Snowdon Allt Maenderyn (South) Ridge from Nant Gwynant

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Few sherpa buses. Parking available

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Distance:  Kms

Ascent: metres

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Facilities:

Cafe, parking WC

Hazards:

Some off path sections and exposure on Bwlch Main

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Before You Walk up Snowdon, ask yourselfAre you equipped? Do you know what you’re doing? Are the conditions safe? If you answer no to any of these, stay safe, don’t go! Check the weather forecast and make sure you know about walking up Snowdon in the Snow. If you lack experience – hire a Snowdon Mountain Guide.

Snowdon Allt Maenderyn (South) Ridge from Nant Gwynant Details

For those of you who are based in Nant Gwynant, but don’t wish to follow the crowds up the Watkin this is one of the better options. With sections that are almost off path, you start to forget that you’re on the flanks of one of the busiest mountains in the UK. Couple this by descending Lliwedd for arguably one of the classic horseshoe walks, and doubtlessly one of the least known.

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The walk starts off at the Nant Gwynant car park, with the start of the walk identical to the Watkin Path (which has a bit more details on the route start).

1 The route is well waymarked, and takes you initially through an ancient oak woodland on a route that’s not noted on the OS map though is on the Harvey’s map. There’s very little navigation involved on this initial section, making it easy enough to follow.

2 The path leaves the woodland and you join a wide track that winds it’s way into the lower reaches of Cwm Llan and the waterfalls. It sweeps in a wide arc left, contouring above the valley before reaching a gate at SH622516 that featured in the film – Carry on up the Khyber – though the original gate is probably long gone.

3 – The path continues to follow the Afon Cwm Llan and you need to continue for about 500m along the path before turning left uphill. If you reach a bridge over the river then you’ve gone too far. The path follows a small stream up to some old mines and a tramway.

4 – The Tramway at the mines makes an easy walk up into Cwm Llan, and you can choose to follow that more direct route, or the less used route followed today. The more direct route is also the more popular route and is heavily eroded in places.

5 – The path contours below Yr Aran and sweeps across in an arc towards Bwlch Cwm Llan. It can be difficult to follow in comparison to the more usual nature of Snowdon’s paths, but should pose no problem to the skilled hillwalker.

6 – The final pull up to the bwlch is rather steep and being a natural channel, a little wet in the rain. It’s still much better than the scree slope path that lies a 100m or so north.

7 – At Bwlch Cwm Llan, turn right towards the obvious steps that can be seen descending the first part of the Allt Maenderyn (South) Ridge. This joins the more usual and eroded path from Nant Gwynant and you’ll appreciate why it’s best avoided!

Now you’re in Bwlch Cwm Llan – you need to follow the remainder of this route in order to get to the summit. In summary, the path is now easy to follow and is one of the most pleasant walks in Snowdonia. The only problems are the section of scrambling and the final sadistic scree pull to Bwlch Main.

Bwlch Main is a little exposed, if in doubt don’t use this route, but should pose no real challenge to seasoned hill goers. In strong wind however, you will need to treat it with caution as there are a couple of sections where you could literally be blown off the hill in a gale. Snow makes it, ahem, ‘interesting’ as well!

The short section of Bwlch Main is alas over far too soon, and as you join the Watkin for the final short pull to the summit, your peace will be broken and you’ll have to join the crowds at the summit.

Now visit the summit.

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2 Comments
  1. […] Snowdon Allt Maendryn (South) Ridge from Nant Gwynant – This is a much quieter and superior option to walking the Watkin path. Having sections that are off path, you start to forget that you’re on the busiest hills in the country. Descend by Lliwedd for one of the lesser known classic horseshoe walks. […]

  2. […] The full route description is on Walk up Snowdon […]

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