It seems sometimes like all the walking routes up Snowdon are busy and far too civilised. Looking at the map, there’s been one route up that’s a little contrived, but pathless for a the most part.
It does start off on one of the paths, and ends the route on another path, but somewhere in between you get to explore Snowdon’s least known cwm (probably along with Tregalan) and some beautiful mountain tarns where you can lunch and generally waste some time on the way up.
The route starts off from the Snowdon Ranger Youth Hostel and follows the Snowdon Ranger path of the same name. This is very straightforward, following the zig-zags at first, before the path gladly levels out. You can see Cwm Clogwyn to your right, below the summit. The blunt Llechog curving up to enclose the cwm and meet the South Ridge at the sharp ridge of Bwlch Main, before the final sweep to the summit.
The lower end of the Llechog ridge rises precipitously from the boggy Cwm Treweunydd and might make a scramble from the base if you feel adventurous. Instead, we’ll be tacking the ridge from Cwm Clogwyn.
To reach Cwm Clogwyn, we’ll need to get off path. Follow the Ranger path until you’re nearly at Bwlch Cwm Brwynog, above Llyn Ffynnon-y-gwas (at around SH588 557). There’s a pretty obvious low ridge that hides the lake, and it is this that you’ll need to aim for. The first section is a little wet, but once you’re on the higher ground it becomes much easier and a faint path leads down to the low dam.
Now you might be tempted to cross directly to the Afon Goch that tumbles from the cwm above, but that course is very wet. Instead, the faint path, if you find it, contours around the flat area centred on SH594 550 along easy ground before making for the fence that follows the Afon Goch steeply up to Cwm Clogwyn. When I did this, we camped on the rim of this boggy area near some boulders – a little gem of a site.
The path is largely lost now, but the river guides us. After slogging up, you can walk directly to Llyn Coch, and then Llyn Glas yet higher up. These aren’t where we’re headed, so just before Llyn Coch you can cross the fence at a stile and see if you can cross the river. We had to descend slightly (to where the map shows the stream braiding) before we could cross, but this didn’t prevent a bootful of ice cold water.
Take a rough bearing across the rough grass towards Llyn Nadroedd and follow its shore to the outlet stream. Take the line to the right of the steeper cliffs (obviously!) and this is where you’ll need to choose your line carefully. If in doubt, you can probably contour around to the Rhyd Ddu path and there was a faint path that seems to do just that. It was pretty steep, but the line was easy enough when we did it. There wasn’t much to see as the clag was down at 500m, the wind was gale force and rain as heavy as it could get.
The climb is only around 100m before flattening out (SH594 539) and suddenly there are a couple of cairns to follow. Your choice, you can continue uphill and keep away from the crowds as much as possible, or continue along the flat area to meet the path in a couple of minutes.
From there you can follow the Rhyd Ddu path up to the summit.