A SELECTION OF MY FAVOURITE ROUTES FROM AROUND SNOWDONIA
DYFFRYN MYMBYR FROM PEN Y GWRYD
The area around Pen y Gwryd provides a snapshot of Snowdonian history, spanning 2000 years. The hotel is situated on a Roman army marching camp and dug into the surrounding hills are a series of WW2 pill boxes. The location is the meeting point of three main routes through the mountains of Eryri - one of which is Dyffryn Mymbyr. Our walk takes us on a high circular tour of this valley, visiting Moel Siabod and the far Eastern peaks of the Glyderau mountains. It’s a bog fest at times and has a whopping 1350m of ascent! But before you feel too sorry for yourself, the Pen y Gwryd hotel was the training base in Snowdonia for the 1953 Everest expedition team and if you stay over, you’re allowed to take a peek at some of the kit that was used on that first ascent. The route is a worthwhile day out in it’s own right, escaping the crowds and away from main paths, with beautiful views and a wild and rugged feel. It might also be somewhat of a character test… complete it and you will well deserve a refreshing pint!
CWM GLAS SPUR
Want to become a little more intimate with a mountain you thought you knew? You won’t even visit the top of Yr Wyddfa this time and why bother? You’ve been up there countless times, and you’ve already walked all the main routes, right? You’ll barely even touch one on this little gem, leaving them behind for wild mountain tracks and breathtaking views. It’s a relatively short route in terms of distance, so theres no need to rush. Savour it. Stop and look around and with it being one of the quieter areas of the mountain, it’s still quite unspoiled. Why not help to keep it special by collecting a piece of litter or two along the way- it all helps.
The route is mainly a walk. There’s a hint of scramble near the top of the spur, after which you’ll endure a brief interlude on the Llanberis Path before escaping to the second section, a gentle and meandering descent down along the ridge-line above the Llanberis Pass and over Snowdon’s Tryfan. (Check the map!) There is even a a short walk through the woods to finish. Perfect.
DRUM & THE ROMAN ROAD.
This is a lovely, low stress mountain walk which starts off on an old Roman road, passing ancient cairns and standing stones and some very modern electricity pylons! The navigation isn’t too taxing and the keen eyed and curious might be able to find some cool things. Not far away from the route is an ancient axe making site and just off the road, there is a rock that was used to sharpen arrow heads thousands of years ago. If you are lucky enough to find any of these gems, then please never disturb or alter them. Leave them untouched for future generations to enjoy. Also, don’t post locations on social media as part of the fun is earning the finds and protecting them! The walk in itself is great for a quiet day out, avoiding the honey pots and features the beautiful backdrop of Anglesey and the Irish Sea. On a good day you will be able to see as far away as Ireland and the Isle of Man! You also have the option of shortening the route at Drum if the weather is bad or you fancy a gentle day. (If you do keep going, you'll snaffle a Welsh 3000er!)
SENIORS GULLY AND RIDGE
The day starts with a gentle walk along Llyn Idwal to the toe of the awe inspiring Idwal slabs, before turning sharply uphill, and into the atmospheric and enclosed Seniors Gully. It is a great introductory scrambling route that goes in any weather. The scrambling itself is Grade 1 and amenable, though as with any scramble, not without dangers. After exiting the gully, you make your way up Seniors Ridge, passing high above the slabs, to the moonscape summit of Glyder Fawr. The route is set against the backdrop of Pen yr Ole Wen, one of the most photogenic mountains in Snowdonia. Photo opportunities abound! After leaving the summit, you’ll tackle the descent to Llyn y Cwn (Lake of the Dogs) and from there pass below Twll Du (Devil’s Kitchen) en route back to Cwm Idwal. All in all - a grand day out in the Ogwen Valley!
MYNYDD MAWR & MOEL TRYFAN
The heath around Mynydd Mawr is as rich in history as it is beautiful andhas a rugged and less trodden feel. From the steep start on ‘Y Lon Wen’ to theunderstated character of Moel Tryfan, there is so much to appreciate. Theroute passes by an old Tyddyn (small holding) and along winding tracks throughthe deep purple of the heath in summer bloom, all the time with your eyes onthe prize: Mynydd Mawr. There was an old tradition on the common landwhereby if smoke was rising from the hearth after one day and night ofbuilding, you were entitled to keep the house - and your boundary walls wereas far as you could throw an axe to the four corners! This tradition was knownas Ty Unnos. (One Night House) Charles Darwin visited Moel Tryfan and thequiet little hill stands large in geological history. And if you’re still unsure, justcome to escape the crowds and end the day with some good food and real alesbrewed on site at the Snowdonia Parc Brewpub.
BERA MAWR FROM ABER FALLS
Like all of Snowdonia, Abergwyngregyn is an area intertwined with Welsh history and this route has it by the bucketful! From the roundhouse remains along the waterfall path to the iron age cairn atop Drosgl, you are walking in the presence of forgotten times. Llywelyn the Great’s tower still remains in the village and as you explore above the falls, winding up through Cwm yr Afon Goch, it’s easy to imagine his soldiers doing the same, nearly 800 years ago. See the old shelters built against boulders by the shepherds of more recent history and appreciate the spiritual importance of these mountains when you pass by that giant cairn and wonder who it was who’s ashes were removed during an excavation - maybe a long forgotten king, with a story we will never know. Life has been lived in and around these mountains for thousands of years and the remaining whispers are there to witness. Be warned though, doing this route in low cloud will certainly test your nav!
ELIDIR FAWR & Y GARN FROM THE VAYNOL ARMS
If your mountain walks are just an elaborate excuse to visit some of the more characterful of our drinking establishments, then this is the walk for you. The Vaynol arms in Nant Peris is a classic Snowdonian post walk destination. The walls are adorned with interesting artifacts and the pool room is a treat for those with an interest in Mountain Rescue... Not only will you get fine food and drink, but it also happens to be nestled snugly in between Snowdon and the Glyderau mountains, right at the foot of the Llanberis Pass. You literally couldn't ask for a better location! But... and there’s a but! You have to earn your pint with a quick walk over some mountains... Elidir fawr and Y Garn, to be exact. And Foel Goch! Definitely just the three! And they are lovely mountains... Ok, call it four mountains, if you give a nod to Mynydd Perfedd. It would be rude not to!