Glyder Fawr via Seniors Gully & Ridge
Time: 6-8 hours
Ascent: 890 metres
Fitness: Hard. Lots of Scrambling and steep walking.
Technicality: Grade 1 Scrambling and ridge walking..
Terrain: Difficult and mixed, broken paths, scree. Steep ground.
Navigation: Good nav skills will be needed in poor visibility. Ability to take a bearing may be essential.
1 Start at Ogwen visitor Centre (The Brewshack) and head to Cwm Idwal but take the sharp right hand turn immediately at the top of the steps and cross and over the stile into Tin Can Gully. Enjoy the view as you exit by the steps on right hand side. Cross the stile at SH 648 602 and head roughly SSW to the next one at SH 646 599 then head south along the East shore of Llyn Idwal to the Slabs
2 At the foot of the Slabs, SH 644 589 follow the track up the left side of the slabs. It is a well worn path and should be easy to follow. You will soon be in the shadow of ‘Suicide Wall’ and beginning to encounter some rocky steps. If you do this route on a wet day, expect to be scrambling up a stream at times! it’s all good fun - there are handholds galore and nothing should be too serious. You’ll be naturally channelled to the right and into the gully where you are free to pick your way up the easy scrambling however you feel happiest. Exit direct out the top of the gully. A good reference point is Garry Smith’s ‘North Wales Scrambles’. Definitely recommend reading a guide book before you do any scramble.
3 When you exit the gully, at SH 646 587, head past the large boulder to the right. There is very steep ground if you stray too far to the right when on the ridge. The track weaves its way up towards Glyder Fawr. There are options to extend your scrambling as you move up the ridge but be aware, there are some difficulties. Be cautious as to what you play on and weigh up your ability vs conditions vs danger. The ridge runs roughly SW, so you can wander up at leisure and look for photo opportunities. There are plenty. The views are amazing. At around sh644 584, the steepness eases off to more open ground. Keep heading roughly SW to the summit.
4. From the summit of Glyder Fawr at SH 642 579, the route is pretty straight forward. Bear West then NW down the scree descent to Llyn y Cwn. The track is cairned and one that many of you will know by heart, but a timely bearing from the summit is always a good idea - especially in the clag. It is steep in places, so attention is needed. The section between Glyder Fawr and Llyn y Cwn is becoming increasingly eroded and deep. Please keep to any track already in use and try to minimise further erosion. If you’re in a group, keep in single file and take care with loose rock.
5 From Llyn y Cwn, SH 737 585 head NE through the wide, stony gully to a wall. Again, if the visibility is down, this is a key point to take a bearing. You don’t want to stray into the actual Devils Kitchen at SH 638 588. It’s true Welsh name is Twll Du, meaning ‘Black Hole, or Black Chasm’. From the wall, follow the path to Llyn Idwal. There is some steep and dangerous ground near the top of the descent, so stick to the path and all will be well.
6 At about SH 639 589, You have the option of returning either way around the lake, keep Left of Llyn Idwal then head back to Tin Can Gully via the stile at SH 6453 6005. It’s pretty standard walking. Just head towards Pen yr Ole Wen (if you can see it!) and you’ll be right.
You will struggle with public transport other than taxis after arriving to either Bangor or Betws y Coed. Driving is accessible but becoming ever more difficult to park. Best midweek or very early. Avoid parking on main road and adding to congestion.
EAT & DRINK:
Best cafe = Caffi Siabod.
Camping = Gwern Gof Isaf or Gwern Gof Uchaf. Hostel = YHA Ogwen Valley. If Staying over, you’ll have better chances of parking.
BEST MAPS: Harvey Super Walker xt25 Snowdonia North. Also Try North Wales Scrambles by Garry Smith.