Distance: 8km / 5m
Climb: 290m / 951ft
Venue: Moelyci Environmental Centre, Tregarth, Bangor, LL57 4BB. SH593678
Skills & experience: n/a
Race Organiser: Gary Porter-Jones 07927 655935
Venue and Registration: Moelyci Environmental Centre, Tregarth, Gwynedd. SH593 678
Maps: Junior and Senior Maps are at the bottom of this page.
Considered by many to be one of the classic local short fell races, Eryri Harriers’ Moel y Ci race is traditionally one of the first in the North Wales fell running calendar. It usually attracts a large field of athletes keen to test how effective their winter training has been. Starting and finishing at the Moelyci Environmental Centre, Tregarth, the 8.1k/+390m; 5m/+1280ft route consists of various terrain that will test the runner’s speed, agility and confidence. First, the short uphill section through fields which are usually extremely boggy this time of year leads to the stile that joins the small single track road, called Lôn Rallt, at the brow of a hill. Runners then turn right and down Lôn Rallt, but don’t be deceived by the gentle-looking ¾ mile of road, as its potholes and slippery surface will readily rob the unwitting runner of their orthostatic stance. A turn off to the left up the track called Clwt Rhywiog then takes runners uphill again and onto the grassy path in an anti-clockwise direction round to the south side of Moel y Ci mountain. From the path’s Tynllidiart junction with Pen y Ffridd Road, runners need to bear left at the white house and continue in an anti-clockwise direction with the wall to their left, where the grassy surface gives way to a stony and uneven track. Once the runners squeeze through the kissing gate where the track plateaus, a sharp left turn is needed to head up towards the summit, otherwise runners will end up running down the more obvious path ahead of them down to the village of Mynydd Llandygai. Fantastic views of Elidir Fawr and the Carneddau can be seen from here. The narrow winding path now gets quite steep as the runners head up towards the top. They need to go up and over the false summit and eventually on to the main summit trig point along the well worn sheep trods that wind their way through peaty, shoe-sucking bogs. From the top, runners descend down the path keeping the summit trig point to their right. It’s a fast and potentially ankle-twisting descent, whether they choose to run in the path chiselled into the side of the hill, or the thick blankets of rock-concealing heather either side of it. Near the bottom, there’s a telegraph pole and it’s at this point that runners need to bear right and head up along the path towards the woods. A couple of smaller tracks shoot off from the main path and it’s easy to take the wrong one, so runners need to keep heading uphill for about 150 metres until they reach the kissing gate at the entry to the woods. Immediately after the kissing gate, they take a left, heading and along a very muddy path often used by mountain bikers so it’s usually well churned up. It’s in these dark woods that agility is the key to avoiding stumps, roots and slippery rocks. Runners soon reach a gap in the wall where they need to turn sharply right on onwards towards the end of the woods, and a short stony path heading gently downhill. The darkness of the woods soon yields to the slightly brighter February daylight and the relatively foot-sure, yet pothole-laden road again back uphill to the stile. The return route from here goes back along the same outward route and the slippery grass and the skin-shredding thorns and bracken that challenged the runners earlier on in the race. This is where local knowledge can pay dividends if the best line is chosen. The final ½ mile of the return route sees runners sent in a short anti-clockwise loop towards the finish, where the observant runner may notice the remains of the old railway tracks underfoot. Only a very short hobble from the welcoming finish line is freshly cooked soup with a roll for all runners, and the many other local products on sale at this fantastic and extremely supportive environmental centre.
Race organiser: Gary Porter-Jones (07927 655935)
Venue: Moelyci Environmental Centre, Tregarth, Gwynedd. SH593 678
Start time: 12 midday
Registration: 10.15 until 11.45 (head count at 11.55)
Age limit: Over 16
Male record: 35.10 (Richard Roberts, 2012)
Female record: 41.38 (Jackie Lee, 2009)
The junior race (over 8y)
The safe junior route starts and finishes in the same place as the senior race. The Juniors set off about 5 minutes after the Seniors have gone. The 2K/+50m; 1.2M/+200ft route is entirely within the fields at the Centre on grassy and muddy tracks. It’s a well marked route and doesn’t use any road or tarmac sections. The early section of the route leads to the same boggy area as the senior route but then follows a firmer and runnable grassy path back to the short anti-clockwise loop along the old quarry railway line taken by the seniors and on to the finish. It’s still extremely muddy and slippery, so beware.
Junior record: 8.18 (Ryan Cain, 2015)