five challenge « Helsby running club

      • Great idea and effort, so how many different routes do you think there are. But first Ian’s idea of the Secret 7………………….well done Steve!

  2. Seven? Are you people nuts, I’m exhausted just thinking about it (reaches for OS map). As for how many ways up there are, I think it’s only limited by your imagination. Martin uses at least 9. I didn’t even touch any of the stuff in the forest on the East side – if I was going to be out for that long, I at least wanted the chance of a view 🙂

    Mind you Kinder has the Kinder Dozen, we’re not going to let our beloved Moel Famau be beaten by the Peak are we? 🙂

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