Walks in Snowdonia
A walk to Aber Falls (Rhaeadr Fawr)
Summary: It is a relatively easy walk to reach and view Aber Falls, popularly recognised as the most beautiful waterfall in North Wales. The walk can be made entirely on a clearly marked trackway from the start at Bont Newydd. Wheelchair access is also provided, such is the status of the falls. My walk diverts slightly on the outward walk to the falls by climbing into the conifer plantation of Coedydd Aber National Nature Reserve on the east side of the valley. The return is along the good valley floor trackway.
Newborough Beach and Llanddwyn Island
Summary: I love this walk so much that when I first discovered it I resolved to walk it again in the company of my wife who, while not being the most enthusiastic walker, would love it. And love it she did when I went back with her just one year later for the walk which while not the longest in relative distance of my walks has three distinct parts which all contribute to a wonderful walking experience. First there is the walk along the beach which is delightful with firm unadulterated sands making the walking easy. Next there is the fascinating exploration of Llanddwyn Island with the history of settlement and the natural wonders to be discovered both captivating ones attention. Finally there is the walk back on the forest trails which feels much more protective of the elements than the wild exposure of the sands and island though you are only a few steps away from the coast and the sea. Altogether these elements make this one of the most alluring coastal walks I have ever experienced.
Cnicht, Matterhorn of Wales
Summary: I designed this walk to Cnicht, otherwise known as the Matterhorn of Wales as an expedition with a difference. After climbing Cnicht I wanted to explore some of the less walked Snowdonia uplands. The vast swathe of country north of the mountain on an upland plateau of around 400 metres offered me that opportunity. Looking at the Ordnance Survey Explorer map it appeared that all I needed to do was follow a path north-east from Cnicht to Llyn yr Adar and then follow another path turning from north-west to south-west to Llyn Llagi. Thereafter I would need to follow a bearing south-west across Bwlch y Battel to rejoin my outbound line near the site of some disused levels and tips. Course plotted into my GPS, map and compass at hand too and I was on my way.
Tryfan, Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr
Summary: This was my second walk on Tryfan, the first one some years earlier had been to Bwlch Tryfan and then along the Heather Terrace therefore missing out the top crest. This time I was aiming for as many high points as possible so the summit points of Tryfan, Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr were all plotted into this 7.2 mile spectacular.
Note: I have allowed six to seven hours for a walk of just over seven miles as this is no ordinary walk. Much of the ascending is done using hands as well as feet with scrambles necessary on both Tryfan and Glyder Fach, should you follow the course I took through gullies and around rock faces to reach each of their summits. Glyder Fawr was a more straightforward affair. Finally please note that while the route I chose is ideal for scramblers who like a quick exhilarating way up the mountains there are easier ways to the tops, via paths up scree slopes and on paths hewn through rock.
Snowdon via the South Ridge from Rhyd Ddu
The Walk: .......Already an hour in to our journey and we were preparing for final approach in to Rhyd Ddu (now for non Welsh speakers out there I am reliably informed that if you make the noise of R2 D2 off of Star Wars then that will be almost bang on pronunciation wise). However, one vital piece of kit was missing? Yes, the Cadburys Creame Egg. A few days prior to departure I was perusing my favourite magazine (Trail) and it recommended that instead of Mars bars or Snickers you should take a Creame Egg with you as it does not freeze as easily as the others due to its mouth watering fondant filling, mmmmmmmm. All was not lost though, and as we approached Llanfairfechan (no phonetic translation available at present) we where greeted by an oasis in the form of a petrol filling station. How very Hakuna Matata or what? Leaving Beaver Boy and MC Barb to keep guard of V666 (our trusty ve-hic-yule) engine still ticking over in anticipation of a rapid exfil in case it all went off I ventured into the Kiosk and possible death. "Hello, old bean. Would you perchance have any of those confectionery items I believe are known as Cadburys Creame Eggs?" I offered up in my best Welsh Accent. Time seemed to stand still for what seemed like an age as the local dressed in his red, black and yellow uniform eyed me up and down from behind the counter. What was he thinking? Had he understood me? Had I insulted him? Things were not looking good and the stories I was told as a young boy whilst sat on my father's knee of ramblers being abducted by "Boyos" and subjected to torture with electric cattle prods before being forced into marriage with strange creatures with white fleeces came flooding back. And then it happened. The strangest thing. A smile formed on this locals face. "Its not Easter you know" he replied with a chuckle in his voice. Not knowing whether or not this was a cunning ploy by him to trick me I moved closer to the confectionery stand still weary of his strange behaviour. "Eh? They don't just sell Creame Eggs at Easter you Know" I responded and then explained what I had read in Trail magazine. After a while I emerged from the kiosk with two Twirl bars. Yes I know, hardly Creame Eggs, but still better than the mint Polo's that the local tried to sell me as an alternative. As I strode the few steps back to V666 I felt that years of oppression and misunderstanding had been repaired. Hell I felt like Nelson Mandela and we even listened to Jimmy Cliff on the radio as we arrived at Rhyd Ddu and the start of our adventure.
Right then sports fans here is the technical stuff: (Snowdon) at 1085 metres is the highest mountain in Wales. We chose to ramble along the South Ridge, well basically because it is not as touristy. This path up Snowdon is the quietest of the six main routes to the summit, offering the most striking mountain scenery, especially towards Moel Hebog and the hills of Nantlle. The first mile climbs gradually along the old track that served the Bwlch Cwm Llan slate quarry. You can either then turn left at Pen ar Lon, leaving the track and climbing quite steeply over rocky terrain to Llechog ridge or do as we did and continue to Bwlch Cwm Llan and take on the full ridge. The path follows the ridge over bare and exposed ground and then along Bwlch Main before the final climb to the summit. Some parts of the final section follow a narrow and rocky path with steep slopes below, so extreme care must be taken on these parts. When there is snow and ice on the ground this part should be left to experienced walkers with the appropriate equipment.
Llyn Ogwen to Pen-y-Pass
Summary: This was my second walk on Tryfan, the first one some years earlier had been to Bwlch Tryfan and then along the Heather Terrace and missing out the top crest. This time I was aiming for as many high points as possible so the summit points of Tryfan, Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr were all plotted into this 5.2 mile spectacular which would see me complete the second and most technical stage of my eighteen day Wales Coast to Coast walk.
Note: I have allowed six to seven hours for a walk of just over five miles as this is no ordinary walk. Much of the ascending is done using hands as well as feet with scrambles necessary on both Tryfan and Glyder Fach. That is if you follow the course I took through gullies and around rock faces to reach each of their summits. There are more straightforward routes to take to reach the same objective and which will avoid scrambling but on this occasion I wanted to do the most extreme route while keeping to scrambling course which were within my capabilities. After the scrambling on Tryfan and Glyder Fach the ascent of Glyder Fawr was a more straightforward affair.